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Old 09-08-2013, 01:04 PM   #1
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1972 25' Tradewind
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ABS Endcap Removal

Does anyone know if the entire skin aft of the forward endcap needs to be removed to take out the endcap? I am removing all ABS parts, repairing with fiberglass and G-Flex epoxy. Next task is to repair the few 1" cracks originating from the rivets at the read of the endcap. I can flex the skin enough to see and probably drill out the rivets that attach the endcap. Can I get the endcap out after those rivets are drilled out?

I am painting all ABS with XIM Plastic Bonder and then flat 2K urethane autopaint. BTW, the fiberglass G-flex repair came out great.
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Old 09-08-2013, 01:17 PM   #2
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Probably, yes. It would be easier if you took the walls out first, though. Get help to take it out, as the end caps are notoriously floppy and hard to control once their rivets are out. I had one come down on my head. No damage to the endcap, though! You may have to take a few extra rivets out along the walls aft of the endcap in order to flex everything enough to get it out. Good luck!

Kay
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Old 09-08-2013, 03:13 PM   #3
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The definitive answer to my question is yes it can be moved taking Kay's advise and removing a few more rivets on the skins. Make sure you get the two rivets where the endcap sits on the window ledge. Once all rivets from the endcap are drilled out, you can carefully slide the endcap back under the skins until the front drops off the ledge. Then lower the front carefully until the aft part of the endcap clears the skins. IMO, removal is the only way you can effectively repair cracks by using fiberglass/epoxy the crack from the back side.

Thanks Kay...
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Old 09-08-2013, 03:55 PM   #4
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I replaced my cracked front end cap 6 mos. later cracked again. Lots of drilling and mess, so I will live w/cracks for now.
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Old 09-08-2013, 05:44 PM   #5
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G-Flex is really great stuff. Best way I have found to fix plastic parts.
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Old 09-08-2013, 05:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by featherbedder View Post
I replaced my cracked front end cap 6 mos. later cracked again. Lots of drilling and mess, so I will live w/cracks for now.
How did you address the cracks? Initially I was going to prep and spray in place. Then I realized I was just wasting my time and $$ if I didn't remove and fix the cracks permanently.

BTW, here is how I prep'ed the ABS. Wipe with a acetone damp paper towel. This will slightly soften the plastic so that 80 grit sandpaper will score the plastic deeply. Then flame the surface and wipe well with alcohol. Now it is ready for the G-Flex and fiberglass. I don't think this crack is going anywhere. The G-Flex bonds with 3288 psi tensile strength when the ABS is prepared in this way. Also the ABS plastic above the sink had extremely thin edge for attaching to the skin. This was repaired by running a fiberglass strip the entire length on the back side soaked in G-Flex. Now it is stiff and robust.
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Old 09-08-2013, 07:00 PM   #7
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You're right that that G/flex is great stuff. I've used it successfully on ABS and polyethylene. This link is the best I've found.

Once the plastic to G/Flex adhesion is established, standard West Systems can be used -- at a lower cost and ease of use.

Endcap Removal?
I was able to get the endcap on mine out from underneath the ceiling panels by drilling about 2-3 feet of rivets in the ceiling. That way, the aluminum sheet could bend and not crease. Lower walls were off at the time. Hidden rivets did cause much swearing and encouraged an additional adult beverage or two.
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