Fall Safari prep

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 (Green Fig Beetle, Continis mutabilis) 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)!

Comments

  1. says

    Failed caulk around the roof vents is a common leak point, I’ve found. Another common spot is around the plumbing vent (a circular white plastic thing, not shown in your photos). If in doubt, remove the old caulk with mineral spirits and a putty knife.

    It’s good practice to get up on the roof every year to check for possible leaks. You can expect to do some re-caulking every 2-3 years, given your climate. But as you’ve found, it’s not that hard and there’s nice feeling of satisfaction in being able to do it yourself! Congratulations.

  2. insightout says

    I’d swear the fiddler in the dancing robot is wearing your top hat.

    Your DIY advice for roof maintenance; good stuff, but risky for the physically and mentally unbalanced. There aren’t many benefits to living in the midwest, but being only four hours from JC is a big +. I’ll let the nimble A/S repair guys take the risk.

    What, that is your hat, and you playing the violin?

  3. Bill D. says

    Thanks Rich and Dr. C (insightout) for your comments.

    Fiddler Hugues Payen appears to be wearing a silk top hat in the YouTube video, “Caravan Palace – Suzy“.

    According to Wikipedia, a silk top hat is made from hatters’ plush, a soft silk weave that is no longer in general production.

    My hat, a Bell Crown Topper Shag Body top hat, has a higher crown and is made from fur felt by Tim Bender (TP&H Trading Co.), who specializes in making period correct 19th century hats to your exact head measurements.

    Suggesting that it might have been my hat and me playing the violin has momentarily caused my head to enlarge and I may now need to order a bigger hat!

  4. says

    Hi thanks for your posts on Airstream maintenance – I found your blog through Airforums. On our last outing to Seacliff in a rainstorm in our ’10 27FB, I spotted a drip off the ceiling near the Fantastic Fan. After briefly considering taking the rig to a dealer, I. figure I’ll check and repair the caulking as you document in your post. And, I have some other trouble spots That you mention that I can check as well.

    Thanks again,
    Steve
    San Jose, CA