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Old 05-11-2005, 10:29 AM   #15
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Question for Chuck-

Do they use the Vulkem or another sealant on the seams in planes? I'm curious if anyone had a problem if the sealant could be broken down from it.

I also read somewhere that the excuse was "it eats away at the rivets" which seems totally absurd- to me anyway...

And thanks for chiming in- your expertise and experience are needed here!

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Old 05-11-2005, 10:54 AM   #16
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I honestly don't know the answer to that question. I do know that the "etching" process is commonly used to re-paint airplanes, though. and it is much cheaper to have a paint job done down your way than it is up here. so much so, that people I know have flown their airplanes down there to have it done. (that could easily be $1000 bucks worth of the cost of a round-trip airline ticket). my understanding is that the FL environmental laws are not as stringent as they are in other places, which either enables them to use better chemicals, or makes disposal of the same chemicals much cheaper.

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Old 05-11-2005, 11:14 AM   #17
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My '59 has never been acid cleaned, and I discovered five leaks in just one seam yesterday. Now I need to know how to seal them.

If I use Parbond, how do I clean the seam before I apply it? Should I use a pressure washer? Should I apply the parbond from the inside?
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Old 05-11-2005, 11:53 AM   #18
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I have done a little cleaning of the seams, to test it out. It isn't tough to remove the old caulk. I used a little nylon brush, some plastic spoons and a plastic paint scraper and the stuff flaked right out. I was ready with the dremel with nylon and wire wheel brushes, but that never became necessary. I did wash it with household cleaner before caulking. I ended up using vulkem with a syringe, because that's what I had on hand. It was ok, but quite hard to sqeeze out and a bit messy. I found best results just kind of wiping it in the crack, since I never could manage a nice clean line of caulk. However, I did get a little residue on the surface--though eventually, I figure we'll remove it when we do polish.

Since doing that test, I did get some advice from folks in the unit. They advised taking the sealing thing in a more methodological way, starting with the most likely points of failure. These are the vents, AC (and any holes in the surface) and the windows. I knew from the previous owner that at least one trailer was problematic. A close inspection of the skin revealed that rivet holes (where the airstream sign once was) were sealed with silicone and I found a 1/4" upward facing gap at the belly pan seal. So, I'm focusing on these areas before going totally nuts with the seam joints. I've already hose tested the window I finished and it went from leaky to leakless, so that is one problem down!

Hope this helps!

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Old 05-12-2005, 12:27 AM   #19
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I used a acid to wash yesterday
polish is a LOT easyer after will try to post pics tonight
and have some more info on the acid also
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Old 05-12-2005, 11:07 AM   #20
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I say if you aren't comfortable with acid washing, don't. However, I was very methodical in how I did it. I used a paint brush and watched very close where it was all going. I wiped it when it started to run toward the seams. I left it on appx. one minute and then I rinsed it off. It gets to be a milky color. Yes, it does polish easier without a doubt. I think all the seals should be checked anyway, especially after any polishing or acid wash, etc. This is a 40 plus year old unit, I would be surprised if there wasn't a leak or two.
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Old 05-12-2005, 11:24 AM   #21
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Check this link out, some interesting aluminum brightening information.
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Please visit our blogs and web pages:
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Old 05-12-2005, 11:33 PM   #22
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A bit different

Hmmm, obviously all aluminum brightners are not created equal!

Thank you for that.

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