We have used our Airstream exactly twice since we bought Airship in September 2014. The first time we got back to our poor neglected shiny buddy, we noticed a little soft spot in the floor (front port side, next to Kevin’s side of the bed). It was small and in a low traffic area, and since we keep the Airstream inside when we aren’t using it, we didn’t feel rushed to get it repaired, but it was definitely on the list.
Then last month when we spent that week at the coast with it, the soft spot seemed like it had grown a little, and we also learned that we had a leak in our fresh water tank. Two things wrong = repair time. We’ve had plenty of experience with the local (and not so local) Airstream dealers/service centers, and our experiences have not all been awesome, so we contacted our friend Brad at Shiny Shacks in Salem, and asked if he wanted the gig. Brad primarily works on older trailers (40s 50s 60s)…repairs, rebuilds, remodels…but he was up for working on our 2010 model, so off to Salem we went.
This is Brad, with his 1962 Airstream Flying Cloud:
If you saw the other post about our first visit to Shiny Shacks, then you’ll already know this, but it is one of the 8 known survivors of Wally Byam’s Caravan Around the World (1963-64). The trailer belonged to Airstream photographer Fran Hall during the historic trip around the world, and Brad’s got a photo of it in front of the Kremlin in 1964. The Kremlin. 1964.
Update: Brad just sent me this photo to show you:
Anyway, here are some “during” photos of the repairs Brad did (photos courtesy of Shiny Shacks):
Well hey, look at all that rotted wood! Brad said the rot occurs because “Airstream places a thin insulation barrier directly over the frame and under the subfloor. It is not porous, so water coming in at the wall finds its way on top of the insulation. Because the insulation is supported at the frame rail, outrigger, and perimeter channel, the water pools in the center. This pool leaches up from below into the subfloor and creates dry rot. A couple of periodic holes in the insulation sheeting could have prevented this.”
We opted for a seam, rather than removing the bed and nightstands and pulling up the entire piece of flooring. This allowed Brad to get in there and just fix the problem area. Plus, we normally keep a rug there anyway, so the seam will never show.
Regarding the leak in the water tank, Brad had just done the exact same repair on a 2014 Airstream. It was a broken seam on the water pump inflow line. Seems the factory has an issue with their spin welder. Brad says, “The fact that the tank sits between the axles makes every vibration jam the rigid Pex line down like a jackhammer on the valve fitting. Perhaps a flex line at that point would avoid the issue.”
But now, it’s all fixed and no more leaking!
Brad is such a pleasure to work with. He does good work, his prices are more than fair, and he really thinks about the best and most economical ways to fix things. We highly recommend Shiny Shacks!