New Bumper / Re-caulked Roof

New Bumper / Re-caulked Roof

April 11, 2015 Categories Camper Van

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Today was a pretty nice day out and I wanted to take advantage of the sunshine since it has been raining for the past few days, making it impossible to fix the She-Beast’s leaking roof or do much else. Some more of the packages for the conversion came in over the last couple days, mostly small stuff, and I’m hoping the bulk of the rest gets here in the next week or two.

First task of the day was installing a new front bumper, as the old one had a pretty gnarly dent in it and it’s a really easy thing to fix. There’s only eight 1/2″ bolts holding the bumper to the chassis and then another six bolts that hold some giant mounting bracket inside the bumper itself. There’s also around 10 metal clips that hold the bolts in place that I had to remove and insert onto the new bumper, followed by the giant mounting bracket, and then reinstalling the entire thing back onto the vehicle. Sounds pretty easy, right? Well, it was, but it still took me two hours to do it and allowed me to discover another thing I want to fix or get looked at. There seems to be a leak or something near the steering box. Anywho, I think the new bumper looks great and it no longer looks like I drove through a crowd of people.

My second task today was putting on new fender extension pieces, because both the driver and passenger side ones were broken. They’re relatively small, fiberglass pieces held on with two bolts, which happen to be annoying to remove because the door is in the way and I don’t have a ratcheting wrench. So, I removed the 2″ long bolts slowly but surely, a quarter turn at a time. At no point were they loose enough to turn by hand. The driver side piece is not fully on correctly right now, because the clip that holds the bottom tight won’t sit correctly in the sheet metal behind it. It’s something I’ll worry about a different day. Oh, and there’s a slight variation between the new pieces and the existing van color, but I don’t give a crap.

Finally, with the sun shining high, it was time to start tackling the leaky roof. Before I started on that, I wanted to determine the location(s) where water was entering. To do this, I removed the headliner to get a better look at everything. The headliner is falling apart and I plan to recover it, so this was something I had to do eventually anyway. With the headliner removed, I sat inside and had Mark spray the corner areas of the roof with a water hose until I saw water entering. This was not a necessary step, but I did it because I wanted to know for sure where it was that water was coming in. This way, after it was all re-caulked, I could ensure those spots were water tight.

Looking at the seam where the fiberglass top and original van roof meet, it was obvious to see that water would get in. Pretty much the entire seam had cracked caulking or gaps that had formed. Before laying in new caulking, I scrubbed the entire seam area to ensure the new caulk would have a good hold and not just be stuck to dirt. I also cleaned the rest of the fiberglass top to remove all the grime that had built up. Who knows when it was last washed. Here’s a picture to show how dirty it was.

Once everything was clean, I took the air compressor and sprayed down the entire seam to blast any water out and ensure the caulk would have a good hold. It took me a little while to work my way around the vehicle with the caulk gun. There are two joints around the top that had to be sealed. Once that was done, I let it sit for awhile and worked on some other projects. When I felt it was safe to get wet, I sprayed down the entire top with water, focusing on the areas I knew were letting in water before.

I’m happy to say that I no longer have water leaking down into the cab area. However, when spraying the rear doors, some water appears to have gotten through. I’m gonna try to pinpoint where tomorrow. I have a feeling it’s the weather stripping around the doors, but we’ll see.

I don’t want to start on the floor until I can stop any water from entering which is not supposed to. Especially since all the electrical components for my solar setup will most likely be sitting directly on the floor, under the bed frame. Last I checked, electricity and water don’t go well together and I’d prefer not to get electrocuted.

As a side task, I cleaned out the tons of leaves and dirt from the seam around the hood. I was amazed at how much crap was actually packed in there.

In the words of Porky Pig, Th-th-th-tha-tha-tha-that’s all, folks!

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