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Old 11-05-2016, 06:18 PM   #1
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Sealants for Automotive Applications

I have noticed a number of references to use of silicone sealants in various build threads. This raises a question for me.

A number of years ago, I spent some time hanging out at an auto body shop. The owner, Cliff, is a meticulous guy. One of the things he told me is that he does not allow silicone-based sealants anywhere on his property. He told me that it is nearly impossible to completely remove silicone from metal when doing paint prep, and that even trace amounts of residual silicone will cause the new paint to fish eye.

I used to be in the maritime world, and in that context we used a lot of polyurethane- and polysulfide-based sealants, neither of which cause issues with paint. The best polyurethane sealant that I know of is 3M 5200, which has a reputation for lasting longer than the boat. The only downside to polyurethane sealant that I am aware of is that its adhesive properties are so tenacious that it is functionally impossible to disassemble parts thusly sealed together. Life-Caulk is a quality polysulfide sealant that sticks to anything. The only downside to polysulfide is that it will cause most plastics to become brittle over time.

SoI am wondering what thoughts people have regarding good automotive sealants. Silicone? What about paint issues? Polyurethane? What about potential future disassembly? Polysulfide? What about its incompatibility with plastics?

Thanks!
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Old 11-05-2016, 09:38 PM   #2
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I agree with you about silicone sealants on metal as well as with paint. Have not had experience with the other systems.
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Old 11-06-2016, 07:48 AM   #3
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Silicone sucks.

That's all I have.

I like Tremco Vulkem for rooftop stuff. It's messy. I haven't removed much of it though. I usually put it in places I'll never think of removing it.

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Old 11-06-2016, 08:10 AM   #4
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I have used ChemLink products with good success for construction work. I just learned that ChemLink makes a polyether-based marine adhesive sealant, ChemLink M-1 Marine. This looks pretty good to me. It has high adhesive properties, but does appear to be removable if necessary, and does not have the same problem with plastics that the polysulfides do. I am going to give this one a try.

M-1 Marine

Does anyone have any experience with M-1?
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Old 11-06-2016, 06:33 PM   #5
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Totally agree on both 5200 and silicone. Another issue with silicone is it molds, and can turn black. There is a chemical that will loosen the 5200 bond called "This is the stuff" It's expensive, but it works. Another problem I have with 5200 is that the stuff will jump two feet and end up all over everything nearby. Containing it is a problem.
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Old 11-06-2016, 06:34 PM   #6
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I always thought that polyurethane was best for auto exterior. The old Bigfoot van used polyurethane on the high top and didn't need a rubber seal.
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Old 11-06-2016, 08:35 PM   #7
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I just found this article on solvents for 5200:
Marine Solvents for Removing 5200 | Boating Magazine

It looks like the author's favorite solvent for 5200 is Marine Formula by DeBond Corp.
https://www.debondcorporation.com/pr...marine-formula

According to the article, it takes patience, but the DeBond product does work.

I still think I am going to give ChemLink M1 Marine a try for any application where I think I might want to disassemble the parts at some point in the future, and save 5200 for more permanent assemblies--like bonding a high top.

Arctictraveller, I couldn't find the "This is the stuff". But I totally agree with you about 5200 behaving like a nightmare cross between a kangaroo and a leech.
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Old 11-08-2016, 09:09 AM   #8
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I just had an interesting phone conversation with ChemLink technical support. Based on that conversation, I am taking ChemLink M-1 Martin off of my list. According to ChemLink, M-1 Marine has been tested for roofing applications, but not for any common marine or automotive applications. They also consider it to be an adhesive, and parts successfully bonded with M-1 will not come apart.
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