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Old 09-19-2020, 10:51 AM   #1
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VHB or Threaded Fasteners Mount Solar Panels?

On my 2013 FB I had for solar panels installed by a.m. solar they used 3M VHB tape and no threaded fasteners on the original installation. They commented that using threaded fasteners was unnecessary and only encouraged leaks into the coach.

My coach is in the shop getting a roof reseal after seven years and the airstream dealership in Seattle wants to use screws two more tightly mount the brackets.

Does anyone prefer one method over the other? What is the correct method for installing these solar panels. I would tend to trust the solar panel installation company over the Airstream repair shop but I am not sure that is correct.
Does anyone prefer one method over the other? What is the correct method for installing these solar panels. I would tend to trust the solar panel insulation company over the airstream repair shop but I am not sure that is correct.
Any insight anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-19-2020, 11:54 AM   #2
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VHB or Threaded Fasteners Mount Solar Panels?

VHB for me, no problems. AM solar, GMFL, Lew Farber, etc know best.

Is your airstream dealer going to tear out the interior of your coach to find the water source on the roof when leaks start? I think not...
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Old 09-19-2020, 12:18 PM   #3
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VHB with an overlay of polyurethane has held fine for 4 or 5 years. No screws for me.
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Old 09-19-2020, 02:03 PM   #4
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Vhb is good. Dont your any screws
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Old 09-19-2020, 02:29 PM   #5
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These are the photos they sent me to prove I need screws. I don’t see the proof. How should the surface be cleaned and prepared? Do the mounts get prepared the same way? Why polyurethane? Why not just the roof sealant on top of the mounts and around the VHB?

Thank you all for the help. It’s been in the shop for months and their really backed up. What to get her out quick! Thank you.
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Old 09-19-2020, 03:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PapaPepper View Post
These are the photos they sent me to prove I need screws. I don’t see the proof. How should the surface be cleaned and prepared? Do the mounts get prepared the same way? Why polyurethane? Why not just the roof sealant on top of the mounts and around the VHB?


Silkaflex 221 to coat / seal back after everything has been cleaned and new VHB tape applied. Silkaflex has higher adhesion properties as compared to a sealant like Dicor.
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Old 09-19-2020, 03:51 PM   #7
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Need to clean first
Dry
Use VHB tape
Then use the white tape over the mount to keep vhb dry
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Old 09-19-2020, 04:55 PM   #8
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first it looks like the mount got ripped out not by wind but by something else.. not sure how old this installation is but I would make sure AM solar has access to the pictures as well.

clean up the area and remount the goot.. VHB tape and 221 on and around and king kong will have problems pulling that foot off..

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Silkaflex 221 to coat / seal back after everything has been cleaned and new VHB tape applied. Silkaflex has higher adhesion properties as compared to a sealant like Dicor.
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Old 09-19-2020, 06:44 PM   #9
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No screws! VBH and Sikaflex!
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Old 09-20-2020, 09:42 AM   #10
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Installation was Spring 2015 I believe.
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Old 09-20-2020, 09:44 AM   #11
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What should be used to clean and prepare the surface? Denatured Alcohol? Acetone?
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Old 09-20-2020, 10:08 AM   #12
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VHB or Threaded Fasteners Mount Solar Panels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PapaPepper;
What should be used to clean and prepare the surface? Denatured Alcohol? Acetone?


Mineral spirits I would think.
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Old 09-20-2020, 10:16 AM   #13
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I used carburetor cleaner. No alcohol!
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Old 09-20-2020, 12:49 PM   #14
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I recently mounted solar panels to my Avion truck camper, which is basically the same situation - aluminum roof that is slightly rounded. I used Rivnuts because I paired the panels together to make one large one. I'm not worried about them leaking. The Rivnuts are sealed in the hole, the base of the bracket is set in Trempro 635 and the bolt, also coated in Trempro, holds the base tight to the trailer. Probably not necessary, but I feel better doing it this way rather than relying on adhesive alone since each panel is now about 42" x 42".
I did this to make it easier to tilt, since now I don't have to reach to the middle of the camper to loosen or undo knobs. It's also easier to check the attachments as they are near the "edges" of the roof.
Not looking for an argument about which is better, I'm just offering this as an alternative for anyone who doesn't feel comfortable with adhesive only. I'm happy with the way this turned out.
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Old 09-20-2020, 01:58 PM   #15
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I agree: VHB

I think the current AM Solar videos suggest alcohol as a solvent for VHB.

Plastic razor blades work well for removing Sikaflex and the like without damaging the aluminum.

Search for "plastic razor blades" on Amazon.
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Old 09-20-2020, 03:06 PM   #16
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Thank you for the perspective. All input welcome and greatly appreciated.

Many options allow for a logical filtering to an optimal solution to each persons unique situation.
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Old 09-20-2020, 07:31 PM   #17
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VHB or Threaded Fasteners Mount Solar Panels?

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Originally Posted by BillfromWI View Post
I agree: VHB

I think the current AM Solar videos suggest alcohol as a solvent for VHB.

Plastic razor blades work well for removing Sikaflex and the like without damaging the aluminum.

Search for "plastic razor blades" on Amazon.


You can’t use alcohol with Sikaflex.
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Old 09-20-2020, 08:20 PM   #18
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To the OP. the installation should be fine. Like the others, I didn’t use screws. I thought about rivnuts & screws but decided against it. However I check the panel security before each outing when i clean glass.
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Old 09-21-2020, 07:21 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PapaPepper View Post
What should be used to clean and prepare the surface? Denatured Alcohol? Acetone?
An good cleaner, then alcohol. Acetone will probably removed the paint. I would use 3M adhesive promoter and 4941 VHB. I have used Sikaflex to bury the mount, but have recently successfully used Alpha self leveling. Also, I would like to point out that bracket that pulled off in the photo, should have been shaped to fit and or turned 90 degrees and would done much better. I actually bent mounting feet until I get full contact.
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Old 09-22-2020, 04:47 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Fair_Enough View Post
An good cleaner, then alcohol. Acetone will probably removed the paint. I would use 3M adhesive promoter and 4941 VHB. I have used Sikaflex to bury the mount, but have recently successfully used Alpha self leveling. Also, I would like to point out that bracket that pulled off in the photo, should have been shaped to fit and or turned 90 degrees and would done much better. I actually bent mounting feet until I get full contact.

FE


Do not use alcohol or a solution containing alcohol if you plan to cover the mount with Sikaflex. See note from Sikaflex:

“Alcohol containing or alcohol releasing products will impair the polyurethane from curing. ... The optimum application temperature for Sikaflex (polyurethanes and silane terminated polymers) and the substrates is between 15 °C and 25 °C. Do not apply these products at temperatures below 5 °C and above 40 °C.”
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