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Old 06-12-2015, 03:17 PM   #1
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1963 26' Overlander
Dallas , Texas
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Sealant Removal

I'm in the middle of replacing a "window" made by the PO. Basically a house window with wood around the edges cut to make the house window fit into the original window frame. That plus copious amounts of some unknown sealant.

With the old window and frame out I'm fabricating a new aluminum frame and am having a pane of glass cut to fit it. The problem is all the old sealant that's globbed all over the exterior skin. It's a combination of silicone and some unknown brittle sealant with a hard sandy texture. I've considered using a non abrasive disc on it to remove it, and while I'm sure that would remove it, I think that it might also put some deep scratches into the skin. Any suggestions on how to remove the old sealant?

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Old 06-12-2015, 03:44 PM   #2
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Try heating it with a heat gun and scraping with something soft. I tried a plastic scraper and ended up with paint stirring sticks sharpened to a "knife" edge. Recently someone here said he'd used the cow hooves they sell in pet stores as a substitute for his fingernails.

Go easy with the heat gun. The heat-treated aluminum in your Airstream will soften permanently if you get it too hot. It will still be aluminum, but the heated-treated stiffness will go away.

You might also brush a little paint stripper on it and see what happens. Find a way to neutralize the stripper with water before you start--there might be an interior worth saving just inside that window.

Good luck! Old sealant can be a real pain. It took me several days to get the sealant off the top of our trailer when we removed the old air conditioner--and I wasn't caring too much about looks up there.
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Old 06-12-2015, 04:39 PM   #3
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I like the cow hoof idea. Seems like it would be stiff enough to scrape but not damage the aluminum any more than my own fingernail would. Hopefully between that, the heat, and the stripper it should do the trick. We'll see what happens tomorrow.
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Old 06-13-2015, 05:08 PM   #4
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Mimiandrews, the hoof idea worked phenomenally. I had it all scrapped off in a matter of 15-20 minutes. There's a little residue left but I'm letting some Citristrip soak on it right now and that should get it clean and ready for the new window. Thanks for the input!
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Old 07-20-2015, 09:31 AM   #5
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The aircraft mechanic approach:

LEXEIT SEALANT SCRAPER KIT from Aircraft Tool Supply
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Old 07-20-2015, 11:12 AM   #6
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After working on removing tacky, gummy old sealant that looks like a great kit for resealing windows, running lights, door frame and rub rails seams. Are they heavy duty enough to tackle the roof vents caulking?

Kelvin
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Old 07-20-2015, 12:35 PM   #7
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Yes
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Old 07-24-2015, 11:24 AM   #8
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Fonthill , Ontario
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I've had good results using these tools from 3M used in the aircraft industry. It took about 10 min. to strip the old sealants (multiple layers of different sealants) around a vista window. You can see the difference between the upper and lower window. For more details check out my thread. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...-113780-4.html
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