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Old 04-05-2014, 01:51 PM   #43
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Just a quick close-up of what's happening to the aluminum siding in lots of places now on the exterior. As someone stated earlier in the thread, this is likely due to the chemicals used to pressure treat the luan reacting with the aluminum. The corrosion is occurring from the inside out. The places that are corroded all the way through I have filled with polyurethane caulk to prevent water infiltration. I think any attempt to fill these in and then paint over is going to be futile as the corrosion will just come back through. This is happening in several areas on the RV, mostly right above the storage compartment where the seal was not maintained properly, and moisture was able to wick up into the luan. One good thing is that the leaky seam only seemed to affect the luan... the wood on the floor was all very good and solid on the inside when i replaced the flooring.

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Old 04-05-2014, 11:25 PM   #44
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Wow, that looks like a lost cause. I can see why you are willing to go to such lengths to replace the siding. I might go the route of just riveting corrugated or siding right over the top. After all, how much is it worth in its present condition?
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:26 AM   #45
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Wow, that looks like a lost cause. I can see why you are willing to go to such lengths to replace the siding. I might go the route of just riveting corrugated or siding right over the top. After all, how much is it worth in its present condition?
Ya, it speaks volumes doesn't it? Ugh... I just don't know what to do. I'm not afraid of the amount of work, but when this much work is involved, I want to make sure that I don't do it halfheartedly or use processes that won't stand the test of time. It would be devastating to put tons of work into this only to see it delaminate in a year or two.

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Not sure what HR was doing when that coach was built, but when I toured the HR factory about 8 years ago, the interior walls were built with framing and insulation, the roof was attached, and then the exterior walls were glued to the frame after everything else was done. They refer to this as "hung wall" construction. The RV had taken its full shape before the exterior walls were glued to the stringers.
I'm pretty sure I could laminate new aluminum to luan. And if I could use "hung wall construction" as "Daveinet" talked about on page 2, I think it could turn out successful. If the wall needs to be in a vacuum press to make the glue stick properly to the frame, then I'd be in trouble.

At the end of the day... a different coach is not in the finances right now, not to mention I'm just starting to get all the bugs worked out of this one (about $10k later just in repairs and upgrades). And to be honest, I really like this old thing. It's got everything an RV needs to have... but if I don't find a way to fix this issue, our dreams of RV-ing might die along with the decaying exterior. At the end of the day, it's kind of embarrassing to pull this old girls into a campground that's full of shine and luster in pretty much every lot. Some people might say that sounds prideful of me, but I don't think it is. It's kind of like someone putting a house trailer in a big fancy housing development. You might be a nice person, and the people in the development might even like you, but your house just doesn't belong. That's how this feels. I sometimes feel like I'm imposing on a culture where I don't fit in. Everyone has been very nice to us so far, so it's probably not a big deal, but i know the fear in their eyes when we first pull in. Once they get to know us, we have a good time with everyone... and i suppose that's what matters.

I suppose either way, this isn't the worst fate that could befall a man... just have to keep things in perspective. It's only "stuff" and "money." Neither of which fills the hole we all have inside us.

all for now... still thinking.

-cheers
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Old 04-08-2014, 08:10 AM   #46
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I've made a decision... when we get back from our Florida trip next month, I'm going to remove the stripes and repaint new ones. This should give me the chance to repair 95% of the corrosion I'm seeing. No, it won't last forever, but if it lasts 2 or 3 years before I have to do it again it will be worth it. Especially since this shouldn't cost me more than a couple hundred dollars.

Here is a picture of the rv now...


And this is a starving artists rendition of what it may look like. Ok, so I'm no artist... but I think getting rid of the dated pink and blue stripes will help modernize the look just a little.


All for now... it will be a couple months before this gets done, but I'll be sure to update when I do get around to it.

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Old 04-08-2014, 09:25 AM   #47
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While you're at it? Those yellowed mldgs. are dating your coach too. I replaced every foot of that same mldg on a '93 HR I had 4 years ago. After selling that one and getting the one I have now (with MORE of that same mldg!), I taped and rattle caned the mldg. areas that were yellowed. Just as effective, cheaper, easier, and way faster! 3 years later, still holding the paint without issue.
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Old 04-08-2014, 09:59 AM   #48
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While you're at it? Those yellowed mldgs. are dating your coach too. I replaced every foot of that same mldg on a '93 HR I had 4 years ago. After selling that one and getting the one I have now (with MORE of that same mldg!), I taped and rattle caned the mldg. areas that were yellowed. Just as effective, cheaper, easier, and way faster! 3 years later, still holding the paint without issue.
Oh absolutely going to replace the vinyl moldings... That was mentioned earlier in the thread, and I totally agree with that notion.

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Old 07-09-2014, 09:31 PM   #49
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Update

Well, it's been a while since we returned from our Florida trip... as stated earlier in this thread, I was going to work on painting new stripes on the RV when we got back in hopes of trying to cover up some of the corrosion that's happening to the exterior, but alas, we had some terribly bad luck on that trip, and new stripes have been the least of my worries. At some point in our travels, the intake boot on the air cleaner tore, and our 5.9L cummins is completely dusted and needs rebuilt. Not good news. If you're interested in the story, the thread is in the cummins engine forums here at irv2.

So... after doing some thinking on all of this, we have a plan to get the cummins back online, though it's going to take some time to save up the money to do so. In the meantime... I've got other, more sinister plans... mwahahahahaha.

Since I've got some down time on the RV for probably a year anyways... I've decided to take a chance and redo the exterior via good old fashioned body work. The process will be very time consuming, but relatively inexpensive... and I think I've come up with a method that will work.

Shown here is one patch of corrosion of about a dozen or so that exist on the exterior of the RV... all coming through from the backside of the aluminum.



And in this photo, you see what I did to each and every one of those little spots of corrosion. A dremel tool with a carbide endmill did the trick. Surprisingly, each spot of corrosion was relatively contained to a small area, and I didn't have to open up each hole very much in order to get to good aluminum. I chamfered each hole just a little bit and then bent the edges in with a hammer to make a dent around each hole.





And, this photo shows some of the bondo work I used to fill the holes and feather everything out onto the aluminum.




Now, I know there will be some people who will poo poo this idea, but let me explain why I think this will work. First of all, it's not just regular bondo... it's called Polyester Glazing Putty... it's intended use is for filling in body work on plastic bumpers, but it also sticks to aluminum and steel. It's quite thin when you apply it, and it remains very flexible after it dries. So flexible in fact, that according to the mfg, it will bend 77 before it cracks or breaks. I think this is the perfect product for this type of application. I made sure that I dug the luan out from behind the hole, so that I would have a mushroom head of bondo behind the aluminum... and since I dented the front surface... I also basically have a mushroom head on the outside too. In short, there is aluminum sandwiched between the bondo, so the bondo should stay adhered to the aluminum... at least I hope it will at $35/quart for the stuff. Regular bondo runs $40 a gallon.

Yes, I know that the corrosion will probably come back... but I'm thinking it's gonna take a while. Besides, I'm hopefully going to paint the entire RV too... and I'll make sure I have some extra paint left over for touching up any areas where the corrosion tries to come back through. I won't be using Base/Clear automotive paint... probably going to spray a single stage oil based enamel with a hardener additive. Think "rustoleum." This should net me about $35-$40 per gallon for paint instead of $500 or more per gallon of base/clear... and from what I have seen, it will look just fine and hold up pretty well, especially on a vehicle that spends most of it's time in the garage.

And yes... I also know that the aluminum is delaminated from the luan in several places, and it's going to look all bubbly on the outside. Well... it already looks bubbly on the outside. There's nothing I can do about it, and in all reality the delamination is not terribly evident. I can live with it, cause I still think it will look pretty good once the holes are filled and there's new paint all over.

Well, all for now... my prayer is that by next spring i'll have the engine fixed and all the body work done...and be ready for paint. Will it all happen? Only God knows I guess. We'll wait and see.

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Old 07-09-2014, 09:54 PM   #50
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So sorry to hear about your motor. It does look like a lot of work but maybe it will spruce her up just enough. Then with the re-built motor, you will be again riding in style.

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Old 07-27-2014, 09:00 PM   #51
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Well... So far this is not going very well.

After I got all the body filler finished off in one section I decided I had better paint a test panel. I used a quality surfacer primer that I wet sanded smooth, and then sprayed a semigloss white paint over it. It actually looked pretty good... and the body filler seemed to take all kind of abuse. I could heat the aluminum with 2-500 watt halogen lights and flex the aluminum in and out without any cracking or adhesion issues.

BUT...

It only took 2 days for the oxidation of the aluminum to start bubbling up through the filler and into the paint. I sanded the bubbles down to see what was going on and in the center of the bubble was a tiny pin hole in the aluminum, and the bondo was soft and damp all around. When I took the dremel to the pin hole, i found out that the aluminum was paper thin in that spot and white powder (oxidized aluminum) poured out from behind when I opened it up. I think that there must be a little moisture behind the aluminum in the luan, and somehow it wicks through the aluminum holes where the oxidation is taking place and softens the body filler? I dunno...I've never seen anything like this...

After going around and checking out the rest of the aluminum on the RV a little closer... I found that there's quite a few places where what's left of the siding is only paper thin. At this point, I'm worried that it's in such bad condition that the whole thing is a lost cause. I had no idea it was deteriorated so badly from the inside.

The only thing I can think to try now is Duraglass body filler... Unlike the glazing putty I used on this first section, the Duraglass is water proof. It was actually engineered for marine applications above AND below the water line. Maybe it's tough enough to keep the corrosion at bay for a while. I dunno. It is also fiber filled, and very flexible.

At this point, the Duraglas might be my last hope of salvaging this RV. If I can't get more than 2 days out of body work before the corrosion works its way through again, it won't be worth fixing the Cummins. Once again, I'm pondering whether or not this might be the end. Time will tell I suppose.

It sure would be great to just put new exterior panels on it. I now believe this unit uses hung wall construction, and the aluminum/luan panels are just held on with rivets. Crane Composites manufactures an exterior panel made of fiberglass and some sort of composite backer that is all one piece and is impervious to water. They won't sell direct, however, and their dealers don't seem to want to return my emails. My guess is that it's very expensive anyways...

For now... I guess I'll do a test panel with some Duraglass... and see what happens. I do not have high hopes.

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Old 07-27-2014, 09:12 PM   #52
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Body repair

I am so sorry for what you are going through. I am by no means an expert.When we did our rebuild on our TT we had ripped two panels back to the fiberglass. We were advised to get some 3M bondo. Purchased this two part epoxy at Auto Zone. Follow all directions and use an industrial respirator. Use a cheap throw away paint brush to apply. The marine product you are familiar with may do the same thing. In other words it seals up any pinpoint holes you can't see.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:46 PM   #53
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Have you ever heard of plastic dip? DO a search on YouTube. Its the latest craze. It might put enough of a coating on to stop moister penetration and prevent it from bubbling through.

Boy engine thing has to make you take a step back. Being that you are taking your time, I wonder if you should keep an eye out for a used one somewhere. Over the period of several months, some hard shopping could find you a great affordable deal.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:55 PM   #54
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they re skin Airstreams all the time ask those guys where they the alum maybe???
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Old 07-28-2014, 05:30 AM   #55
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Boy engine thing has to make you take a step back. Being that you are taking your time, I wonder if you should keep an eye out for a used one somewhere. Over the period of several months, some hard shopping could find you a great affordable deal.
At this point... the deterioration of the exterior aluminum is a far more sinister problem than the engine. The engine can be bored in frame... and I can do all of the rest of the labor on my own. Ya,it stinks, and it's more money than I would like to spend, but getting a good end result is possible.

The body, on the other hand, is a tough call. I've been looking into reskinning this rv for over a year now. Aluminum can be found without too much trouble... so can luan substrate. But getting the two to adhere together without delaminating in a short period of time is the issue. Same with using Filon over luan (filon is cheaper). The panels are made in the factory in large presses... I don't know if I could duplicate the process in my garage with a lawn roller or not. lol And like I said, the Crane Composite people don't seem to want to talk to me.

I dunno... when I think about buying another RV (which isn't in the cards right now anyways) I remember all the fixing that I did on this one that I may have to do again on another new one anyways. At least with this one, I know what I have... which at this point... isn't much I guess.

This certainly is a bummer for sure. I'm just trying to get through this without getting too discouraged over the hundreds of hours of overtime I've worked to pay for all this so far, and the hundreds of hours of wrenching I've already spent fixing. I hope that doesn't sound like complaining...

I guess even if it takes me 3 or4 years to save the money and get all the work done to make this one road worthy again it might be better than just throwing in the towel and giving up RV-ing altogether. Although, that's 3 or 4 years of RV-ing that I'll miss with my kids as they grow up. I just dunno... Trying to salvage what I can from this whole mess. It's tough, but in the end, it's just "stuff" and "stuff" doesn't define us, nor does it fill the void in the human heart we all experience at some point in life. Only 1 thing can fill that....

-cheers
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Old 07-28-2014, 07:23 AM   #56
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I've seen that on HRs before and I think the problem you are having is electrolysis. There's a leak somewhere and dissimilar metals are causing the issue.
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