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  • Repairing a Separated End Cap

    A common and frustrating problem with a Lazy Daze motorhome is the separation of the vertical end caps from the siding, leaving a sometimes rather large gap through which water can pass. Over the years LD has used various methods to attach the end caps; none of them seem particularly effective. On our '05, LD used a two-sided tape to attach them. This past winter (Feb '11) I noticed what I considered to be very excessive separation. Until we were back home where I would have the ability to repair it, I placed a long strip of blue painters tape down the entire length of the end cap to keep moisture out.


    The cap in question was the left front one beside the driver's door. This gives you an idea of how large the gap was. 



     In this close-up view, you can see the two-sided tape LD used. In some places the tape separated from the end cap; in others it separated from the siding beneath the end cap. I thought about trying to cut the tape out, but decided that would be very difficult to do without damaging the end cap or the siding.



    The first step in the process was to mask off the edge of the end cap as well as the adjacent siding to prevent any adhesive that might ooze out from sticking to the siding. I used several plastic toothbrush handles to hold the gap open while I inserted the adhesive. I used 3M 5200 marine sealant, which comes in the normal sized caulking tube. When I cut the end of the nozzle, I made the opening quite small so it would fit into the gap. I made sure to apply the adhesive under whichever side of the tape had lifted (as in the photo above). 



     I had been thinking about this process for several months, trying to figure out how I could clamp the end cap after applying the adhesive. The solution was to use the front of our garage as a brace, using some 2x2's as wedges to hold the end cap securely in place until the adhesive could set. I left the braces in place for 48 hours.



    Here are the braces between the garage and the end cap. 



     There was also some lesser separation on the outside edge of the end cap. Bracing this was a little more difficult. I ended up using a tie-down strap with a ratchet strung through the coach window and the driver's door window to hold a bracing board against the cap.



     I did not want to put stress on the open window, so I used a piece of 2x6 to hold the strap away from the window.

    The finished project. I used the same 3M 5200 sealant to caulk the seam where there was white paint. On the colored portions of the seam, I used DAP Flexible Clear Sealant. Some of the caulking applied on other end cap seams by the previous owner had cracked and/or pullen away, so I removed it and re-sealed with the DAP.

    A note on the 3M 5200 - once opened, it's supposed to be used within 24-48 hours. I had set aside several other small projects that also required that type of sealant and did them at the same time I was working on the end caps.