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Old 06-11-2013, 10:58 AM   #1
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Plumbers' putty? REALLY?!?!

As I continue with the restoration/refurbishing of our MH, I come across things that make me tilt my head like the RCA dogs listening to the victrola, and say "[moderator edit] were you thinking?"

Last weekend was one such episode....

The front clearance marker lights on the roofline of the RV were tattered, cracked, faded, and just generally looked like crap. I thought about replacing them with LED's, but I am not prepared financially to make that kind of conversion yet. So, replacement incandescents was the choice. Fortunately, my local RV parts supplier had 5 brand new lenses, gaskets, bulbs & bases that matched what was on the coach already. Add to that, I found them all in the discount bin, for 25% off the original price.

I snagged a few more odds & ends while I was there, and planned out my plan of attack..... Do them one at a time, so if I got caught in a rain shower over the weekend, I had to cover one hole, rather than 5 along the roofline.

Starting with the passenger side of the coach, I pulled the first one out, which was as brittle as eggshells, and fell apart in my hands. I replaced it and reconnected the new base to the wiring and tested for operation before reassembling. Everything looked fine.

The cluster of 3 lights in the center of the roof was a different story....

The screw heads all stripped out, which left me sliding a putty knife under the edge of the lens and twisting... *CRACK!!* Then using a pari of channel-lock's unscrewed the screws that I was now able to get a good grip on. Then I saw it...

The lens gaskets had failed long ago, and the PO used plumbers putty to seal around the holes to reduce the amount of water that came in. (Notice I said "reduce", and not "prevent")

This stuff was the gummiest, gooiest, stickiest, nastiest stuff I had ever had the misfortune of working with. I ended up spraying goo-gone on the area and scraped everything off. It was NASTY, not to mention, completely ineffective in waterproofing the front light assemblies.

I cleaned up the area, connected the new lights, tested them and reassembled using the foam gaskets provided for a MUCH cleaner look as you can see in the before & after photos....

Even after cleaning all of the electrical terminals and replacing a battery cable or two, I wasnt as dirty as I was after replacing 5 clearance marker lights.

Yowzers!
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:03 AM   #2
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The continuing story of " grab and use what you have handy , rather than drive and get what you should be using" I'm sure that your going to find many more instances of this attitude as you continue to restore your unit.
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:15 PM   #3
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Be happy they were not Lexan plastic. They will not break . Beat on them with a hammer and they will not break.
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Old 06-11-2013, 07:04 PM   #4
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I don't think what you encountered was plumber's putty. It dries out and gets brittle after a few years. I think what you had was butyl tape that done its job. Butyl tape ages and cracks eventually, but it stays soft and gooey and messy for a very long time.
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:26 PM   #5
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^^^^^What he said.
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChasA View Post
....I think what you had was butyl tape that done its job. Butyl tape ages and cracks eventually, but it stays soft and gooey and messy for a very long time.
Whatever it was, I hope I don't come across any more of it, anytime soon.
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:44 PM   #7
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I think he might have ran into dicor.

Also if you have a screw in the top of the lens cover bolt with silicone.
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:48 PM   #8
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On our rig I can buy new lenses for about $7 each, or new LED's complete with lenses and bulbs for $6 each. New LED's are more trouble as I have to wire them in but it's on my list to do.
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