|When you see the likes of this, you know you've got trouble, and you need to deal with it pronto. That caulk is cracking and pitting and is past its useful lifespan - it needs to be re-done. This is one of the four "feet" that support our roof rack, which in turn, supports our solar panels, so these connectors must be maintained in tip-top shape.|
In our case, though, I've been doing a lot of smaller projects single-handedly (pun intended) because I don't want my husband to be diverted from our lithium battery retrofit. If he gets diverted, we'll simply never get it finished. So I had to suck it up on this re-caulk.
|If you are lucky, some of your old caulk will come off in one piece. But in numerous places on our rig, it was a painstaking process of cutting and yanking tiny fragments one by one. Awful job.|
|And as far as I know, most of the work has to be done by brute force. There isn't really a product on the market that can chemically penetrate the caulk, which was designed to be impenetrable in the first place. This product called Marine Forumula DeBond was recommended to me by one of my marine fabricator clients. But it can't be used for wholesale removal - just for residue removal.|
|It appears to be yet another example of Airstream's legendary build quality (I'm being sarcastic). This is the black and gray tank vent, stripped of all layers of its caulk.|
Now for a word about the Fantastic fan, and the Ultrabreeze cover that we put on ours. If you initially decided that you don't really need a cover on your own Fantastic, what I have to say here just might change your mind.
|Here you see the unexpected benefit, the unadvertised special, associated with having a Fantastic cover in place. The bottom lip of the cover shields the Fantastic caulk line from a lot of environmental exposure (see this blog post for cover installation instructions). As a result, the caulk in that area breaks down more slowly. This layer of self-leveling product was added by the previous owner more than two years ago. Compare the appearance of this to the "foot" of the roof rack shown in the very first pic at the top of this blog post. Both applications were done on the same day, and yet look at the difference in the integrity of it now.|
So basically my Fantastic-related work yesterday was limited to removing the Ultrabreeze cover, visually inspecting the caulk lines, and cleaning both the Fantastic and the Ultrabreeze before re-installing the Ultrabreeze.
Sikaflex 221, so we tried it. Or rather, my husband tried it, because by the time I got done stripping the caulk, I was physically exhausted and didn't want to deal with it.
Sikaflex 221 caused my husband to literally utter more expletives than I've ever heard come out of him in a single interval during our 9-year marriage. It was very difficult to manipulate, especially given that we were both very tired.
|Oh, this is waterproof, alright, but it's also uglier than sin. This was one of my husband's experimental applications.|
Nevertheless, exhausted or not exhausted, I still don't know how best to manipulate this Sikaflex product, which is not self-leveling and which has the consistency of extra-sticky chewing gum.
|We are going to have to remove and re-do some of this mess. This is the wet bath vent, and my finger is pulling yesterday evening's bead of caulk away from it because by this time it's only half dry.|
Anyway, those re-caulking experiments are forthcoming, and in the meantime, let me just say... lessons learned. A few of them, anyway. I'm sure there are more to come, but hopefully they'll be a little less painful than the one associated with stringy Sikaflex.