RV repair and general ownership questions
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    Evergreen's Avatar
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    RV repair and general ownership questions

    Hello everyone! Last weekend I traded a non-running International 656 Hydro for a truck camper and I have a couple of questions; the biggest of which is what to use to seal up a couple of little dings along the edges? I know I shouldn't use silicone but I've used a product called 'Sikaflex 221' on semi-trailers in the past with great success. Has anyone used this on a camper or do you have a different product to recommend? After sealing the little cracks, I will be hitting the roof with a fresh coat of sealant as well.

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    I went over it very thoroughly and I couldn't find any indication of water damage. All the appliances worked and it even came with the tie downs for my truck as we have almost identical Fords.

    Our plan is to get it home later this week (I have to install the truck's tie downs) and start with a very intensive cleaning. I am not new to camping, but I've never had my own camper before and I've never used a truck camper before. This means I know just enough to be dangerous! I figured I would be popping back on here as other questions came up, so thanks in advance!
    RandyM, DRobinson, pcabe5 and 3 others like this.
    '50 Model M w/electronic ignition, 12v conversion, and a 3pt conversion plus a homemade snowplow, a Deere Model 51 trailer plow, a Woods RM59 finish mower, a Bark Buster splitter, and a few other toys.
    '69 Sears Suburban 14 48" deck and 42" back blade, an estate rake, and a sweeper.
    '07 F250 XL Powerstroke, crew cab, short box, 4x4.
    '85 F150... I finally sold my very first truck after racking up over half-a-million miles on the original drivetrain.

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    Bonehead Club Lackey Levi's Avatar
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    If the dings along the edges are in a place you can take apart some you could do that and add some caulking behind it and screw it back together. Silicone? Why can't you use it? I used to work for a place that made them and all other campers and motor homes. We used silicone all the time. On the edges to keep the rain/water out from the outside in we used caulking. This was back in the '70's and '80's so they might have come up with something else by now.
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    coaltrain's Avatar
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    That's a nice truck camper!

    I always had dreams of having a truck camper like that or a small tag along but that a subject for a different time....

    Glad that Levi chimed in here - I forgot who it was but I knew one of us used to work for a manufacturer.

    I see quite a few used neglected campers for sale around here but was always hesitant since I don't know how the things are made and what it entails to repair or replace a roof along with any of the skin or structure. It sounds like the one you bought is pretty sound - just a few minor needs.

    I always drool over this thing - the Earth Roamer. But since they start at $400k I know I'll never see one....

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    Last edited by coaltrain; 09-13-2016 at 12:57 PM.
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    56FordGuy's Avatar
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    They build those Earth Roamers down in northern Colorado. I've driven by the place a few times, they always have some neat stuff sitting around outside.

    Like Evergreen, I've used a lot of Sikaflex on semi trailers. Don't know why it wouldn't work for an RV? I used silicone to stop a couple of leaks on our horse trailer, didn't know that was the wrong fix. Seems to be holding up.
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    I use ProFlexRV on mine.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...ASGTZGPXNM43WL


    I think the SikaFlex is pretty similar except that it is an adhesive as well as a sealant. The ProFlex is a sealant only. That makes it easier to remove/replace the next time you need to do it.
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    Evergreen's Avatar
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    Thanks to everyone who has replied so far.

    I was told (whether there is scientific truth behind it, I do not know) that silicone should only be used on surfaces which are completely clean because impurities will compromise its bond. Thoughts?

    I like sikaflex, but as was mentioned earlier, it is also an adhesive which I will only need in places where I can push little bits of the trim back into place. Right now I'm trying to make it look better while simultaneously adding a bit of insurance against future problems. I'll look into that proflexrv stuff. I'd like to find something RV specific and do this right the first time. That being said, there really isn't much to re-building one of these things; they're all just 2x2's with aluminum skin. The trick is to find one that hasn't been to hell and back and then left to sit out in a fence row every winter so you don't have to re-build it. There are a lot of 'needs some tlc' campers on the market right now.
    I'll pass along the same advice that I was given: go looking at them within 24 hours of the end of a major rain storm. If there's a leak, you'll surely spot it then!


    Those Earth Roamer campers are fantastic. We saw one at an RV show and that's actually what set us on the path to get this one. I'm sure they are worth the half-million dollar price tag, but trading away one of my extra projects was a little bit more within our budget. I've done a lot of boondock camping out of the bed of a pickup with a cap, but this should be way more comfortable. Probably not as comfortable as an Earth Roamer, but better than a bed liner!
    Last edited by Evergreen; 09-13-2016 at 03:49 PM.
    pcabe5, ColonyPark, rtgt and 2 others like this.
    '50 Model M w/electronic ignition, 12v conversion, and a 3pt conversion plus a homemade snowplow, a Deere Model 51 trailer plow, a Woods RM59 finish mower, a Bark Buster splitter, and a few other toys.
    '69 Sears Suburban 14 48" deck and 42" back blade, an estate rake, and a sweeper.
    '07 F250 XL Powerstroke, crew cab, short box, 4x4.
    '85 F150... I finally sold my very first truck after racking up over half-a-million miles on the original drivetrain.

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    coaltrain's Avatar
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    I'd love to see one of the Earth Roamers in person - I just think they are so neat!

    Years ago my wife and I spent quite a few nights in the back of my pickup with an aluminum cap (in the spring/summer/fall) - cut out a 6" piece of foam to fit the bed and we were quite comfortable.

    A used truck camper might be ideal for us but that is one thing I hadn't planned on when I bought my truck - I'm now stuck with a 5'5" bed.....

    Been pondering the truck tents - seem to get pretty good reviews and would probably be enough for occasional use.
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    I would be apprehensive about the adhesive used on tractor trailers,,,
    for the same reason you do not use permethrin around cats!!

    It could be health effects, it could just be the smell.

    The industrial stuff might stick like crazy,,, but,,,,

    Odor of anything in such a small area that you would spend 8 hours in could be a MAJOR concern.

    OTOH,, if the wife HATES the smell,, and DEMANDS that she stay home,,,
    MIGHT be a PLUS!!
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    Official "Groovie" Dude
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    Geocel (pro flex), Dicor, sikaflex, and 3M make rv sealants. Depending on where you are applying the sealants and what it is sealing depends on which type you choose. The manufacturers that I listed show the different types and what they are used for. Geocel and dicor seem to be used a lot by OEM's. No manufacturer uses silicone anymore and I would suggest not using it for a few reasons. I prefer the polyurethane type sealants, such as sikaflex.

    My two cents and it may only be worth one...

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    Evergreen's Avatar
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    Sika 221 doesn't stink after it has had a few hours to dry. Besides, it would only be used on the outside of the camper. In any case, we have four dogs who like to provide us with some of the most interesting smells imaginable. At this point I think my nose is immune to just about anything and everything.

    We looked at truck tents too but found that the downside is that they aren't very physically secure (we have the dogs to contain) and they essentially render the bed useless for carrying gear because everything stowed in the bed for travel must be unloaded in order to put up the tent. I've done enough factory work to have an aversion to moving things I've already moved once. I also have an aversion to going to sleep with all my gear in an unsecured location. Since my F250 already has the factory camper package, it was a bit of a no-brainier to skip the tent and get a slide in camper. But, you don't need a big 3/4 ton to get into the truck camping game. I have seen plenty of little pop-up truck campers designed for short bed 1/2 tons...
    pcabe5, ColonyPark, rtgt and 2 others like this.
    '50 Model M w/electronic ignition, 12v conversion, and a 3pt conversion plus a homemade snowplow, a Deere Model 51 trailer plow, a Woods RM59 finish mower, a Bark Buster splitter, and a few other toys.
    '69 Sears Suburban 14 48" deck and 42" back blade, an estate rake, and a sweeper.
    '07 F250 XL Powerstroke, crew cab, short box, 4x4.
    '85 F150... I finally sold my very first truck after racking up over half-a-million miles on the original drivetrain.

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