How-to: Volant CAI 12540 - Sealing Box Pg - 1
So I ordered the Volant CAI 12540 a couple of months ago and have gotten increasingly irritated with the large holes that Volant left in the box to make room for the horns and another hole for a scoop or something. Volant could have just molded the box to go around the horns but they chose to take another closed box design, cut a chunk out to make room for the horns, and call it good.
Anyhow, after researching and finding another member on here who had sealed their box, I decided to give it a shot and do an actual write up to make it easier for other people to seal their boxes up and to see how the process goes using the method I used. I took some pictures and advice from forum member “TrailBreaker” and just went with it.
First step: Don’t buy this CAI and find something that’ll be sealed unless you don’t mind the holes or want an extra project to seal the box. Volant makes another sealed model that you could use but you’d have to relocate the horns.
Ok, now that you are still reading, it means you maybe screwed up like me, got the 12540, and can’t deal with the holes anymore. The way you’re going to seal the holes is with a 3M Fiberglass Repair Kit and some regular Bondo body filler.
Get the above two things and:
-a couple of paint brushes
-lots of different grit sandpaper (60 to 220)
-orbital sander (preferred)
-Silicone caulk (optional)
-utility knife with sharp blade
-plastic putty knife to spread bondo
-Matte black spray paint
So the real first step is to sand the box everywhere that you plan on adhering the fiberglass and bondo to and extending your sanding a little past that point. I sanded the outside and inside of the box around the holes I was going to fill. That way I was able to indent and resin the fiberglass cloth into the holes a little so I’d have more room for when I applied the Bondo. Be thorough with your sanding so you don’t have issues later.
So the next step is to open up your fiberglass repair kit. Take the fiberglass cloth and lay it over the hole to follow the edges of the horn cut out. (the round hole on the side is pretty self explanatory). Carefully cut the cloth a little larger so it hangs about an inch or so over the edges. Once you have that piece cut, use it as a template and cut 2 more the exact same size (I cut four total but only needed to use three). Lay the pieces you cut out in an area where they’re easy to get to for when you start applying the resin.
Volant CAI 12540 - Sealing box Pg. 2
So now that you have your fiberglass cloth cut, you can start mixing up your resin. Follow the directions on the box for mixing and be prepared to work fast so it doesn’t harden early on you. Once you have your resin mixed, start applying it to whichever hole you want to start first. Apply it on all of the sanded parts quickly and then lay your first layer of fiberglass cloth on it. Lay the cloth exactly how you want it to be because you’re not going to move it once your resin sets.
Make sure the cloth is pressed down at the edges and make relief cuts so you can fold it onto the outside of the box a little. Quickly apply resin onto the cloth to saturate it wherever it’s dry.
Next, apply your second layer of cloth on top of the first layer with resin on it. Make relief cuts again and stick everything down to your first piece. Saturate the second layer with resin making sure it sticks down all the way. Repeat the same steps for your third piece of cloth. Make sure you work quickly.
It was at this time that my resin hardened and I had to mix more for the hole on the side of the box. I did the same steps for that hole as I did for the horn cut out hole. Once I had the hole on the side also covered with the three layers of cloth, I used a hose clamp to hold the cloth tight around that hole until it hardened enough to where the cloth wouldn’t move when I removed the clamp.
I also then took the left over resin I had and brushed the cloth on the inside of the box with resin to help seal the seams of the holes better. When you’re done it’ll look something ugly like this:
Once it dries enough to where it won’t move, take your sharp blade utility knife and trim the excess fiberglass cloth and resin off:
Once everything is dry, sand all of the the fiberglass up to its edges with a course grit sandpaper to smooth the edges of the fiberglass to the box and to also rough up all of the fiberglass for the Bondo body filler. Make sure after sanding that you remove all of the dust before applying the Bondo. I used a wet cloth and compressed air.
Now that the fiberglass is finished, in order to make sure the box was air tight on my seams, I used some silicone caulk and caulked on the inside of the box along the edges of the fiberglass. It may have been overkill but I wasn’t interested in doing all this work for nothing and have a box that wasn’t completely sealed.
Next was time for the body filler. Again, be prepared to work quickly before it sets. Mix up some body filler per the directions and start smoothing it over your fiberglass. Cover the fiberglass and feather the body filler onto the sides to cover the edges of where you cut off the fiberglass with the utility knife. For me, the more the better when it came to the body filler because I had plenty of time and plenty of sandpaper.
Once the body filler is dry, now it’s time to sand. And sand. And sand some more. Start with a course grit sandpaper and gradually move to finer grits. Take your time so that you don’t take too much off and have to reapply body filler. Smooth the body filler to make it look like your patch job was part of the box to begin with. If you’re picky like me and plan on painting the body filler, any imperfections in your sanding will be amplified once you apply paint.
Now that you’ve got everything sealed and smoothed, clean off all of the dust from sanding and paint it black with some spray paint/primer and call it good. You’ve now patched up the holes in your Volant 12540.
This is a good write up... good details, lots of pics of the process...could qualify as a Sticky. @ Oldnavy would make that call. I'd like to see the progress of you immersing your Xterra w/ fully sealed airbox/ snorkel just to see how this ( awesome looking ) patch holds up. I'm betting - now - it'll be perfectly fine. And now - you didn't have to move the horn didja !
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