Leaks

Tom's RV Message Board: VAC Discussion List: Topics G - M: Leaks
By Michael Bolan on Saturday, September 04, 1999 - 05:00 pm:

Hi vintage guys:
I am considering putting a rubber roof on my 20 vintage trailer. My plan is to buy a single seamless piece of rubber cut to size that will cover the top were a previous owner put tar goo all over and I don't know how to get it off. I can scrape off the loose pieces and put the rubber membrane down overlapping to clean aluminum surface by 2 inches on the perimeter. The vent and air conditioner can be removed and put back on top of the rubber.

Does anybody think I am crazy? Just asking for a sanity check. Undiscovered leaks have cause me to replace the plywood floor and I never want to do that again!

Michael

By Bill Scott on Saturday, September 04, 1999 - 05:01 pm:

Instead of a rubber roof, how about a rubber room. I'll ask Nurse Ratchet if there is a vacancy. 8^D

Hi Mike, before we get into therapy, or analysis, tell us a little more about your 20 footer, year, model, condition. I have seen 70's models with white rubberized paint from the third segment up,but think it was more for reflecting heat that wet. That tar goo from the previous owner, can probably be removed. Does your roof have hail damage, or other dents that cause leaks?? Do you live in the Great Northwet?? Like they say about the 'Hotel California', you can check out, anytime you please, but, you can never leave.

?????
Bill Scott
66 Tradewind

By Gary and /or Sandi Danio on Saturday, September 04, 1999 - 05:02 pm:

Hi Mike,
We can really feel for you regarding the tar; the roof of our '64 Overlander was partly coated with tar where the previous owner had attached a "lean-to" to the coach body. The sides were covered with silicon sealer in three places along the curb side for the same reason. They looked like stalagmites! You CAN remove the tar fairly easily with the judicious use of a heat gun and wooden and plastic spatulas. That gets the big globs. Then use one of the citrus based heavy duty cleaners (Goo Gone) and some shop rags to clean up afterwards for the tar removal. You also need LOTS of patience. The silicon is another story.

Good luck,
Gary and Sandi

By GeorgeHumphrey on Saturday, September 04, 1999 - 05:03 pm:

Michael,

Just a thought from the aircraft industry, the mat would have to be well bonded all over, not just the perimeter. Running down the road at 50-60mph the sections of mat that are not real well bonded will begin to lift and exert lifting forces on the perimeter until you have a flying mat. Remember the convertable tops on cars and the landau roofs, many times their problems begin as a result of the lifting forces ripping them loose from their support or roof. IMHO you may still have to remove the tar goo.

George

By Luminum62@aol.com on Saturday, September 04, 1999 - 05:04 pm:

Go to the "Mars Attacks" web site to see the rubber gunk that Tim Burton put on his tricked out airstream clipper roof. Be sure to use a rubber membrane made for roofing. I.E. Carlyle or Grace EDPM. It is made to withstand the heat, ultra violet light and ozone exposure.

By Richard on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 09:46 am:

I have been working away trying to find the leaks in my '73 Overlander. I have caulked all the vents on the roof, around the windows and doors, and even the joint between the sides and the curved pieces that wrap underneath, and the thing still leaks!

Any ideas where to look next? Your experience/help would be greatly appreciated.

Richard
'73 Overlander

By Wayne A. Moore on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 09:47 am:

Richard,
I'm in the process of restoring a '66 Trade Wind and I'm at the same juncture. I have all the interior out including the interior aluminum panels and I can see several locations where the water is coming in its going to be tough because even though I can see the stream of water coming down the interior rib I still cant locate the source. I was about to follow your same course.of caulking all the joints cause I still have water on the floor under the wall channel. One other place we can check is to see how the belly pan attaches to the trailer sidewall behind the bananna wrap. we may need to caulk the entire seam behind the b wrap. That is the course I will take next week after we return from the PA rally. We are leaving in the AM. Good luck. Let us know how you make out.

WAM
'66TWLY
WDCU

By elisa on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 09:47 am:

Well, what about around the wheel wells? And where are the internal pipes? Just guessing; I am new to this.
Elisa

By elisa on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 09:49 am:

How did you get them out and how are you going to get them back in? Drill out the rivets and put new rivets, new screws, what? Your answer is important to me.
Thanks,
Elisa

I have all the interior out including the interior aluminum panels

By Wayne A. Moore on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 10:10 am:

Elisa,
Most of the inside panels are attached with pop rivets, so I mearly drilled them out, rolled up the panels and walked them out the door. I will follow the exact same procedure in reverse and install new pop rivets after I rewire the entire trailer. This is my major winter project, when spring arrives I will start the plumbing and all new appliances that I have in my garage.

WAM
'66TWLY
WDCU

By Patrick Ewing on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 10:20 am:

Richard,

Another place to check is at the marker lights. Pop the lenses off and take a look. Also the outside porch light. I've had one of these leak before. If that fails........it's on wheels........just follow the sun!! (:

Pat

By Scott & Lise Scheuermann on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 10:21 am:

Richard, The favorite areas for leaks in my 60 are the seams on the roof and the window frame (need to open the windows to caulk). Good luck, it can be difficult to track it down.

Scott Scheuermann

By Chuck on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 10:21 am:

Richard - The place where I had the most trouble was around the tail lights. I would caulk then spray, caulk some more then spray. Finally, I used a rubber spray that is used on tool handles. It helps if someone sprays water on the outside, from the bottom up, while you are on the inside checking for leaks.

By Richard on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 10:22 am:

Good ideas, but alas -- no. Area around the wheel wells is dry even when towing in the rain and all the pipes are good. My leaks are in the front of the trailer from the door forward to the couch and on the opposite (street) side directly across from the door.

Richard

By EEmer59728 on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 10:24 am:

I use the old water hose and the wife in the trailer trick to find my leaks. Put the wife inside and start running water at the bottom of the seam that you suspect is the leaker. I work my way up the seam being careful not to let the water run into another seam (the seam you are working on may not be leaking), When the wife screams I know I have found the leak and get the sealant out. Also check around anything on the roof, vents, AC an antenna and seal those. On my 68 Sovereign I found all of my leaks were caused by the AC unit's seal was shot all the way around. I wound not have noticed it if I had not pulled the cover off and crawled around and looked close at the seal. Good luck, it took months to find all the leaks on my 61 Trade Wind.

Ed Emerick

By Marie on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 10:24 am:

Anyone having problems with tracing leaks, try Captain Tolley's Creeping Crack Cure, which is a thin sealer which uses capillary action to seal hard to find leaks, and can be obtained from hardware stores and boating places. Gets into places where caulking can't penetrate, you can caulk over the top of it for a belt and braces job.
Marie

By John Brooke on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 10:25 am:

Richard,

Seems like exactly the same problem I had until I ripped out the carpet and discovered the water was entering into the rig from around the door frame and migrating under the carpet and couch, finally pooling inside on the road-side floor back by the water pump where it proceeded to develop an ugly patch of dry rot. I originally thought it was caused by a leaky pump, until I lifted the disgusting mildewed and rotted under pad and carpet and could see etched on the plywood floor the water stains pointing to the dry rot.

Upon visually examining the door frame it looked really tight. I inserted a razor sharp blade into the crack and the old caulking came out crumbling like dust. Scraped it all out and recaulked with polysulfide - voila - no more leaks. The worst water damage was 9 feet away from the cause!

John Brooke

By JPPOLLY on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 10:26 am:

Just love that name "Capt. Tolley's Creeping Crack Cure" Is it for real? What's in it?
Just Plain Polly
Western Slope of Rocky Mts.
1964 Globe Trotter

By Marie on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 10:27 am:

Hi Polly,
yes, the name (and the product) are real. Contains no silicones. Dunno what else is in it, but it (as it says) creeps into cracks by capillary action, the same way water does, and seeps along inside seams to seal invisible leaks. I dunno if Captain Tolley had a problem with creeping cracks, does it sound like sopmething an old seafarer might have had?
Marie over the sea,
creeping

By Gary Quamen on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 10:28 am:

This from the West Marine 1999 Sail Master Catalog pg. 175:

Capt. Tolley's Creeping Crack Cure

This penetrating copolymer sealant is formulated to be so thin that by using capillary action it can find its way inside fine cracks and to set to a clear flexible seal. Use on wood, rubber, glass, metals, fiberglass, lexan, ceramic, and concrete. 2-oz. tube.

Model 243990 CAPTT#CCC02

ShWt 1.....$10.48

GQ '67 Safari

By Jim Dunmyer on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 10:30 am:

Richard,
You need to get inside the trailer while someone sprays the outside with a hose, STARTING AT THE BOTTOM and working his way up.

Jim

By FranD on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 10:31 am:

Where does one buy Capt Tolleys Creepig Cure??

Who makes it?? Who distributes it??

I'm in Canada
FranD

By Michael Bolan on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 10:31 am:

Restoration Hardware stores sell it

Michael
63

By Marie on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 10:32 am:

Made in the UK, by old Captain Tolley himself :)
I know West Marine sells it,

Marie

By Mydwfe on Saturday, March 04, 2000 - 10:34 am:

Yikes! I finally hooked up my new (1962 24' Tradewind) to city water. I found one leak where the hand held sprayer didn't hold a seal where it meets the white hose. Okay, I can fix that. Then I was able to get water out of the kitchen sink, bathroom sink (didn't try the shower as I wasn't in need of one and thought I might get one if I turned it on). The toilet filled and drained but I kept hearing the water coming into the trailer when I expected it to reach a point where it shut off. I followed all the inside water pipes through the closets and cupboards and I did not see any major leaks (one drip by the new hot water heater. Then I went outside and looked under the trailer on the toilet/street water inlet side. Yikes! It was like someone had poked the trailer with a fork. Water was pouring off two metal pipe thingys that both have caps on them (about 1/4 inch size pipes, looks original) but it wasn't coming out of the caps, just using the pipes to direct the water flow. Then there were two other leaks out of little holes in the underbelly. I turned the water off and there continued to be water pressure in the sinks for several minutes. How do I tackle this. My guess is the system froze at some time and burst a seam or something. I keep hearing about taking off the underbelly to get to the black water tank. Could I also pull the toilet and rip up the bathroom floor (could use replacing along that side). Does the 62TW have a fresh water tank that fills up? Come to think of it, that might be under the bed on the opposite side. Why would there still be water pressure without the pump or city water on? Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated. I did sell my motorhome last week and I've had a little work done on the 88 Suburban I bought to tow the trailer with and it is running well. I'm planning on quitting my job soon and taking off to the Southwest before it gets too hot. I hope to get the bathroom fixed soon, it has a darling little yellow toilet with a turquoise inside. Would like to save it but not sure I can replace the water control system to make it work well.
Enjoy the weekend! I know I will.
Janis, Silver Trailer Trash
'62 Tradewind, "Flowing Fountain"

By Jim Dunmyer on Saturday, March 04, 2000 - 12:19 pm:

Janis,

It does sound like you have some split seams in the pipes.

As to why you had pressure even after shutting off the water, I'd bet on the air pressure in the hot water tank being the culprit. If you bleed all the air out by opening the hot water faucets one at a time, the pressure should drop to zero very quickly after shutting off the water supply. Of course, if you have a long hose and shut off the hydrant feeding the trailer, the hose itself will supply residual pressure, just due to the elasticity of the hose itself.

You probably do have a water storage tank somewhere in the trailer, but I don't know where it'd be. If it's one of the old-style pressure tanks, it also could supply pressure after you shut off the incoming water.

All of the water supply lines should be INSIDE the trailer, above the floor, not below the floor and above the bellypan. The trailer is made that way to keep the pipes from freezing during winter camping. (assuming heat in the trailer) Dunno how your A/S is made, but I can actually see nearly all of my water supply lines as I trace them through the closets and cupboards, etc. To keep water leakage to a miniumum, you might try pressurizing the system with air and listening for the leaks. Air leaks are normally pretty easy to hear, but try to keep the pressure below 50PSI or so.

Could those 'metal pipe thingys' be the system drain lines? My trailer has a couple of drain valves inside the rear compartment that assist in winterizing the system; those are normally left open after blowing down the system and must be closed before placing it into service.

Jim

By Scott & Lise Scheuermann on Saturday, March 04, 2000 - 04:33 pm:

Then I went outside and looked under the trailer on the toilet/street water inlet side. Yikes! It was like someone had poked the trailer with a fork. Water was pouring off two metal pipe thingys that both have caps on them (about 1/4 inch size pipes, looks original) but it wasn't coming out of the caps, just using the pipes to direct the water flow.

These are drains for the water system.

I turned the water off and there continued to be water pressure in the sinks for several minutes.

I believe that you have an air pressure water system, if so you will have pressure for quite some time, this is normal. The tank is designed to hold water and pressurized air, which keeps the water pressurized. It was around '62 or '63 that they changed over to a water pump system, which does not function this way.

How do I tackle this. My guess is the system froze at some time and burst a seam or something.

Yes, just try to track it down, the pipes should all be inside the trailer, not inside the belly pan except for the drains and holding tank. Being the low points in the plumbing, perhaps the drains burst within the belly, but just because the leak is coming out of one end of the trailer doesn't mean that the leak is at that end.

I keep hearing about taking off the underbelly to get to the black water tank. Could I also pull the toilet and rip up the bathroom floor (could use replacing along that side).

If you wish, now is as good of a time as any.

Does the 62TW have a fresh water tank that fills up? Come to think of it, that might be under the bed on the opposite side.

Yes, it should have a fresh water tank, my '60 has it under the front couch, the air pump is located there also.

Scott Scheuermann
'60 Overlander

By Alexander Kensington on Saturday, March 04, 2000 - 09:14 pm:

Janis-

Sounds like s few things a once might have happened! Here's some arm chair and far away diagnoise which is rather worthless.

Leaks- maybe lines were system drains which were not FULLY drained and froze. Frozen pipes have a very distinctive look. Either their come undone where they were soldierd togther, or else they swell up with a split lethwise with the pipe.

As for the long leaking after the incident, it was probably the hot water heater emptying.

Good Luck! and never panic!

Alex 66 safari

By Mydwfe on Sunday, March 05, 2000 - 12:38 am:

Jim,
Thanks for the good info. I forgot to open the hot water valves to let the air out. I will experiment with the air trick. I wonder if it's the black water tank that is leaking? It happens to be right over the water spouts. It only had clean water in it so if it did leak it wouldn't be too bad. I could probably put some dye or that blue color stuff in there and see what color water comes out. Sounds better than waiting till brown water comes out when one is least expecting it! Shouldn't be too hard to rip out the toilet and get that old tank out. Thanks again for the suggestions. I'll let you know what I come up with.
Janis

By Mydwfe on Sunday, March 05, 2000 - 12:48 am:

Hi Scott,

Thanks for the info. I didn't know about the water pressure system. There is also a switch that says 'water pump' but I haven't tried that yet. I did lift the front end of the trailer higher than the rear so the water would stay in the back end of the trailer and drain. I wanted to redo the bathroom anyhow. Maybe a little Mexican tile...nice warm southwest colors...warmed towel racks...Jacuzzi....
Janis

By Mydwfe on Sunday, March 05, 2000 - 12:56 am:

Alex,
You can send me mail from your armchair any day. I will look for the splits. I did follow the inside lines. The guy who did the soldering was lucky he didn't catch the trailer on fire. There are all sorts of burn marks on the wood where he was working. Can I buy a replacement holding tank for a '62? Sounds like I might need one, can't imagine duct tape working for too long...
Janis

By Ray Plumlee on Sunday, March 05, 2000 - 07:23 am:

Janis - if you end up having to remove your holding tank check to see if it is made of fiberglass - if so any cracks or holes can be repaired using a fiberglass repair kit(sold at most auto/marine supply stores) - i did this on a 64 i once owned and it made a strong durable fix - however as i remember getting that tank removed was one of the dirtiest, toughest jobs i have ever taken on - but if it's leaking it's got to be fixed - hope this helps
Ray P

By Mydwfe on Sunday, March 05, 2000 - 10:04 am:

Hi Ray,
I once spent an entire summer in a crawl space re-plumbing a bathroom...well, it seemed like all summer...hope this job isn't that crummy...thanks for the info. Patching it would be a great way to do it. The trailer was parked for 5 years without the indoor plumbing being used so hopefully it only had a few "dust bunnies" in it.
Janis

By Alexander Kensington on Sunday, March 05, 2000 - 06:31 pm:

Janis-

I'm a newbie at Airstreams, but an old hand at plumbing and winterizing. Sad to hear about the torch burn marks! He should have pushed a piece of sheet metal behind his work to deflect the torch and protect the trailer. I can't tell you about replacing holding tanks. These guys here will know more than I. Trailer septic systems are a new and strange technology to me!

If you do have freezing damage, I hope it doesn't include the holding tank!

Alex
66 Safari