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Old 01-03-2024, 04:54 PM   #1
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2002 30' Classic S/O
Fleming Island , Florida
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 4,672
Anatomy of a Storage Hatch Leak (and a fix)

Several years ago I posted about a leak in my roadside storage hatch. I thought I had fixed it. But we moved and the trailer was no longer stored inside. Several weeks ago I went down and discovered moisture and mildew under the vinyl I had put on the floor of the lockers. The roadside was the worst and it leaked again before I got a chance to do anything about it.

So today I started. I remembered reading a post about the rivets for the hinges not being sealed. In addition, I had seen water wicking up between the hatch door and the seal around the opening at the bottom center.

There are reasons for all this.

Here is a top view of one of the doors.


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Both rear side hatch doors are made this way. There is a gap, larger than 1/4", between the inner and outer skins. I claim that surface tension causes water running down the side of the trailer to curve around onto the top of the door where it falls inside the door and heads to the bottom where it leaks out around the hinge and through the rivet centers. Interestingly, the longer rear hatch has a formed outer skin which overlaps and completely seals against the inner skin. Guess what? That hatch doesn't leak.

This is what the water encounters when it exits the door.



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Water runs through the rivet holes where it can go down to the subfloor between the inner and outer skins,and, if it builds up enough pressure inside the door, rises up over the seal, and enters the compartment.

The fix I have implemented is two-fold. First a 1"x1/8" rubber strip inside the hatch frame which will stop any water coming out the rivet holes in the door and entering the hatch housing.



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Second I sealed the outer perimeter of the hatch edge with aluminum AC duct tape. This should stop water that runs down the side of the trailer from entering the interior of the door.


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Time will tell.....
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Old 01-03-2024, 10:23 PM   #2
CRH
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1995 25' Excella
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I had minor leaks on each of my storage hatches. I sealed the rivet heads. My problem went away.
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Old 01-03-2024, 10:44 PM   #3
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2005 25' Safari
Salem , Oregon
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Hi, I fixed this problem more than a decade ago. I bought some double "D" weather seals, split them, and stuck one all around the door inner edge and one all around the outer edge. Mostly I did mine to stop cold air from coming under our bed.
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Old 02-28-2024, 08:05 PM   #4
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2008 25' Safari
Jacksonville , Florida
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Back compartment leaks & Mystery bracket

I apologize in advance for this long storyÖ.

My 2008 25 ft Safari SE, purchased in 2014 has had leaks on and off, here and there, remedied for a 5 year period only to return. Iíve resealed and continue to reseal but canít get a handle on it.

First leaks were in back compartment, fixed after resealing that including removing and resealing under the rub rail. Leaks returned after 5 years and are still there even after resealing under the rub rail a second time. I have rotted crumbled away flooring near the rear bumper in the rear storage compartment, and am certain thereís been water trapped between that floor and the Bellypan. My moisture meter goes off the chart to the left of the compartment door next to rear bumper and on the right side to a lesser degree. I have outdoor storage and didnít want to drop the Bellypan and get into that until I resolved the leaks but now realize the frame is probably getting rusted. I havenít decided what to do there yet.

At least some of the leaking is coming from up top because of where it runs out from between the skins inside and a rust colored crud that shows up on some of the ceiling rivets and seams.
Iíve been trying to reseal everywhere possible as I know it can trickle down and show up far from where it started. I recently applied Captain Tolleys on the roof rivets and plan to add more. In 2022 the roof paint was worn away, so we applied 2 new coats of BusKote plus resealed top windows ledges, vents, & skylights and plan to add another coat soon.

My latest thought was to replace the gaskets on all exterior compartments. I read many folks on the forum used 3M gasket adhesive, but I purchased the gasket listed in the Airstream parts book that has metal at its center. It fixes securely without adhesive but being new and plump makes the compartment door difficult to close and not completely flush.
My compartment door doesnít have the same gaps that Alís does, but I noticed the corners have a wide open spot where water could go in.
Iím including some pics**(I was going to but couldnít figure out how to get them here. I downloaded them but I think theyíre in a random gallery on this site)

Also, each compartment had an aluminum bracket (see pic) on the upper inside opening that was screwed through the gasket into the Airstream, Iím guessing to help hold and stabilize the inner and outer skins? My handyman thinks it was added later, and serves no purpose, but I think itís factory and should be put back. (Itíll be hard to line up the screw holes now that the gasket is in place).

Iím wondering if anyone else has those brackets or has an opinion on them, and Iíd gratefully welcome any ideas/suggestions on the leaks. Itís getting discouraging but I wonít give up!
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Old 02-29-2024, 06:21 AM   #5
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The photos are too small to see much. Larger pics would be helpful.
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Old 02-29-2024, 10:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbrowne View Post
The photos are too small to see much. Larger pics would be helpful.
Thanks for taking a look, I was just able to find them myself and to see them in a large format. The 2 photos I posted are the top 2 shown if you click the photo tab thatís a few tabs to the right of the portal tab underneath the Air Forums Logo. When you click on one of those photos individually they come up large and easy to see.
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Old 03-07-2024, 06:20 PM   #7
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2002 30' Classic S/O
Fleming Island , Florida
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Rot repair and mitigation

In the first post I mentioned that I had discovered some rot in the rear side storage compartments. The roadside was the worst, with a 20 sq. in. area where the rot had disintegrated the top layer of the plywood subfloor, getting progressively smaller as the rot went deeper, but not completely through the plywood. I tried treating the area with Minwax wood hardener which was successful on the curb side but not so much on the road side. After cleaning out the holes, I started patching with fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin using successively larger pieces of cloth until I was close to flush with the plywood surface. I then filled with Minwax wood putty which is actually a lot like Bondo. After sanding, I put on two or three coats of epoxy resin, wetting out the plywood subfloor well including the area where the floor meets the furniture or skin. Unfortunately I neglected to take pictures of the process.

To minimize the risk of water entrapment I purchased some inexpensive plastic drainage tiles. They have a crosshatch pattern of ribs and standoff feet that allow air to circulate under and through the tiles.

They were billed as usable for a garage floor. I'm not sure they would stand up to that, but they are more than adequate for the floor of a storage compartment. Here's a picture of one compartment with the tile floor.

Click image for larger version

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I will put the remaining tiles on the classified page since they were available in 20 and 55 unit boxes. I figured I needed more than 20 but less than 55 and the box of 55 was cheaper than two boxes of 20.
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