Plastic Zipper Care

Discussion in 'Canvas / Awnings / Add a Rooms / Tarps / Tents' started by Franklin, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. Franklin

    Franklin New Member

    16
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    Apr 30, 2008
    How does one lubricate the zippers to keep them from drying out? I've done several searches and found no topic on this.

    I've used liquid dish soap on metal zippers, with good results, but it seems like there should be something a little more durable for the zippers in the camper. I've heard of using candle wax, but I have no idea how to put it on...

    Thanks folks!

    1976 Homebuilt Tent Trailer - 'Franklin' PUP
    1985 Olds Custom Cruiser Woody Wagon - 'Brady' TV
     
  2. Cowboy Camper

    Cowboy Camper New Member

    1,475
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    Jun 17, 2007
    Candle wax, or a bar of soap should work, would it not?

    I'll be honest, I don't know. Good question. I'll be keeping an eye on this topic too, cause my new camper has all sorts of plastic zippers. <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Smile">

    <hr><img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_cowboy.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Cowboy Camper"> ~ Scott

    1994 Chevy W/T 1500 towing a 2008 Palomino Yearling 4124 <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_big.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Big Smile">
     
  3. Retired Alex

    Retired Alex New Member

    1,124
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    Oct 2, 2003
    Limoges, Ontario
    My winter boots have nylon zippers in them and I use silicone spray on them all the time with no ill effects. So I don't think it would harm the zippers on the trailer. I don't know how it would affect the tenting material though. Spray carefully.

    Alex & Mary Burnett
    J D (Boxer Pup)
    2006 Trail Cruiser 26QBS
    2006 F-150 XLT
    "If alcohol is a crutch, then Jack Daniels is a wheelchair!"
    Web Page http://users.xplornet.com/~burnetta
    http://community.webshots.com/user/alexburnett
     
  4. Franklin

    Franklin New Member

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    Apr 30, 2008
    Anyone used this product?

    http://www.seattlefabrics.com/mcnett.htm#Zip%20Tech

    A google search provided lots of hits, guess I sort of expected to find it here first... lol.. It looks like there is a variety of products out there for just this purpose. :)

    1976 Homebuilt Tent Trailer - 'Franklin' PUP
    1993 Chysler AWD Voyager - 'Fluffernutter' TV
    1985 Olds Custom Cruiser Woody Wagon - 'Brady' TV #2
     
  5. Slack

    Slack New Member

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    Jun 2, 2008
     
  6. Yellowkayak

    Yellowkayak Popups.....when sleeping on the ground gets to you

    2,217
    6
    Mar 13, 2007
    Silicon spray also!!!

    JJ

    Wichita Falls, TX
    USAF Retired
     
  7. traindude

    traindude ORYGUN

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    May 22, 2008
    Eugene OR
    I took axle grease and rub it on to my zipper seems to work .

    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp"> 98 camplite
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle"> 91 F-150
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_beer.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Cold Beer"> <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_bbq.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Barbeque">
     
  8. Cowboy Camper

    Cowboy Camper New Member

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    Jun 17, 2007
    Ain't that a little messy, Sir? How do you keep the excess off the actual canvas?

    <hr><img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_cowboy.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Cowboy Camper"> ~ Scott
    1994 Chevy W/T 1500 towing a 2008 Palomino Yearling 4124

    Edited by - Cowboy Camper on June 08 2008 12:56:56
     
  9. 01YZF6

    01YZF6 Dothan, AL

    2,350
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    Apr 5, 2008
    Mt. Washington, NH
    I used a block of carnuba wax to rub over the zippers, works really well

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Working hard so WE can play harder.
    '87 Coleman Newport aka "The Nut Hut" <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp">
    '03 Kia Sedona <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle">
     
  10. Tekboy46

    Tekboy46 New Member

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    Aug 15, 2007
    Central Oklahoma
    Agree on candle wax. Jar candle wax from almost used up jar candles can be molded into a small lump and rubbed on. I rub it onto the closed zippers; they're smooth running then. It doesn't bother the fabric if you're careful putting it on. Jar candle wax has a higher oil content than taper candles and is easier to smooth onto the zipper.

    1979 Starcraft Venture
    1996 Ford F150 TV
     
  11. srds

    srds Freeport,Texas

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    Jun 17, 2007
    Texas Gulf Coast
    Candle wax

    me-49
    dw 43
    dd 13
    ds 5
    08 days camped-11
    1995 coleman utah
    2001 coleman utah
    1997 24' prowler
     
  12. Franklin

    Franklin New Member

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    Apr 30, 2008
    I used an 'emergency' candle from last years jack-o-lanterns. Worked great, thanks folks!

    1976 Homebuilt Tent Trailer - 'Franklin' PUP
    1993 Chysler AWD Voyager - 'Fluffernutter' TV
    1985 Olds Custom Cruiser Woody Wagon - 'Brady' TV #2
     
  13. Dusty82

    Dusty82 New Member

    3,519
    1
    Jun 23, 2008
    Northern Nevada
    As I've mentioned before, I'm into automotive upholstery, with a bit of marine upholstery on the side. Candle wax or paraffin is the preferred lubricant for metal zippers, and has been used by upholsterers for decades. As everyone else has mentioned before, just rub the candle or block of paraffin along the front and side edges of the open zipper to apply a thin coat of the wax, then slide the zipper slide back and forth over the waxed area a few times to lube up the slide. You don't need to cake the wax on there, just apply a little bit. Doing this regularly will keep the zippers in tip-top shape, and help to keep them from splitting due to corrosion.

    I'm not very experienced with the newer plastic zippers, but I will ask a buddy of mine about them - he's been doing upholstery for 35 years, so when he talks, I listen.

    One thing I do know, however, is that axle grease or any other kind of lubricant that doesn't dry fairly quickly is the wrong thing to use. It'll lube it up alright, but it'll also attract and trap dust and debris in the zipper that will wear it out a lot faster than usual (just like dust and dirt will eat up wheel bearings if you don't put the dust cap back on.) A dry lubricant like wax is better in the long run, and it won't soak through or damage the canvas like a petroleum-based lube will.

    PUP: 1975 Coleman Patriot

    Pictures here: http://s278.photobucket.com/albums/kk116/dustyspup/

    TV: 2004 Jeep Liberty

    I'm so new, I don't even know enough to know what I don't know...
     
  14. Dusty82

    Dusty82 New Member

    3,519
    1
    Jun 23, 2008
    Northern Nevada
    I heard back from my buddy and upholstery guru just a few minutes ago, and here's his reply...

    "The plastic zippers don't usually need any lubrication, but there are products out there to clean and lubricate all types of zippers including plastic ones. Check this web site Zipper & Snap Lubricant They have all kinds of zipper cleaners and lubricants. I think the main thing is just to keep the zipper clean. That should eliminate most problems. I'm assuming the zipper is a marine zipper size 5 or 10 with larger teeth. The smaller plastic zippers are worthless as far as I'm concerned, I wouldn't use them on anything."

    As I mentioned before, this man (Dan) had been doing upholstery for 35 years (to include some extremely high-end custom hot rod interiors) so I value his opinion, and take his word as gold. His opinion of smaller plastic zippers aside (we're kind of stuck with what the manufacturers decide to use when building our PUPs) I would personally follow his recommendation.

    Franklin - it looks like the site and product you found is the same one Dan recommended to me, so it looks like you're on the right track. I'm going to try some of that Zip Tech on the metal zippers on our Patriot just to see how it works. Film at 11...

    Dusty

    PUP: 1975 Coleman Patriot

    Pictures here: http://s278.photobucket.com/albums/kk116/dustyspup/

    TV: 2004 Jeep Liberty

    I'm so new, I don't even know enough to know what I don't know...
     
  15. drrusk

    drrusk New Member

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    Jun 29, 2008
    I know for our Jeep window zippers, using a wax crayon works pretty well in a pinch! Easy to grip and apply directly to the zipper.

    me: 67
    DH: 66
    son: 90
    son: 94
    son: 98
    tv: 1994 Chevy Van
    pup: 1988 Viking
     
  16. shooter05

    shooter05 99 Palomino Pinto

    3
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    Apr 27, 2009
    I recently got inducted into the popup world. My 99 Palomino Pinto has very stiff and some even impossible zippers. I am going to try the candle wax idea first. I'll keep you guys posted on the results
     
  17. Akrstine

    Akrstine New Member

    1
    0
    Jun 12, 2009
    Western New York
    Just a quick and probably silly question.... but do you melt the wax first then apply to the zipper while liquidy, or rub on the wax when hard... I'm new at this.

    Thanks
    Aimee
     
  18. Tekboy46

    Tekboy46 New Member

    981
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    Aug 15, 2007
    Central Oklahoma
    Aimee, don't melt it. Just rub the candle or what have you on the zipper. Remember you're looking for a "film" of wax on the zipper... you don't want or need "clumps" of visible wax on the zipper. This is one of those deals where "less is more", so to speak.
    Edit: HA just noticed... you're first post... WELCOME to the forum!
     
  19. dcj070454

    dcj070454 New Member

    449
    1
    May 14, 2009
    Canton, Ohio
    Candle wax or parafin rubbed on works just fine, if the zipper will not work, back it off and be gentle .
     
  20. Csea

    Csea New Member

    Soap or wax will do er good....... and dont yank hard on the zipper helps too. gently pull em closed or open... just find it helps... many zippers broken previously
     

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