Thunder Dome

Actually an Astradome, but that’s what my son keeps calling it.

When I purchased the trailer there was no vent cover over this large hole.  It only had a garbage can lid held on with a brick.  On the drive home three months ago I had taped plastic over the hole so it could make the 2500 mile journey home.

Colin from GSM Vehicles contributed an Astradome for theVAP’s project trailer.  GSM manufactures the Astradomes and distributes them through Vintage Trailer Supply, another contributor to the project trailer.

These new Astradomes are a very high quality reproduction of the original Astradomes with some fine upgrades.  They are gel-coated fiberglass with metal inserts where the bolts go through for the lifters.  These metal inserts add strength where its needed most.

It’s not as simple a project as you might expect.  You have to remove your old lifters and make sure they are operational or repair them as needed.  Then you have to drill three mounting holes per lifter and attach with a stainless steal bolt and nylon acron nut.  I used #6 for mine.  It seemed to be a good size.  Then you have to add your own weatherstrip as well.

Here is the opening with the lifters removed.  There is a trick to removing the lifters.  Where it swivels on the lower part of the mount is where it comes apart.  Simply gently pry a screwdriver in the slot next to the pin and it will come loose.  Thanks to the guys at Airstream Forums for that tip.

I got some peel and stick all purpose weatherstrip.  But I decided to also use the 3M Super Weatherstrip Adhesive for a more permanate fix.  I also scraped off the old gasket material on top of the trailer opening and replaced it as well.

Astradome all prepped and ready to go.  Like I said it was a little more work than I thought.  I ended up lubing the lifters and painting the mounting points as they had rusted.  Then lining up and drilling the six holes for the lifters, sealing the bolts with silicone, and of course adding the gasket.  Turned out pretty good, eh?

There it is.  All installed!  Notice the gasket on both the Astradome and the top of the vent opening.  I get a nice seal this way.  I also hit the seals with silicone spray as well.  While I was up there I topped it off by sealing the vent/roof seams with Vulkem sealant.  I want no leaks from my vents!

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