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Old 07-15-2015, 11:30 AM   #1
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Best Tools for Removing Caulk?

I need to try to seal a leak somewhere around my rear windows on my 2008 Classic 25fb, that is running down to the subfloor.

Since I don't know where the actual leak is coming from I'm going to shotgun the whole rear end of my Airstream. I'm going to start with the clearance lights, then the rear awning mounting bracket, then the window frames, check the license plate area, tail light housings and finally the top of the bumper rub rail.

What caulk removal tools are needed to remove caulking around these items without marking up the surrounding aluminum?

The clearance lights have some caulking that is spread out from the base. I'm thinking of a plastic scraper.

What tool for the thin joint between the rear window and the curved pano frames?

What would I use for the heavier beads of caulk on the top and bottom rear window frames.

What would you recommend for removing the top rub rail caulk seam?

Thanks for any advice.

Kelvin
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Old 07-15-2015, 11:38 AM   #2
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I use wooden blind slats trimmed to various sizes for different jobs.


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Old 07-15-2015, 12:05 PM   #3
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I use thin strips of frp cut and ground to shape I need.
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Old 07-15-2015, 12:42 PM   #4
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In replacing our bathroom vent with a Fantastic Fan, I had a lot of original Airstream caulking to replace. My fingernail worked great but didn't cover much surface area. I found, on another thread here, cow hooves! The treat for dogs. See the picture.

The hoof itself is not so good but the edge where they cut them off is GREAT!

Took about 20 minutes to clean about 99% off.
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Old 07-15-2015, 01:45 PM   #5
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The mechanical approach works best. I mask off the exposed areas adjacent to the sealant with tape so a slip by the scrapper (wood, plastic, FRP, horn) won't mar/damage the gel coat. If the PO used silicone or another product previously, use Motsenbockers Silicone, Latex, Caulk, and Foam Remover Gel to soften it before hand.
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Old 07-15-2015, 01:55 PM   #6
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I use the heat gun to soften the caulk. Makes it much easier to remove. My MH does not have clear coat so I use Aircraft Stripper to clean up all the residue. I don't think you would want to use paint stripper on a clear coated trailer. If you have a belt sander or a disc sander you can make custom scrapers any shape you want. I use cherry, oak would work well too. Pine might be too soft.
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Old 07-15-2015, 02:02 PM   #7
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I'll ask.... What is FRP?

Also, girl tool kit here, have you ever thought of using an "orange stick"? It's a nice little tool women use to manage their cuticles and clean under their fingernails. Pointed on one end and with a spade shape on the other.

Amazon.com : JOVANA 150pcs Nail Art Orange Wood Sticks Cuticle Pusher Remover Manicure Pedicure Tool 120mm : Beauty
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Old 07-15-2015, 02:08 PM   #8
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Fibre reinforced plastic....

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Old 07-15-2015, 02:59 PM   #9
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I second cow hoofs. Worked great for removing crusted on unidentified sealant on my AS.
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Old 07-15-2015, 03:22 PM   #10
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SEALANT REMOVAL TOOLS from Aircraft Spruce
http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalo...hp?recfer=8717
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Old 07-15-2015, 04:04 PM   #11
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Cow hoofs? Who would've thought. What about any of the plastic tools you can find in a home improvement store?

Not really looking to go online for this sort of thing.

How much of the original caulk to remove. On the rub rail the caulk is level with the top of the rub rail. Do I try to get most of it out before I tape it off?

Sorry, this will be my first attempt at resealing my Airstream. Don't want to screw up the adjacent aluminum.

Keep the suggestions coming.

Thanks

Kelvin
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:50 AM   #12
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Homax 2-Piece Caulking Tool Kit from Lowe's. Worked well for me removing all the caulk from the roof of our Classic 30. Which BTW, is a job I'm never doing again!
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:56 AM   #13
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I've been doing this for the last few weekend. One of the POs probably was in the caulk business and they used it liberally whenever there was a leak. Of course, they figured they didn't need to get any of the old stuff off before applying the new stuff. Every vent, antennae, up on the roof had at least a half inch of caulk. I've removed it, painfully, with paint stripper, plastic scrappers, and a plastic stripper tool from Home Depot. It works, but it is not fun.
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Old 07-16-2015, 12:16 PM   #14
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I generally use pospsicle sticks with the ends carved chisel like, or sometimes plastic spoon handles cut the same way!

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Old 07-16-2015, 12:20 PM   #15
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My main focus is on the rear window seams and the bumper rub rail. Where the curved window frame meets the rear window frame is a small seam. Do I just run a razor blade in this seam to get most of the old caulk out?

What is recommended for removing the caulk on the upper rub rail seam?

Thanks

Kelvin
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Old 07-16-2015, 04:26 PM   #16
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Be careful with any goop that removes caulk. It will likely also remove clear coat. Paint thinner does not affect clear coat but anything that softens silicone will also soften clearcoat. I used Varsol or paint thinner to soften the Sikaflex on my antenna mount on outr'89. It still involves scraping and being careful not to dig into the aluminum skin.
Use any acrylic caulk or Sikaflex to reseal. Stay away from silicone that dries and in my experience, shrinks because it is super sensitive to needing an absolutely clean surface.
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Old 07-16-2015, 06:20 PM   #17
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Saw a post a while back about using pressure inside the Coach to try to find the leak with soapy water. It would be a Bad Day if you ended up with more leaks than you started with !
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Old 07-16-2015, 06:51 PM   #18
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I'm doing a lot of re sulking on my '76 Ambassador right now. The clear coat is pretty well gone so my tool choice is a little different. I'm using a 1" flexible paint scraper and a "7 way" tool (from paint dept) to carefully scrape out the old caulk between seams. A little low odor mineral spirits helps too.

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Old 07-18-2015, 07:59 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Ski View Post
Saw a post a while back about using pressure inside the Coach to try to find the leak with soapy water. It would be a Bad Day if you ended up with more leaks than you started with !
That is a concern with me too. There is an RV service shop local to me that offers leak detection. I'll check with them to see what their process is. They work on some high end units so I'm hoping they have a pressure test.

My 2008 is probably due for the roof vents to be resealed. I really need to find a light weight collapsible ladder.

Kelvin
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Old 08-15-2015, 02:16 PM   #20
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I had a variety of different caulks from the past 4 generations but my favorite items for removing old caulk has been a dental scaling tool for the cracks and crevices, an old really dull chisel, broken wooden popsicle sticks for wider areas and old wine bottle corks to use like an eraser for minor residue. For the older style caulking (Vulkem) on my 69' Safari I used Rapid Remover. It's a adhesive remover I use at work. Spray it on let it sit, spray more and literally wipe the old vulkem off and best of all it doesn't touch the plasticoat clear coat on the old school trailers.
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