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Old 07-16-2008, 10:19 AM   #1
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Resealing and recaulking - before or after stripping?

All--

Just got the 75 Safari 23ft and it's a silicon-ball. There doesn't seem to be any current leaks but that is due to a serveral tubes of Silicon sealer globbed around the front windows.

Since is it a 1975... so the clear coat is failing also.

Now the question, do I just de-silicon everything and then recaulk the seams with vulkem and reseal all the windows... and then strip it? Or Strip it, give it the poor man's "clean-up" polish using Diamond Brite truck box polish and then recaulk all the seams? I'm just trying to get the outside "clean" and watertight so I can do the interior this winter.

I plan to use Nu-finish to protect if over the winter and I'd go for the a more "professional" polish next year... but the working summer is oregon is short... unlike our friends to the south.

I'm probably going to use Removall to strip the clearcoat, but having problems finding it locally.
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Old 07-16-2008, 12:41 PM   #2
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Polishing is the least of this Airstreamers worries, but this short summer person used a Dremel tool and a 3/4" diameter 1/8" width stainless steel wire wheel wheel to clean the exterior shell seams & window / door opening frames & vents, etc. --- then used Alcoa gutter seal in an extreme thin stripe to seal everything. I'll worry about what happens to it during polishing when and if that happens. If you do use the Alcoa seal it is instant so no touch ups or second coats until dry, and can extrude bubbles so keep tube upright a day or so beforehand, and choose a cool overcast day to apply it...

Hope you get better information, that's just the way I did it... Good luck!!
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Old 07-16-2008, 12:44 PM   #3
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We removed the %#$@*! silicone using silicone remover, gasket remover and wooden popsicle sticks sharpened to get it the grooves. Then stripped what was left of the clearcoat. Resealed all the seams with Vulkem, Sikaflex, Parabond &/or Trempro. Then polished last...polishing is icing on the cake - getting it sealed is/was our number one priority.

Our reasoning was two-fold:

1) the old silicone could chunk off and get in the polish & scratch the skins &/or there's too much of it to polish close to the edges.
2) the polishing compound would cake up in the cracks where the sealer is supposed to go so it may not adhere properly or we would have to clean it all out with the popsicle sticks again before sealing

Seems to have worked well on our first restoration ('64 GT) we are now doing the same on our '56 Safari...albeit skipping the clearcoat step, it never had any.

If it's not sealed - what's the point of everything else? The "bling" won't matter if the wood rot continues and/or it's not dry & useable inside ~

Shari
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Old 07-16-2008, 03:54 PM   #4
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A little sealing tip

What Shari said.........very good advice. Get the whole coach sealed up good and tight.

One time Lynn opened her closet to find some of her clothes damp. I traced the leak to the roof where water system vent exits. Water was coming in under the rubber seal, running down the outside of the vent pipe, which runs up through the closet.

We were on the road, and I didn' have any of the good stuff with me. I knew that I didn't want to use silicone for anything. Went to an Auto Parts store and found a small tube of Auto Windshield Sealer. It is clear, and somewhat runny. I applied that under, and then around the rubber seal. Dried clear, pliable, and invisible. That was four years, and several polish jobs ago.
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Old 07-16-2008, 04:50 PM   #5
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I agree with Shari too. I had some really funky silicone on my '86 Sovereign when I got it. Lots of picking (with dental picks!) and scraping later & it's all off. Recaulked with Vulkem last summer & this summer's project has so far been stripping & light polishing. Here are some before/after of the rear window:
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Old 07-16-2008, 06:51 PM   #6
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OK... so in summary.

1. De-silicone it.
2. Strip it of remaining clear coat
3. Remove any old caulking
4. Recaulk with vulkem and sikaflex
5. Polish it, if I got time before fall's bad weather

Correct?
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Old 07-16-2008, 08:23 PM   #7
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Thumbs up Yup...you got it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ronstory View Post
OK... so in summary.

1. De-silicone it.
2. Strip it of remaining clear coat
3. Remove any old caulking
4. Recaulk with vulkem and sikaflex
5. Polish it, if I got time before fall's bad weather

Correct?
Have fun ~

Shari
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Old 07-16-2008, 09:07 PM   #8
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Sorry, those were the before, this is the after.
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Old 07-17-2008, 07:37 AM   #9
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Hey, it was all the small seams that got Alcoa seal... there is no substitute for Vulkem on all the wider and horizontal roof joints, my bad for overlooking (too obvious?) and failing to clarify since I was so intent on praising the thin Alcoa sealer that does wick into minute gaps... The thin sheet metal overlaps and paper-thin window frame edges and mitered frame joints got Alcoa sealed... Vulkem everywhere else
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Old 07-21-2008, 01:55 AM   #10
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I'm really starting to hate silicone. I finally just removed one of the upper trim pieces on the streetside by drilling out the rivets to get at the silicon. It is one globby mess.

The good new is the PO seem to have been short (as in not tall) so the silicone only goes up to the side of the windows... but not the top. The one expection is the back window where the PO could stand on the bumper and get higher on the window and read cap. It's not the bumper's fault.

Note to self... buy airstreams from short people. ;^)
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