Adventures in Caulking

So I have a sheepdog trial that I help with every year out in Soldier Hollow (Midway), Utah. The trial is all 4 days of Labor Day weekend, which is 3 weeks from now. The transmission is dead on my 4Runner, so my only real option at this point (unless I want to pay $1,500 to fix the 4Runner) is to go in the RV. My main goals before heading over the mountain are:

  • Re-caulk all the windows, doors, and seams
  • Re-caulk the seams on the roof, and then reseal the entire roof
  • Get it inspected
  • Get it licensed
  • Get it insured
  • Get the alternator tested
  • Get the oil changed
  • Get it a tune-up
  • Get my own driver’s license renewed

So I suppose that doesn’t seem like a whole crazy lot, but I essentially have 6 days off work between now and then to get it all completed. I wanted to get on the ball and get everything done ASAP, so I started on the caulking last week. I got probably 15 minutes into the job when I encountered THIS:


Let me just state here the #1 rule of RV maintenance: You do NOT put silicone on the outside, anywhere! Click on any RV maintenance page anywhere on the internet, and it will be one of the first things you see people warned about. And yet some person in Flash’s past liberally applied this crap all over the seams of this RV. When my little plastic paint scraper hit the first patch of silicone, I could NOT believe it. I just stood in disbelief, staring at it, dumbfounded. Did someone really…?! Is that seriously silicone?! Yes, boys and girls, silicone. And then I started checking out all the other seams and cracks, and found, to my horror, that it was everyyyyywhere. Grumbling and shaking my fist at the moron who dared do such a thing without doing their research first, I figured the only way to get it gone was to jump in head-first and tackle it. All the little pieces of silicone you see in the picture above are from me scrape-scrape-scraping. It comes up in little tiny balls, but doesn’t actually come off all the way.

In a few places I was lucky, and since the silicone-slatherer was lazy enough to just pour it over the old caulking, it didn’t really adhere, and just came off by pulling on the end. But as you can see, there is still residue left all over the side of the RV:


Kedric grew bored of watching me, and decided to take a nap in the shade while I scraped and scraped and scraped in 90*+ weather…


And then, out of nowhere, clouds rolled in, wind started blowing like a hurricane, and rain started to fall. Kedric quickly moved from his spot in the shade to inside the RV when the thunder started to rumble.


I figured I’d just keep scraping away and ignore the rain… until the thunder started cracking right over my head, and lightning started lighting up the sky. I’m determined, but not stupid, so I headed back in the house. Within minutes of coming indoors, the raindrops had turned into a downpour, and the thunder was shaking the house.

I got online to ask the RV experts what I should do about the silicone issue, and was told that unless I could get it 100% off, that the caulk I got would not stick, so it would essentially be pointless to try to caulk over it. I was offered a bunch of suggestions on how to get it off, and then the rain passed, so I went out to remove what caulk and silicone I could before the daylight ran out.

I found that the highest recommended silicone residue remover was available at Ace, so the next morning, Ked and I walked to the store. They were completely out, had none coming in on freight, and are the only store in the Salt Lake valley who carry it. *sigh* All the other recommendations I found had reviews online warning people that it would take the paint right off your vehicle. Eek. Thanks, I’ll pass!

I guess now can be the time where I mention that nothing has really gone according to plan up until now. I drove clear to the south end of the valley to Camping World only to find that they were out of everything I needed. In the middle of camping season, there was none of the caulk or roof seal that I needed in stock! WTH? So I had to order all of that from the internet. I went to Wal-Mart to pick up a new battery for the RV, and they were out of batteries. I went to AutoZone to get the battery instead, and ended up missing my turn for it and landing on a one-way street heading away from the store. Circled back around, and was told that I needed the exact van type, because they don’t carry motorhome models in their system. Went back home, dug through my info, and the closest I could come to a model type was “30 series”… So I went back to AutoZone, and he was like, “Okay, 30 series… What engine type?” ARGH! He said it would be in the VIN, so if I just brought the title in, they could tell. So I went home, got the title, and went back. Then they said, “Oh, this is a motorhome VIN, not a regular van VIN, and it doesn’t tell us the engine type.” I threw my hands up and questioned them about pros and cons of getting the wrong battery, then made an educated guess and went with the best damn battery they had. Luckily, and to my surprise, it fit perfectly. So now, when I need this silicone remover, I just have to laugh about the store being out of it. So I logged online and ordered that too. I hoped it would arrive by my next days off. But no. I ordered two custom dog tags for Kedric 2 days after I ordered the sealant remover. Those custom dog tags were made to order and sent to me, and I RECEIVED them (from two different companies!) before the company I bought the silicone remover from bothered to ship it. I just have to laugh though. Getting pissed isn’t going to make things happen any faster. I should receive the silicone remover before my days off next week though… Looks like this week is going to be spent getting it inspected, licensed, insured, and getting my own driver’s license renewed.

I feel at this point like it’s a good thing I’m flexible and not easily stressed out, or I would have thrown in the towel. I just have to keep rearranging the schedule for things to get done, and hope it all falls into place by the time I have to leave. Last year it poured and we had crazy electrical storms all four nights of Labor Day weekend, so I’d really just like to have my motorhome water-tight and good to go before I head out there this year. I really wouldn’t mind getting wet, but I can’t risk the water damage to the RV. It’s an adventure already!

Categories: goals, RV maintenance | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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