re-caulking roof - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-20-2009, 01:16 AM   #1
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Trailer: Scamp 16 ft
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We are buying a 2003 Scamp 16' deluxe (yeah!), which is in very good condition. The one thing that needs attention soon is caulking: both the previous owner and the RV service shop that inspected it tell me that the caulking on the roof -- around the vent, A/C, etc -- needs to be removed & redone. I am reasonably handy (sometimes), and willing to do this myself, but I would appreciate some guidance. What is the best way to strip the old caulk, and what product should I use to reseal everything? Any tips, links, horror stories would be appreciated. I tried a search on caulk, and didn't find a lot of specific product suggestions, although there were veiled references to an apparently heated debate about silicone. I don't want to stir up bad feelings, but specific suggestions would certainly be welcome.

Thanks!
Tom
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:34 AM   #2
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
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Hi Tom,

First of all, congratulations on your new Scamp Very exciting!

I see you've already caught the drift on silicone If you have any to remove you'll know why the topic heats things up

My opinion is that caulk around things like hatches, windows, and the like is just a band-aid and not really a solution. Dollars to doughnuts someone caulked it after it started leaking, and they either didn't know or didn't want to take the time to re-seal it properly (or, in their defense, I have seen actual owner's manuals advise to put silicone caulk around a leaking fitting ).

To my mind, the proper way to seal this type of thing (typically something with a flange) is to remove the offending item, clean all the old caulk/sealer/etc. from around the area, wipe it down with something like acetone or denatured alcohol, and then re-seal by putting the new sealer under the flange, not as a bead around the outside edges.

Then you re-fasted the window or hatch, tighten gradually (alternating fasteners as if you were doing a car wheel or head). Nothing need be added to the outside. Note: If you use butyl tape, it may continue to ooze out a bit for some days; you can just cut the excess off - a plastic knife or the like works well. If and when the hatch or window leaks again (should be years down the line), you rinse, lather, and repeat.

If you do get consistent new leaks soon after re-sealing something this way, there is probably an underlying problem (sagging or flexing roof, etc.). But that's pretty rare.

There are a number of sealers that can work well. My first choice would be butyl tape (a grey, flat "tape" - make sure to get butyl and not just "plain" putty tape). A polyurethane sealant like Sikaflex 291 or 3M 4200 will work also, as will some other caulks. I would stay away from silicone, or latex "household" caulks.

Scamps also have rivets*, and the type of rivets used have a hole through the middle (like a tube). So they need to be sealed. Scamp, as far as I know, uses a plastic cap over the top, which you fill with caulk before snapping shut. If those have deteriorated due to UV or etc., then they should be replaced. Part of the cap goes under the rivet, so to do it right, the rivet should be drilled out and replaced. In a pinch, you could just dab some caulk on the top. Here I would use a polyurethane, unless the plastic caps are incompatible (I'm not sure what type of plastic Scamp uses, but you could find out.) There are other caulks that can be used if necessary.

*With a deluxe, you should have fewer rivets - or maybe none?

I hope we'll get to see some pics of your new baby! Deluxe: Oooh, shiny wood!

Raya

PS: I notice I didn't address your question of how to remove previous caulking. Scraping (plastic tools work well for not scratching the gelcoat), mineral spirits, acetone, and denatured alcohol are all things I would test, to see which works best. Even a metal razor blade if you need to and are very careful (rounding or clipping the corners can help to avoid digging in and gouging). If you do have silicone, be sure not to sand it to try to remove it, as this will just drive the silicone oil contamination further into the gelcoat.
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Old 11-20-2009, 03:00 AM   #3
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Thanks a lot, Raya. I had seen some of your suggestions in prior posts, but it's helpful to get it all in one place. I am very excited about the new-to-me camper, and looking forward to it. Yes, the wood is very pretty, and was a big draw, as was the larger rear bed. I have a few pics posted here (just some quick shots when I first looked at the trailer).

I believe the existing caulk is from the Scamp factory at the time of manufacture -- the PO (who has owned it since new 6 years ago) tells me he has not caulked the roof but believes it may be time to do so now. I noticed also that the owner's manual suggests caulking if there is leaking through the frame of a roof vent (I don't see any indication of leaking yet -- I believe this still falls into the category of preventive maintenance). So as far as I can tell, replacing the caulking seems to be a matter of routine maintenance consistent with the trailer's original condition. Maybe I will call the Scamp factory to see what they recommend.

I would really like to avoid removing the vents, etc. out from the roof unless it is absolutely necessary. There's a fair amount of stuff on the roof (A/C, fan, vent, TV antenna, something else on the streetside?). So I don't think that's practical at this point.

Tom
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Old 11-20-2009, 03:52 AM   #4
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I just looked at your photos - I remember seeing your new Scamp being for sale recently. It piqued my interest because of the square-cornered jalousie windows. Those were typical on 1970s and early/mid 1980s Bolers and Scamps, but as far as I know they aren't made anymore. Maybe the original owner had saved them from an older trailer and had them re-used on this one - or had them custom made? (I can imagine why, as I have them in my Boler and love them for their ability to be left open rain or shine )

I don't know of any way to properly seal something with a flange (like a hatch/skylight or window, for example) without removing it to put the new sealant under the flange. I know that it's tempting to try to re-bed without removing things though.

OTOH, I realize that sometimes a temporary repair is called for. I've used 3M's weather-resistant masking tape #225 with excellent results (while waiting for the proper time to re-seal windows and a hatch). It looks like duct tape, but it isn't; it's a special tape made so that you can leave it on for a relatively long period of time outdoors without it breaking down or "welding" itself to the surface like duct tape or blue tape do.

Another option would be to keep the Scamp under cover until you can get the hatches re-bedded.

I'm sure others will chime in with perhaps differing opinions

Raya
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:08 AM   #5
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Just in case anyone here is rivet challenged, there are blind pop rivets available that cap the inside end of the hole thus rendering them leak proof. I presume they are more costly, but the advantages would make me want to bite the bullet.
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Old 11-20-2009, 07:19 AM   #6
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Iowa
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I recently had to recaulk around my Fantastic Fan on the roof of my 2007 Scamp. I went to a very knowledgeable Dealer and the service manager suggested I use ONLY a procduct called C10. It is formulated for fiberglass, is self leveling and works like a charm. It comes in a red tube and you use your caulk gun to apply it. I used it and went through 4 days of very strong rains going down the road and everything was bone dry. It STICKS, looks good and beats the he-- out of others I have used. Google it to learn more. Good luck, Ron
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Old 11-20-2009, 08:11 AM   #7
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Name: Eddie
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
Virginia
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Hey this looks like an almost all Va. thread.
Tom
Besides recalking don't forget your rivet caps. About a month ago I changed out all the caps on my 2004 Scamp. Its was time to change them since they were beginning to deteriorate. If you wait too long to replace the caps the bases will deteriorate and then you have to replace rivets to replace the bases. You can buy caps cheaper but Scamp sells rivet cap packages with a mixture of sizes for each of their trailers. They are easy to replace. The only other thing extra I do is soak the caps in 303 UV protector to help to extend their life.
Eddie

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Old 11-20-2009, 03:52 PM   #8
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Thanks, all. Very helpful.

I wish we could convene a VA Scamp new-owner clinic for my benefit, but gathering online here is nearly as good. Hopefully someday I will get to meet many of you in person too.

Tom
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Old 11-20-2009, 09:18 PM   #9
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Eddie, I was wondering if instead of soaking the caps in a UV inhibitor if you could spray paint them with Krylon Fusion paint (for plastic) before mounting them on the trailer. I would think that would extend their life, too.
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Old 11-21-2009, 08:47 AM   #10
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Sharon
I had not thought of using Fusion or had any experience with it as a UV protector but that may work. I have another trailer I am getting ready to recap soon. I may look into using Fusion on those caps and see how they do. Pro-Dec is where I get my caps from and the caps come in 64 colors and you can also get them electroplated. I don't know if the color caps have molded in color or are painted. http://www.pro-dec.com
Eddie
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Old 11-21-2009, 09:15 AM   #11
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I had never seen colored or electroplated caps before. That page does spark the imagination.
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Old 11-23-2009, 07:27 AM   #12
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Iowa
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Caulking around the A/C? My A/C has a very good seal that it sits on and there is NO caulk required. I'd suggest you carefully look at the A/C and be sure the 4 bolts holding in to the Camper are tight. You can check by pulling off the inner panel and the 4 bolts are located in each corner of the unit. Newer Scamps have a lot of loose A/C units including my 2007 model.
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Old 11-23-2009, 11:43 AM   #13
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Thanks -- good tip! I wouldn't have known where to look for the bolts but I will pull the inner panel and check them as well.
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Old 12-05-2009, 03:02 PM   #14
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OK, I picked the camper up today -- in a snowstorm! We have had a lot of rain over the last few weeks, and it sat uncovered, so there is now a leak from one corner of the fan vent over the dinette (I believe it was not there when I had it inspected at a local RV service center a few weeks ago as a condition of purchase). With the snow today, I will have to await until tomorrow to check it out more fully, but I will go looking for the 3M tape #225 (Home Depot, I hope?) that Raya suggested as a short-term solution until I can get the fan out & re-bed it. Of course, I have no idea what that means or how to do it, so I will be trying to figure that out between now & spring time too! I think there is also a leak around the front window, and the rivets near the rear window do not look too good (I see no caps, for example). I wonder how I determine whether they need to be replaced instead of just capped. Is rivet replacement fairly easy to do? I will search for some threads on that, but if anyone can point me to a good tutorial, I would appreciate it.

Thanks,
Tom
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