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Old 04-19-2020, 06:04 PM   #1
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1993 34' Excella
Barry's Bay , ON
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Unhappy Acetic acid in silicone sealant damage?

Iíve found a couple new leaks in our airstream where the old sealant has given away. Iíve also read that silicone sealants that contain acetic acid can cause some damage to aluminum, at least etching it somehow for a stronger grip.

But it turns out all I have is silicone sealant with acetic acid in it and I may not be able to get anything else anytime soon.

Has anyone witnessed damage done by this type of sealant or is it just a huge pain to take off when the time comes?

Iím trying to weigh the pros and cons of water damage during the spring rains weíre getting in Ontario vs what acetic acid may or may not do.
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Old 04-19-2020, 06:19 PM   #2
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Damage...yes.

HD packaging tape or Gorilla tape until the weather improves.
Tip...leave a corner folded under to gain purchase when you need to remove.🤔

Brakleen works well to get the sticky off.

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Old 04-19-2020, 06:34 PM   #3
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I wouldn't use silicone on any exterior seam. Not only doesn't it hold up well outdoors, but when it fails, it's almost impossible to remove completely, and--here's the killer--nothing will stick to a silicone-contaminated surface... not even silicone itself. You have to grind down to the bare metal before you can re-seal.

(Ironically, Airstream appears to have used silicone sealant extensively on my 2017 International 27FB. Makes me cringe when I think about it.)

As for the acetic acid question, I'm reminded of something that happened to me back in the Seventies. My car's left outside rear view mirror was knocked by a passing car and the glass broken. I cut new glass to fit, and reinstalled it using black Permatex silicone sealant. It looked perfect, and I was proud of myself... for about three days. Then I noticed weird streaks in the mirror. They got worse and worse over the next week. The acetic acid vapor from the sealant had eaten the silvering right off the glass! The mirror was ruined, and I had to do the job over using a different sealant.

I second Bob's advice: cover the leaks with tape until you can get a non-silicone sealant. I recommend 3M no-residue duct tape. Many large hardware stores (Home Depot and the like) carry it.
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Old 04-19-2020, 06:46 PM   #4
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FYI "silicone damage acetic acid" mentions on AirForums:

https://www.google.com/search?q=sili...&bih=728&dpr=2


FYI
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Old 04-19-2020, 09:27 PM   #5
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I use an industrial product made by Bostik, called Simson ISR 70-03. It is avaulable in grey or white. This product is used as an adhesive sealant in bus manufacturing. I have used it for several years with very good results. I was shown this product by a industrial supplier in Winnipeg that also sells Tempro products. They suggested that this was a superior product to use in our application. It sell about $15 per tube.
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Old 04-20-2020, 09:26 AM   #6
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Hi

Acetic acid damage is a real thing. It also applies to using silicone adhesives in electronics. You *do* want to use the right stuff.

Bob
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Old 04-20-2020, 09:35 AM   #7
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I echo that. Never use silicone on your Airstream, inside or outside.
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Old 04-20-2020, 09:45 AM   #8
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Does Sikaflex 221 have silicone in it? Can’t see it anywhere on the label.
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Old 04-20-2020, 09:48 AM   #9
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silicone? NNN-OOOO never use it, never on you AS If you can't get to a store to buy the correct sealent I would do like Bob suggests as a temporary fix.
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Old 04-20-2020, 09:53 AM   #10
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Contact Out-of-Doors Mart in Colfax, NC. They have what AS recommends we use. I ordered and resealed my 30' Excella.
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Old 04-20-2020, 10:44 AM   #11
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If the silicon smells like vinegar, it has acetic acid in it. The acetic acid is a curing agent for the silicon, which is why it sets up quickly.

Ford does not recommend using silicon with acetic acid on any of their vehicles with aluminum body parts (F-150, Superduty, etc).

In the past I was able to find a GE product, Silicon 2, which was acid free. But it isn't available at Lowe's in our area.

You might try looking for this product: Dow 737 neutral cure RTV sealant, which is acid free but will take longer to set up. I've used neutral cure RTV (no acetic acid) on several aluminum bodied Fords (screwing in tiedowns) and have not had an issue with corrosion from acid. The neutral silicon seals as well, if not better, than the silicon with acid and there is no real odor.
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Old 04-20-2020, 11:20 AM   #12
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Sikaflex is, I believe, a urethane product and does not contain acetic acid. Check the label or search the MSDS on the web
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Old 04-20-2020, 11:27 AM   #13
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Silicone is not a good sealer on Al with or without the acetic acid. It does not stick well. Order a sealant from Outdoors mart or Amazon. You will get it in a few days.
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Old 04-20-2020, 11:48 AM   #14
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Parbond. Available from Vintage trailer supply. Just fixed a major leak next to my door with it.
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Old 04-20-2020, 11:59 AM   #15
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While duct tape is a fix-all, the downside is that it can be difficult to remove, leaving residue. An alternative is gaffers tape, which has most all of the properties of duct tape, but can be removed without fear of damaging the surface. It does cost a bit more, but is readily available on Amazon.
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Old 04-20-2020, 12:57 PM   #16
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You need it use the correct sealant on aluminum or you will cause Crevice corrosion. Google aluminum sealant and corrosion, there is a lot of good information out there. The wrong sealant will cause it to leak in the long run.
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Old 04-20-2020, 01:16 PM   #17
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Barry's Bay , ON
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
FYI "silicone damage acetic acid" mentions on AirForums:

https://www.google.com/search?q=sili...&bih=728&dpr=2


FYI

Thanks for the link there. I've read through those threads but couldn't get a clear understanding of whether the acetic based silicone just causes future repair jobs to be much more difficult or actually does any lasting damage to the trailer.

Anyway, I'll be staying away from it at all costs now.
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Old 04-20-2020, 01:19 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
While duct tape is a fix-all, the downside is that it can be difficult to remove, leaving residue. An alternative is gaffers tape, which has most all of the properties of duct tape, but can be removed without fear of damaging the surface. It does cost a bit more, but is readily available on Amazon.
I wish anything was readily available on Amazon right now. In Canada, they've stopped delivering anything they deem "non-essential" (which includes food somehow) and delivery estimates are currently at 6 weeks.
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Old 04-20-2020, 02:54 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xyzabe View Post

In the past I was able to find a GE product, Silicon 2, which was acid free. But it isn't available at Lowe's in our area.
Talked to the folks in the technical department at GE and they confirm that Silicon 2, which is acid free does no harm to aluminum. That may explain why AS makes use of silicon in its latest models. But I would only use it if I can't get Sikaflex or the equivalent and I am in a bind.
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Old 04-20-2020, 03:01 PM   #20
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Wax proved to be a good temporary fix

While camped in the northern Rockies in Canada in 1996, we had leaks in a couple of windows. I had high quality carnauba wax (Mothers) on hand so that completely stopped the leaks, water flows right over it. Be careful to only wax the sealant and its edges.

That was 20 years ago, I reapply every spring thinking I'm going to remove the old sealant some day.
I'm now thinking the kids are going to inherit it with a can of wax and instructions.
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