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Monday, October 2, 2017

My Trailer Redo - Day 51 - Cleaning the Crack

I've started on all the fussy, slow pieces of the preparation needed to paint the trailer. I've actually spent a couple of days scrubbing with the lacquer thinner, but I'm not going to count them yet. I'm counting the bit of progress Ester and I made on the door as Day 50. With a trip to the store for screws and some continued frustrations with the door, we spent enough time to give it it's own number.

Today I started cleaning out the crack between the two halves of the shell. It had been sealed 3 previous times. Two with silicone (not a good choice on fiberglass), and most recently with something I thought at first was butyl, but after I dug some out I decided it was just some other kind of construction caulk. Anyway, it was all a mess, at least half of it no longer adhering to the "lips." Not good.

fiberglass trailer seam
And the cover that was over the crack (the black stripe in other pictures) isn't even any sort of standard product. It was a piece of split rubber tubing that was glued and screwed in place.

The only thing holding the two sides of the trailer together is interior fiberglassing across the seam. After some consultation with my fiberglass RV friends, here's what I decided to do. The crack has to be all cleaned out. The best tools for the coarse work on that turned out to be a box cutter and a screwdriver.

fiberglass trailer seam

After I dug out as much as I could, I took a heavy duty steel bristle brush to it. That cleaned it up really well!

There are four sections of this seam, and I did get them all cleaned out today, so I can declare that particular part of the job done.

fiberglass trailer seam
The bad news is that my oscillating saw gave up the ghost. This is actually not a big surprise, but I was hoping it would last through the trailer redo. That was probably unrealistic. I bought it used, and of course, one never knows HOW used. But the good part of that is I got to find out if it was a tool I liked. The answer is, "I'm in love. It's my favorite tool for this job. I can't live without one."

Another fact is that it was a light-duty model Dremel no longer makes. That's probably a message right there- they probably had complaints that it didn't last. I liked it because it was a little smaller and lighter, so it fit my small hands better. It was 1.5 amps, and the one I bought today is 3.8 amps. Quite a lot more power there. It's also heavier, but I seem to be able to manage it. Just not quite so easily.

Dremel Multi-Max

There was one brand they had that was about 4 ounces lighter. But it had fewer amps, and it was larger around (read- harder to hold on to). I chose another Dremel.

What I was hoping to also finish today was all the paint-work prep on the lips of the seam. I only got that done on half the trailer. That involves taking off the black hose, and removing the paint on the lips. But I ran out of daylight. The picture of the clean crack above is a part that's really ready for the caulking.

I've decided to fill that crack with 3M 5200 Marine Adhesive/Sealant. It's pricey, but word is, it's the best. Clearly (to my way of thinking) whatever goes in that crack should improve the structural aspects of the two sides. So, I looked up Lowe's and Home Depot, and Lowe's carries it. Therefore, I thought I was going to be able to come home with a tube of it when I got the Dremel tool. Not so. Just because Lowe's in general carries it doesn't mean my store has it. Grrr. A tube is ordered, but they don't promise very fast shipping. I sure hope it comes quicker than they say because the rubber hose doesn't stay on very well at all, now that I've removed all the caulking, and I'm sure it's going to rain later this week.

But, when it does come, I'll be able to just give that crack a quick final brush out, and wash with solvent, and fill it up with the marine sealant. Good deal! (Well, maybe. There are a couple places where the fiberglass is damaged. I really should repair those first.)

I previously found the correct stuff to go over the crack. It's called Trim-Loc, and comes in a variety of styles, sizes and colors. The one I need is wider than most, and even with a ton of looking, I decided there was only one that I thought would work well, and came in white. When I went to order it (18 feet of a little vinyl strip), they wanted $38 for the shipping! I said, "just no." After 2 tries, finally got the company to return my attempts to contact them, and talked them down to $13 for shipping (a Priority Mail box). That was better. The Trim-Loc has arrived, and looks great. It will go on after the new paint, because it's not easy to get off once properly in place.

The upshot is, sealing and covering this crack correctly is about a $100 piece of the puzzle (sealant and Trim-Loc).

Index for Trailer Refurbish
Days 29-49 stripping
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The Furry Gnome said...

Sounds like an important piece of the puzzle! And like a lot of work.

Secondary Roads said...

Looking forward to the finished restoration.

Lin said...

You amaze me. :)

Ann Thompson said...

By the time you are finished with this you are going to be an expert on the subject

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