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CampinHappy

Early, Texas (Central Texas)

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Posted: 09/20/06 11:00pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As I sat in my yard and pondered the cracks on my 99 niagras roof and looked at the small tube of ABS sealent I received last week, I was wondering if there's some place I could find small thin sheets of ABS plastic that I could use to "patch" my cracks, covering them up and thereby strengthing the area.

So, anybody ever seen small patches, maybe around the size of playing cards that could be used for these types of repairs?

Thankie muchie!


CampinHappy
Central Texas
2000 Suburban 4x4
2007 K-Z Spree 240 BH with triple bunks for my 3 amigos
Formerly a 99 Coleman Niagara PUP
wife version 1.0 (so far ) 3 boys (9,11,15),


mike4947

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Posted: 09/21/06 01:17am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Shawn, the main problem is there isn't any "glue" to hold a patch on. A solvent (Methol Ethyl Ketone) is used to actually melt the ABS and form a weld. Just painting a patch and the roof with MEK won't do enough to form a bond.
The Apache hard side folks for years have used MEK with ground ABS to make a paste that has enough solvent in it to weld cracks shut.
If you use it with a patch there's a good chance it won't total seal and you'll still end up with a leak path. The current "best way" is to grind out the cracks slightly and fill with the MEK/ABS mixture to form a new surface. Effectively making one surface my solvent welding the two sides of the crack together with the ABS power forming any "filler" needed.

I had read several reports recently on drilling cracks to stop the spread and using Eternabond tape to seal the surface. No long term reports but it seems to be holding on solvent cleaned and dried ABS material. As least it's better than fiberglassing or duct taping.

The main problem is there's going to be more cracks over time. So you'll need to keep a fairly close eye on the roof AND the end panels for new cracks.


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AlaTex

Montgomery, Alabama

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Posted: 09/21/06 11:28am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I feel your pain.

I am currently doing some ABS repair on our 2000 Coleman/Fleetwood MESA. The rear ABS panel cracked at the top where it has a screw through it attaching it to the frame. So I am rebuilding the rear end - replacing rotten wood on frame and about a 10" x 10 ā€œ floor under a cabinet.

To repair the ABS (crack is about 3 to 4 inches long), I drilled a 1/8" stop hole . Then I am applying ABS reinforcement under crack - 4x4 inch piece of ABS. To attach the patch I used an 2 part ABS glue from ā€“

http://www.electricalconnection.com/non-electrical/abs_repair_kit.htm

It seems to hold well. I test glued 2 small strips together and have flexed, bent and pulled on them, with no apparent separation. When I replace the rear ABS panel, I will drill additional mounting screw holes on each side of the crack through the panel and patch - so stress will be less on crack. I will then fill crack with ABS paste (ABS shavings and MEK). I have cut a ā€œvā€ grove in ABS crack to accept the paste. I salvaged a small piece of ABS from a local RV dealer off of a ABS roof that was replaced that I am using for the reinforcement and shavings.

Hope this helps and if anyone has a suggestion for me with my repairs, please forward.





mike4947

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Posted: 09/21/06 12:14pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Walt, question for you. The glue you got, is it basically clear or does it seem to have "filler" in it? In other words does it look like you could use it as filler instead of adding the ABS shavings to MEK ..ie does it shrink up when it drys?

Glad to see there is FINALLY a glue/solvent that hopefully will provide a long term solution for ABS repair.

AlaTex

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Posted: 09/21/06 12:58pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mike4947 wrote:

Walt, question for you. The glue you got, is it basically clear or does it seem to have "filler" in it? In other words does it look like you could use it as filler instead of adding the ABS shavings to MEK ..ie does it shrink up when it drys?

Glad to see there is FINALLY a glue/solvent that hopefully will provide a long term solution for ABS repair.


mike4947 -- I mixed the 2 part glue from Electrical Connection on a paper plate, which I still had it the workshop, so I went out and looked at it. The glue dried a light yellow tint, semi-transparent. On my repair patch I had wiped the edge of the patch, which was clamped, and the remaining squeeze out showed very little color. The glue has a consistency of sightly more liquid than tooth paste.

On a similar note in my research I found 2 source (within the last month) for ABS shavings/pellets. The ABS shavings were from an eBay source -

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ABS-Polymers-Plastic-Shavings-Gluing-Repairing-1-5-L-PW_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQcategoryZ50073QQihZ002QQitemZ4638024041QQtcZphoto

and the other source was from Apache Sales via the Apache web forum - they suggested calling Debbie a call at Apache Sales. 810 664-9961. Seems they sell ABS pellets. Not sure of color, but could be painted.

The Apache web forum for ABS repair is at -

http://apachepopups.net/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewforum&f=1

Since I had some scrape ABS, I did not pursue these sources further.

Mike&Ivy

Statesville,NC

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Posted: 09/21/06 01:30pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I dont know much about the ABS roofs but has anyone ever tried using fiberglass? I know that alot of people build there own "TearDrop" trailers out of plywood and coat it with fiberglass brushed on then painted with marine grade paint. Just a thought. I know if I had this problem its something I would try.


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mike4947

N. Syracuse, NY

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Posted: 09/21/06 02:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The resins, either polyester or epoxy used in "fiberglass" won't stick to ABS over time. There are few things that will. That's why I'm excited over a glue product that will last for repairs.

rccs

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Posted: 09/21/06 08:27pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I just found a 2 part epoxy made for ABS and other plastics at a local Fleet Farm store. The epoxy is made by Permatex and comes in one of those 2 tube syringes like other epoxy does. The package states that it is supposed to bond ABS,Acrylic,Fiberglass,Glass,PVC,Steel,Styrene,Vinyl and Wood. Can be used to fill cracks, bonds most plastics.I also see Methyl Methacrylate listed in the ingredients. I have used it about 3 camping trips ago to glue and fill a 1 1/2 inch crack in the ABS front panel on my camper and so far it is holding.

CampinHappy

Early, Texas (Central Texas)

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Posted: 09/22/06 11:31pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I found some stuff tonight at walmart called DevCon high strength plastic welder. I've also got the electrical connection stuff as well and it seems like its holding on the crack on my front storage lid.

But the reason I'm looking for the patches is to reinforce the crack from one side or the other.

My cracks on my top aren't accessible from underneath. It appears that the top is a two-part layered shell with a small cavity between the two layers and I can't easily (without removing the tent and a bunch of other parts) even see under the top.

I was hoping to drill a stop hole, then apply an abs patch and "glue the snot" out of to make sure it didn't leak and then hopefully the patch would also take some of the stress of that area and hopefully prevent further cracks in the area.

The color of the electrical connection material is a neutral tan, so I don't think it would look too bad...sure beats a big black crack.

I've got another huge crack under the back lip of the front storage trunk, and once I get my dremel out and clear off all the other "crap" that I've tried, I'm going to try the abs glue again there. Then I'll try the roof.

On the pellets, do they come in colors? I thought someone said that the abs I'll find at the hardware store is black...don't want to try that yet...

Thanks for all the help!

Mousefart

New Jersey

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Posted: 09/23/06 08:26am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hey Mike, where can one actually buy MEK? I tried the paint department at Home Depot and they didn't carry it. I know it's one of the more dangerous solvents so it's probably hard to find to "protect us from ourselves".

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