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Old 06-16-2018, 07:08 PM   #1
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ABS Plastic repair, Fenders & Door Trim (Bezel)

After my last tire failure saga, it beat up my door trim plastic pretty bad. Looked like this.




I could not locate a new door trim piece. So I went the “Let’s try and repair it” route. I remember “Frank” doing a great write up on how to repair ABS plastic and found it. See here:
https://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/f...air-10514.html

Following Frank’s process I was able to repair my door trim. I am not going to repeat all what Frank did, read his write up for the How Too on the basics of the process. I will expand on it applying it to door trim in place of a black tank. The fenders and the door trim parts are made from ABS plastic so the same process applies.

This is where I started. The right end was broke off and there were several cracks and some missing plastic too.




To stop the cracks from growing, a repair process is to drill a small hole at the end of the crack to help stop it from spreading. This is nick named “Stop Drill” in industry.


Using a round ball cutter in a Dremel I routed out from both sides the cracks and where I had to join the broken end piece back on as ABS welding prep. This allows the weld patch to flow into full thickness of the part.


Next was to create an ABS welding liquid rich in ABS plastic. Start with black ABS cement and then add sawdust size chips of ABS to the cement to create a pancake batter consistency. Need a glass jar with sealing lid. I picked blackberry jam size and it worked well.

First is to make the sawdust sized ABS chips. I bought a 1 ˝” ABS coupling from the lumber yard as the ABS material to grind up. I did not have the exact same cutter as Frank did, but I used a rotary rasp that did the job in a die grinder. You need an interrupted cut cutter. I tried several others and they made more long shavings rather than dust. See here:




Next was to mix up the ABS rich welding fluid. Here is your weld kit. The solder rosin brush or acid brush is your weld applicator.


Now to mix up the ABS rich welding fluid. You use the glass jar as the mixing and storage container. Pour in some ABS cement (must be the black kind as it has ABS plastic in it) and then keep adding ABS chips and stirring with a stick. The chips will start dissolving into the fluid. Keep adding until you get a medium thick consistency like pancake batter. The first day you might get some small lumps and that was OK for me I could work around them. The next day everything was dissolved and no lumps.




Then put the lid on tight to keep the MEK in the ABS cement from evaporating out. MEK is the solvent in the cement that will melt the plastic together. Put this aside for a while.

Now to clean up all the parts. I used Naphtha first to clean all the dirt and grime off the parts. Then when all parts have been test fit and routed/prepped ready to solvent weld, you use Acetone to do a final clean. This will start to soften up the plastic some too.

Then use the acid brush to apply the weld solvent mix. You try to do thin coats. This will take 3 coats and 3 days to complete. After each coat it takes overnight to cure before the next coat. On extra big areas to fill you may need a few more coats.

Here is coat 1. This is a cured 1st pass. You have to support and prop up the parts to be the exact position you want them to cure in. Suggest figuring this out "before" you start welding the 1st time. After the 1st pass is cured, the parts are rigid thereafter. Do not worry about sunken thin areas or holes. You will fill them as the passes keep going.


Since I had a large hole between the 2 parts I decided to reinforce this area behind the part. I cut a piece of left over broken up ABS plastic from the fender and fit it over the large hole on the back side. Then weld it in place.

I had to grind out a little 1st pass weld bumps to have the patch lay flat.


The test fit the patch


And here is the 2nd pass weld on the back side. The front side is just more buildup of the 1st pass.


Also to note, on the 2 day I had to add a little ABS cement to the glass jar mix to thin it out. You really need to put the cover on the jar whenever you are not taking material out as the MEK evaporates fast. This 2nd day mix was even better than the 1st day. It was totally smooth, all bumps of chips dissolved into a rich liquid ABS weld material.

Next was the last 3rd coat. It filled the large pocket on the front well and the joint was strong. I would say stronger and more rigid then original. This 3rd day cure process is amazing how you can “glue” all this back together.




Then to paint the trim. Since I had a bunch of oil based primer and black paint stuck on this ABS plastic that was not coming off, I figured I did not need to use plastic paint as I cannot get the oil based enamel off if I wanted too… So I used Rust-o-leum oil based white. It took 2 coats (spray can) but covered well and is adhered well too.


Here is the repaired trim on the camper. I used stainless screws with small flat washers to spread the pressure out some at the screws. The can of spray paint was the most expense part of this repair. The whole repair parts was under $18.00 and I have even left over to do about 10 more repairs, maybe even more. I did use the acetone to clean out the acid brush which worked great. I did all 3 coats with the same brush and still have it.




A super thanks to Frank for his post on “How To” do this ABS repair.

Hope this helps someone in the future.

Thanks

John
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Old 06-18-2018, 08:29 AM   #2
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Looks great, John! I need to use this exact process on my '97 fenderskirts. They are cracked in quite a few places, but no plastic is missing. I'm wondering about welding on some kind of spacer to the back when I do it. There's a lot of movement between the wall and plastic.
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Old 06-18-2018, 09:25 PM   #3
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Yes, Frank's process is amazing. You can repair just about any ABS part with this process.

To add your reinforcement, need to hunt down some ABS material. Ebay has a selection https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=abs+plastic+sheet

https://www.ebay.com/bhp/abs-plastic-sheet

Looking forward to seeing your repair.

Thanks

John
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Old 02-17-2021, 10:06 PM   #4
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Adding to the ABS repair topic are a few of the latest items repaired from a 2004 T1950, one of my project campers. In this case, cracked fender skirts and a fridge door panel retainer.

Using the same process described in the first post above is how I repaired the cracked wheel well fenders. The screw hole areas had many cracks, and one fender cracked into two pieces. Start with cleaning all the dirt off. LA's Totally Awesome works well or other spray cleaners. At this stage, you want to get all the dirt off.


I needed some extra ABS plastic to reinforce the separation between the two halves of one of the fenders. I saved what fender parts were leftover from my T310SR tire blowout. I cut up the parts into two small strips to span the crack.




Here is a picture to show how the strips will span the crack joint.


Next is to grind out a good portion of the crack's depth or chamfer the spliced fender joint's edges. I used a cutter on a Dremel to do this. Ideally, you can grind out part of the plastic from both sides to allow the solvent weld mixture to weld deep into the plastic. Here are some pics of that grinding/prep process.






A view showing the grinding out of cracks and the chamfering of the butt joint ends. Chamfer both sides.


Once you have completed grinding out the cracks, clean both sides with a high flash cleaner to remove any leftover dust/grim. I used Naphtha, but lacquer thinner or denatured alcohol does not melt the plastic but clean it.

In my case, one side of the cracked fender was warped and would not butt up even to the other broken half. I had to put weights on the two parts to force them flat and create a tight butt joint, straight in line with where I wanted it to end up.

I found a better cutter to make ABS chips. It is a more coarse rotary rasp I use on a pneumatic die grinder and chip away at an ABS plastic pipe coupling.




I have not yet mastered how to create the chips and not make such a mess. More on that as time goes on.

Create the ABS cement mixture as listed in the first part of this thread. Seal the jar of the mixture while you do a final cleaning. Wipe Acetone on all cracks and the split joint area to be solvent welded as described in the first post.

First, apply the weld cement mixture to the fender cracks on the outside of the cracked fender. Do not use any cement on the outside joint between the two split halves at this time.

Turn the fender over so the backside is up and place it on blocks. Position one block to be under the split line of the two halves of the fender as support.

Set the joint to be welded in alignment and clamp in place with weight or another clamp method. Apply weld cement to the split line from the backside. You can also apply cement to the screw holes areas on the backside at the same time while you let the first coat of cement firm up.



After 45 to 60 minutes, check the joint if the cement has firmed up. It needs to be firm enough to remove the weights and not separate. Do not lift and turn over yet. Place the two reinforcing strips over the top of the joint. Grind any high spots in the joint cement to allow the strips to lay flat.


Apply a coat of weld cement over the area the strips will contact the fender. Press the strips into the wet cement.


After both strips are in place, coat the outer perimeter of both strips with weld cement.


Let the strips cure for about an hour. Test with your finger the cement is no longer wet. Then remove weights/clamps, flip the fender over, and apply the first coat to the fender outside split joint. Let the entire fender cure overnight.


Repeat adding a second coat of weld cement the next day and let it cure to both sides. Repeat a third coat the next day and let it cure for 24 hours. This is a three-coat, three-day process to get the full bond strength to hold long term. After the third coat has cured, file or grind off any bumps/drips of cement that will not allow the fender to bolt up to the side of the camper flush.

After any grinding, sanding, or filing of the rough edges, clean the entire fender with a high flash cleaner to remove and dust, etc. You are prepping the fenders for painting.

I have tweaked the plastic painting process a little since the first post. I start with Krylon Fusion white glass paint. Since this paint is very thin, it needs to be applied in thin coats, or the paint will run without issue. The black weld cement on a white fender allows us to see the thinness of the coats.

Below is a picture of the first thin coat over the entire outside of the fender. I did not paint the inside. This first coat is almost a dusting of paint. You do not want 100% coverage at this stage, or it will start running.


After one to two minutes, apply the second coat as thin as the first over the entire outside fender. The can states recoat within one minute, but I had a barn temp of 55F, so I waited a little longer. The first coat should not be wet any longer; a light finger touch and not much if any paint will be on your finger.


Wait the same period before applying a third thin coat as the first over the entire outside fender.


After the third coat, I let the fender dry for approximately 3 to 5 minutes and then switched to Rust-Oleum stops rust standard gloss white paint. The standard oil paint is not fast-drying paint, and you do not want fast-drying Rust-Oleum paint. The Fusion paint was the only fast-drying paint I used.

Apply a topcoat with the Rust-Oleum. It should cover now.


Apply a second coat if needed after a full 48-hour cure. I did not have to do the second coat as I have total coverage, and the fenders look great.


You may have to drill out the screw holes with overflowed cement before mounting. I recommend "not" to use bevel head or flat head screws which seat into the fender holes when mounting. The angle of the screw creates high-pressure points and can promote cracking. I use flat stainless washers and stainless screws. The flat washer clamps on the fender's outer surface, not into the countersunk holes trying to wedge the plastic apart.

I mentioned repairing the ABS plastic strip for a refrigerator panel; here are pics of the process. You use the same techniques as listed above. Since the plastic strip was black, I did not have to paint this piece after solvent welding.

Warm with a heat gun and squeeze the split plastic back into shape. And in this case, make the angle back to 90 degrees of the part.

The cracked plastic strip.




Heat and form the splits back in line and create the 90-degree angle once again.


Grind out cracks just like on the fenders.




For a complete repair, you need to apply three coats with a full 24 hour cure between coats with the ABS solvent cement mixture.

For fenders where the screw holes have blown out the plastic hole totally, I have placed a stainless flat washer with the screw size hole I need over the large blown-out hole. Then apply cement to the flat washer and the fender. Layer up three times, and it works great for fixing blown-out fender mounting holes.

I hope this helps,

John

For more pics on this ABS repair, see my Flickr page. https://www.flickr.com/photos/camper...57718295191002
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Old 02-18-2021, 04:35 AM   #5
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That looks great, my door trim has been looking like it might fail for a couple years now, but it has held.

One note is that is you are looking for bulk ABS plastic that isn't black, I know Lego building blocks are ABS and come in about every color. I've done repairs using them to other non camper ABS materials.
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Old 02-18-2021, 11:36 AM   #6
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Thanks Tod,

Lego blocks, h'mm never thought of them being ABS, good to know. Thanks for passing along.
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