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Old 06-05-2009, 04:58 PM   #1
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Silicone ok for quick fix?

I had this at the end of another thread but I don't know how to move the post...sorry for posting the same question twice...

We've got leaks in most of the Vista View windows on our 1974 Sovereign. Planning to polish the exterior within the year and also replace the tint (removing windows as necessary). Would clear silicone caulk work ok for a quick fix? We just want to stop the leaking for now and do the windows properly when we get to them. Seems like clear silicone would plug the leaks but then be pretty easy to peel off when we're ready.

Thoughts?
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Old 06-05-2009, 05:03 PM   #2
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NO NO NO,silicone is about useless on alum.,use Vulcum.or something like that,I`m having a brain lockup. Dave
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Old 06-05-2009, 05:19 PM   #3
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Becky,
Problem with silicone is that it will leave a residue that is almost impossible to remove and will keep any other type of sealant from sticking to it. Are the leaks at the frame and shell or frame and glass? If they are at the frame and shell I have used aluminum tape (available at your local home improvement/hardware center in the HVAC area) to seal a small to medium sized leak. Not very pretty but does the job and can be easily removed. Vulkem 636 or Sikaflex 721-UV are the caulks of choice. Airstream used to use Vulkem but switched to Sikaflex a while back.

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Old 06-05-2009, 06:00 PM   #4
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Silicone works too well and not well enough all at the same time. Too well - you can't get it off later. Not well enough - for unpredictable reasons certain areas of a silicone seal on aluminum never adhere and you still have the leak. Think I've heard it blamed on the tendency of any exposed aluminum to develop an oxide layer immediately. Blame our blue marble...

I had a friend who had a Cadillac boat (yes, that Cadillac) and he recaulked it about 3 times before he recycled it. I didn't know and couldn't tell him at the time that the leaks he kept experiencing were the result of his caulk and not the ill-fated boat.
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Old 06-05-2009, 06:32 PM   #5
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One of the problems with silicone (RTV) is that it contains acetic acid, which will corrode aluminum.
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Old 06-05-2009, 07:30 PM   #6
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What about the GE stuff?

What about the stuff that GE makes that is supposedly formulated just to work with aluminum? They claim it's good for 50 years.
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Old 06-05-2009, 07:41 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by JimGolden View Post
What about the stuff that GE makes that is supposedly formulated just to work with aluminum? They claim it's good for 50 years.
I still won't use it. If it fails you have an unholy mess to clean off. FWIW Airstream at one time tried silicone and promptly went back to the Vulkem. IIRC it was around 1974.

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Old 06-05-2009, 08:05 PM   #8
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I've used the aluminum stuff for gutters and it works well, and is the right color...
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:53 AM   #9
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I've only used silicone in one place, and I got that tip from the Avion forums (oddly enough I currently have an Avion trailer ); that place was under the giant rubber/foam gasket for the new a/c.

I'd replaced the gasket on the old a/c and it would still leak in a driving storm. One of the old timers on the Avion forums said that when he got his a/c replaced in the 80's, the dealer squirted some type of stuff around the bottom of the gasket where it touched down on the aluminum skin. He asked about it, and the guy told him it was factory procedure to do that. Said they never leaked that way. Otherwise, they'd tend to leak as the gasket got older.

Well, I had had the same thing happen to me when I changed the gasket and didn't add the goop. So when I just installed my new Carrier AirV, I shot some of that GE aluminum silicone around the bottom of the rubber gasket and tightened her down. We've had some strong sideways rain strorms of late and not a drop came in. But I guess time will tell.

On the roof seams, I used aluminum Kool Seal. That's what the SilverAvion guru's recommend (Dr. Gradeless is the Inland Andy of Avions and Dr. G says to use nothing but aluminum Kool Seal on the roof seams...) and she's been dry as a bone.

But under the a/c gasket is the only place I've ever used silicone.

Best of luck,
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Old 06-06-2009, 03:00 PM   #10
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I used silicon on my AS many, many years ago... It worked just fine (applied over clearcoat) and lasted for many years. Recently, in a effort to chase down leaks, I removed much of the silicon and re-applied Vulkem in its place. It is difficult to remove, but what you can't get off by peeling, you can get off with paint thinner
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Old 06-06-2009, 04:11 PM   #11
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I have used clear latex caulk for a temp. fix. over a window frame and removed this spring with no problem and replaced with vulcem. Robert
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Old 06-06-2009, 04:46 PM   #12
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I carry some butyl tape in case I spring a leak. Certainly it's temporary, but it works and comes off easily.
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Old 06-24-2009, 08:20 AM   #13
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where does one get vulkem of sikaflex?
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Old 06-24-2009, 08:43 AM   #14
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Parbond is really nice for small seams and around window frames.

Parbond and vulkem can both be purchased from InlandRV (CA) or Vintage Trailer Supply (somewhere on East coast)
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