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Old 10-26-2011, 11:29 AM   #1
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Window caulk shrinkage, A-frame camper

One of the things I looked really closely at when we took delivery of our camper last February was the caulking around windows and doors, especially the large bubble window. It was very well done, and I've had no problems with leaks there. The mechanic who did the walk-through for us stressed that we should inspect all caulking at least twice a year. It seemed excessive but now I see why.

Over the months, I suppose the bubble window has expanded and contracted hundreds of times. Now the caulking has separated from the edge of the window most of the way around. Not a wide separation but enough to make a tiny water channel. Thankfully I've had no leaks so far. Looks like I'll have to remove and replace the caulk before storing the unit this Fall, though. I haven't found any other caulk failures on the camper.

Any advice from folks more experienced at recaulking than I? What's a good caulk to use? Any tricks to getting a good bond between the plastic window and the caulk? I'm sure there's dirt and dust in the joint area now. I read somewhere that a thorough cleaning with alcohol should be done, maybe that and an old toothbrush.
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:18 AM   #2
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I would use ProFlexRV. I have used this product before on my canvas popups roof and found this to be an extremely good product.
However, due to the fact that its in your roof, and the roof is under warrenty for 5 years, i would take it back to the dealer and have this done by them. Perhaps the window was not put in the 3m stuff that was used at the beginning of the manufacture. As the seal on my roof at the window is still very rubbery ... I would think that this is a sign of something wrong .. and should be atleast looked at by the retailer/service department.
My unit has been camped in for 50 nights this year, and with all the towing and setups, i have no issues with the back window.
Hope this helps .. d-mo
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Old 10-27-2011, 09:07 AM   #3
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Thanks for the advice, D-mo. I guess I should give my dealer a call.
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Old 10-28-2011, 04:37 PM   #4
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The only caulk seperation I have had so far is along the 90 deg angle iron that goes across the bottom rear of the trailer. I stuck some tooth picks along the seam to make a gap, filled it with white caulk then removed the toothpicks. Cleaned up with water. Looks good, but I'll keep an eye on it.
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toleworks
The only caulk seperation I have had so far is along the 90 deg angle iron that goes across the bottom rear of the trailer. I stuck some tooth picks along the seam to make a gap, filled it with white caulk then removed the toothpicks. Cleaned up with water. Looks good, but I'll keep an eye on it.
Was there any dirt or dust in the gap? There's some in mine. Did you clean the area before putting the new caulk in, or after? Precleaning is the part of the job I hope is done well, otherwise I'm not sure the replacement stuff will stick.
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:00 AM   #6
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I have supplied a link to what my dealer used on my bubble window. He stated this is what FR originally used before going to regular caulking. He also said they have gone back to this tape.

The tape is available from several places online. It can be installed without having to go back to the dealer.

I avoid anyone working on my trailer other than myself.

3M

Installation Videos:

3m extreme sealing tape - Yahoo! Video Search
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:14 AM   #7
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That looks like a great item to have on hand. What width of tape did they use on your window? The videos mentioned 2" tape, which at one vendor (Hisco) runs $56.78 a roll, plus shipping. Worth it if you never have a leak, though. How does it look as installed on your unit?
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:23 AM   #8
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Without going out and measuring, I believe it is 2.5".

The next time I'm outside I'll get the actual measurement.
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Old 10-29-2011, 09:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveinpickerington
Without going out and measuring, I believe it is 2.5".

The next time I'm outside I'll get the actual measurement.
Love to see some pics too!
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Old 11-01-2011, 05:46 PM   #10
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Sorry for the delay. The tape is 2.5" in width.


Photos as requested:
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 11-01-2011, 05:59 PM   #11
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Looks much nicer than the caulk. When my caulk needs redoing I'll use a smaller clean bead and go with some of this tape.
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Old 11-01-2011, 07:10 PM   #12
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Looks like they did a good job applying it. The overlaps are all in the correct direction, edges straight, admirable job.
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Old 11-02-2011, 04:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thehamguy1 View Post
Looks like they did a good job applying it. The overlaps are all in the correct direction, edges straight, admirable job.
You can tell it wasn't a factory job!
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Old 11-02-2011, 02:43 PM   #14
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What sort of surface does the tape have--does it look like it'll repel dust and dirt? I saw in the 3M videos that the tape has a top layer that the applicator is supposed to peel off after sealing it down and I wondered what sort of surface was exposed then. I assume it's a relatively hard wear layer, since they show the tape being used for repairing truck and trailer roofs.
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Old 11-02-2011, 05:08 PM   #15
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My trailer has been sitting outside for a while and the tape does not appear to be collectiing dirt. I think the protective film assures the initial roll is easier on a slick surface. The tape is spongey but not tacky.
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:31 AM   #16
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Sounds like the stuff for me!
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:34 PM   #17
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It would be nice if they just did away with the roof windows and make the side windows bigger. I think there would be less chance of a leak or issues with bad caulk jobs. I keep the shade pulled down on my A122 all of the time, there is no reason to keep putting heavy tinted windows on the roof. I really don`t understand why they do this, maybe they are trying so hard to compete with A-Liners and Chalets that they are missing this. I would think that it would be cheaper to manufacture and would also give Rockwood a good marketing angle.
The biggest chance for a leak is when the camper is folded up and not in use, avoid this issue and get rid of the stupid roof windows.The more windows that they put on the roof, the more chance for a leak. I do not spend a whole lot of time in my camper during the day, if I did, I would just stay home.
If the weather is bad and I am stuck in the camper I really don`t care what it looks like outside. Most of us spend the majority of our time in the camper at night, so whats the point of the added windows. I have spent some time in my A122 and I think it is a stupid design, the rest of the camper is really cool.
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:35 PM   #18
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At 6'5" the skylight on the bed side serves a purpose and provides a little extra clearance in a tight area. I have never closed the shades on the skylight, the added light makes the space feel bigger and I use the interior lights less. Looks like the new models have skylights on both sides, which is even nicer.

Keeping it from leaking is not really a huge challenge or hassle. No different than a fan vent.

I probably would not have considered the A series if it did not have at least the extra skylight over the bed.
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:06 PM   #19
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I am just the opposite, I am 5'7'' and I really don`t need the extra bubble space. They need to make the tall and short version.lol.
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:05 AM   #20
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I'm with you Mike. I could do without the roof windows as well. Any window on any trailer in any location is a possible leak source. Placing windows on the roof makes the leaking possiblilty even greater.
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