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Old 06-10-2010, 02:20 AM   #1
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1975 31' Excella 500
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Resealing all seams?

I picked up my AS today, woo! It was a bit of a downpour and it turns out that there are a few drips inside
It's not really been maintained well and I can see that the sealant around the windows and seams is cracking if it's there at all. I'm thinking I'd better go ahead and reseal everything before I take it west to the really rainy areas. Is there any reason this isnt a good idea? Obviously I'd clean the old crumbly bits out and wash it so it was a clean surface. The guy at the AS mobile park told me to use something called Quad. I need any suggestions as I'll be living in this full time!
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Old 06-10-2010, 05:59 AM   #2
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Check out Vintage Trailer Supply online...they have all the sealants and caulks you need that are appropriate for vintage airstreams. All airstreams leak! Don't worry!
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Old 06-10-2010, 06:21 AM   #3
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Just where were the drips you noticed?
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Old 06-10-2010, 06:32 AM   #4
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I used Silaflex, which was suggested by the dealer, which I bought, used, did a great job, no leaks where they were before caulking. The only trouble with Silaflex it IS very messy to work with. I have worked with all kinds of caulking, by far this is tough stuff. Delutes with mineral spirits. When it seals it seals and is very flexable. I recommend it (wear gloves!).
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Old 06-10-2010, 07:34 AM   #5
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I use Vulkem to seal up my vents and windows. It's messy but less messy than Silkaflex. A few application tips can be found on my blog. Your windows can probably use new rubber gasket seals, too. Old, cracked seals can also leak. You can buy the gaskets at Vintage Trailer Supply or Inland RV. I would definately seal up your new baby before getting up to Washington State. Leaks will destroy the floor in your trailer.
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Old 06-10-2010, 07:34 AM   #6
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Tremco brand Tempro 635 is the old "vulkem". VTS has it but you can also get it at a local Fastenal store. It too is messy. Tip on sealing seams, run masking tape on either side of the seam leaving a small gap, apply the Tempro into the gap and smooth with you finger. Go both ways when you run your finger over the seam to ensure the sealer is forced into all possible voids. Then as soon as you wipe your hands off, remove the tape. Don't let the sealer get hard before you remove the tape as it will leave a little ridge. Also by forcing the sealer in with your finger you wipe off most of the excess and have a neat clean looking seam. My 68 leaked like a sieve. I tried several "techniques" to apply sealer but the method described worked best for me and looks best.

Finally, when you remove the masking tape it will have sealer on it. Wear cloths you don't mind getting messed up because you will get the stuff on your clothes no matter how hard you try not to.
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:10 AM   #7
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Even on my '06 there are gaps in the caulk edges where I feel there is a good seal underneath. You could go through the big investment of time and materials and still have leaks. Why not find somebody local who does Sealtech checks -- I'd certainly recommend soldiermedic if you were near St. Louis. That could save a lot of time doing what may be unnecessary caulking and point you exactly to areas that need your attention. I'm not sure I'd be happy with an SOB RV place claiming they can work on an Airstream. I'd ask to be present during the test and probably would want to do the sealing myself anyway.

The main caulk they use at the factory now is gray Sikaflex 221. I like it because it skins over nicely in half a day. Acryl-R is a thin liquid sealer that is used for skin laps.

Applying some 2air' search secrets...
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f456...tle-59104.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f456...aks-56283.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f456...ply-32894.html

You could go through the big investment of time and materials and still have leaks. Why not
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:38 AM   #8
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It's not been mentioned here -- we're giving you credit in advance for knowing that you cannot use silicone caulk on aluminum.
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:24 AM   #9
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Honey it's wetter inside than outside, I know, open the door to let some water out.

Since you will be full timing I suggest redoing every seam and the windows. There is nothing more troublesome then being somewhere in a 5 day long rain spell wishing you did. This happened to me just after I thought, I really need to do some caulking, oops to late. Here is a great video working on an airstream window.

YouTube - Airstream Restore DIY 07-2 Windows
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Old 06-10-2010, 12:11 PM   #10
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Quad polyurethane

Congrats on your Airstream!

When I bought mine I was told it didn't leak, and I am still chasing down the last two leaks. I hesitated when people suggested I caulk all the seams for unknown reasons, and now I wish I just went ahead and did it. You should caulk everything you can see. They're right, the water will destroy your floors and your home will smell like fungus out here in the PacNW.

The people on this site are brand loyal to Vulkem and indicate that Vintage Trailer Supply and Inland RV are places to get them. I also found Vulkem at Home Depot, available by the carton if you want to go nuts. It's about $5/sausage tube.

I opted for Quad instead as everyone there indicated it was generally accepted as a higher grade material than Vulkem. I'm a little dubious about all this since Vulkem says it's 100% polyurethane and Quad says it's 100% polyurethane. Can someone point out how they could be different?

The Quad stuff works fine, I went with the clear. I like it better than the grey. It's water-proof when dry (go figure!). My only tip is that while it skins over quickly, the Quad takes a full day to dry, and here in Oregon this spring, we haven't gone 24 hours without a sprinkle in well over a month, so a faster-drying option would have been nice.

I will continue to do the rest of the Airstream with the Quad and I will employ 68TWind's technique to keep things clean on the outside. That's a slick little trick. You might want a face-mask, polyurethane is raunchy and gives me a headache. The vapors just linger.

Good luck. You hands will soon have a steel-grip!
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