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Old 06-11-2012, 08:12 AM   #1
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1961 22' Safari
Vienna , Virginia
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Patching a Blue Boy

After years of neglect (we've been tankless for over 5 years), Frank Yensen fixed our plumbing and installed a grey tank. So, on our recent trip West through PA & Ohio (Alumapalooza!), we hauled out our old blue boy. However, when we realized at Airstream it was time to drain our grey tank, we notice a huge gaping crack in the blue boy. Fortunately, we were able to borrowing from the event organizers.

After seeing how expensive replacements run, i decided to try to patch it. The crack is short, but gapes about 1/4" wide. I've been thinking of doing an epoxy repair, with fiber cloth stuffed in the gap and reinforcing the surrounding surface on both sides. Is this a good approach? Are there any epoxy types to reccomend (or not)? Has anyone done this kind of repair?



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Old 06-11-2012, 08:55 AM   #2
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It all depends on what the blue boy is made of. I would suspect that it is polyethylene of some type, which is very chemical resistant. There are no glues that will adhere to polyethylene. You might be able to tell what it is if it has a "recycling" emblem on it somewhere. The number will describe the type/family of plastic. IF it is ABS, you might be able to do a "solvent weld" like is used in plumbing.

I recently tried fiberglass repairs of my plastic wheel wells (I believe I was told they are ABS). Even though I roughed them up with sandpaper to help with adhesion and cleaned them up nice, I am watching the fiberglass slowly peel away from the abs as the temperatures are now up in the 90s, and the abs and fiberglass patch certainly have a different coefficient of thermal expansion.

The one thing that might work is to do a plastic weld. Plastic welding is technique sensitive, and you have to have "filler rod" that is the exact same type of plastic as you are welding. You will also need the welder, which is like a very small high temperature heat gun. You can buy them at Harbor Freight for $50 or so, but pretty soon you have the value of a new tank.

good luck!

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Old 06-11-2012, 09:10 AM   #3
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***t-can the broken boy

considering what normally goes into a blue boy, fixing it would be a disaster waiting to happen...time is money, too, so my 2 cents would be to replace the blue boy and never look back.
easier, too.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:32 AM   #4
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Cut some of the top off it and make a planter pot out of it. Easy to wheel inside on those nights of frost or move it as the season changes.

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Old 06-11-2012, 10:00 AM   #5

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Originally Posted by wmarsha View Post
considering what normally goes into a blue boy, fixing it would be a disaster waiting to happen...time is money, too, so my 2 cents would be to replace the blue boy and never look back.
easier, too.
My thought also....

I might give it one try with Marine-Tex but thats about all....

AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:14 AM   #6
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If the crack/gap was the result of physical damage, you may be able to patch it successfully. Depending on how your do this, you may wish to drill a hole at the ends of the crack to prevent it from continuing to spread.

However, if the crack is caused by UV light exposure and/or age, other leaks are almost certain to appear; in which case, it's time for a new one.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:19 AM   #7
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I find that the blueboy with cracks don't fill up as fast when boondocking
Doug & Terry
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Old 06-25-2012, 06:45 PM   #8
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Patching a blueboy


Recently heard of a product called West Systems G flex epoxy.

Supposed to stick to Polyethylene boats and such. Haven't tried it nor heard of any results, good or bad.

Maybe you could be the Official West Systems G flex Epoxy A/S Forum Early Adopter and let us know how it works!

Worst case scenario, it doesn't work and you're out the price of the stuff.
I know, easy for me to say!
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Old 06-25-2012, 07:04 PM   #9
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Polyethylene can be easily welded if you have the right equipment but would fail quickly if the PE was degraded by age, ozone or UV. Depending on you location you might be able to find a plastic fabricator who has the proper equipment and could evaluate the state of the plastic for slightly more money that you can locate a good tank on craigslist. I would take option 2

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