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Old 06-02-2004, 10:07 PM   #1
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Question Autolamp Taillight Gasket?

Over the weekend we discovered that we have a water leak at the back of the trailer. We immediately caulked the bumper to body gap, but that didn't completely stop the leak. I saw a post about a leak thru the tail lights, so I thought I'd check there, too. I pulled off one of the lenses for our Autolamp 575's and aound signs of water intrusion (i.e.rust) inside the lamp. As an aside, it seems dumb to design a lamp that has 4 rivit holes around the perimiter just inviting water to intrude.

Anyway, inside the ring of screw and rivit holes there is a ridge that is probably where the water tight seal should be. I found our lamp had some type of putty there as a gasket. It looked like plumbers putty and it looks like I should replace it with fresh stuff. Can anyone suggest what type of material I could use as a replacement. I think I have some plumbers putty lying around, or I could try to cut a gasket out of those gasket material sheets you can get at a hardware store. Has anyone found either to work reliably?

Thanks in advance,

Joe
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Old 06-03-2004, 07:44 AM   #2
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There is a putty tape used commonly on rvs, better would be butyl tape or vulkem. Paper gaskets will stop water for awhile but fall apart pretty fast.

John
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Old 06-03-2004, 07:59 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by 66Overlander
... I pulled off one of the lenses for our Autolamp 575's and aound signs of water intrusion (i.e.rust) inside the lamp...Anyway, inside the ring of screw and rivit holes there is a ridge that is probably where the water tight seal should be. I found our lamp had some type of putty there as a gasket...
Joe,

If you are talking about a gasket between the lense & the tail light assembly, my '67 originally had cork gaskets. Age had shrunk them from their former circular shape into a triangular shape. Not much sealing action there.

No way was I going to be able to cut a gasket that thin from either cork or paper. So, I ran a bead of Permatex gasket maker in the recess, let it skin over for five or ten minutes, then sprayed the lense heavily with silicone spray, and reinstalled it. The silicone spray was to keep the permatex from sticking to the lense in case I ever needed to change a light bulb

As a preemptive strike on subsequent flames, let me add that permatex is silicone rubber based. There is a plethora of posts concerning its use on aluminum. I am comfortable with its use in this particular application. Others may not be.

If, on the other hand, this is not the sealing interface of interest, I would still recommend the gasket maker IF you think there is an occasional need to disassemble. If not, I would use Vulkem.

Live long and prosper ,
Tom
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Old 06-03-2004, 10:04 AM   #4
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When I was rebuilding the tail light bases on my 67 GT I had the same condition. After fixing the rust with JB weld epoxy and painting I used a material called 3-M Strip caulk, or known in the trade as "DUM-DUM". This stuff is mostly used to seal auto body seams. It's 1/4 inch wide and 1/8 thick, a foot long, pliable and I have never seen it dry out. You can probably pick some up at a auto body supply store. I would stay away from silicone sealers as they are hard to remove if you ever need to remove the base. Now if I could only find new Autolamp "wedding cake" lenses I'd be all set.

Good Luck,
TOM
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Old 06-03-2004, 12:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 74Argosy24MH
There is a putty tape used commonly on rvs, better would be butyl tape or vulkem. Paper gaskets will stop water for awhile but fall apart pretty fast.

John
Careful with the Vulkem, it sticks like glue. Might be hard to get the lenses back off once vulkem sets up.
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Old 06-04-2004, 11:03 AM   #6
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Hello, I am a new Airstream owner ('69 Land Yacht) and am reading as many posts as possible in order to get some perspective on restoration. What, exactly, is Vulkem? In what forms does it come? Is it the right material for resealing windows? Thanks for any input. David
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Old 06-04-2004, 12:12 PM   #7
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...What, exactly, is Vulkem? In what forms does it come? Is it the right material for resealing windows? ...
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Old 06-04-2004, 12:24 PM   #8
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Careful with the Vulkem, it sticks like glue. Might be hard to get the lenses back off once vulkem sets up.
Don't use the butyl tape either if it is lens to body of the lamp. My assumption (bad mistake I know) was that it was lamp to trailer skin.

John
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