Leak! Water draining out above side door.

Maintenance of the body of the camper
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MeganP
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Leak! Water draining out above side door.

Post by MeganP » Mon Dec 05, 2016 12:23 am

Hello! I have a beloved 1993 B190 and I’m having a persistent leak issue — despite having had all the windows resealed. It’s not at all apparent where the water comes in, but I’m guessing it’s at the seam between the top and the van. I’ve come to this conclusion using the process of elimination. I only know water has entered when I make a hard turn and it comes splashing out above the side door -- it appears to be draining out somewhere between the front passenger door and the side door. I live in Northern California and we’re in rainy season right now. I want to use the van, but it’s sitting under a tarp because I don’t want to incur any more water damage. I read all of the posts about leaking windows, but the windows seem tight — there is no dampness under or around them after a rain. My local repair guy thought the leak was coming from the stove vent and he replaced that, but the leak persists. :-( I’m hoping some other B190 owner has figured this issue out. Thanks!

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Re: Leak! Water draining out above side door.

Post by skater » Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:20 am

I would pull up the bed over the cab; I wouldn't be surprised if you found a puddle of water in there, and it sloshes out that way when you turn. I replaced the particleboard for the bed on mine once or twice for that reason. In my case, I wasn't able to replace the underlying wood frame because it's fiberglassed into the top, so I bleached it as best I could.

The slide part just lifts out, after you remove the mattress (move it toward the back of the camper). The lower piece is screwed in to the wood frame, but they are easily removed. When reassembling, try not to strip the wood.

That shows you were water might be, but it still doesn't answer how it's getting in. Look at the fabric under the windows inside - are there any dark spots? That's a telltale sign of a leak. Since you had the windows resealed, it's probably not around them, but it could be a problem with the rubber gasket material outside the window, and several other people had that replaced. If you can get someone with a hose outside the van while you watch inside, you might be able to see what's up.
1991 Airstream B190 - bought, 2005; sold, 2011; bought 2017
1995 Airstream Excella 30' trailer

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Re: Leak! Water draining out above side door.

Post by BOBandDEB » Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:33 am

You might want to check the seal between the skylight and the roof. Also, any other items that are mounted on the roof.

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Re: Leak! Water draining out above side door.

Post by MeganP » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:42 am

Hi! Thanks. Yeah, I had to replace the particle board under the bunk bed. That was before I had the windows resealed. I pulled up the bed after this last time water dripped down above the side door (i.e., the leak in question) but didn't see any water and felt along all the walls and didn't feel any dampness. Are you saying it's not possible that the leak could be in the seam between the top and the van body? Just curious... I'll try the hose thing -- it makes me nervous because I'm not convinced I'll actually see where the water is coming in and I don't want any more water to come in! Ah, RV life. :-P

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Re: Leak! Water draining out above side door.

Post by skater » Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:59 pm

MeganP wrote:Hi! Thanks. Yeah, I had to replace the particle board under the bunk bed. That was before I had the windows resealed. I pulled up the bed after this last time water dripped down above the side door (i.e., the leak in question) but didn't see any water and felt along all the walls and didn't feel any dampness. Are you saying it's not possible that the leak could be in the seam between the top and the van body? Just curious... I'll try the hose thing -- it makes me nervous because I'm not convinced I'll actually see where the water is coming in and I don't want any more water to come in! Ah, RV life. :-P
Ah, no, anything is possible. Since you've already worked on the bed and resealed the windows since, my advice above probably doesn't apply.

I mean, water definitely could come in that seam between the fiberglass and the metal van. But it always seemed unlikely to me, because the water would drip off at the edge of the fiberglass, rather than following it down in. Maybe run water down the side and see where it goes.

In ours, there was a 'headbanger' (padded piece) above the counter and doors that was removed by, essentially, pulling. It was held in with those upholstery clips they use in cars to hold the interior on to the metal door frame, so you may need to replace them once you remove it once (they won't hold as well the second, third, etc. times). In mine, behind it was the upper corner of the metal van part, and there was a channel there - see if it's dry in there. If not, that's what's holding your water, and who knows, maybe it'll help figure out how it's getting in, too.
1991 Airstream B190 - bought, 2005; sold, 2011; bought 2017
1995 Airstream Excella 30' trailer

WBCCI #13270, Washington, DC Unit

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Re: Leak! Water draining out above side door.

Post by MeganP » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:22 am

Ah! The water is dripping out from that "headbanger" -- I never thought about actually pulling it off and looking around! Great tip! Thanks. :-) I've been feeling out of my depth with this issue, but I have had bad experiences with the local RV repair shop so I really don't want to bring the van back there. I did some calling around yesterday and found a guy who works on Airstreams and has experience with bubble tops. He checked out the van yesterday and thinks the reseal job on the windows was poorly done. :-( He's going to take the windows back out and redo the seal, and look around while they're out. I'll be sure to tell him about the "headbanger" piece. I will post back here when he's finished (provably in three to four weeks since he doesn't have an opening in his schedule for a week or two) to let you know what he finds. I really appreciate your help!

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Re: Leak! Water draining out above side door.

Post by Planck » Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:51 pm

Reading through all of the replies, my guess was a faulty reseal job. Maybe it is. The fiberglass window opening is not flat, like the glass is. There is a good 1/8" variance, which I assume is why thick butyl was used to get a seal. It takes a lot of work to clean and replace the butyl and install new rubber moldings, which don't directly seal, but help push the glass against the butyl. Your sloshing leak is exactly what I had until I did the repair myself.

Good luck.

Phil

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Re: Leak! Water draining out above side door.

Post by MeganP » Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:02 am

Thanks, Phil. That's really helpful advice. I've finally been landing on a faulty reseal job myself, given everything I've read. I will let you all know how everything goes. Thank you again! :-)

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Re: Leak! Water draining out above side door.

Post by MeganP » Tue Dec 27, 2016 1:44 pm

Hello. Just wanted to give an update on this... Over the past couple years, I'd taken my van to the (well-reviewed) main RV and trailer repair outfit in town a few times and finally was at my wits' end with them -- terrible customer service and every repair job took at least six weeks. The fact that the leak persisted even after they'd resealed all the windows pushed me to find an alternate repair shop. Well, I live in a relatively small town so there aren't many options if you want your RV worked on. But, by hook or by crook, I found a new repairman -- one of those guys who doesn't even have a sign above his shop -- if you know him, you know him, and if you don't, you don't. I took it to him last week and what a difference! He was texting me photos of what he was seeing and texting me updates about what he was doing and he was finished in a day and a half -- and he never called me "sweetheart." :-P He resealed the bunk's side windows and found the other areas where water had been leaking in. Here's a text he's sent: "Hi Megan,
Looking at the roof, and body, I found some big area's water has been getting in. On the rear above the rear doors is a light that was loose (I pulled it out by hand) where water can just run in and travel forward. The roof rack brackets on both sides are loose enough to allow water to seep in and a leak area just in front of the 14x14 roof vent that the sealer is cracked. I will seal all these area's and the 2 side windows. The top front window is in good shape." I've read all the posts about leaks on this forum and don't remember anyone mentioning water getting in through the top brake light (the rear light referred to in the quotation above) -- probably I should have noticed that -- definitely the first repair shop I brought the van to should have noticed it. A couple days after I got the van back, we had a heavy rainstorm and so far so good -- no leaks -- it even smells different inside the van (less damp). So hopefully we will be dry for awhile now. (Knock wood!) Thanks for this forum. I really appreciate the community and the information.

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Re: Leak! Water draining out above side door.

Post by lido14co » Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:36 pm

All's well that ends well!


Cliff

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Re: Leak! Water draining out above side door.

Post by ZachS » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:00 am

I just had this happen to me! Hadn't driven Air2D2 in about a month - a very rainy month. I was looking for an excuse to drive the rig and I decided to take my parents to the airport in it. It's also the only vehicle I could fit all of us with all the luggage. Took off up our steep driveway and... ska-douche! A startling cascade comes out above the side doors. It was a lot of water too. I knew the windows were likely to leak - the PO had schmutzed a bunch of silicone around the front and side windows up top, but the bedding on the upper bunk never felt wet. The pictures will show why. There is a big fiberglass basin under the upper bunk. I dismantled the upper bunk and I'll be setting to this project over the coming months, starting with sealing the windows. ImageImageImage

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Re: Leak! Water draining out above side door.

Post by Kentuckian » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:11 am

Thanks for posting those photos. Its good to know what that looks like in there! Hope the fix goes well!
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Re: Leak! Water draining out above side door.

Post by Choptop » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:53 pm

I know that their have been some issues in the past, before she became mine, and I can see that some of the rubber weather stripping around the windows is cracked up and such and that will be a project for me in the spring. I am SO glad I purchased the enclosure to keep the B in and protect it from the elements and from the sort of thing that you are going threw and I would be.

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Re: Leak! Water draining out above side door.

Post by Planck » Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:46 pm

Do a search here. Some good info on how to fix this, including supplier and part nos. of rubber seals and trim. You will need thick butyl tape available from auto glass shops.

A tedious repair, but should fix your leak. I think root cause is the glass is flat but the window opening is not, so the glass always wants to pull up at one end, and eventually does as the rubber parts shrink and deteriorate over time.

Phil

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Re: Leak! Water draining out above side door.

Post by Fmedina771 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:12 am

I want to thank everyone in this forum, I had this problem and still trying to tackle it before I redo the bed frame and paneling near bed. I want to make sure there isn't any water getting in before I start to rebuild. Last owner seemed to have resealed the side windows near bunk with glue! It took me a long time and elbow grease to get them out, I even damaged the fiberglass a bit in the process but it will be covered by the window so should be fine. I noticed part of the reason why water gets in is because on the side windows, the stationary glass that does not slide seems to have a bad seal. What keeps that glass in place on the frame? Is it butyl or some type of silicone/proflex.. I am a newbie and will be posting photos and VIN soon!! Thanks in advance.

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