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Old 03-25-2010, 10:37 AM   #1
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Front ABS end cap repair

Good morning everyone, I hope you all are enjoying the beginning of Spring as much as I am. So, here's the deal. Two nights ago I removed the interior front ABS end cap from my 74' AS. It was a real pain to remove, but we finally removed it without adding any more damage that it currently had. Now that I have it out, I need to repair and paint it before we re-install it. The end cap is fairly brittle and has multiple cracks and has one fairly large triangle shaped hole it it. I've done multiple searches on the forums on the most common or productive way to repair this issue (besides purchasing a new one for $600), and have not been able to find what I'm looking for. Would anyone out there send me in the right direction or have any advice on this?

Thank you.......
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:28 AM   #2
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One option I discovered on here in another thread is to encapsulate it, front and back, in fiberglass cloth. Sand it then spray paint it.

I haven't done this yet but it's on my to-do list
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Old 03-25-2010, 12:20 PM   #3
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http://www.airforums.com/forums/f46/...tml#post724817

Check post 27 in this thread for fiberglassing how-to's. I was not able to upload the pdf's to this thread due to a ghost in the machine.
I hope this helps. It's a great way to repair abs without melting it.

Rich the Viking
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Old 03-25-2010, 12:32 PM   #4
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That ABS cap is 36 years old and may have been stored in Southern US for years. ABS contains a rubber which degrades over the years. The part will get brittle and there is no way to restore the properties. Coating it with Fiberglass is likely the easiest thing to do to hide the problem. Having it out of the unit so you can work from the top eliminates the dripping problem and keeps the cloth stuck to the surface. Making up segmented Aluminum pieces would be a bigger job but might be neat. There is one guy on here that did it.
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Old 03-25-2010, 12:56 PM   #5
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That ABS cap is 36 years old and may have been stored in Southern US for years. ABS contains a rubber which degrades over the years. The part will get brittle and there is no way to restore the properties. Coating it with Fiberglass is likely the easiest thing to do to hide the problem. Having it out of the unit so you can work from the top eliminates the dripping problem and keeps the cloth stuck to the surface. Making up segmented Aluminum pieces would be a bigger job but might be neat. There is one guy on here that did it.

Carlos Ferguson!

AMAZING!

Rich the Viking
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Old 03-25-2010, 01:40 PM   #6
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...I used West Marine G-Flex to repair my bath vanity & tub parts, so far its holding up well...

" It was a real pain to remove, but we finally removed it without adding any more damage that it currently had."

...can you elaborate at all on this?...I have to remove mine to push out a gnarly dent but I admit I'm dreading the task!.... did it take forever to get out?..and how did you deal with the "control panel" mess?...
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Old 03-25-2010, 03:01 PM   #7
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Fotochop,

The first thing I did was purchase a repair manual from Airstream. It was the best $75 I've ever spent. That aside, here are the mistakes and difficulties I had removing the end cap. First mistake, I thought I could get it done in an hour or two, silly me, I'm learning that I can't fix anything in an hour or two on this beast. All kidding aside, the first thing I would do better is make sure you've removed all of the rivets. I mean ALL the rivets. I found some sneaky ones hiding up on the top and some down on the bottom that I didn't realize were there. I actually had to drill through the top center panel to get to the two that were hiding up there. Make sure you have a friend to help, this is not a one guy/gal deal. I would recommend taking off all of the side panels, it will just be easier that way, instead of pulling the panels out with one hand while you try to remove the cap with the other. The center control panel was actually the easy part. Just get a razor and cut the silicone that is keeping it in there, remove ALL of the screws and rivets, push in the clock and temp guage( they are attached with dual sided tape) and you're done. Disclaimer..... This is the way I did it, possibly not the best way TO do it.
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Old 03-25-2010, 08:34 PM   #8
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..I hear ya on the "time-hole" these things are...my wife hears ya too ;-)..

..yes, rivets, I've heard one hidden one can really ruin your day...and a helper or two is absolutely necessary for the gynormosity of the thing...yeah, argh, the side panels out too..that means removing all three parts of my dinette, add-argh...

..I'm beginning to think bucking in a new Panel #21 from outside might not be so awful after all!!...I do have the service manual section on that one..
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Old 03-25-2010, 09:00 PM   #9
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I've got my end caps doing a full monty. I am using the 20 min. Plastix bonder and fiberglass window screen on the back side to repair cracked ABS parts. I drilled a small hole at the end of the crack to keep it from running prior to applying the epoxy patch. I then sanded the area and wiped it with acetone prior to epoxying. My intention is to epoxy paint, with hopes of covering the repaired cracks. All that being said the Plastix bonder seems to be working fine and sticking to the ABS. The working time is @ 20 minutes with 12 to 24 hours to cure to a hard rubber consistancy. After several days it seems to harden to a more hard plastic consistancy. Which I think would make it easier to sand. If you are going to work from the front (visible) side, you might consider drilling the stop hole and gouging the crack with a dremel and then filling it in.
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:20 PM   #10
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Another idea, (I'm full of them sometimes): cut out the area of your abs endcap that will allow you to work out the dent from inside, then reattach the cutout piece with plastic doublers glued around the inside of the cutout, much like you might scab in a piece of subfloor with ply doublers to support it. Then do a fiberglass patch on top of it to blend it into the surrounding area, or just bondo it if you can get it back in place fairly straight and aligned to the rest of the endcap. I think this approach could save you a lot of time.

Rich the Viking

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..I hear ya on the "time-hole" these things are...my wife hears ya too ;-)..

..yes, rivets, I've heard one hidden one can really ruin your day...and a helper or two is absolutely necessary for the gynormosity of the thing...yeah, argh, the side panels out too..that means removing all three parts of my dinette, add-argh...

..I'm beginning to think bucking in a new Panel #21 from outside might not be so awful after all!!...I do have the service manual section on that one..
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Old 03-26-2010, 01:42 PM   #11
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Another idea, (I'm full of them sometimes): cut out the area of your abs endcap that will allow you to work out the dent from inside, then reattach the cutout piece with plastic doublers glued around the inside of the cutout, much like you might scab in a piece of subfloor with ply doublers to support it. Then do a fiberglass patch on top of it to blend it into the surrounding area, or just bondo it if you can get it back in place fairly straight and aligned to the rest of the endcap. I think this approach could save you a lot of time.

Rich the Viking
...cool idea, Rich, thank you!...

..I could even make them into hinged and trimmed "access doors" for the NEXT time I pull into a tree limb after a 300 mile drive from the beach, suntoasted and exhausted..
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