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Old 01-02-2014, 05:13 PM   #1
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HELP!!! How do I seal the overlapping seam where endcap meets fuselage?

Note this is a shell off resto, so I have an empty shell for leak detection and fix.

This is driving me nuts... I cant figure out how to fix this, as it appears to be a design flaw. Are the overlapping seams supposed to have sealant in them? Mine do not.

The horizontal overlapping seams are fine because of gravity. However the vertical seam where the fuselage meets the endcap does not simply have gravity in its favor.

I dont really have a problem on the street side, but on the curb side, the awning rail ends RIGHT on the seam where the endcap meets the fuselage. So when it rains, my awning rail acts like a gutter and directs a river of water right down the vertical seam. It doesn't just drip in, it streams in. I cant imagine that simply coating the inside of the seam with vulkem is the proper solution to this. Nor can I envision a bead on the outside with parbond or acryl-R. The overlap seam is very tight as it is. any sealant is not going to be "IN" the seam, but rather "Over" the seam and not be aesthetically pleasing.

Right??? Is everyone just covering up the seams on the exterior and you see a bead running down it? I understand that you can be careful and apply it neat, but still it is a seam of sealant running down the outside....

Here's all I can come up with so far..... I'm considering removing all the rivets on the endcap rib, from the rub rail all the way up to the awning rail. Then trying to pry, push & squeeze sealant "into" the seam and then smear sealant on the inside after installing new rivets. If this doesnt work, I'll probably regret all the work... and be back in the same boat.

Is a visible bead on the exterior the only solution?

Thanks for letting me vent.... Any help is greatly appreciated!!!!
Mic
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Old 01-02-2014, 05:43 PM   #2
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Mic,
I havent had too much long term luck with the thin, wicking stuff so I use Tempro/Vulcum. I clean the joint really good then mask off each side 1/16" away from the edge. I then lay a bead of Tempro and use my finger to squish it into the joint forming a bevel. After an hour or so, I peel off the tape. This is the point where the excess Tempro makes a time warp jump and gets all over everything within 3'

Years later the joint is still a semi flexible bevel while the parbond is hard and cracking.

Your milage may vary...
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:09 PM   #3
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Thanks Hiho! So you've got a 1/16 bead showing around all your exterior seams that you just make nice and neat?

Mine doesnt have ANY sealant on exterior seams. Is that just because the PO's never sealed it and the original sealant is long gone?
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:12 PM   #4
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I agree with Vernon. I've resealed several trailers & you're right about the endcaps. They seem to be a problem. But if you do them as Vernon described, you shouldn't have issues with leaks for years to come. I like Tempro as well.
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Thanks Hiho! So you've got a 1/16 bead showing around all your exterior seams that you just make nice and neat?

Mine doesnt have ANY sealant on exterior seams. Is that just because the PO's never sealed it and the original sealant is long gone?
I'd like to say that I've taken the time to make a nice 1/16 bead on all of the seams, but...so far it's only the ones that didn't pass a bubble test. They DO look nice though even after several years...

I'm in the middle of a panel replacement on an older 'Stream and yes, there is some sealant between the panels, it just isn't visible from the outside OR inside. Is it a good seal? heck no! It looks like gauze that was drug thru this..

Home Page | Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits

And then sandwiched between the panels.
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:19 PM   #6
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Another thanks. Help me understand though.... I get the "function" part of that fix, but not the "form".

I've stripped my clear, and want to end up with a shiny polished coach, so I can't envision gray stripes on all my seams.... Is it traditional to have the sealant in the seams of a polished coach, and I've just never noticed? Or is that not the preferred method for polished seams?

Thanks again!
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:26 PM   #7
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Another thanks. Help me understand though.... I get the "function" part of that fix, but not the "form".

I've stripped my clear, and want to end up with a shiny polished coach, so I can't envision gray stripes on all my seams.... Is it traditional to have the sealant in the seams of a polished coach, and I've just never noticed? Or is that not the preferred method for polished seams?

Thanks again!
My '63, although not a show winner by a long streach, is done just this way. To me the seams are less noticeable with a gray fillet than 2 shiney pieces of metal that overlap.

You could always set a free beer cooler 30' away. Thats as close as anyone will get.
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:32 PM   #8
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Ahhh.... haha! Thats great. Makes sense though.
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:37 PM   #9
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The shine picks up reflected colors so its had to tell what you are seeing..
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Mic,
I havent had too much long term luck with the thin, wicking stuff so I use Tempro/Vulcum. I clean the joint really good then mask off each side 1/16" away from the edge. I then lay a bead of Tempro and use my finger to squish it into the joint forming a bevel. ...
So most of my seams are leaky on the curved end caps and one vertical seam where the rain guard spills straight down it.

So can I use the Vulkem 116 I have to do what you describe? We're supposed to have a few dry days before the next rain and I would love to know this out.

Other's have recommended Acryl-R but I don't think I can even find it locally. What about leaky rivets...can I squish some vulkem down around them? Other's have recommended Captain Tolley's which I can get at my local West Marine.
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:59 PM   #11
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I believe vulkem 116 is the textured version. Others are using the Trempro 635 because it is a smooth finish. They sell it at VTS: TremPro 635

However, I've found that many of todays commercial grade polyurethane sealants that are meant for aluminum are high quality. I think the main point is not to use silicone because it has acetic acid in it which conflicts with the bond.

If you tape up the seams and use the smooth trempro (or equivalent), you can try this on the seams.

You might try to google commercial adhesive suppliers near you to find it locally. I found a place where I get all my sealants from locally for about $5 per tube.

I dont know how you'll deal with "loose" (leaky) rivets. I have my interior gutted, so I drill them out and use new. Vulkem likely wont squish into it enough to be a sufficient fix. I have not found Acryl-R locally, but it is readily available online. Actually, I think airstream sells it directly for as competitive as I've found anywhere. But I found it to be too expensive, and took the advice of Colin Hyde, who says he uses the trempro for everything- including the exterior seams.

For a loose/ leaky rivet, captain trolleys might work, but again, I think this is a shot in the dark, personally. I've never used it though. If you dont have access to the back side to re-buck or replace the rivet. I would probably drill it out and insert an Olympic rivet filled with trempro to seal it up properly.
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Old 09-25-2014, 08:06 PM   #12
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For Vulkem/ Trempro alternative, I'm using Sil-Seal 9500 and have used Dymonic FC both with good results. Metalink is another.
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Old 09-25-2014, 09:55 PM   #13
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In korea, I may have found the solution...
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Old 09-25-2014, 09:58 PM   #14
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Take Da!
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