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Old 03-01-2005, 06:35 AM   #1
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Cracked Interior Endcap

The interior plastic endcap on our '76 Safari has a few very noticeable cracks and we're looking for ideas for replacing the entire piece. Other threads suggest that for our year model the factory replacement part isn't available. The plastic is also very discolored so we'd like to do something to improve the appearance rather than a simple (or not so simple) crack repair. Has anyone replaced there 70s AS interior plastic with something other than what was original? What did you use? Can anyone tell me what's underneath the endcap once it's removed?

We're trying to think outside the box on this but we're coming up blank so far. Any ideas would be appreciated.

-Jamie
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Old 03-01-2005, 06:51 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougjamie
......We're trying to think outside the box on this but we're coming up blank so far. Any ideas would be appreciated.
First - stop drill the end point of any cracks to prevent them from propagating.

Jamie:

I had a severe crack on the bottom of the shelf of the '78 Sovereign - just under the right tambour door as per your photograph.

The plastic (or ABS) is about 3/32" thick - what I did was to cut a piece of 3/4" Western Cedar (or any light easily workable and tough wood that takes screws readily without splitting) and secured it behind the crack. You may need to place several individual wooden backer pieces since your crack is in a compound curve.

I drilled and countersunk screws about 1" apart along either side of the crack, "bondoed" and sanded the entire area.

Since my endcaps had taken on a 1950's "pink" highlight, the plan from the getgo was to change the color of the endcaps.

I taped off the areas with 3-M 2" painters tape (brand dedication is important here - for some reason the 3-M (Blue) brand is far superior to any other I have tried) and sprayed on a light coat of "Krylon" Fusion as a primer (dries real quick - like 15 minutes or so) - the Krylon did not require the plastic to be sanded - just clean.

I then hit the primer with a heavy coat of Rustoleum Epoxy Appliance paint (I used a beige color).

I completed the whole thing - brought the crack together with the wood backer, bondo, primer, and cover coat - Sunday afternoon.

I used two colors of Krylon Fusion to "try" the colors - bright white and off white - neither "caught my eye" as well as the Beige Rustoleum. I really had planned to go with a bright white on the endcaps, but it just did not look "right".

We had excellent drying conditions all day Sunday and Monday, but when I checked the interior Monday evening the off-gas odor was still pretty intense. Be sure to use some kind of breathing protection.

The endcap repair and repaint was cheap, went on easy, it looks good, and it should last a long time.

Cheap, easy, looks good, lasts a long time......sounds like a relationship.
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Old 03-01-2005, 08:18 AM   #3
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Dennis -- Any chance you could post a picture of your finished job? I'd like to see how it turned out.

I don't know if you can see it in my picture, but there's a crack in the corner by the left tambour door that I'm not sure what to do with. I'd like to just take this whole end out and do it over with something that's a better material than the plastic. Aluminum seems to be the material of choice, but I'd like a warmer look.
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Old 03-01-2005, 08:34 AM   #4
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The end caps are structural, although somewhat minimally. Back in the dim and distant past they were made up of segmented aluminum. This can be done, of course, but would be tedious. For a few years they were made of fiberglass, then came the abs plastic.

Here is a thread on how I repaired mine: http://www.airforums.com/forum...hlight=end+cap

There is a photo as well. Not a great one, but it is hard to get them to show up well in a photo.

In reviewing that post I see I failed to note one significant portion of my repairs: I used scrap pieces of abs to reinforce the back side of the cracked areas before patching and painting. I simply solvent welded them with abs plumbing cement.

I also had a bad crack in one of the corners of the bins. Again, I patched it from behind before painting, then reinstalled the bins VERY carefrully.

Mark
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Old 03-01-2005, 08:54 AM   #5
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Nice job!

Mark -- You're new encap looks really nice. I have been, and still am, in denial over applying paint to the interior plastic. I keep thinking there's gotta be a better way. In my dreams, I imagine a product that lays over the old end cap like a sheet of plastic and is shrinkwrapped on with heat leaving a clean smooth surface and reinforcing the cracked panel. Hey, I can dream can't I? :-)
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Old 03-01-2005, 07:20 PM   #6
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My end cap

dougjamie.

Just got my end cap back in after removing it to do repairs. I removed it to modify other issues but would not recommend it. Just to let you know I got two new cracks putting it back in LOL. Such is life. Used SEM paint "super white" which blended well and I used Bulldog primer.
Use "87MH's" method or other methods on this site, but please use a good respirator. Any paint that will stick to ABS plastic will kill a lab rat at 50 feet.
By the way my cracks were in the same place.
Good luck.

Greg
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Old 03-01-2005, 07:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougjamie
Dennis -- Any chance you could post a picture of your finished job? I'd like to see how it turned out....
First pic is the original interior and cap prior to demolition - if you look closely you can see the "crack" just below the right hand tambour about 1/4 of the way to the center. The crack is actually a split starting under the tambour and continuing all of the way to the window.

Second pic is after painting - still have not removed the masking tape. The tambour looks a little "pink" in the picture - but not in real life - The darker "slats" of the tambour have a bit of red in them, and I think the camera is picking up a pinkish hue in that area.

Third pic is a close up of damaged area after repair and painting - if you did not know it was damaged you could not pick it out - of course, it may crack again on the first trip.
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Old 03-01-2005, 09:06 PM   #8
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Greg -- So what exactly is underneath that plastic? Insulation? Ribs? Anything? Thanks for the warning on the paint fumes. Do they linger after the paint is thoroughly dry?

Dennis -- I have to admit that the paint finish looks nice. Thanks for sharing your pics. It helps a lot when sorting through the options to see someone else's results.
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Old 03-02-2005, 10:14 PM   #9
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Nice to know that if mine cracks that someone has found an easier alternative to tearing it out and patching it up.
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Old 03-03-2005, 08:23 PM   #10
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Under the cap

Under the cap is lots of old insulation the "thermo probe" wire, the rivets and screws that secure all outside stuff in that area plus the wireing to the front speakers. Airstream letters and clearance lights. I had a lot of leaks in this area from the windows and the letters.
As I said, its better to cure the leaks from the outside " since thats where the water" comes from LOL.
A good fan out the door "down wind" will take care of the fumes and over spray, only time will take care of the chemical release. A week or so opened up.
Regards all Greg
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