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Old 07-09-2017, 12:56 PM   #1
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Top/Bottom halves seal

While cleaning the trailer this morning, I saw that the seal is totally detached at left rear, perhaps never was attached. It is very rigid and perfectly screwed in at both ends at the door...sent to ETI.
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Old 07-09-2017, 01:09 PM   #2
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JP, it is not really a "seal", it is just a decorative cover of the seam. The top and bottom halves of the shell are completely joined together with fiberglass.
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Old 07-09-2017, 01:18 PM   #3
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JP, it is not really a "seal", it is just a decorative cover of the seam. The top and bottom halves of the shell are completely joined together with fiberglass.
and rivets hidden under the rubber belly-band trim....
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Old 07-09-2017, 01:38 PM   #4
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and rivets hidden under the rubber belly-band trim....
I think those rivets are there only to hold the metal trim channel on, and the rubber band then covers them.
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Old 07-09-2017, 01:43 PM   #5
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Looks like it wasn't riveted. There were a few that they had issues with the rivets on, perhaps yours is one.
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Old 07-09-2017, 02:14 PM   #6
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... There were a few that they had issues with the rivets on, perhaps yours is one.
When Reace was here, I asked him, and he explained to me the very rare rivet issue in some earlier trailers. It's not a structural issue, but rather a water seepage issue. When pop-riveting, the mandrel head (see image from the web) is pulled down into the rivet pin, expanding the rivet pin, until the mandrel breaks or "pops". The mandrel head is supposed to stay intact, inside the rivet pin, de facto plugging the channel through the rivet pin. In some rare cases, the mandrel head popped back out of the rivet pin, leaving an open channel through the rivet pin such that any water that slips past the belly band rubber strip could then seep inside the trailer through that small open rivet pin channel. Now, they check all rivets during production to make sure all the mandrel heads remain securely in place inside the rivet pin channel to block any water seepage. I hope that makes sense. Back to the OP's problem, you'd think this problem should have been detected during that rivet check, if, in fact, the problem occurred during production.
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Old 07-09-2017, 02:20 PM   #7
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Is this at the front on the passenger side? Ours has the gap at the bottom but is close to flush at the top. And has 2 rivets floating in air.
I just figured it's a hard bend to make.
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Old 07-09-2017, 02:38 PM   #8
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For what it's worth, this is pic of my belly band looking up. The bottom is open as it goes around the corner. The top is flush to the trailer. It's been that way for 8 years.
Given that the bottom shell slopes in slightly, for there not to be a gap would require a lot of convoluted bending of the band.
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Old 07-09-2017, 03:22 PM   #9
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OK, I understand all of what has been explained here and thank you. Still, it's pretty freaky to see that.

Something to be explained at orientation perhaps.
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Old 07-09-2017, 04:57 PM   #10
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I've never really understood riveting on a belly band holder. It's a seamless shell after they glass the two halves together, so why drill holes all the way around and introduce the potential for leaks? I would prefer some sort of trim (like they use on automobiles) adhered with VHB. No holes, no chance of leaks, and a tight fit against the curves. I'm nitpicking of course, but still...
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Old 07-09-2017, 05:03 PM   #11
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What if you want a different colour belly band?
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Old 07-09-2017, 05:06 PM   #12
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Robert, interesting point. Have you ever mentioned it to Reace? Besides your points it would be a quicker process in production.
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Old 07-09-2017, 05:08 PM   #13
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What if you want a different colour belly band?
Well, I'd be SOL then. The red does look nice.
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Old 07-09-2017, 05:11 PM   #14
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Robert, interesting point. Have you ever mentioned it to Reace? Besides your points it would be a quicker process in production.
It would be, but I've never mentioned it to him. The subject never came up.
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Old 07-09-2017, 05:15 PM   #15
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It would be, but I've never mentioned it to him. The subject never came up.
Knowing that he is open to good ideas, it would probably be worth talking to him about it anyway.
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Old 07-09-2017, 05:47 PM   #16
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I've never really understood riveting on a belly band holder. It's a seamless shell after they glass the two halves together, so why drill holes all the way around and introduce the potential for leaks? ...
It is a bit of a head-scratcher, isn't it. But maybe there are already so many shell breaches where leaks might occur (door, windows, hatches, vents, wires to outside lights and electrical components, etc., etc., etc.), what's a few more - especially if they are expected not to leak in the first place.
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Old 07-09-2017, 06:10 PM   #17
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When Reace was here, I asked him, and he explained to me the very rare rivet issue in some earlier trailers. It's not a structural issue, but rather a water seepage issue. (snip) Now, they check all rivets during production to make sure all the mandrel heads remain securely in place inside the rivet pin channel to block any water seepage. I hope that makes sense. Back to the OP's problem, you'd think this problem should have been detected during that rivet check, if, in fact, the problem occurred during production.
This could have been what they were checking for when I had my trailer up there to get the cracked window replaced. (Cracked while mowing the lawn; nothing ETI did.) Nigel said they would be sending out an email about it, but it sounds like they haven't (least according to someone else's post from several weeks ago). He said they would be testing the rivets on all trailers that came in for work. Heck if I know what's going on with those that aren't brought in.

Yeah, if I had that big gap, I'd be worrying/wondering about it.
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Old 07-09-2017, 06:55 PM   #18
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I agree. When I saw the gaps on my way home I totally freaked out.
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Old 07-09-2017, 07:29 PM   #19
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Understand the gap thing at the corners, however want to know more about bad rivets. From reading the comments from those who have spoken with ETI we should be hearing something from them soon.
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Old 07-09-2017, 08:46 PM   #20
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Just checked out the belly band on our 2017 21'. On top, very nice, snug, professional-looking fit, no gaps anywhere. On the bottom, very small (1/8" or less) gap at the four corners, which as noted above, is not unexpected due to the bottom half of the shell having a smaller curvature arch. We're good....
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