Crime Scene Investigation

Floor Repair, Inner Skins, Furnishings, Interior Finishes
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silverloaf
Posts: 100
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:01 pm

Crime Scene Investigation

Post by silverloaf » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:47 am

This is my "Where's Waldo" story.

We've had our '88 30P for about 2 months now. We have worked on it most of that time. Unfortunately, all I have done is taken stuff apart.

I have quickly learned that moisture is a trailer's worst nightmare. Further, belly pans are great for reducing wind drag but they also conceal a lot of damage.

In fact, the area above the pan can create a humidor between it and the floor above. Nothing can dry out in a closed environment. Moisture from places like roof or plumbing leaks, tire splash, and poor weatherization are problematic. Also, any fiberglass insulation that gets wet stay wet.

I learned the factory-installed linoleum can also trap moisture. You know a trailer has a long-term moisture exposure when you pull up some loose linoleum and find the adhesive has converted into a gray slime.

It is easy to take the source of a moisture problem for granted. In my case, the sub-frame around the dump valves has rusted away. One of the z-frame cross members is also rusted through. Because the floor was soft around the toilet, it became my focus.

I remove the toilet and find rotted plywood. I cut off the flange and then cut a 12" hole in the top layer of plywood. I look down and find the lower level of plywood soaked and wafer-thin. I can see water below the rotted wood.

We remove the black water tank. I am deluged with flood of water. But this isn't black water (PTL); it's clear water. The water had formed a pool on top of the tank. Who knows how long and how much water has sloshed around. But it had saturated the plywood above it, converting it into rot.

In the course of cutting out the toilet flange, I felt water dripping on my head. I look up and see rain dripping from the bath fan. The drop on my head turned into a small puddle on the floor. Who knows how long this has leaked or its contributing factor.

My task today is getting up on the roof and see what's going on. From the inside, the middle fan is missing its seal around the cover; wasps were building a fine nest in the housing.

I'll have to gut out the bathroom. A local sheet metal shop will fabricate new steel frame members. I'm blessed with a son who is a good welder. The floor re-build work follow.

I have already developed a mental list of protection measures to incorporate. Some of the items include:
1. Use all-weather flashing tape where wood meets steel. This includes any exposed plywood edges below access doors before I re-attach the skin (new tankless water heater going in).
2. Incorporate vents into the new belly pan. Ideally the vents will scavenge and re-fresh the air above while the trailer is in motion.
3. Prime and paint any rust spots both seen and not.

I'm sure there are many Avion owners who have been down this road. All ideas and thoughts will be greatly appreciated.

Make Avion Great Again!

Bob

KYAvion
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Re: Crime Scene Investigation

Post by KYAvion » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:37 pm

Are you sure you don't have an Airstream? That sounds more similar to my 79 Sovereign. I had considered installing vents in the bellypan of that trailer, but I never did.

My 84 Avion 30R, however, seems to be in great shape. The bellypan seems to be pretty well sealed and the floor is foam so no fiberglass to soak up water running into the pan via the notorious bumper problem as with the Airstream.

That said, I haven't pulled the bellypan, but from the poking around I did things look OK.
KYAvion
1984 Avion 30R

KYAvion
Site Admin
Posts: 467
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 12:04 am

Re: Crime Scene Investigation

Post by KYAvion » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:41 pm

Correction: while the floor is foam, the tanks are insulated with fiberglass. Shoot. Thanks for reminding me that I forgot about wrapping the tanks with foam board instead!
KYAvion
1984 Avion 30R

silverloaf
Posts: 100
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:01 pm

Re: Crime Scene Investigation

Post by silverloaf » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:16 pm

Our fresh water tank is held up by a sheet of plywood. The tank is 9" deep. It is wedged against the floor. In other words, there is no room for any foam board or even fiberglass.

Interestingly, there is a small duct that blows warm air into the tank envelope. Seems to be a tradeoff for lack of insulation.

Bob

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