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Old 06-25-2008, 10:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question List of materials for sealing gaps - what do you use? Tape? Silicone? Foam? Others?

I'm looking to fill the gaps in the front of my 1991 camery wagon - I've already installed an aluminum sheet upper grill block and will do the same for the lower grill/bumper area BUT I'm at a bit of a loss on what materials to use to fill the gaps between the bumper and hood, lights, grill, etc. The solution will ideally be:
1. Able to withstand a car wash
2. Non-permanent (I can remove most silicone, not bondo, get the idea?)
3. Paintable or available in several colors - I'd like to keep it relatively stock looking so painting things black or OEM scratch filling paint for small stuff.

What do you recommend?

I've seen several general recommendations but without much specifics, can you help fill me in on the details?

1. Tape:
___a. Masking or painters tape to provide temporary or testing seals (too temporary for my situation).
___b. Clear tape - again, not permanent enough unless you know of a tape I haven't heard of - does 3M have some kind of crazy strong/thick tape that will withstand repeated carwashes?

2. Foam/Bondo - too permanent

3. Sheets of material:
___a. Coroplast - good to strap down with twist ties but only for larger areas
___b. Aluminum - same problems, bad for small spaces like that between the bumper and the grill/lights.

4. Silicone - basically removable and comes in black, but only good for small spaces (over 2cm gap would require some kind of backing which, if installed already, would possibly defeat the purpose of filling the gap further.
___a. What types of silicone do you recommend?
___b. is there a preferred application method?

5. Urethane - I'm at a loss on where to get it and how maleable it would be for this long, thin gap.

6. Contact paper - different colors, but will it resist multiple washes?

7. Heat http://www.fireblades.org/forums/general-discussion/8409-heat-moldable-plastic.html

8. "Form-in-place seal" (FIP Seal / Sealing Compound MIL-S-8802) as used for airplane applications.

9. Pipe insulation foam (black foam with a slit) with paint or fiberglass over it to make it resistant to washing and road debris.

Thanks for all your help ecomodders! I'll try to keep this first post updated with your ideas as they come in.

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Last edited by jbrams; 06-26-2008 at 11:55 AM.. Reason: Formating, additional materials
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Old 06-26-2008, 02:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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On the nice airplanes, we build seals around all of the panels that are routinely opened. It is call a "Form-in-place seal" (FIP Seal for short). We put something similar to mil-s-8802 sealant on the inside frame, cover the inside of the panel with petrolatum, and shut the panel. The seal forms due to the pressure of the panel, and it will always be a perfect fit. After closing, we clean the excess away with a plastic spatula or putty knife. Depending on where the excess happens to move, you may have to make a couple of passes here. Anywhere where you can get the sealant to stay on will be a good place to use it. Just a note, it will get in the way of rear doors if you plan on using it at the rear of the front door. The website listed gets into it just a bit. If anyone else can provide some insight here, it would be appreciated. I'm just an Ordnanceman.

Sealing Compound MIL-S-8802

P.S. - This holds up to approximately mach 1.5 and aircraft washes. You can paint it, and its pretty permanent, but can be scraped of with a bit of work.
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Old 06-26-2008, 11:53 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm also seeing some posts about heat moldable plastic:

Heat moldable plastic? - Honda Motorcycles - FireBlades.org

I'll add that and "Form-in-place seal" (FIP Seal / Sealing Compound MIL-S-8802) to the list above.

Another alternative I'm considering is pipe insulation foam (black foam with a slit) with paint or fiberglass over it to make it resistant to washing and road debris.
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Old 07-05-2008, 11:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hello,

I've tried a foam "rubber" gasket tape (5/16" thick x 3/4" wide) that has a sticky face. I got it from Home Depot, and it is meant for sealing building doors and/or windows. It is quite compressible, and it works wellbetween the hood and the top of the grill -- the only trick is to use a very sharp utility knife to trim off the excess (w/o scratching the paint...).
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Old 07-06-2008, 04:41 AM   #5 (permalink)
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ajax_6531 -

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajax_6531 View Post
On the nice airplanes, we build seals around all of the panels that are routinely opened. It is call a "Form-in-place seal" (FIP Seal for short). We put something similar to mil-s-8802 sealant on the inside frame, cover the inside of the panel with petrolatum, and shut the panel. The seal forms due to the pressure of the panel, and it will always be a perfect fit. After closing, we clean the excess away with a plastic spatula or putty knife. Depending on where the excess happens to move, you may have to make a couple of passes here. Anywhere where you can get the sealant to stay on will be a good place to use it. Just a note, it will get in the way of rear doors if you plan on using it at the rear of the front door. The website listed gets into it just a bit. If anyone else can provide some insight here, it would be appreciated. I'm just an Ordnanceman.

Sealing Compound MIL-S-8802

P.S. - This holds up to approximately mach 1.5 and aircraft washes. You can paint it, and its pretty permanent, but can be scraped of with a bit of work.
Thank you for this info! I like the idea of this because I think it's a two-for-one in terms of also reducing cabin noise. Saturns have notoriously wide body panel tolerances because of the plastic covers expanding/contracting in the weather.

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Old 07-06-2008, 05:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Don't fergit the 3M clear bra stuff. I'm trying to source some scraps from the tint places to "experiment" with...
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Old 07-07-2008, 12:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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3M clear bra stuff? What it is? Where is it found?

I just found a new, cheap material that I'll be trying out as a grill block - clearly vinyl stair protectors/covers. They have a blue tint but are basically clear, about 1/8" thick, relatively flexible, and cost only $2 at OSH (probably about the same at Home Depot), and are easily cut with normal scissors or a razor. They have a lip that goes over then end of the stairs (about 2cm). I bought three of them and am replacing my coroplast upper grill block tonight, the lower grills (currently uncovered) tomorrow. I'll attach them to the grill with small self-drilling screws with washers and probably a drop of light lock-tight.

Anyone used garden separator material to make an air dam under the front bumper? I've seen it on one other car, but not sure how to attach it or other details.

thanks again for all the thoughtful replies, you've been very helpful!
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Old 07-07-2008, 03:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
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3M clear bra stuff? What it is? Where is it found?
You can find some deals on eBay or window tint places.
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Old 07-07-2008, 04:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
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You can find some deals on eBay or window tint places.
Oh, it is just clear adhesive vinyl? Or is it polyethylene? If that will stand up to the pressure washer at the car wash, then I think that's just what I need. Thanks!
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Old 07-07-2008, 05:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Wow, just found FindTape.com - so much tape! Shipping is a little high, but tape prices are good (it seems to me, anyone have a better place?)

I'm planning on getting:

1" x 60 yards of Polyken 231 Military Grade (Waterproof) Duct Tape

2" x 36 yards AND 1" x 36 yards of Scapa 136 Polyethylene Film Tape

The clear polyethylene film would be used to cover the gaps in the front and to secure my grill blocks (made of the 1/4" vinyl stair protectors mentioned above) in place (along with a few self tapping screws with washers).

The black military duct tape (water/weatherproof) would be to seal the lower grill block or if the clear film turns out to be inadequate after a few months. I'm more concerned about the duct tape peeling away, though it is supposed to have a stronger adhesive backing. Who knows.

Do you think these tapes will likely hold in spite of high pressure car washes nozzles and California rain/heat?

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Last edited by jbrams; 07-07-2008 at 05:10 PM.. Reason: Formatting of links
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