Archive for September, 2010

Fall Safari prep

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

If you have read my previous article, you know that I’ve been Barefootin’ about this summer in San Diego.  And if you have not read the 12+ comments to this post, you have not read the rest of this story.  But now summer is coming to a close and the June bugs are winding down their wild mating rituals.

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And our pond water is now warm enough for Tasha’s first swim test.

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Autumn is approaching, which means that it is time to prepare our 2007 Safari Airstream for our fall and winter camping season.  Last June I washed the trailer after our beach outing and noticed a few drops of water had entered the trailer near the forward Fan-Tastic Fan.  It’s possible that I had manually not closed the cover all the way, but I also noticed that there seemed to be a gap in some of the exterior caulking around the fan and other places on the roof.

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I have used Acryl-R for a small leak from a seam on one of the Vista View windows and Parbond on the top seam of the stove exterior exhaust vent, but I had not caulked anything on the roof before, so I searched and found abundant information on this Airforums.com thread, Caulking and Sealants.  For caulking Airstream roof seams, Vulkem (now called TremPro) and Sikaflex seem to be recommended the most (both are polyurethane sealants).  Sikaflex is now used by Airstream, Inc. on most exterior large seams and is available from the Airstream Store.  I decided to try TremPro (Vulkem) 635 in white for the roof and ordered this, along with a tube of TremPro 636 in aluminum color, from C & G Trailer Service (Airstream Certified Service Center in Bellflower, California).  TremPro is also available from Vintage Trailer Supply.

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TremPro is made by Tremco, a company first started by William C. Treuhaft in 1928 in Cleveland, Ohio.  TremPro 635 is faster curing than 636.  Note that I used a standard, manual caulking gun (unlike the air-powered one used by John, resulting in an exploding tube of caulk, as reported by Lug in his “I Am Vulkem Man” posting).

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I followed the directions and made sure the caulking surfaces were clean and dry.  (Our 2007 trailer’s caulking is still pliant, intact and did not have to be removed.)  I cut the tip of the tube at an angle and punctured the inner foil several times with a wire hanger.  Larry held the ladder while I went topside and applied the product, smoothing it with my dry finger.  Paint thinner (mineral spirits) easily removed the product from my hands.  While I was up there, I also applied 303 Aerospace Protectant to the rubber seal around the Fan-Tastic Fan, which I apply annually here and on the window seals to protect them and keep them from sticking.

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I repeated this process around the rear Fan-Tastic Fan and bathroom air vent.

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Success… now our trailer is as happy as a dancing robot under the Harvest Moon (Caravan Palace)!

About the Author

BILL, along with partner, Larry, were first-time RV'ers when they purchased their custom-ordered 23' 2007 Airstream Safari SE. Bill (a retired RN) and Larry (a retired pediatric Occupational Therapist) enjoy bringing history alive in the area of San Diego, CA.