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Thread: Finally used a steam cleaner on the float bottom

  1. #1
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    Finally used a steam cleaner on the float bottom

    After a 3 weeks of paint stripper, scraping with a putty knife and a wire brush, the under-coats ( yes plural ) on the bottom of the floats were kicking my butt. Not sure what it was, but paint stripper just made it semi gooey. So tonight I hired a guy from Anchor Point who owns a big 4000 psi pressure washer with a boiler unit mounted on it. So you get 200 degree water and high pressure. THAT WORKED...
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  2. #2

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    I gotta admire you for not giving up. That's what I did this spring... just painted right over those cut edges..I gave up.
    True determination! Maybe I'll try that guy.
    Thanks

  3. #3
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    Chris 299_1040 he has it on a flat bed.

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    First thing i noticed. No type of eye protection on the guy. Blasting 4000 psi blowing crap around only takes one time to be blind. Eye protection is cheap.
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  5. #5
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    yeap, one guy had eye protection and this guy did get a chip in his eye. Not my problem.. I just paid and watched, while wearing safety glasses.
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  6. #6
    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eskflyer View Post
    First thing i noticed. No type of eye protection on the guy. Blasting 4000 psi blowing crap around only takes one time to be blind. Eye protection is cheap.
    I melted in a grinding chip/spark in one eye(wearing glasses but turned away)... was tough driving to find an eye doctor open, because both eyes wanted to stay shut then.... $250 later I got the chip cut out of my eyeball....
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  7. #7
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    Every eye exam I have, I must explain the tiny piece of brass floating around inside my left eye. ( blasting cap )
    Being the subject of a safety briefing makes life interesting....

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    So,... do Y'all think this would be too hard on the thin skins (like as thin as .016 or .020) on an aluminum airframe? I wonder why this method is not more-reported.. sounds great on .032 - 040 float skins. (not to mention they're already dented and work-hardened to death anyway) Any more experience out there? I would be a little afraid of pounding the heck out of an airframe but wondering if anyone has dealt with or done it to one..
    Thanks

  9. #9
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    The gear used in this case was adjustable for pressure and temperature. Plus they had various nozzles with wider spray patterns. So we started off wimpy and worked our way up,,, And we were hitting it at an angle. There are no new dents or marks from last night's adventure.

    My IA uses his gas driven pressure washer to wash off planes after working on them ( Spic and Span first). And I have used my 1600 psi electric spray washer to do the same.

    I would not use the high pressure, hot-water system on an aircraft.
    BUT... if you had already soaked some wings in stripper and then dialed down the pressure and the water temp,,,,, why not... Like 100 to 110 degrees and pressure like a car wash sprayer.

    Of course now it is pouring cold rain,,, so plugging leaks is not working tonight..
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  10. #10
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Clark View Post
    ,,, so plugging leaks is not working tonight..
    I haven't tried this but it was recommended to me by EDO to use a household vacuum cleaner to place a vacuum in each compartment. Then brush the sealant on the outside where the leaks are located. This will draw the sealant into the leak.
    N1PA

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    I haven't tried this but it was recommended to me by EDO to use a household vacuum cleaner to place a vacuum in each compartment. Then brush the sealant on the outside where the leaks are located. This will draw the sealant into the leak.
    Yep, works like a charm. Find the leaks first with light pressure on the compartments and soapy water. Mark the leaks, then seal as noted. Go easy on the sealant, doesn’t take much. Hen, for big leaks, give the rivets there a light shot.

    MTV

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    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Yep, works like a charm. Find the leaks first with light pressure on the compartments and soapy water. Mark the leaks, then seal as noted. Go easy on the sealant, doesn’t take much. Hen, for big leaks, give the rivets there a light shot.

    MTV
    Works great, been doing this and what Pete says on my 72 year old floats every couple years. DON'T us a big shop vac, it's too strong and will damage your floats on suction.

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
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    G44's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    I haven't tried this but it was recommended to me by EDO to use a household vacuum cleaner to place a vacuum in each compartment. Then brush the sealant on the outside where the leaks are located. This will draw the sealant into the leak.
    Works great, I was taught this by Dave Evonson when I was a neighbor kid hang around helping.

  14. #14
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    I have been using a small shop vac to do this for years. Just need warmer temps or a hangar. It was 35 degrees this morning and wet. It has been a crappy May. The few local hangars are full up.

  15. #15
    55-PA18A's Avatar
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    Add some glycerin to the soapy water used to detect leaks when pressurizing the floats. It will make bigger and more noticeable bubbles. Makes it easier to detect just where the leak is located. I usually marked the spot with a pencil. Marks well, but cleans off easily.

    Jim

  16. #16
    swedishcub's Avatar
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    What kind of sealant do you use?
    L21B owner

  17. #17
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    Flame master firewall sealant. The two apart stuff. Thin with MEK and suck it into the gaps with the shop vac. I have also used thin 4200 marine grade adhesive caulk. It was ok... Three years ago on my last set of floats I used POR15 fuel tank sealant on the entire bottoms. It contains lead and nothing wanted to grow on the bottoms. It lasted 3 summers.

  18. #18
    aktango58's Avatar
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    I found PRC worked great, but was not as good to suck into a leak.

    5200 (3m) cut with alcohol, make consistency of frenches mustard, wipe on and suck!
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  19. #19
    behindpropellers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    I found PRC worked great, but was not as good to suck into a leak.

    5200 (3m) cut with alcohol, make consistency of frenches mustard, wipe on and suck!
    And clean up quickly afterwards....

  20. #20

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    POR15...is that the 3m fuel tank slosh?

  21. #21
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    Windex sprayed on the surface when the outflow of a vacuum cleaner pressurized the compartment worked well to identify even minor leaks.Click image for larger version. 

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  22. #22
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    This year I also tried some of the LOCTITE brand sealant / adhesive to see how it works compared to 5200. I cut it with MEK. It worked just fine and dries faster than 5200. Comes out pretty firm after setting up over-night in cool temps.

    I am coming into the final stretch....all done without a hangar...
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  23. #23
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    It this the sealant that you used?
    N1PA

  24. #24
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    Nope this stuff. I can't get the acid brush off the board I laid it upon.
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  25. #25
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    I need to buy a couple new pulley wheels for the water rudder cables. Oddly enough Lake and Air does not list them.

  26. #26
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    N1PA

  27. #27
    G44's Avatar
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    Alex, you might try Aerocet. Oddly enough, I thought they sold Edo parts.

    Kurt

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    Kenmore. Or Seaplanes North at Hood.

  29. #29
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Clark View Post
    I need to buy a couple new pulley wheels for the water rudder cables. Oddly enough Lake and Air does not list them.
    Did you call them? that's where I got them a couple years ago

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"

  30. #30
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by G44 View Post
    Alex, you might try Aerocet. Oddly enough, I thought they sold Edo parts.

    Kurt
    There is a lot of commonality between EDO and Aerocet parts. But, with EDO floats, why not call EDO?

    MTV

  31. #31
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    It was late at night and I was stuck with being able to buy on-line. Kenmore's web site is not purchaser friendly. So I did the middle of the night Aircraft Spruce gig.
    The sun actually showed itself today. The first time in a month. Warmed up to 52 degrees at my house.... A genuine heat wave.
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    cubpilot2's Avatar
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    Ed

  34. #34
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    Already paid Aircraft Spruce at O dark hundred,

  35. #35
    swedishcub's Avatar
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    I went to a machine shop and let them make copies of the plastic pulleys out of a round brass bar. They have lasted for at least 20 years and no sign of wear on the pulleys or extra wear on the wire.
    L21B owner

  36. #36
    Alex Clark's Avatar
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    That sounds pretty cool!

  37. #37

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    Anyone have a good idea on how to minimize water entry into flat top float pumpouts? I was thinking about siliconing a rubber washer to the tops around the holes but maybe there is a better way?
    Any thoughts?

  38. #38
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Ruebling View Post
    Anyone have a good idea on how to minimize water entry into flat top float pumpouts? I was thinking about siliconing a rubber washer to the tops around the holes but maybe there is a better way?
    Any thoughts?
    Just use good friction fit plugs, and make sure they fit well. Someone on this forum is working on another potential solution.

    But, good tight fitting plugs should minimize leak Eagle from the pump outs.

    MTV

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  40. #40

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    Make sure your pump-out cups aren't cracked. If they aren't, and with decent plugs? They should hold water just fine.

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