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We woke up this morning thinking that today was going to be a quiet day. I had some work to do, but otherwise we had no plans. But when I was putting away my scanner this morning, I noticed the bottom of the carton was water-stained.

If there’s one thing you don’t want to ignore in a travel trailer, it’s unexplained water. Leaks are the enemy, and they are the one thing that surely will kill an Airstream. So I began removing things from the underbed storage area and my bedroom closet, and sure enough, the carpet was wet. Thoroughly soaked, in fact.

There’s no plumbing up there, and we haven’t had any condensation at night, so that eliminated two possibilities. The wetness was confined to the carpet (not the wall), so suggested the leak didn’t come from above. There was only one possible cause: the front storage compartment.

This actually explained a mystery we noticed a week or two ago. Once in a rare while, we’ll step into the trailer and notice a smell of exhaust fumes in the trailer. The theory has been that the front storage compartment gasket sometimes lets in a little exhaust while towing, and then the fumes work their way into the main living area.

The water confirmed our theory. We towed in heavy rain in Kentucky on Monday, the first time we’ve ever towed this trailer in the rain. Wind-driven water must have gotten past the storage compartment seal and then wicked through the carpet into the bedroom.

Mystic outside fan.jpg
Everything came out, and the fan went in

We removed everything from the front storage compartment and confirmed the diagnosis. Better yet, the pattern of the water told us what part of the gasket was leaking (the curbside section), so we have somewhere to start when we go to fix it.

With soaked carpet and pad, we had no choice but to pull up the carpet immediately and get some fans in there. Fortunately the Mystic Springs Airstream park folks pitched in to help. Bill Call eliminated an errand I had to do today, to by taking my propane tank out to be refilled. Herb Spies found us a big window fan to dry things out. And 7-year-old Hope, granddaughter of one of the visitors, befriended Emma and has kept her busy all day. Various grandmothers are watching them.

We ended up cutting out all the carpet in the storage compartment, plus a strip between the master bed and my closet, and all the carpet in my closet. This eliminated all the soaked carpet and pad, making drying out the wood subfloor much easier. We are going to replace those sections of carpet with vinyl tile, which makes more sense in closets and storage compartments anyway. If it leaks again, at least we won’t have to deal with wet carpet.

Mystic inside fan.jpg
Drying out after the carpeting was removed from the closet

So we’ve got a list of things we need (new carpet knife, carpet transition strip, tiles, etc) and we’re heading off to Lowes. As for the ultimate solution, we’ll have to think about why that gasket leaked. There’s no apparent reason I can see. But we’ll bring it to a dealer and have them fix it. It’s still under warranty. In the meantime we’ll just avoid towing in heavy rain.

And we were wondering what we’d do today “¦

3 Responses to “Leak!”

  1. TomW Says:

    Hopefully, all your Airstream needs is a new gasket at the leak point. But if that does not fix the problem, you want to take a look at your rooftop vent gaskets. If the vent covers are not sealing well, you may be creating a partial vacuum in the trailer while at road speed. Water that the access door gasket would normally seal against is actually being sucked inside.

    Good luck with the resolution!

  2. Elly Cramer Says:

    What a bummer and a lot of work to unload, dry out, and to replace flooring! But its good you figured out where the water is coming from. I have an elusive leak in my old Safari and feel like I’m on a snipe hunt when I hear things like – it could be 6 feet on either side of the wet area. In my case, it could be coming from any number of entry points in 60% of the curbside shell. But its all part of the fun, right? Keep on keepin on!

  3. Get Out the Map Says:

    Making a list and checking it twice

    Even though I won’t be able to do much physically before mid-summer, I can be planning and designing for the future.
    Things from last year
    Fix that last (hopefully) elusive leak (Even new trailers get leaks).
    Replace punky floor (need Marc)