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Old 08-08-2017, 01:20 PM   #1
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Carb cleaner on old caulk prep for new

Hi all.

So my plan for working on the caulk situation on my AS will be to prep surface of existing caulk with Carburetor cleaner.

Is just the basic Auto Zone $5 cleaner fine?

I was looking at the roof the other day and the old caulk has totally adhered to the roof. I don't think I have the patience to strip this all off. I will remove what ever seems at all loose, and just leave the really stuck on stuff alone. Does this seem reasonable?

So then on to the carb cleaner. Should I use something like 000 steel wool to prep the old surface? Or some other kind of brush like thing? It also sounds like the cleaner drys pretty fast and caulk can be applied after evaporation.

After looking into all the caulks (Sikaflex) I bought the 1a white caulk, mostly because it is available at masonry store near me. From what I gather, most of the Sikaflex caulks are sort of the same with the exception of tack/dry time and texture. I think the 1a will be fine for the roof, or at least better than what I have now which is old and a tiny bit leaky.

I am going on the roof in a few days. Any other words of wisdom appreciated.
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Old 08-08-2017, 01:43 PM   #2
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I used carb cleaner on silicone caulk around a roof vent that a previous owner had put on, then I worked it with a plastic putty knife. It wasn't the miracle solution I had hoped for, but it did seem to loosen the silicone caulk a bit. If you've got a clear coat on your trailer, the carb cleaner is likely to damage that. I used butyl tape under the new fan. I doubt that you need to roughen up the surface after it's cleaned. I know I'd be hesitant to use steel wool on my trailer.
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Old 08-08-2017, 01:49 PM   #3
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I wouldn't use any abrasive with the possible exception of a very mild scotchbrite pad on an unpainted area. Anything harsh might scratch the clearcoat opening the surface up to filiform corrosion. DO NOT use steel wool. Years of boating experience has taught me that fine particles of steel wool will embed themselves in anything soft like fiberglass or aluminum and then sometime later a rust stain will appear. If you are working in a painted area and/or don't care about scratches, get bronze wool (preferred) or a stainless wool.

Al
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Old 08-08-2017, 01:49 PM   #4
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Thanks Thalweg.

Hmm. I read somewhere here that some have used the carburastor cleaner to get glue residue off trailer. I have a few missing Airstream letters that I'd like to remove the glue gunk from those but am now worried the carb cleaner might ruin finish!

OK, so maybe not steel wool on old caulk. So when you say after the surface is "cleaned", do you mean just applying some carb cleaner to a rag and just sort of rub surface with that? That would be so much easier!
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Old 08-08-2017, 01:52 PM   #5
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Thanks Al and Missy.

OK. So no to steel wool. Thanks. How about soft cloth and carb cleaner to get old Airstream lettering glue off front end?
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Old 08-08-2017, 01:59 PM   #6
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I'd really be careful with the carb cleaner on you clear coat. Carb cleaner and lacquer thinner are usually my "go-to" solvents for this type of thing, but both will damage paint. You might try mineral spirits or Goo-Gone. Regardless, it takes elbow grease. Just be gentle and patient.
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Old 08-08-2017, 02:06 PM   #7
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I used to use lighter fluid , acetone and lacquer thinner instead of carb cleaner and a soft nylon brush to remove residue. with the different adhesives used it's difficult you don't want to damage the aluminum it's hit and miss with solvents.
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Old 08-08-2017, 02:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazylev View Post
Thanks Al and Missy.

OK. So no to steel wool. Thanks. How about soft cloth and carb cleaner to get old Airstream lettering glue off front end?
I think I tried both GooGone and denatured alcohol to remove the adhesive from my numbers on two trailers. Googone is pretty mild. I have used denatured alcohol on clearcoat automotive pain to remove pine tree sap with good results and no apparent paint damage. I followed up the cleaning with polish and wax.

I watched an Airstream Class A owner clean bugs off of his coach using water and dryer sheets. It worked great! Ever since that is how I get bugs off my vehicles and trailer. The softener agent imbedded in the sheet lubricates the surface and the fiber sheet has just the timiest bit of abrasiveness. You might try that as a last step. Just be sure to wash it well when you are done or it will leave a residuethat rinsing alone doesn't get rid of.

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Old 08-08-2017, 02:15 PM   #9
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When I'm tasked with silicone removal, I mechanically remove what wants to come off then I apply WD-40, then I mechanically remove more, then I spray with WD-40 and... eventually I'm hitting it with WD-40 soaked pieces of scotchbrite (the gentle stuff) I cut the big pads into little pieces because they get clogged with old caulk.
I usually do other bits of work while this process is going on. It's not fast, but it works and doesn't harm the trailer.

Ian
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:03 PM   #10
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Thanks guys! Great info.

Since the roof is out of sight most of the time, I'll go with carb cleaner, brush, and rag wipe down up there, then caulk.

As for the gunk on the front where the letters are, I'll try your other suggestions since that area will really show!

What kind of hand protection do you were when handling Carb cleaner? I have some viynl gloves I use at the dump station, but it sounds like they might dissolve as I am wearing them.
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Old 08-09-2017, 05:20 PM   #11
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Caulk

You may want to try a heat gun and a plastic scraper.
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