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Sikaflex adhesive

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Sikaflex adhesive
Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:47 am


In another thread, Gary LaBombard asked about Sikaflex. This is an important subject that deserves it's own topic.

Sikaflex is frequently used by conversion folks to bond siding to the frame of a bus, so that no rivets are used. It is used in a lot of other industries as well including the aircraft industry as I understand it.

Sikaflex makes a lot of different products. For bus conversions the product of choice seems to be Sikaflex-252.

Gary Stadler (boogiethecat on the MAK board) has made many posts of the subject and has documented his project at: http://www.heartmagic.com/bluebirdphotos/Sikaflex.html

Sikaflex is expensive, but it does a great job. There are a couple of good sources for the product. One is International Bus and the second is: http://www.ellsworth.com/display/produc ... ab=Vendors

Application of the product requires a bit of technique. First of all, the panel and frame should be separated by "stand offs". The recommended separation is 0.100 as I recall. I used tooth picks for my project.

Gary S recommends the use of primer, but I did not do that. My steel surfaces were covered with recently applied Rust Bullet (great stuff that Gary L put me on to) and the aluminum was roughed up to remove the oxidation.

I did not run a constant bead. That would be a huge expense.

Sikaflex is very viscous (thick). I was not able to apply it with the typical cheap caulking gun. That did not work. I then tried a reasonably high quality air caulking gun and that did not work well either. I finally found a very high quality hand caulking gun and that worked OK (but was still not easy).

One other tip that Gary S had was to hold the panel in place with large super-magnets.

Jim
Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
'85 Eagle 10 with Series 60 & Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission - not at all fancy, but fully functional
Bus Project pages: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog: http://beltguy.com/blog/
Email: jim@eaglesinternational.net (Please email me rather than use the PM process)
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Re: Sikaflex adhesive
Fri Jan 23, 2009 12:28 pm


Guys, this is a fail safe tip for you. Get a roll of 1 inch wide and 1/8 inch thick double faced tape. The white foam type is what I am talking about. I got mine from Grainger Supply here in Lexington. It was so expensive that I decided to split it down the middle and as it happens it worked out better that way. I ran a continuous bead down the middle of my tube frame pieces with the tape and then ran a 3/8 inch continuous bead of the Silka on each side and it works like a charm. The tape will help ease your mind of the siding sliding down the side of the bus even though that stuff is so thick I think that the siding may just stay with out it. I did a test of two pieces of siding. One with the Silka and another with the polyurethane gutter caulking and there is no comparison. Needless to say this summer I will be pulling the one with the gutter seam caulking back off and cleaning it up to refit it with the Silka. I just had to know for sure though. The silka sets up like the rubber in a tire and the gutter caulking does ok but in the middle of a hot day (even after a couple of months on the bus) in the summer I could still peal it off if I wanted. I did not use the primmer just to see what happens. I did however sand both the inside of the siding and the frame with a duel action sander and 120 grit paper though. HTH


......Kentucky Steve ...............
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Re: Sikaflex adhesive
Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:46 pm


Jim,
You were absolutely correct in starting a new thread about the sikaflex and the information you included and also the tip that my ole buddy Steve come up with. It's things like this that help everyone.

I Worked all day removing my 3 old baggage doors on the driver side and getting ready to (Reinforce my framing there, no doubt I gotta cut out the vertical supports between the bay doors and reinforce the horizontal support that the baggage doors are mounted to on the overhead , rotted to heck on the bottoms, up maybe 2 inches high. This will be the end of the frame conversion process I believe, man I hope so anyhow. But what a great work day it was temperature wise, I bet Eric was working in it too. I am antsy and want to make my new doors on this side and try out that sikaflex that I have never worked with before.

Thanks again Jim and Steve,
Gary
Owner of the "Rustless Money Pit" 1973 Model 05 Eagle.
http://busconverter101.com for instructional video
Eaglesinternational bb'd best site for Eagle owners to receive information.
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Re: Sikaflex adhesive
Fri Jan 23, 2009 5:16 pm


I used sika to put my siding on! Some of the surface preparation was the biggest part of using sika. I took the frame down to bare steel, then I cleaned it with Sika cleaner, after that evaporated (about 15 to 20 min) I painted the surfaces with Sika primer. Let that sit until dry which depends on your weather and temp! I used rubber tile spacers 1/8" from Home Depot...the purpose of the spacers is to allow a good thick bead of sika. I didn't skimp on the sika even tho it was expensive (8 -9 bucks a tube) I made my bead about 3/8" wide then I placed the spacers in the adhesive about every 6 or 8 inches. I then used a 2x4 in 3 places on both ends and the middle of what ever panel I was installing! Using c clamps without distorting the panel...just enough pressure to hold the panel to the chassis. I used another 2x4 on the bottom of the panel in two places to hold the panel from sliding down! I let the panels set about 4 hours before installing the next one.......I tend to be patient and not rush the process. The 2x4's purpose is to keep the clamps from giving high and low spots on the panel. I'll let you know how it worked out after I drive it to see if anything works loose! It's a long slow process if you take your time and don't rush it I think it works out very well. Another tip, if the sun is out and its warm I put the tubes of sika in the sun......it makes a big difference using a normal chalking gun! Sika recommends not using sika below 50F. There are some photo's of my process at my website! http://prevostlemirage.blogspot.com. Any other questions just ask! I know its a Prevost but I'm sure that Sika will stick to an Eagle too! It seems to be a great product! Good luck!
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Re: Sikaflex adhesive
Fri Jan 23, 2009 5:21 pm


Doing normal panel size pieces looks easy enough. My sides are going to be 6'x35'. I wanna see some pictures of someone doing full size panels.
Dale Houston
1993 Eagle 15-45
Nashville, TN
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Re: Sikaflex adhesive
Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:40 am


Songman, I'm not sure how it would work on a panel that long I don't have any personal experience on something that long.........but if you had a way of clammping it and enough hands to help, I'm pretty sure it would hold it, the key to making the panels work with Sika are the tile spacers.....you have to have a bead of adhesive that is thick enough to allow expansion and not rip apart!

Speaking of expansion, the longer the panel is the more it expands! Eric on here has photo's of his paneling process on his eagle he did a really nice jobe on his!
I think he had some problems with the foam insulation causing some waves, but that is a different problem......you have to allow the insulation room to expand....if you spray it between to fixed surfaces the weaker of the two, unless its stronger than the foam will push out!

I started watching Eric's bus way before I purchased mine! He was a inspiration and along with serveral other busnuts that brought me into trying this!
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Re: Sikaflex adhesive
Sat Jan 24, 2009 9:06 am


Pat,

Did you lap or butt the sheets. I am worried about the thickness build up. I have studied your pics and I am wondering how the layers stack up under the small lap moldings you are using. Its hard for me to understand how when we have to have a 1/8 thick joint that the layers build up and still stay flat. Also how do we attach the molding and still let the panel float?? I hope you can shed some light on this problem areas I am having. By the way the windows look great buddy.



....Kentucky Steve ............
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Re: Sikaflex adhesive
Sat Jan 24, 2009 1:45 pm


Hey Steve, On the upper level panels that are curved I over lapped each section about 3 inches, if you look at my pictures there appears to be a large gap, well that is deceiving, that is the black Sika primer and will eventually be cleaned and sanded before painting. On the lower panels that are flat, I left a 1/4" gap between panels to allow for expansion. These gaps are filled with Sika and there is a backing panel on the inside....one side is attached with sika and the other is not, my feelings were that this would be sufficient to allow expansion without leaking. My trim pieces are attached with sika and there are shave head rivets, this could end up being a problem, time will tell! Not being a engineer my (wag) (wild ass guess) and hopes were that it would move with that panel, again time will tell! Steve where the uppers are over lapped i won't have a problem being at different heights for the trim, on the bottom there is a gap! This sika adhesive is impressive, have I used it with to much confidence? I'm not sure yet! If you are going to use Eagle siding I wouldn't worry about it! If you are doing what I had to after pricing polished stainless, here is a way to help eliminate a height problem between panels, go to a panel that is not .090" like I used. You could probably reduce that by half the thickness. The reason I didn't was every bus I looked at that had flat panels were wrinkled like a fat ladys leg, and that includes some really high dollar buses, In the long run there are many future problems I could experience, again time will tell! I hope the expansion happens where the Sika can hide or help! Using 74" panels will help some, they say that expansion is not proportionable to the lenght, in other words, alum panels of shorter lengths expand at a rate less than panels that are longer! :roll: I have to laugh here, either way I'm happy with how it looks now! My laughter could be premature! :shock: I'm not fooling myself and I won't put Prevost or Eagle out of the business with my bus building capabilities!

About those windows......they are "in" and thanks. I finished the walls for the bathroom, the entertainment center over the driver is finished, I'm gettng closer to using Rush Bullett and insulation... I've probably made another mistake I used 1"x2"x.065" tube for the walls and headers and sills, I also used it to build the entertainment center. I'm a better chassis and tube guy than a certified wood butcher! I'm going about 5 different directions at once here trying to keep it going smoothly machine shop stuff, engine stuff.....bathroom stuff, and kitchen stuff.....maybe this will be my year! I am going to wait through the summer before painting.....LOL

Pat
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Re: Sikaflex adhesive
Sat Jan 24, 2009 2:01 pm


Dale, you may want to talk to Bob Lewis in Oregon or Tony in Kansas these guys puts a panel on Eagles from the top to siding line over 40ft long and have no seam and Wayne is going to try it also wait and he will tell you how to do it, may take a couples of try's for Wayne at it but he will get it right. Mine is 61 1/2 inches wide and 34ft long 1 piece on boths sides were I screwed up was letting Southwest Coach talk me into putting a molding in the middel of both panels for protection he said. I wasg oing to have Mike remove it before he painted my bus but he told me the damage had all ready been done that filling the screw hole would be problem for ever good luck

Clifford
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Re: Sikaflex adhesive
Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:50 pm


Eagle used Sika Flex 221 as their workhorse on adhereing and sealing the siding to the bus.
Daniel Lenz
Brownsville, Texas


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