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Old 04-28-2013, 06:52 AM   #1
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2004 30' Classic
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fridge vent sealing

The fridge vent calking has dried and is no longer sealing. Looking at the problem with my mind in repair mode, I see the cap of the vent is riveted to the roof. Now trying to remove the old calking is very difficult with cover in place. My question is, do I drill out the rivets and remove the cover. If this is the solution, how big of a can of worms will I encounter.

Russ
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Old 04-28-2013, 06:56 AM   #2
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I have not had to do it, but, yes, many will remove the cap by drilling out the rivets. I think that is the only way to thoroughly and properly reseal the whole area.
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:12 AM   #3
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I'ts a very simple repair that I did recently when running a power wire for my Sky WiFi Ranger down through the refrigerator vent. Drill out the rivets, remove the vent,clean up the old caulk and apply butyl rubber sealing tape between the vent and the outterskin covering up the areas where the rivets or screws enter the roof. I found it easier to apply the tape to the bottom of the vent so I could start the first couple of rivets through the sealing tape to use the same holes as the old rivets. After the riveting is complete, seal the tops of the rivets with Sikaflex and the problem should be resolved. I got my butyl rubber tape from Amazon. The link is: Incom RE20758 .75-Inch by 20-Foot Butyl Caulking Tape, Gray - Amazon.com.
I also got the Sikaflex from Amazon. That link is: Sikaflex®-221 : Amazon.com : Automotive.

This is a very easy repair that you should have no trouble completing with very good results.
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:59 AM   #4
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I would not use sealing tape for anything. The PO on mine drilled out the rivets in the top cap to put in a CB antenna. He replaced the rivets with screws. I pulled it off the other day and put in stainless steel screws and put Trempro-635 over each screw hole. I have never seen tape not leak. If you are going to replace the tape ever year or so you might be ok but if you want it to be leak free for the next 10 yrs, I would use the Trempro. If you are going to be using Trempro around the inner stack you might as well seal the screws that way as well. If you need to replace wire to your antenna and bypass the internal rat's nest, putting a new wire through the fridge vent is the way to go.

Perry
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Old 04-28-2013, 05:14 PM   #5
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The use of butyl tape and Sikaflex was recommended by an Airstream repair professional with over 35 years experience, so I guess I will stick with advice from someone who really knows what their doing with Airstream repair.

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I would not use sealing tape for anything. The PO on mine drilled out the rivets in the top cap to put in a CB antenna. He replaced the rivets with screws. I pulled it off the other day and put in stainless steel screws and put Trempro-635 over each screw hole. I have never seen tape not leak. If you are going to replace the tape ever year or so you might be ok but if you want it to be leak free for the next 10 yrs, I would use the Trempro. If you are going to be using Trempro around the inner stack you might as well seal the screws that way as well. If you need to replace wire to your antenna and bypass the internal rat's nest, putting a new wire through the fridge vent is the way to go.

Perry
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Old 04-28-2013, 05:21 PM   #6
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The use of butyl tape and Sikaflex was recommended by an Airstream repair professional with over 35 years experience, so I guess I will stick with advice from someone who really knows what their doing with Airstream repair.

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I used 3M Extreme Sealing Tape on the install of our skylight.
Great stuff!!

Bob
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Old 04-28-2013, 05:58 PM   #7
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Professional RV dealers have a vested interest in your trailer not lasting forever and needing regular maintenance. The average RV having a 5-10yr lifetime is by design. RV manufactures use tape because they know it will last about as long as the warrantee then you are back for leak repair. It is good business. Tape can't hold up to constant expansion and contraction. Eventually it gaps and lets water in.

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Old 04-28-2013, 06:19 PM   #8
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You believe what you want but my adice came from a previous Airstream factory employee with over 35 years experience who happens to know what he's talking about. My 2005 Classic had sealing tape applied at the factory between the refrigerator vent and the outer skin of the roof and I had no problems with it before deciding that I needed to remove the vent to route a wires through it. If you have better experience, perhaps you should share it with Jackson Center so they could improve their manufacturing processes.

From your comments, it appears you have had very bad experiences with repairs. I guess I have been lucky since that has not been my experience with the professionals that have worked on my Airstream.


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Professional RV dealers have a vested interest in your trailer not lasting forever and needing regular maintenance. The average RV having a 5-10yr lifetime is by design. RV manufactures use tape because they know it will last about as long as the warrantee then you are back for leak repair. It is good business. Tape can't hold up to constant expansion and contraction. Eventually it gaps and lets water in.

Perry
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:32 PM   #9
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Thumbs up

If your installing this style skylight. You won't find a better method than this.

Quicker,cleaner,stronger more consistent than sealant in a tube.

I used Sika 721 UV on this install and had to do it over because of expansion damage.

Bob
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:00 AM   #10
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Great advice, after much head scratching the job is done. Living in Canada we do not have the same materials available that you have in the US. I ended up using a polyurethane caulking made by Malco and mastic tape.
Thanks to all. Happy Streaming Russ
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
I would not use sealing tape for anything. The PO on mine drilled out the rivets in the top cap to put in a CB antenna. He replaced the rivets with screws. I pulled it off the other day and put in stainless steel screws and put Trempro-635 over each screw hole. I have never seen tape not leak. If you are going to replace the tape ever year or so you might be ok but if you want it to be leak free for the next 10 yrs, I would use the Trempro. If you are going to be using Trempro around the inner stack you might as well seal the screws that way as well. If you need to replace wire to your antenna and bypass the internal rat's nest, putting a new wire through the fridge vent is the way to go.

Perry
I have 25 years of sheet metal roofing experience and nearly as much messing with RV's. The tape sealant and tube sealant is the way to go. FWIW the tape is typically butyl which needs to be protected from UV, which is what the tube sealant is for. I have torn apart 40 year old roof systems where the butyl tape was still soft because it was fully concealed. It also supposed to be used in compression. If used properly it will fill the screw threads and help seal those too. The biggest problem is when screws are over torqued and stripped, in that case the tape sealant holds better than none. Sealant in a joint trumps sealant over a joint every time.

Aaron
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:52 PM   #12
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So what type of Sikaflex? And where to buy?
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