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Old 08-12-2015, 07:28 AM   #1
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Attaching fittings

When attachIng a bracket to a boat one cleans the area, drills the hole, applies appropriate caulking to the bottom of the bracket and positions it, applies more caulking to the bolt and some in the hole, tightens it down and cleans up any caulking that squeezes out. The result is a clean looking install that is water tight with no caulking visible.

On the top of a RV, it seems we with do something similar with adding the caulking during the install or do a dry install. Then, the bottom of the bracket and fastener is smothered in caulking. The results is a messy looking job which hopefully is waterproof. If I had done that when I worked at the shipyard on customer's boats I would of been fired. But, when adding things to the sides of RV, they aren't covered in caulk.

So why?
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Old 08-12-2015, 07:33 AM   #2
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Is your question why are the roof attachments not as neat and tidy as the side wall ones? I guess because you do not see them?
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Old 08-12-2015, 10:58 AM   #3
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You are right, the ones on top are not seen and neither are parts in the bilge of a boat, but the boat ones are alway neat. What prompted the question was the instructions for adding the brackets to the solar panel. Basically install dry and cover with caulking. I don't see why this method of installation is good practice. I think appling the caulk during the install results in better waterproof performance over time.
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Old 08-12-2015, 11:22 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Chris R View Post
You are right, the ones on top are not seen and neither are parts in the bilge of a boat, but the boat ones are alway neat. What prompted the question was the instructions for adding the brackets to the solar panel. Basically install dry and cover with caulking. I don't see why this method of installation is good practice. I think appling the caulk during the install results in better waterproof performance over time.
Hi Chris,
Everyone knows more is better I to hate looking at messes caulking job.
Mark
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Old 08-12-2015, 11:52 AM   #5
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What prompted the question was the instructions for adding the brackets to the solar panel. Basically install dry and cover with caulking. I don't see why this method of installation is good practice. .
If those are the instructions I'm shocked. That's called "face sealing" and isn't nearly as good as bedding the fitting in sealant.

I normally mask off the perimeter and remove the tape while the sealant is still pliable making for a neat installation.

The only exception to this type of installation is when I use a EPDM gasket. In this case I made these kayak roof racks for the canopy and I wanted to remove them on occasion so I did a dry install with an EPDM gasket. It also compensates slightly for the not dead flat surface.

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Old 08-12-2015, 11:53 AM   #6
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Not to mention that caulking seems to break down over time which leads to partially or completely exposing whatever it was supposed to cover and protect. Not that I have an Escape yet to know what they do...I just know that from the Casita.
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Old 08-12-2015, 12:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Chris R View Post
When attachIng a bracket to a boat one cleans the area, drills the hole, applies appropriate caulking to the bottom of the bracket and positions it, applies more caulking to the bolt and some in the hole, tightens it down and cleans up any caulking that squeezes out. The result is a clean looking install that is water tight with no caulking visible.

On the top of a RV, it seems we with do something similar with adding the caulking during the install or do a dry install. Then, the bottom of the bracket and fastener is smothered in caulking. The results is a messy looking job which hopefully is waterproof. If I had done that when I worked at the shipyard on customer's boats I would of been fired. But, when adding things to the sides of RV, they aren't covered in caulk.

So why?
Sounds like a neat , reliable way to install brackets . Some of the installs for solar truly are a mess and I would question how waterproof they are . I also like Ron's suggestion of the rubber gaskets . I think that might work . I just fixed small hole in copper pipe with a great stainless and brass bracket with the rubber gasket cinched down no leak . Didn't have to cut pipe or solder . Great invention . You fellows working on boats really know what you are talking about . Pat
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Old 08-12-2015, 01:21 PM   #8
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. I just fixed small hole in copper pipe with a great stainless and brass bracket with the rubber gasket cinched down no leak . Didn't have to cut pipe or solder . Great invention . You fellows working on boats really know what you are talking about . Pat
Yah, the old piece of inner tube and a hose clamp works like a charm.

Us boaters do have to learn how to make leak proof holes. When you drill 1 1/2" holes in the bottom of the boat and take it out on the ocean it's nice to feel that you've made it water proof.

Ron
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Old 08-16-2015, 01:43 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Chris R View Post
When attachIng a bracket to a boat one cleans the area, drills the hole, applies appropriate caulking to the bottom of the bracket and positions it, applies more caulking to the bolt and some in the hole, tightens it down and cleans up any caulking that squeezes out. The result is a clean looking install that is water tight with no caulking visible.
Properly done

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Originally Posted by Chris R View Post
On the top of a RV, it seems we with do something similar with adding the caulking during the install or do a dry install. Then, the bottom of the bracket and fastener is smothered in caulking. The results is a messy looking job which hopefully is waterproof...

So why?
I think part of the problem is that both RV bodies and RV parts are assumed to be too flexible, so they don't stay firmly attached with a consistent sealant-filled space. Also, traditionally some weird old putty has traditionally been used, instead of a modern sealant - the current butyl putty is much more elastic and sticky, but it's still not like an automotive sealant.

It fundamentally makes no sense to me - or anyone outside of the RV industry - to seal a joint by painting goop over it. The joint is filled, or if the parts are not rigid then a tape is applied over top to bridge the joint. Even in RVs, tapes such as Eternabond are used to fix leaks with the goop-over-top method fails.

When I installed a MaxxFan in my trailer a few years ago, I used butyl putty under the flange and secured with bolts to a substantial flange on the inside... and that's it. No leaks.
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Old 08-16-2015, 02:37 AM   #10
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Sorry .... Still not right. Apply caulking to underside of fitting, some down the bolt hole ... move wife's brand new fur coat from underneath, ... some on bolt threads, ... insert bolt and barely tighten, .... clean up the oose, and wait for caulk to cure .... days if necessary. You want the caulk to be between 1/16" and 1/8" thick. After curing then, then tighten. You will have made a perfect gasket and it has the best chance to be and stay waterproof.


Caulking on top of the fitting? NO!
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