For years I have been servicing my caravan myself, but this is the easy part. The so-called “sealing” is costing an arm and a leg at the dealers.
Are there any caravanners out there who do it themselves? How do you do it? Do just smear the sealant on, or do you loosen the beading and then put on the sealant underneath?
Godfrey: The fact is that if you don’t use a dealer for your service, your warranty falls away.
Your dealer has first-hand knowledge on where the weak points are that need sealing and what other parts need to be sealed too.
We must also accept that dealers need the business in order to survive!
However, if your caravan is out of warranty or it’s too much of a hassle to unpack twice a year in order to send it for a service and you don’t care about a warranty, then it is a relatively simple but time-consuming task.
Unscrew the aluminum extrusion on the wall corners and wherever else there is a join in the aluminum covered with another trim strip of aluminum.
Clean off all the old sealant and find the best marine quality sealant money can buy – you don’t want to do this job every year.
Do not use a silicone, it does not stick long term. Do not use a mastic, this too may eventually dry out and crack.
Sika seems to be the most available product in hardware stores. We asked their opinion and the advice they gave us was to use Sikaflex-552, which is both a bonding and sealing product. It will bond and seal baked enamel aluminum to raw aluminum.
However, if you are bonding pre-baked enamel to anodized aluminum (could be the moulded tent extrusion to aluminum for instance) you need to use a Sika 205 Activator as per the instructions on the label, followed by a Sika 206 Primer, also as per the instructions. Once this has cured apply the 552 and screw the bits home and wipe away the excess sealant.
You have to seal behind every door handle, window rubber, door rubber, locker surround, roof surround, etc. Basically everywhere the aluminium outer shell has been compromised.
Remove the excess sealant as specified and you should have a caravan that is water tight.