| Topic: awning rail gasket fitting tool
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Message posted by Al+Mel on 01/11/2013 at 10:11pm
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Outfit: Fleetwood Heritage 640 EB & ML270
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Awning rail is aluminium, caravan skin is aluminium - same rate of expansion & contraction (rail is fixed to 'van with screws into the wooden frame of 'van, but the rail is losing and gaining moisture constantly due to climatic conditions, so the screws become looser accordingly (vibration helps with this).
Gasket is some sort of plastic - different rate of expansion and contraction. What good can this do?
If the normal caravan mastic was used, it will have melted in hot sun either side of the gasket, so just as useless as usual. If an adhesive sealant was used it has to bond three faces instead of two (caravan skin to gasket and gasket to rail) - so twice the chance of a leak due to poor degreasing, poor application of sealant, screws becoming loose etc.
Best repair - clean and degrease caravan skin and rail. Bond rail directly to caravan with Sikaflex (screws are irrelevant after Sikaflex cures, as the bond is so good - but ensure screws/holes are well sealed.
Things I bonded with Sikaflex over 15 years ago are still watertight now, although subject to stress, immersion in salt water, frost, direct sunlight and living outdoors the entire time. Other PU sealants may be as long lived but I haven't tried them.