Trailer Sucks In Dirt - How to Check?

OK, I need some innovative ideas from the esteemed members of this group.
I've got a 1995 6 x 8 Haulmark trailer. Double doors in the rear, no side door or roof vent.
Over the past few months it has been sucking in road dirt and getting the contents all dusty. After just a few hours of use - highways and surface streets, no dirt roads - there is enough dirt on the floor to warrant sweeping it out. I don't know if the dirt is coming in from the top or just blowing around inside the trailer, but it's not limited to the floor area. I have shelves in the trailer and the dirt is even on the upper shelves.
I have closed myself up in the trailer and had a friend shine a bright light along all the seams but I don't see any holes. I've hosed the trailer down but never found any water in the trailer. There are thin plywood walls inside the trailer so it could be coming in from behind the walls and blowing up or down around them.
I'm considering putting a huge fan inside and see if I can feel the air blowing out.
Anybody have any other ideas - besides being in the trailer when it's doing 60 down the highway?
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Toss one of these in the trailer?
http://www.shomer-tec.com/product/commando-smoke-grenade-1.cfm
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| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
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If you don't mind paying for it, the better auto body shops have smoke generators to test car door seals after repairs. You get results pretty quickly. A bee smoker from your local farm supply store is a low cost generator if you want to go that route. The tricky part will be rigging things so you have actual smoky air flow to look for outside, since a static test probably won't do much.
Joe
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-snip-

My 3 stall local mechanic has a smoker.

He checked a trunk leak for me once. Regular charge for 1/2 hr.. He smoked from the outside with his little helper in the trunk. He mentioned another style smoker that has an electronic sniffer and is much more sensitive.
The positive pressure hood that Steve mentioned sounds promising, though.
Jim
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Besides the other comments - the trailer configuration is going to create a low pressure area behind the trailer and this could bow doors and windows enough to suck in dirt but not be evident when the trailer isn't in motion. There is also a low pressure over the top of the trailer so if you have a roof vent it could lift and allow air movement.
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That would be my guess. I'd look at putting some sort of spoiler or airfoil on the back edge of the roof or hang those full width mud flaps.
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Thanks for the suggestion re: warped doors and spoilers.
Perhaps I wasn't clear in my OP, but this is a new problem. I've had the trailer for 6 years and I'm very good friends with the original owner (bought new in 1995). This dust issue has only been happening for the last 6 - 7 months.
I'm not saying that a spoiler won't help, but it seems to me that something must have changed e.g. a leaky seam or something.
Still, I'll look at the weather stripping around the rear doors. There is no roof vent, windows or side door so if the dirt isn't coming in around the doors, there's some other issue.
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on 3/18/2009 7:54 AM (ET) DerbyDad03 wrote the following:

How about using a water hose spraying the doors and seams on the outside with someone inside to look for leaks? If no success, reverse the procedure, using the hose inside with someone outside. Of course, with the door open to allow the hose in, you could only check the seams.
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Thanks for the response. As I said in my OP...
"I've hosed the trailer down but never found any water in the trailer."
Hosing the trailer down from the inside would be a very bad idea. Wooden walls, linoleum floor (slightly curled up at the edge), mounted shelves, etc. Water would get everywhere and take forever to dry out.
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Thanks for the response. As I said in my OP...
"I've hosed the trailer down but never found any water in the trailer."
Hosing the trailer down from the inside would be a very bad idea. Wooden walls, linoleum floor (slightly curled up at the edge), mounted shelves, etc. Water would get everywhere and take forever to dry out.
1) Did you spray water from the under side? 2) Tape the inside corners/seams with clear packaging tape. If the seam leaks then it should collect dirt and/or blow loose and be easy to see. 3) I wonder if placing some dry ice in the middle of the floor and closing the door would show the leak? (Not too sure about this one.)
Cheers.
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Jim2009 wrote:

I'll give the tape a try - where I can. Since the inside is paneled in most areas, I can't get to all the seams, but I may be able to place tape in strategic locations above the wall openings to see if I can narrow it down.
But wait...If I seal the seams with tape I'll alter the airflow and the test might show nothing, proving nothing. ;-)
I didn't spray water from the under side, but I did do a worklight test - worklight outside, me inside, where it was very, very dark!
I will try a hose.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

I've had that trouble with all sorts of hauling vehicles with tailgates over the years. Gasket gets tired, latch doesn't keep it snugged up, and road travel makes a big low-pressure area in the back. (That is why you always open a front window driving a car with the tailgate down.) Just for giggles, try sealing all the trailer door seams with packaging tape from the dollar store before your next road use, and see if that makes any difference. If there is even a minor air leak in the front end of trailer that only opens up at road speed or when things flex, the low pressure will suck the dust cloud behind the trailer right inside. And try driving down a dusty dirt road for the test- the entry path should leave a clear trail.
-- aem sends....
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

My H&H has a small scoop type vent on the left side near the front top. It puts a positive pressure on the inside to prevent dust. The previous owner told me about it. I was skeptical. LO AND BEHOLD, it works! We travel gravel roads every day to our work, and there isn't a speck of dust in that trailer. I can't believe it myself. I'll see if there's a name on the vent tomorrow. Perhaps i could email a pic.
steve
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

Never seen such an animal up close, but wheel wells and frame fasteners would be my first thought...a very small hole can allow a lot of dust to enter. Checked the undercarriage? Caulked seams? Is there enough flex in the frame so that a leak may open when loaded and under way, but not be visible when standing?
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