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Old 08-03-2007, 12:54 PM   #1
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Installing a refrigerator vent cover

I'm installing a new aluminum cover over the refrigerator vent. I'll use olymoic rivets with little rubber seals on them, but whats the best way to seal the rivet joint between the cover and the skin? Maybe a gasket? It doesn't look like its possible to reach inside to seal the gap with sealer.

Take a look at the PO's way of dealing with the missing plastic cover and the addition of an electric refrigerator:

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Old 08-03-2007, 01:02 PM   #2
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About the picture, OMG.

There is a product sold at all RV sales and repair locations called butyl tape. Not really a tape but a roll of putty like stuff you put down that does not deteriorate (as fast) as most products and has been used for years on RV's. Just unroll it and place your cover down and press to fit (great for curves) and then pop rivit through the stuff like you would a gasket. Use a sharpened wood stick to trim off excess.

Good Luck

Mike
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Old 08-03-2007, 04:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwchitty
I'm installing a new aluminum cover over the refrigerator vent. I'll use olymoic rivets with little rubber seals on them, but whats the best way to seal the rivet joint between the cover and the skin? Maybe a gasket? It doesn't look like its possible to reach inside to seal the gap with sealer.

Take a look at the PO's way of dealing with the missing plastic cover and the addition of an electric refrigerator:

Attachment 42373
Ditch the little rubber seals. They will deteriorate causing a loose rivet and leaks down the road.

Butyl tape as suggested would be good.
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Old 08-03-2007, 05:03 PM   #4
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Instaling a refrigerator vent cover

Thanks guys! These are great tips and you've helped me avoid some major headaches!
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Old 08-05-2007, 04:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwchitty
I'm installing a new aluminum cover over the refrigerator vent. I'll use olymoic rivets with little rubber seals on them, but whats the best way to seal the rivet joint between the cover and the skin? Maybe a gasket? It doesn't look like its possible to reach inside to seal the gap with sealer.

Take a look at the PO's way of dealing with the missing plastic cover and the addition of an electric refrigerator:

Attachment 42373
Vulkem has been used to seal the reefer cover, just like it has sealed the sheetmetal for some 38 years.

Nothing is superior to Vulkem for sealing an Airstream.

Andy
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Old 08-05-2007, 05:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwchitty
I'm installing a new aluminum cover over the refrigerator vent. I'll use olymoic rivets with little rubber seals on them, but whats the best way to seal the rivet joint between the cover and the skin? Maybe a gasket? It doesn't look like its possible to reach inside to seal the gap with sealer.

Take a look at the PO's way of dealing with the missing plastic cover and the addition of an electric refrigerator:

Attachment 42373
What the heck is that stuff in the vent?
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Old 08-05-2007, 09:56 PM   #7
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I think the vent hole was filled with that spray-type expanding foam and then the whole area tarred over with a "Kool Seal" product. I'm working the sealant off with a wooden scraper and mineral spirits, then drilling out the rivets. Since I'm working outside, I'll dig into the vent hole last and install a screen and then the cover. At least its not all silicone!

I'll try Andy's Vulkem idea since its what the factory would have done and put a thin coating on the flange just before riveting it in place. I'll use the butyl rubber tape to reseal the loose windows into their frames. Thanks for all the tips, I hate to have to redo a project because I did something wrong!
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Old 08-05-2007, 10:26 PM   #8
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Vulkum is good stuff as long as you don't get the grainey type. I have been using Sikaflex and/or Trempro 635 with excellent luck.
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Old 08-05-2007, 11:37 PM   #9
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SikaFlex 221

This stuff is the greatest all-purpose sealant used thru-out the higher end of the RV industry. Almost every OEM that is building the $250,000+ bus-type RV, not to mention Airstream as well use this in liberal quantities. Sika, Ltd is doing a great job providing the RV industry with the best sealants available.

With reference to your roof vent, there are 2 ways to attack this:

1: as stated above, lay down a 'gasket' of butyl tape, press the vent in and pop-rivet the vent cover onto the roof. Then, use liberal amounts of a product called 'Dicor self-leveling sealant'. This stuff is also used by just about every RV OEM I have had the pleasure to work with. It not only sticks to just about every surface, but it 'self-levels' and lays itself down to create a very smooth surface finish.

2: Using the SikaFlex 221 (in grey of course) coat the entire under surface of the vent and then press it into place. Rivet as above and then run some SikaFlex over each rivet and around the edge. Use a plastic putty knife to smooth as desired. A virtually bomb-proof seal will result.

Just hope that you don't ever have to remove the vent in method#2, as it has practically become a permanent part of the roof after the 24hour cure time.
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