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Old 01-19-2011, 07:34 AM   #43
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Thanks for the info. Guess I'll have to tell my husband "Step away from the silicone".
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:50 PM   #44
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Still leaking or not?

Hi, yesterday I went back onto the roof to check on my seal job; I couldn't see anything that I missed or anything that looked like it would leak. I went over the area around my Fantastic Vent again, just to make sure that it wouldn't leak. But I still felt uneasy, that maybe the water leak was getting in somewhere else. I wondered about the air conditioner and with the filter covers off, I couldn't see any signs of leaks or wetness. Still it could be possible that the air conditioner was leaking internally and exiting at my front vent. I only saw two bolts holding the air conditioner in place. I could not move these bolts with my fingers. I used a 1/4" drive socket set / ratchet, extension, and 3/8" socket / and started to tighten these two bolts. They turned very easy, but I could see from the way it was made, it could very easily be over torqued. Owner's manual time. In my owners manual, that has two "F" sections, the second "F" was supposed to be an "H" [miss print] I found that the proper torque on the two air conditioner bolts was supposed to be from 40 - 50 inch pounds. I don't have an inch pounds torque wrench so I put the extension in between my fingers, meaning two fingers on either side of the extension, to lesson the leverage. [old mechanic's trick] I snugged down both of the bolts until my ultra-sensitive hands felt like 50 inch pounds of torque, and stopped there. I let my trailer sit all night and day for the sealer to cure. I got out my garden hose and made heavy rain on my trailer for quite a while. I waited about an hour before going in to see the leaks. At this time it is dry, so hopefully it is fixed, but I will not close this case that easily. If it stopped leaking, then that means that the air conditioner was one of the problems; Time will tell. If and when, I use Eternabond tape on my trailer, it will only be after I am positive that I stopped the leaks and just be extra insurance.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:21 PM   #45
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This is probably another dumb question from a newbie - but doesn't getting on the roof flex things and risk more leaks around seams? Or do you avoid putting your weight on it by using scaffolding, etc? Mister B is no lightweight and we were thinking we better take it to Camping World for new caulking on the roof and a new skylight (ours is missing). Input?
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:28 PM   #46
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Cj you can walk on the roof just make sure you only step on the ribs( rivet lines going across the roof). Camping World is not the place to get your trailer resealed. Will they know to use the right sealants or just use silicone. Vulkem, Parbond, Alcoa Gutter seal or Dicor Lap sealant is what you need. Silicone will corrode the aluminium.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:40 PM   #47
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I planned to tell them they need to use the sealants we've read about here on the forums and we even have sealants we've ordered (Vulkem, Par Bond, Sikaflex, etc.). Walk? I can't imagine either of us being able to walk up there! Crawl or scoot, maybe, but then we'd not be able to stay on the seams. If not Camping World, we need to find someone to do the work up there, it seems.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:44 PM   #48
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I still don't know about Camping World. Unless they are familiar with working on streams I would give them a wide berth. They are the Wallmart of the RV world. Low prices and not much quality. Ask them if they are a flat rate shop. Flat rate mechanics try to do the job as fast as possible so they can do another job and earn more money. I turned down a job with a similar outfit here. It was a flat rate shop and all about quantity not quality.
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:16 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LawChick View Post
This is probably another dumb question from a newbie - but doesn't getting on the roof flex things and risk more leaks around seams? Or do you avoid putting your weight on it by using scaffolding, etc? Mister B is no lightweight and we were thinking we better take it to Camping World for new caulking on the roof and a new skylight (ours is missing). Input?
Hi, if you go back to post #44, you can see two mover's blankets, in the top picture. The one on the left side of the picture is full sized and halfed twice. I throw this one onto the side of my trailer and lean my ladder against it, but the ladder is on an angle so that the top is resting on the unused awning rail. The mover's blanket on the right, is folded in half [not a full sized one] and on a thin sheet of wood to spread the weight out. I try to do most of the work from my ladder, but in this case, I had to get completely on my roof.
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:49 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wasagachris View Post
I still don't know about Camping World. Unless they are familiar with working on streams I would give them a wide berth. They are the Wallmart of the RV world. Low prices and not much quality. Ask them if they are a flat rate shop. Flat rate mechanics try to do the job as fast as possible so they can do another job and earn more money. I turned down a job with a similar outfit here. It was a flat rate shop and all about quantity not quality.
I talked to the guys in the Camping World service dept here. They said that they don't like to work on Airstreams because when they fix one thing it seems like they mess something else up.

Note to self.. Not Camping World..
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:03 AM   #51
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I would rather have a leak than an electrical problem. I hate working on electricity in an aluminum can!
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:53 AM   #52
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Exclamation Silicone Caulk Does Not Corrode Aluminum

Quote:
Originally Posted by yve79 View Post
Thanks for the info. Guess I'll have to tell my husband "Step away from the silicone".
Folks, I do not like to step into controversy at Air Forums. I usually bite my tongue, but I need to speak up here...

I am seeing a lot of adamant and absolute statements about how silicone caulk damages aluminum. As I stated earlier, I don't believe that is true. You may choose not to use silicone for other reasons, but please don't shy away from it because you believe it damages your trailer.

As far as I can tell, there is absolutely no lab or longitudinal evidence whatsoever to back up the statements that silicone in caulk form hurts aluminum.


To confirm my experience, I started calling around this week. I was very fortunate to talk to some very knowledgeable people at GE Silicones. I was able to get the opinions of the GE Silicones Lab Manager, the GE Silicones Product Manager and the GE Silicones Head Chemist. They all have advanced chemistry degrees. They agree there are absolutely no studies showing that Silicone RTV (either the acetal cure version or the neutral cure version) have any etching or corrosive effects on aluminum...even specifically Alclad aluminum.

In fact, they say, the chemistry does not support the possibility that silicone RTV (conventional caulk) can cause damage. The product is finished curing in 24 hours and does not interact chemically with the metal after that point.

As I have said in the past, I am a student of vintage trailer restoration and do not position myself as a teacher. So if anyone has a good argument to contradict the GE chemists, I will remain open minded.
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:38 AM   #53
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I agree, I don't think chemically, silicone will do anything to aluminum. I believe "the problem" occurs when for instance you put down a bead of silicone place the item/flange (whatever the case may be) onto the bead, "cinch" it down w/screws, rivets . . . and then for whatever reason (random failure to "stick" / adhere) water gets between the silicone and the aluminum . . . and by water I mean even just a little moisture and years later the aluminum under that silicone is "gone" and by "gone" I mean . . .

Just my opinion/theory.

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Old 01-27-2011, 12:30 PM   #54
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Steve, that's an interesting contribution and not the first to say silicone is ok. I tend not to believe the scientists who work for the company that sells the stuff. One post somewhere on another thread said it wasn't the silicone, but the solvents in it (and they may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer) that could cause problems with aluminum. That post said that if you keep the area well ventilated while the solvents offgas, there should be no problem.

But look at post #30 where Barts says there are different types of silicone (some ok, some not). You may not know which you have if I understand his post correctly.

Since there are plenty of alternatives to silicone, maybe it's best to use them.

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Old 01-28-2011, 10:05 AM   #55
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In the automotive repair business silicone rtv is used on aluminum all the time.

I have used silicone on my Argosy. It sticks to white paint and glass just fine. In the rare instance that I have to apply sealer directly to bare aluminum on the Argosy I don't use silicone - mainly because of what I have read here.
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Old 01-29-2011, 09:34 PM   #56
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Hi Gene, thanks for the reference to post #30.

I took a look at it. Here are my thoughts...

There are really only 2 types of silicone RTV commonly used today. One is acetoxy cure and one is neutral cure.

The acetoxy version has excellent adhesion to aluminum and virtually all plastics. It creates acetic acid as a byproduct during the curing process. The acid no longer produced after 24 hours. The acid is mild and does not damage aluminum, it does not even etch it. It can damage copper so don't use this version on metals with a high copper content.

Airstreams built prior to 1982 are clad with pure aluminum so the copper in the underlying 2024 alloy is definitely not at risk (and I do not believe there is any evidence that the 2024 alloy (4% copper) would be damaged even if it were directly exposed). Airstreams built from 1982 on use 3004 alloy with a 0.25% copper content and are also not at risk. Acetoxy cure silicone RTV is safe for aluminum used in Airstream.

The other type of silicone RTV commonly available is the neutral cure version. It does not produce an acid during curing. It can be used on aluminum or copper. Adhesion to aluminum and most plastics is excellent. Although there is no evidence available to support the assertions that acetoxy silicone is harmful to aluminum, if you are concerned, use the neutral cure version. GE Silicone II products are this version, and other manufacturers make the same type.

I agree that sealant failure is what we should be worried about here and not corrosion. All adhesives can mysteriously let go. It has to do with whether they are the proper sealant for the material, whether the surfaces are properly prepped and whether the cure is accomplished correctly. In my experience with plastic flanged roof fans (I'm looking at you Fan-Tastic), silicone is a better adhesive than either putty tape or polyurethane.

Also, to restate, I am in complete agreement with all posters who state that there are other sealants that work better in almost every situation. I love polyurethane! That's why I recommend silicone RTV only for a small number of circumstances...the finish bead on Fan-tastic vent installations is one.

Finally, to add a wrinkle to this discussion... I think EPDM selant has great potential. Dicor is the biggest name in the RV industry for this product. They make a version of their EPDM caulk that is not self leveling and I would recommend it over silicone RTV for Fan-tastic vents if they made it in any color other than white (the Fan-Tastics we sell all have gray bases, although OEM Fan-Tastics have white bases). I ran into one of DICOR's experts a couple weeks ago and confirmed that they have no intention of making their caulk in gray because of the cost. The pigments would cost "more than the other materials in the tube."

If you're googling right now... don't confuse their color "dove gray" with gray. It is actually white. And don't buy their "self leveling" tube product thinking it will useful for this kind of a project.

I'm sure there are many more excellent ideas on this subject from other Airstreamers. Thanks for your advice.
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