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Post-Jam maintenance

vtj-stained-glass.jpgAfter the Jam I had planned to get some maintenance done on the Airstream up at Colin’s shop in Plattsburgh NY, before returning to home base in Vermont. The cost of taking the trailer across Lake Champlain is now up to $65 round-trip, plus about $35 in fuel, so I didn’t want to make the trip again later in the month.   On Tuesday morning I dropped Brett at the Albany airport (Airstream in tow, much to the surprise of the outdoor personnel), and headed 130 miles up to Plattsburgh.

The list of items to be tackled was fairly simple. In the thunderstorms of the past few weeks I’ve noticed a small leak at the dinette window, and in the heavy rain at the Jam on Sunday night we found a second leak at the curbside bedroom window.   We’d had the Seal-Tech leak test done a year ago, but clearly with heavy use this is a procedure that needs to be done annually.

I also have had a catalytic heater waiting to be installed for months.   We really felt the need for it last fall when we were camping in Yellowstone, Banff, and Yosemite and we were living on a tight power budget.   We’ve chosen a 9000-btu model, sufficient to heat the entire trailer.

I have found that the Seal-Tech system is not perfect.   There are some air leaks that it will reveal (via soap bubbles) that are not really places water is likely to infiltrate, and there are some leaks it will not reveal.   This means there’s no substitute for a sharp eye and experience.   One leak was not hard to find, but the other took a bit of sleuthing.   They’re both fixed now, we think.

There wasn’t time to get to the catalytic heater yesterday, so I towed the Airstream over to Colin’s house and spent the night in the driveway.   While I was there, Colin took a look at a loose bracket under the Armada and received a very small shock while lying on the damp grass and touching the Armada.   We added a possible “ground fault” to the list of things to check, but when I got back to the shop this morning, testing revealed that the ground fault was probably coming from the house wiring (to the Airstream, and through the hitch to the Armada).   The Airstream seems to check out fine.

This was interesting to me.   I carry two testers to verify the wiring of outlets we plug into, and both indicated no problem.   At the shop, we also found a small voltage leak (0.2 volts AC) that was again originating from the power being supplied to the Airstream.   Apparently such a small leak is below the threshold of the basic testers I carry.

Eleanor and Emma have been back in Vermont patiently waiting for me to return with their bedrooms. I should be done here by the end of the day.   In the meantime, there are a few tasks to resolve with the Fall 2008 magazine, and a bunch of post-Jam jobs to be done.   Once those are complete, I’ll be working on the Caravel re-build again, and planning our westward trip, scheduled to start around August 2-4.

3 Responses to “Post-Jam maintenance”

  1. Paul Hahn Says:


    I’ve really enjoyed your posts and photos from the VTJ. Wish it had been closer to Iowa so my wife and I could have attended.

    We plan to go to the Region 7 and 5 Vintage Rally at Osceola, WI Sept. 4-7. If your westward route is anywhere close, you might want to check it out. It’s being held during Oscelola’s premier event of the year—a three-day Community Fair and Wings and Wheels Day. The rally site is the municipal airport. If you or any of your readers are interested, the rally’s organizer, Curt Gunderson, can be contacted at It should be a fun weekend!

    Paul H.
    WBCCI 4753

  2. terrie Says:

    Congratulations on the Vintage Jam…..did I miss who has this cool stained glass window on their door…..that is a beauty…..

  3. Rich Says:

    That stained glass was made by Denese Lee for her own trailer.