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Old 01-03-2013, 11:17 AM   #1
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Seam Repair Questions

There is a seam on our motorhome that needs some work and I have some questions as to how to go about it. You can see the seem in question in the photo below... I've drawn a few arrows for you all.

This seam is loose in several areas, and over the years (prior to our ownership last summer) moisture has worked it's way up behind the thin luan plywood and caused some corrosion of the exterior skin. I would like this corrosion to not get any worse, so I think I need to get this seam buttoned up. The problem is, I think there are screws behind the moulding in the picture and many of them have corroded... thus the loose seam. I don't think caulking it will fix the issue. I think the seam needs taken apart, resealed, and put back together.

Questions:
1) how does this moulding come off? just glued on? I assume it covers the screws that hold the seam together and that also hold the storage compartment doors in place?

2) where can I find new moulding like this?

3) should I sandwich some sort of sealant between the storage door mounting flanges and the plywood/aluminum panels? If so... what?

4) should new screws be stainless steel? Maybe there are rivets under there? The framing is steel at the bottom where the seam gets put together.

5) any other ideas?

thanks in advance.
-cheers
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:27 PM   #2
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the molding should just be slipped into channel and to remove you get small flat tip in and under the track to soft molding and pull out and reinstall same way...then you can unscrew the channel and seal behind it and rescrew and reinstall the vinyl cap..you can use silicone or go to rv center and buy something recomennded and i would use zinc screws but can use stainless if you want....jeff
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:24 PM   #3
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Do it on a warm day or use hair drier to soften the molding.

Stainless is better but will snap, predrill with correct size drill then use zink to make thread, then stainless.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:36 PM   #4
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I did what you did to my Coachmen...except, when i took the screws out, every once was rotten from screw head down to the end of the thread (which means water was getting in around them). SO I fixed that... I used mostly stainless, except for the once that were exposed, which I used white painted, AND put a small dab of silicone on the first few threads, then put the screw in. I checked the screws about 2yrs later, and even the metal ones were rust free. Problem solved

I reinstalled my old molding. It went black/chalky, so I used a cleaner with bleach to remove the black (nothing else worked), and then sprayed automotive clear coat over it so it would get further sun damaged. You could also get some off-white automotive paint as well, so it will match....but naturally, if you can find new molding, that's the way to go.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:44 PM   #5
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Use stainless, yes pre drill a pilot hole, I highly suggest using 3M 5200 adhesive sealant, it comes in a small tube, or cartridge. You can find it 3m at most auto stores or marine stores. Note, you will not get water penetration again, nor will you ever have to re seal, re caulk. It cleans up using common mineral spirits.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:39 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the help guys... it makes sense to me now that the vinyl is an insert, but I couldn't see the metal track beneath the bead of caulk along the edge of the insert. There is a visible screw at the end of each piece of vinyl... i guess just to hold the ends down. I think I'll wait till warmer weather before tackling this... the motorhome is in the garage, but there's no heat out there. This doesn't look to be such a terrible project after all.

-cheers
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:36 AM   #7
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That looks like a mid 90s Holiday Rambler. If so there's no wood behind there. It's aluminum framed. Mine did the same thing. There are pop rivets holding that trim piece to the aluminum superstructure. The molding snaps on over the channel. HR still sells that in rolls. You can either remove the bad rivets and rerivet or use some larger stainless steel screws. Just make sure the head isn't so big you can't snap the molding back in place.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:18 AM   #8
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I recall that molding will shrink quite a bit as it cools. If I recall correctly, you should wait until it cools before trimming for length.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topdownman View Post
That looks like a mid 90s Holiday Rambler. If so there's no wood behind there. It's aluminum framed. Mine did the same thing. There are pop rivets holding that trim piece to the aluminum superstructure. The molding snaps on over the channel. HR still sells that in rolls. You can either remove the bad rivets and rerivet or use some larger stainless steel screws. Just make sure the head isn't so big you can't snap the molding back in place.
You're right... sort of. It is a '94 Holiday rambler, and the construction from the floor up is aluminum framed (storage bins and below are steel framed)... but there is wood behind the aluminum, though not structural wood. The aluminum sheeting is laminated to what must be 3/16 or 1/4" luan plywood. These laminated panels of aluminum and luan are then attached to the aluminum frame.

The main reason we went with the older holiday rambler was because of the aluminum framing... knowing that if there had been a roof leak somewhere at some point in time, it wouldn't cause structural damage.

I'd love to put new skins on the entire motorhome, but it's just not in the budget... I'll be satisfied to prevent further water from entering and causing additional corrosion of the aluminum from the inside out. And I'll probably just reuse the old moulding since it's already faded to match the rest of the paint. lol.

-cheers
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:38 PM   #10
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I have a 1997. When I went to remove the vinyl inserts someone had used butyl tape ... a PITA but it does come off. I also had some screws that had corroded to the point that all that was left were the heads. Replaced with stainless ... drilled new holes about 1/4" to the side and filled the old holes with Dicor caulk.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:56 AM   #11
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I like using polyurethane sealant for filling holds and gluing trim, sealing windows etc. Stronger than silicone, paintable, long-lasting. Loctite S4 window and door sealant.
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Old 04-13-2013, 03:04 PM   #12
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Just an update...

I took the vinyl strip off of both sides of the RV. Behind it was an aluminum strip that the vinyl clips on to just like you all said. The aluminum strip was held on with aluminum rivets... and I wasn't surprised to find that tons of them had reacted with the steel framing they were attached to, and corroded beyond usefulness. In fact, two of the storage doors weren't being held on by any good rivets... just the old bead of caulk that ran between the siding and the hinge on the door. So, I drilled each and every one of the old rivets out and replaced them with new ones... ya, probably stupid to replace them with aluminum rivets again, but these will probably last as long as I'll have the RV so it's all good.

After I got all the rivets replaced, I noticed that the vinyl strips didn't fit anymore. They shrunk like crazy. It's a little cooler now than it was when I took them off but not by a lot. I probably should have replaced the vinyl altogether, but figured new stuff would stand out against an old faded paint job, so I just put the old stuff back up with a gap at each end... that I proceeded to caulk with possibly the whitest and brightest caulk you can possibly imagine. Talk about standing out against an old paint job... *sigh*

Ahh well... it is what it is. Tightening up the seam with new rivets the entire length of the RV really took a lot of waves out of the side... which looks a lot better. This works against the horrible look of the bright white caulk to even things out maybe... A net zero gain/loss in aesthetics. lol. When we're driving down the road, we won't notice, and we'll still have a great time camping.

I still have to caulk the underside of the seam... but I'm waiting for the caulk on the top of the seam to dry before I do. I''ll probably throw some gray paint on the caulk below the seam to hide it a little...

All for now...

cheers
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Old 04-13-2013, 04:35 PM   #13
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I think the screws at the end of the vinyl insert are what keeps it from shrinking back from the ends.
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Old 04-14-2013, 08:04 AM   #14
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I had a '93 34' that I replaced all that vinyl trim on. Looked awesome when done, but was a PIA because I did it in cool weather. Lessons learned!

Suggest you wait for warmer weather prior to proceeding? That vinly trim WILL stretch and be much easier to work with at that point (something over 60-70 degrees). At that point you can pull it off, scrape your white sealant out of the way, and have another go at installing it so it's the right length much more easily. THEN install the screws to secure it at the ends to prevent it from shrinking.

If the molding is beyond hope of getting back to it's original color, there's still hope - a trick I learned on the '97 I have now. Ford Wimbledon White (used on mid 90's vans) is a near exact match for what you're wanting to do. Is available in a spray can that will do many feet of the vinyl, can be purchased at most any discount auto supply. Mask it and spray on in 2-3 thin coats when wind is calm. Easy and quick. What I've done is holding up perfectly after 2 years. Plastic refer. vent that had yellowed badly recently done the same way. Lessons learned....

Meanwhile, you might look into some of the threads regarding Zep brand floor wax available at Lowes/Home Depot. MANY MANY threads regarding unbelievable results after using!! Coach will look like new again - and stay tha way for quite a while - with just a little TLC. Wax is cheap!
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