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jjonesnc 06-30-2003 08:58 PM

Water Damage
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Its hard to tell in this picture but the wood has rotted all the way across. When it rains, it gets wet along the edge. Seems to be pooling and running in on the flat area behind the storage lid on the bumper. I probably wouldnt have gone into this area had it not been for the water pressure regulator freezing and busting.

Inland RV Center, In 07-01-2003 06:41 AM

Check the sewer vent pipe 3 x 5 polished metal covers on the roof.

Remove one to check the gasket. You should find all of them cracked.


Chas 07-01-2003 07:02 AM


Couldn't it also be the taillights leaking? I would think water from the vent pipes would go straight down the sides at their respective locations or run back just to the last roof rib and then run down the sides? I parbonded the tops and sides of my taillights and it stopped the leaks. (I have the International with the rear access door, easy to see the leaks)


Inland RV Center, In 07-01-2003 07:22 AM

Tail lights are supposed to be sealed at the factory.

Strange leaks usually come from a material that has served it's purpose, and has aged out.

We sell hundreds of the "sewer vent pipe gasket," as well as thousands of feet of window gasket.

For that matter, a clearance light can also become a "leaker."


garry 07-01-2003 09:07 AM

Had a problem with water leaking in around the rear window I think I got that one before serious damage to the bath floor.
However; I later found the real leak with water pooling all around the battery area. I found the gasket around the rear acess door was bad but it was too late the flooring was rotted under the batteries and had to be replaced.


jjonesnc 07-01-2003 08:48 PM

Hello guys and thanks for the responses/ideas.
Please forgive me if I do not use the correct terms for certain locations, etc...for I am still learning what certain things are called on A/S's
Now that I have everything taken apart as you can see in the picture I can open the "rear trunk compartment" (thats what the owners manual calls it) and put a hand inside and push the largest blade on my feeler guage between the body and the sheetmetal thats behind the lid on the bumper storage compartment I can feel the end of the blade comming thru to the inside where the wood is rotted. One of the previous owners went crazy with RTV sealant around all the windows, and lots of other places but neglected to put any in this area.
The rot is, at is deepest into the interior, about 5 inches. all around the toliet, under the tub (as far as i can tell since i havent removed it) is good and solid. Perhaps I discovered it before it got any futher into the interior.
Here is a fix I found but im not sure its entirely neccessary:

"To get started pull your carpet back past the first seam in the floor. This will tell you how far back you will have to remove your interior cadinets and tub ,etc. It is best to get every thing within 3' up from the floor out of your way. Any plumbing or elec thru the floor will need to be disconnected also. Pull the banana wrap off to the same point on the exterior to get at the under side bolts and nuts. Now that you have a clear work space move back inside. You will need to loosen the wall panels vertically high enough to pull them out to get to the bolts in the channels without creasing the metal . Once you have done this I used a reciprocating saw to cut the bolts off underneath that I could get to . The rest I used regular tools . Don't try to recycle the bolts . After every thing is loose pull the rear bumper and cover so you have access to the two maim frame bolts. Once it is all loose the frame may drop away far enough to pull the plywood out . try to get it out in one piece. Having a pattern to go by for your cuts is critical .If it does not drop far enough Than there are two ways to get it out and in. The first one I did I did it at a friends house . He had one of the screw in anchors used to tie house trailors down By the pad he puts hitrailor on. I backed mine up to it and put a strap across the rear frame and gently lowered the front untill I had enough room to slide the old piece out and the new one in .{ DO NOT LEAVE IT IN THIS POSITION WHILE YOU ARE CUTTING THE NEW PIECE ] Take the strain off while you get the next piece ready. After I cut the new piece I Put a couple of good coats of wood sealer on both sides and edges. To be sure of a good tight connection between the body and frame when you lower the rea back down put some supports under the frame to push it up against the floor and body.
The way I did mysecond one was to use weight lifting weights and tied 200 lbs to each corner and then lowered the nose.

Then put it all back together. I is a good idea to take pictures as you take it apart. It helps when you put it back.

I use loctite on all my nuts and bolts and on the inside of the chanel at the main frame bolts I cut a piece of steel 1/4 " thick and 3" long and ground it into the curve of the frame to go insde the channel and then put the bolts thru them."

Since the rot is not over 5" deep into the interior, I dont see the need to do all of this unless the floor needs to be one solid piece to maintain the structural integrity if the unit. I MAY be going from NC to Colorado with this A/S but this floor problem has me hesitating. It seems to me that the ends and "corners" are a vital area for weight distribution etc...
Thanks again for any ideas...........

thenewkid64 07-01-2003 09:00 PM

2 diffrent options as I see it.

One is if the floor is intact and not shedding layers you could use git-rot and just epoxy it all back together. This will require getting it all dried out first.

The other is to remove the rotted section and patch in a new peice of flooring. getting to a cross member is not necessary, but I would splice it from underneath with more of the plywood and screws and glue.

That being said, does the rot go from edge to edge? Roadside to curbside. There is a structural issue if it does as the floor is an important part of the overall structure of the trailer. Once you get this issue resolved you should seal the seam between the trunk lid and the shell with vulcem so that the water cannot get in here any more. This is a typical issue with the older units.

jjonesnc 07-01-2003 09:19 PM

Thanks Brett.......
the foor is not totally intact, alot of it is totally gone and in the places where it is gone, the water pooled on the bellyskin and rusted it out. The waterhose you see in the picture is actually comming in thru the hole in the bellyskin. When i found the rot i busted it all out to stop the "wicking" affect but i didnt know of "Git-Rot" at that time.
The rot has gotten half way around the "corner" on the roadside and i dont know about the curbside since i havent removed the tub yet. it seems to be contained the very rear. The big question i have now is how to get the new piece in? same method as i posted?

ipso_facto 07-03-2003 09:44 AM

I had a similar thing but not so severe. Previous owners had a mis-adjusted window. In the rear bedroom (it is a 86 unit). Looks like it leaked, actually dripped for a while and became a chronic problem.

The floor between the double bed and the rear became rotten and oversaturated with water. I mean, you could peel it off with your hands. I adjusted the window, so no more leaks. Took weeks for it to dry up. It finally did, so I will use Rot Doctor and see if that helps.

Moral of my story: Keep windows well adjusted or water will leak in and rot your floor!!!

Ken J 07-03-2003 10:29 AM

You can pour anit-freeze on rot ant this will kill the bugs that cause rot and at least keep it from spreading until you can get to it. Its an old wooden boat trick

Bfrank 07-03-2003 11:20 AM

What is Rot Doctor and Where do you get it I have two small places that got wet enough to rot out about the size of a dinner plate the rest of the wood is good. Might consider the Rot
Dr instead of pulling up the entire floor.

gerbermania 07-03-2003 07:57 PM

always try an internet search, such as with, as a first resort.

"rot doctor" comes up with

I used Git Rot, which was available at my local boating store in the repair section... perhaps it would be found there for you as well.


tontoterra 07-04-2003 08:52 AM

Water damage
We recently acquired a 1969 Sovereign. In checking everything out, I filled the water tank. I later found the carpet wet. I took out the tank and found the plastic nipple was broken. I have replaced the nipple with a longer, brass one. I have not put the tank back in place to allow the area to dry. It was drying well. Yesterday, we had a pretty heavy rain. I noticed this morning that the area had more moisture. Could I have a leaking skin and not just the water tank? The window gaskets appear to be in good shape, but noticed water pooling in the window channel.
An earlier post had mentioned window adjustment. Is this applicable to vintage models? How do I find out how to do this?
I plan to use Git Rot on the floor once it dries. But, it is not rotted all the way through. I have to find the source of this leak first. Any ideas?
Thanks for helping this newbie!


thenewkid64 07-04-2003 09:09 AM

I am sure someone that has more experience with the widows will answer, but your water pooling in the window track makes me wonder what the condition of the window gasket is. It may not be an adjustment issue at all, just an old leaky gasket. I would start there first before adjusting anything.

tontoterra 07-04-2003 10:25 AM

Thanks for your reply
Thanks for your response.
The gaskets look like they have been replaced. But, they are a light gray, flat looking, about 1/2" wide material. This trailer was a permanent resident in an Airstream only park, about 30 miles from anything. I am finding alot of repairs that used things to just "make do" and are not the proper method. Perhaps this is the case with the window gasket.
I am also curious if the water tank is original or a replacement. The current tank is heavy plastic, an opaque blue color.
Thanks again. This is quite a new adventure, one that I am loving!


tontoterra 07-04-2003 08:19 PM

Water damage/Window gasket update
I mentioned in my last two posts that my window gaskets appeared to be in good shape. I based this assumption on their clean appearance and supple condition. I also wrote that they are flat, grey, about 3/8" to 7/16" wide. Well, I now think that they should be tubular and have been squeezed permanently flat due to years of compression. We had another downpour this evening so I entered my A/S to watch for leaks. Sure enough, here came the water past the gasket, by the latch shaft, in the wall, out at the floor to the same rotting spots I blamed on the broken water tank outflow nipple. The nipple hadn't caused the rot at all, which makes sense considering this Sovereign has been parked and used as the previous owner's primary residence for at least a decade or so hooked to city water all the while. Which means the tank was probably empty anyway. At least it was when I got it.

So, can anyone verify that my '69 Sovereign's front window gasket shape should be something other than flat?

Thank You


overlander76 07-05-2003 10:35 PM

How are the windows adjusted? It is at the bottom where the two latches squeeze it shut?

tontoterra 07-06-2003 05:24 AM

Water damage/window adj.
Thanks overlander 76.
Your reply verifies what I was thinking, that the only adjustment was, how tight the window was squeezed shut by way of the latches. But also thinking it possible I was missing something in spite of the obvious simplicity of the matter.

Thanks again


thenewkid64 07-06-2003 08:27 AM


I do not think the correct window seal was made of gray rubber. It should be black. Your best bet would be to call and get a sample of the correct stuff. that way you can be sure it will fit. I also belive the window seals on your vintage wer a neoprene type of seal, not rubber.

Inland RV Center, In 07-07-2003 08:23 AM

The correct window gasket as used by Airstream since the 1966 models, is black and has a double flare.

To see a picture of it, go to our web site,

Click on parts, scroll to part number 45295. Click "view part" to see it.

If not treated with silicone spray, that gasket may last 10 years or so. Any gasket over 10 years old should be checked for cracks.


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