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Old 04-01-2010, 01:06 PM   #1
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1974 27' Overlander
Twisp , Washington
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New guy with sealant questions...

Have been doing research on the best sealants to use on my '74 AS. Currently concentrating on some leaks in the roof, caused by previous owner(s) piling new sealants on top of old. Pretty sure the problem is at the various roof penetrations, and have already cleaned out a lot of the old sealant, quite a bit showing obvious signs of failure. Still need to clean up the residue, lacquer thinner and elbow grease looks like the solution there, although suggestions are welcome. My question is, what sealant do I use? I'm seeing four main products, Trempro (Vulkem) 116/316, 635 & 636, and Sikaflex 221. I'm not replacing panels, just roof penetrations, so long open time isn't needed. And just to make life interesting, I'm planning (hoping) to do a mirror polish job next winter, so what I put in now will most likely end up needing redoing within the year, two at most. I'm leaning toward the Sikaflex, because a) the fast cure time and b), I can get it (sort of) locally. But I haven't completely made up my mind, so if I'm off base, I'd sure like to hear about it.

BTW, get used to seeing my name :-). Although we've had this trailer for about 15 years (!), I'm only just starting the restoration. Put new axles and tires on it last year, am in the process of replacing the furnace, plumbing lines and fixtures, and most of the electrical right now. I've had it inside all winter, I have a large shop, but I decided to take care of the roof leaks before moving it outside again. Hoping to get everything back together in time for a trip to Yellowstone in June. Anyway, I suspect I'll be picking brains here a lot, so thanks in advance for any help. Later.

Dave
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Old 04-01-2010, 01:47 PM   #2
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Welcome, Dave. I spent a lot of time in Washington State when I was in the Navy. I sure miss the Summers there. Where is Twisp?

I would use Vulkem for what you want to do. It's durable and easy to use. I recommend using painters tape to frame the area you want to caulk.

I worked on my '72 Sovereign for 5 years before I was "finished" with it. So don't feel bad. Work at your own pace and enjoy yourself. This site is a treasure trove of knowledge.
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:08 PM   #3
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For really thin seams that appear tight, the Alcoa GutterSeal stuff from Vintage Trailer appears to work quite nicely. It prob. won't last as long as a polyurethane, but it is easier to apply & cleanup, and is a better color match for bare aluminum. For any real gaps, Vulkem (Trempro now) stuff is what you want. We've had good luck applying it w/o masking, and then tooling the bead to the desired shape w/ a nitrile-gloved finger, and cleaning up any smears w/ those industrial paper towels.

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Old 04-01-2010, 09:25 PM   #4
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remove old sealer ???? any easy way???

Dave,
It finally got warm enough here in Michigan for me to tackle my sealing needs. I decided to go with the silkaflex 221 after all the reviews I read. Still have not used any though so don't know if I made the right decisions.

This evening I started removing the old Sealer "Vulkem" with a heat gun and a wood paint stick. It difinetly helps to remove but gets smeary.

Any suggestions to remove the old sealer? I will let you know what I think about the silkaflex in the next couple of days. Suppose to be above 60 degrees here for the next few days.

Thanks
Larry
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:42 PM   #5
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That's about it, larry_b

According to member Happy Campeur, a Tremco employee:

"heatgun+ plastic scraper is the way to go. Xylol or acetone to clean your surface and you are good to go"

Good luck, apparently, it's not an easy job!
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Old 04-02-2010, 09:26 AM   #6
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Dave,
It finally got warm enough here in Michigan for me to tackle my sealing needs. I decided to go with the silkaflex 221 after all the reviews I read. Still have not used any though so don't know if I made the right decisions.

This evening I started removing the old Sealer "Vulkem" with a heat gun and a wood paint stick. It difinetly helps to remove but gets smeary.

Any suggestions to remove the old sealer? I will let you know what I think about the silkaflex in the next couple of days. Suppose to be above 60 degrees here for the next few days.

Thanks
Larry

I just bought a tube of the 221 stuff too and am looking forward to your thoughts on how it worked out for you.
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Old 04-02-2010, 09:38 AM   #7
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1974 27' Overlander
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Thanks, everyone...

Seems like a fairly even split between Vulkem and Sikaflex, so I'm going with the Sikaflex for the reasons mentioned in my original post.

Mike, Twisp is in North Central Washington. It's in a mountain valley on the East slopes of the Cascades, about 90 miles north of Wenatchee, the closest large city. If you were stationed at Whidby Island, you'd have gone to the north end of the island, picked up Hwy. 20 at Anacortes, and just keep heading east. Beautiful country, and not too crowded, the population of Twisp is only about 1000. And my wife swears I know at least 3/4 of those :-).

Yeah, Larry, heat gun and scraper for the bulk of it, and lacquer thinner and elbow grease for the rest.

Hey, that brings up another question. Any comfortable way to work on the roof of these things? Mine only seems to have solid cross ribs about every 4' or so, and I'm nervous about putting weight anywhere else. This requires some awkward contortions for this aging and no longer svelte body :-). Unfortunately, I can't reach everything from a ladder, and have no room for setting up a scaffold. How do the rest of you do it, or are you all thirty something (NOT!) ;-)? Later.

Dave
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Old 04-02-2010, 09:55 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by daved20319 View Post
Hey, that brings up another question. Any comfortable way to work on the roof of these things? Mine only seems to have solid cross ribs about every 4' or so, and I'm nervous about putting weight anywhere else. This requires some awkward contortions for this aging and no longer svelte body :-). Unfortunately, I can't reach everything from a ladder, and have no room for setting up a scaffold. How do the rest of you do it, or are you all thirty something (NOT!) ;-)? Later.

Dave
How's this? It works!



You do have to have room though...or a friend that does ~

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Old 04-02-2010, 11:42 AM   #9
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When I do work on the roof, I use a 5ft piece of plywood to help distribute weight. I'm careful to place my knees on a rib at all times.

I'm familiar with that area. I lived in Bellingham when I was stationed at Whidbey. We did some camping at Ross Lake and some boondocking in Winthrop. Beautiful country. I sure miss it.
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Old 04-03-2010, 10:05 AM   #10
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1974 27' Overlander
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Thanks again, people...

Shari, that pic of yours got the brain working again, although I can't get around my trailer with a ladder at the moment, your pic triggered an idea that will let me run planks over the top. My knees and back are thanking you already :-).

Mike, you're right, this is beautiful country, and if you'd ever like to see it again, I've got room for you to park your rig, and welcome. Of course, you'd have to at least tolerate the sound of roosters crowing at unpredictable times :-). I have 4, a neighbor has 1, and sometimes they have crowing contests, just because they're roosters, I guess. Of course, I almost always have lots of fresh eggs on hand, so I've long since learned to love the sound. Later.

Dave
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Old 04-03-2010, 10:22 AM   #11
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We used carb cleaner and elbow grease to remove vulkem and other assorted things (works REALLY good on window sealing gunk).

Kay
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Old 04-03-2010, 08:27 PM   #12
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Acetone works great to remove old vulcum (nail polish remover). And I didn't like the sikaflex because it was so stringy. The vulkem went on easily and when you had to use your finger to clean it up, it may have spread but it didn't pull away like bubble gum. And as far as I can tell the acetone did not damage my rig.
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Old 04-03-2010, 08:42 PM   #13
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Spent all day yesterday sealing a few windows removing the awning track and reinstalling and sealing. The sika flex worked great it wasn't stringy and was just the right conistency. Keep in mind that the Sika flex has a one year shelf life. I bought mine from Ellsworth Adhesive online, it came with a paper saying it still has 331 days of shelf life left.

Good news had some rain today and the leak I was hunting is gone.

P.S. I had better luck with a wood paint stick than the plastic putty knife. The plastic knife got to hot and started to melt.
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