Butyl Tape, Silicone and sealing - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-31-2006, 01:00 PM   #43
Eliminator540
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What should be used to clean the fiberglass surface prior to applying ProFlexRV sealant?
Brian
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Old 04-09-2006, 04:06 PM   #44
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Name: Joe
Trailer: 1989 17 ft Bigfoot Deluxe / 2004 Ford Ranger
Ontario
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I have said it in my thread and on the my pictures on Webshots. Thin rubber gaskets made from bicicle inner tubes make wonderfeul gaskets. Almost none of the manufactures on their trailers I for about $400. I have used them when I had to replace a curved front panel on our Featherlite alum trailer. (I punched a hole in it) Because I did not have many to do I just filed and sanded them smooth. They are not readlly available and not cheap.
We got into a long involved discussion of pop rivets before the hack. Pop rivets are good on things like snowmobiles, trailers etc. where you are not concerned about water getting in and roting or rusting components.
This brings up another point. The chemical industry has do a good job over the years of convincing the public that silicone is the fix all product. Wrong. Having worked with many types of wood, plastics and metals over the years, I have found and had some bad experinces with silicone. I found this out over 30 years when I installed two Plexiglass skylight into out house in North Vancouver where it rains about 140 inches per year. Within a few mones of installing them I noticed drips onto floor when it rained. When it stopped raining I checked them but could see nothing wrong. To be on the safe side I caulked around the alum. frame where it joined the Plexi. Next rain storm, more drips. Finally once the summer came I got on the roof and could see a very very fine gap between the Silicone and the frame. This had been applied by the vendor. I removed every bit of Silicone and resealed them with a Grey Polybutyl caulking which didn't leak again for several years.
From that time on as I learned more about plastics and their properties, I was able to figure out what went wrong.
The co-efficient of expansion is vastly different between alum. and plexiglass, all plastics for that matter. Over a period of time with the heat, cold and water action and the difference of contraction/exspansion between the the metal and plastic the Silicone seal gives out. There is your leaking problem! I have encounterd numerious other occasions of Silicone problems.
Any time I hear some one on this forum talk about using Silicone I get a little shiver.
I hope this will provide some guidence and there are many others on the forum who have a wealth of knowlege and experince to tap into.
Con...reading your advice on leaking pop rivets was timely...I plan to install an awning track on my Trillium soon, and I was going to use pop rivets, in conjunction with that caulking mat'l which I already bought a coil of.
Rethink time...what should I use instead of pop rivets to fasten the alum. track, and at what spacing? Pre drill holes thru' f/g shell and ensolite, then what ???
Also, is there an up and down side to the extruded track? I was going to have the channel at the bottom..yes, no??

Joe O
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Old 04-09-2006, 06:14 PM   #45
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Trailer: 1977 Boler 1300/2003 17' Bigfoot
British Columbia
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Well that is rather timely question. I just brought the Boler out of the shop a few days ago. We are going to have to camp in it for a few days as we are moving to another town at the end of the month. When I took it out I looked at that rail and was considereing doing something on it. As I replaced all the rivets last year, that was the only part I didn't do.

What I think I will do after we get moved is :
- Drill out the rivets
- Remove the rail and clean up the FG under it.
- Clean the rail and paint it with White Krylon lacquer.
- Lay strip of polybutyl tape on the rail. (Had some left over from replacing the windows)
- Bolt the strip back in place using SS truss head bolts and nylon washers.
- Use SS acorn nuts and SS washers against the Ensolite on the inside.

See previous pics in this thread

I have a fear that the rivets may leak water in behind the Ensolite and start bulging it.
The rail on ours measure 79" long with the first rivet 1" from the front end. The rest
are spaced at 5"apart. the last space is an odd ball. As you can see the flange is at the top.


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Old 04-09-2006, 06:23 PM   #46
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There are a couple of sizes of SS washer available at the Marine supplies. Depending on what I was mounting I used the bigger size. For remounting the rail I may use the bigger ones (Pic 1) for the simple reason if I do install a awning in the future I what as much bearing area spread over the FG shell as possible if the wind grabs the awning. The bolts and washer will give a larger bearing area.
Pic 2 shows the larger washers and pic 3 shows the smaller washers for mounting the smaller hardware inside and out side.
Hope this helps.


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Old 04-11-2006, 01:22 PM   #47
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Name: Joe
Trailer: 1989 17 ft Bigfoot Deluxe / 2004 Ford Ranger
Ontario
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Truss bolts, what are they, and do RV or Marine outlets stock them?
With acorn -head nuts, getting the right bolt length is critical, right...?
Allowing for the awning rail, sealant, ensolite thicknesses, (plus washers) what length would you recommend?
I guess fastening these bolts would be a two-person job...one outside pushing on the bolt, and one inside pressing against ensolite, while tightening the nut...!!!
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Old 04-11-2006, 05:37 PM   #48
Con
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British Columbia
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Most Marine Suppliers should have them or be able to order them in for you. Or some of the Industrial suppliers can get them. My Marine store didn't have them but I found some at a place called Wiser Wire Rope. I did find the Acorn nuts at a RV dealer but I paid 4 times the price I should have. I should have got them from the same place I got the bolts.

Don't bother with the RV dealers as far as I am concerned, they give you a blank look and will say "What's that" or "They don't make those" If you shop around you can find some excellant industrial suppliers that you can use for your future needs. The Truss head bolts came in a package of 100 for $6.00 Can. You might find someone with open stock.

They are 10-24 thread x 3/4"long. The heads are 3/8" Phillips slotted x about 1/16" high (Nice low profile) I had to cut some to 1/2"length for some places but used 3/4"generally. I would say 3/4" long would likely work for you.
See the pics in this thread. They are not as clear as I would like but they give you an idea.

You should be able to do up most of the nuts by yourself by standing in the door way and reaching through the open side window. I was able to reach almost all the nuts I replaced through the door and side windows. The ones holding the curtians rods I had to get my wife to help me with.

The one nice thing about using bolts is if I ever decide to paint the shell I can remove them and the outside hardware and not have to do much masking and get a nice paint job.

I would venture to guess that dispite the few hours it took me to drill out the rivets everywhere, the cost to go for bolts and nuts was no more, maybe even less to replace with pop rivets. And with these I know they are not going to leak. With pop rivets, when the mandel snaps off, the hole in the middle leaves a direct pipe line to the inside for water to run. On snowmobiles, horse trailers, Quads it doen't matter.

Hope this helps
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Old 04-11-2006, 05:56 PM   #49
Con
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Trailer: 1977 Boler 1300/2003 17' Bigfoot
British Columbia
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As a guide, these 2 web pages are exactly what I bought.

http://www.boltdepot.com/material.aspx?cc=10&cs=86
http://www.boltdepot.com/product.aspx?cc=7&cs=60&cm=6

Oddly enough, I could not find the same bolts in the MacMaster-Carr catalog, and they have just about evertyhing known to man.

http://www.mcmaster.com/
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Old 04-11-2006, 08:13 PM   #50
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Name: Joe
Trailer: 1989 17 ft Bigfoot Deluxe / 2004 Ford Ranger
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As a guide, these 2 web pages are exactly what I bought.

http://www.boltdepot.com/material.aspx?cc=10&cs=86
http://www.boltdepot.com/product.aspx?cc=7&cs=60&cm=6

Oddly enough, I could not find the same bolts in the MacMaster-Carr catalog, and they have just about evertyhing known to man.

http://www.mcmaster.com/
Thanx for all your help, Con...I've got my shopping list now !!

Joe O
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Old 04-11-2006, 11:33 PM   #51
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Trailer: 1977 Boler 1300/2003 17' Bigfoot
British Columbia
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Joe; Here is some info on the different types of plastic and SS washers available in the McMasters-Carr catalog. There are many other sources and suppliers out there so this is just a guide to some of what is available.

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Old 06-19-2006, 07:45 PM   #52
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Dan Quinn "ok this may sound stupid but why cant you use silicon on fiberglass trailers ???"

Not just fiberglass, any RV. It looks like a gooped up mess, turns a nasty color, and it doesn't stay stuck, and causes leaks.
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Old 06-23-2006, 12:44 AM   #53
Con
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Trailer: 1977 Boler 1300/2003 17' Bigfoot
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Just to carry this discussion one step further: re, polybutyl tape.
The last time I installed a set of shower doors (about 20 years ago) I followed the instructions and used clear silicone around the bottom & side rails. I did that inspite of my instincts not to use it. Of coarse after a number of years it started to peel and dis-color.
Since we moved into a newer house 6 weeks ago I installed a frameless tub/shower set of doors. This time I used no silicone at all. The rails are all set in a double strips of light grey polybutyl tape (same as I used on our new Boler windows). It was a bit tricker to do as the you have to leave the backing tape on when they are almost in position and the strip it off,
but it can be done. Its much like working with contact cement on countertops. It looks really nice and I don't forsee any problems. I plan to do the smae trick on the next bathroom.
Down with silicone, long live butyl!

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Old 07-01-2006, 11:21 PM   #54
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I learned something new about polybutyl tape yesterday. When I was re-installing my awning rail I had an awful time getting the backing strip off. It was very gummy and was sticking to anything it got near. I had never encounterd this problem before.
This morning it dawned on me what was going on. The temprature here has been in the 90's all week which softens the butyl dramaticly. My roll of tape was at ambient temp.
I put a test piece in the fridge for a couple of hours and it peeled off easy.
So any one who is going to use butyl in hot weather, chill it in for couple of hours and then it is much easier to work with.
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Old 05-09-2007, 06:38 PM   #55
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Jeanne: I'm sure that in some installations the vast majority of the butyl putty tape will be squeezed out (seems a shame to waste it), but the process is pretty foolproof in that it fills any voids and stays flexible. Our local trailer shop recommends this process too.
I don't waste the excess butyl, I save it for putting under screws, running lights, and little things like that. Penny, TX
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Old 08-30-2007, 05:16 PM   #56
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I have read a number of times of people using 3M Marine Adhesive Sealant for caulking the bellyband and around windows. I found some 3M Marine Adhesive Sealant 5200 at Home Depot today, but didn't buy it because 1) It says it's permanent and the HD employee I spoke with said it won't damage fiberglass, but it will tear apart a vent if I use it around a vent that I later have to remove; 2) the label says it has a very high % of VOCs and I would like to minimize my exposure to VOCs. Is there anything less toxic, but long-lasting, to replace the icky-looking silicone caulk that I am removing?

I found something called "ProflexRV" tripolymer sealant at Camping World that says it's specifically designed for resisting all the movement and UV exposure that RV's get. The VOC content is still significant, but less than that other stuff. Has anyone tried this? I did an online search on Flexiseal too and what comes up does not seem like what was used on the trailer... where does one get that white stuff that is used around vents that is getting referred to as "Flexiseal?"

Thanks!
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