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Old 05-05-2014, 08:00 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
, North Carolina
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 41
Do I have the proper preparation steps?

I'm honestly a little scared to begin resealing my 31 foot 81 Excella and would love some feedback on my planned approach. I know from past non-AS projects that caulking is an art.

Today I spent about 20 minutes removing the old caulk from over the top of one of the windows with a plastic scraper and toothbrush. Tomorrow I'd like to try caulking it and see how it goes.

First, do I need to use a cleaner to prepare the surface, and if so, would rubbing Alcohol with a toothbrush work? I'd rather not have to use strong solvents if possible.

I'm planning to tape both sides of the seam (at least till I get the hang of it), try and cut a small hole in my Trempro 635 tube, wear disposable vinyl gloves, and do my best to work the caulk in and get a nice smooth line with my finger or a caulk tool, then remove the tape and repeat.

I'll practice on the windows (top and sides) before moving on to the rub rails and awning rails. Anything you would recommend in addition to or instead of my steps?

Big gratitude, Kim
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Old 05-05-2014, 08:25 PM   #2
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2019 27' Globetrotter
Missouri Valley , Iowa
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 447
I've never used rubbing alcohol to clean the seams. Would it be a bit volatile for such use? I use mineral spirits or paint thinner with a "Dobie", made by Scotch-Brite / 3M. Its a nylon type scratch pad. I think I got them at Walgreens. I also use the air hose to blow the seam areas dry before the taping. After removing the old product, it sounds like you have the right idea!
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Old 05-05-2014, 08:44 PM   #3
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1972 Argosy 20
Snoqualmie , Washington
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 500
Good idea to work on a test area out of sight first. I personally would use rubbing alcohol before mineral spirits or paint thinner because they both leave residue that has to be cleaned off, but I could be wrong. Once cleaned, blue tape on either side of the seam keeps the caulk manageable. Keep paint thinner handy to use to clean up your mess and you'll do just fine.
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Old 05-06-2014, 08:46 AM   #4
2 Rivet Member
, North Carolina
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 41
thanks dan and dryfly! i'm going to try the rubbing alcohol--sounds like it won't hurt the aluminum. as far as paint thinner for clean up, i have some odorless mineral spirits--would that work?
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Old 05-06-2014, 08:34 PM   #5
4 Rivet Member
2019 27' Globetrotter
Missouri Valley , Iowa
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 447
Your mineral spirits will be fine. When DryFly mentioned residue from mineral spirits and paint thinner, it triggered my feeble memory. I did do a final cleaning step with Windex before the taping. And this is another time that I used the air hose to be sure no moisture of any sort remained. Keep it clean and you will be OK !!!!!
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Old 11-16-2014, 10:46 AM   #6
The Sign Lady
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 677
Hi Simple sanctuary, this is a little late of a response for you probably, but I will confirm for others that rubbing alcohol is a great pre cleaner to use just before applying caulking (or decals). We use the 90% isopropyl alcohol daily to wipe down everything before applying decals at my sign shop. I have been using it on painted vehicles and aluminum trailers for 20 plus year no problem, it evaporates very quickly and also speeds the evaporation of minute amount of water that may be present on your trailer from washing before you caulk. My one caution would be to wash the trailer with soap and water first. The alcohol does not remove organic debris but is what we use to remove films and greasy finger prints before vinyl decal application. I tell you this from years of experience of knocking my coffee cup over when swinging 4 by 8's around the confined space of a small sign shop. An alcohol soaked rag will not touch the spilt coffee like good old soap and water will do ;-) Alcohol will also be useful for final cleanup if you have small amount of caulking (or decal glue) left on your trailer but will it not cut through thick caulking or glue reside quicky so remove the bulk first

A warning that any painted rigs should be allowed to cure for a week or two before using alcohol on the surfaces. I letter taxis at the sign shop all the time and they come to me right out of the body shop because if they are not on the road they are not making money. I use a diluted with water mixture to wipe those ones down because the straight alcohol re-tackifys the finish on the very freshly painted ones
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