11 August 2008

Roof Fridge Vent Installed!

I feel it necessary to preface this blog entry by re-iterating what great adhesive quality the aluminum duct tape has. I mean, it's simply amazing. Once this stuff cures in the sun, you need three men & a boy to remove it. Or a woman with a heat gun & lots of course steel wool. If you're wondering what the fridge vent looked like when someone else "fixed" the leak with tar, please refer to this post. Just be prepared for a bitter, annoyed woman.

I did a temporary fix that looked like this because I didn't have the stainless steel screws to replace the nickel plated ones. Well, I do now! I set out to actually complete a project. Go me!

Let's be honest here. There is not one single, solitary thing that's easy when restoring a vintage camper. Aside from polishing aluminum, I've found nothing that works the first time. Of course, this is my first vintage travel trailer restoration, so I'm a novice, a rookie, a greenhorn, if you will.

It took me about an hour to remove the aluminum duct tape. I'm not proud of this, I'm just sayin'. I had to bring out my nemesis... This time, there were no injuries. When I was done, it looked like this:

Satisfactorily Clean!

I cleaned the surface using a degreaser before putting down the butyl tape (sorry, no pic of the tape down). I marked where the screw holes were with by poking the butyl tape in apposing corners & then lining up the marks with the screw holes on the bottom of the vent cover.

I put the screws in one by one (duh). Once they were all in, but not snug, I wanted to make sure that the seal was a good one... Using my simple brain I thought that maybe if I tightened them like you're supposed to tighten the lug nuts on a tire, you might get the best, most uniform seal... So that's what I did. Did it help? ...dunno... But if it leaks, I may cry. Like I said, I don't really know what I'm doing. I'm just winging it.

After I tightened to what I thought was a good tension, I carefully trimmed the excess butyl tape (some should squeeze out the sides!) and carefully put the cap back on.

Unfortunately, the rail that holds on the cap is spot welded & is apparently not stainless. The clips at the end have rusted. I cleaned them with a wire brush & steel wool as much as I dare. I'd really hate to snap them off!

This is a little side note. The bottom portion of the vent is clean. It looks like there is a tar residue, and there is. However this residue less than paper thin. It's a strictly cosmetic issue. I could have used steel wool to remove this. I chose not to because it doesn't affect the stainless steel vent in any way, it's just a residue, and most importantly, you can't see it. It would have just taken another hour to do it, but I wasn't interested in being that darned perfect. It's so thin, it's more like a stain than a residue.

It'll be our little secret.

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