Curtain Maintenance and Repair

Cleaning your curtain side is an important element of the longevity of the curtains. Removing road grime, salts in winter and engine smoke will add years to the life of your curtains.

DO NOT USE harsh chemicals on the curtains like abrasive cleansers. Mop N’ Glow floor cleaner is the best product we have found. It is strong enough to remove layers of dirt but does not break down the lacquer coating on the curtain fabric. It is also available in many grocery and hardware stores.

Another product that has been tested successfully is Roadmaster and 501 by Kraft Laboratories, P.O. Box 11226, Fort Wayne, IN 46856, 800-252-7238. If you use these products use a mix of 50/50 with no water. You can add to a pressure canister with a spray nozzle attachment.

Once you determine your preference of cleanser follow these steps:

  1. Work your way down the curtain 5 feet at a time. Spray the mixture onto the curtain, from top to bottom and scrub with a long handled, SOFT bristle brush.

    At Center-Line we strongly recommend and ONLY use the heat gun method, which we find offers the best results. We have found glue leaves an undesirable cosmetic appearance and does not result in a truly strong bond at the patch. Stitching the patch has the same problems of appearance and strength.

    The heat gun process leaves a clean, neat looking repair that has the strength needed to last. If extensive repairs are needed, and you can bring the curtains to Center-Line, we use state of the art, high tech heat welding machinery which will give you an almost seamless look to the repair.

    If the repair is small or you are too far to come in to Center-Line, the heat gun is the next best thing. This method uses the PVC compound as the bonding agent. The tools needed are:

    • An industrial heat gun with a flat tip with a heat range up to 1500 degrees
    • A 100’ grounded extension cord
    • A silicone rubber roller
    • Industrial quality scissors
    • Patch Material

    These items are available separately or sold as a kit from Center-Line Curtains if you need. 800-458-0086

  2. Before the mixture dries, rinse five foot sections with water. Move to the next section to be cleaned and repeat the process. CAUTION: Care should be taken when cleaning areas where graphics have been applied. Do NOT scrub using heavy or hard strokes. Graphics have been applied over the acrylic top coat and can be damaged if care is not taken. Use gentle strokes and rinse immediately.
  3. For first time cleanings or if results are not acceptable, an intermediate step can be taken. TRY: Cleanser, scrub, cleanser again, scrub again, rinse with water.

NOTE: It is extremely important you do NOT attempt to clean sections larger than 5 feet at a time. It is critical cleaners are NOT left on the curtain for long, and that the curtain is rinsed before moving onto the next section so not to break down the protective acrylic lacquer coating. Use caution when using these or other cleaning compounds. If you are using Roadmaster or 501, please refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings before proceeding.

Repairs

Although the curtain material is a relatively strong and durable material in that it can and does withstand the “tests” of time, operators of curtain side equipment will on occasion need to perform repairs. In most cases the repairs can and should be performed by Center-Line personnel, in order to minimize downtime, cost and/or damage to loads. However, this is not always possible based on distance and needs on the road. Following is step by step instructions on how to repair a curtain. We HIGHLY recommend that you practice this on a small sample of curtain material in order to understand and experience proper use of the tools to repair.
The curtain material consists of three parts:

  • A polyester thread mat which gives the curtain its strength and provides the rip stop characteristic
  • A PVC coating
  • An acrylic lacquer top coat.

Three different approaches or processes for repairing curtains are being used,

  1. Heat Gun process (recommended)
  2. Glue methods
  3. Stitching using traditional machines.

At Center-Line we strongly recommend and ONLY use the heat gun method, which we find offers the best results. We have found glue leaves an undesirable cosmetic appearance and does not result in a truly strong bond at the patch. Stitching the patch has the same problems of appearance and strength.
 
The heat gun process leaves a clean, neat looking repair that has the strength needed to last. If extensive repairs are needed, and you can bring the curtains to Center-Line, we use state of the art, high tech heat welding machinery which will give you an almost seamless look to the repair.
 
If the repair is small or you are too far to come in to Center-Line, the heat gun is the next best thing. This method uses the PVC compound as the bonding agent. The tools needed are:

 

  • An industrial heat gun with a flat tip with a heat range up to 1500 degrees
  • A 100’ grounded extension cord
  • A silicone rubber roller
  • Industrial quality scissors
  • Patch Material
  • Denatured alcohol

 

These items are available separately or sold as a kit from Center-Line if you need.

Repair Instructions

Step One: Assessment
You must first assess the extent of damage to determine if a patch will in fact be successful or if the curtain has been damaged to the extent of requiring the abilities of the factory. If the damage is a small hole or tear it can be done on-site. If the tear includes damage to post pockets or an original weld, the curtain should be sent to Center-Line or an authorized curtain repair station.

Step Two: Curtain Preparation
The curtain material must be cleaned on both sides of the damaged area. To avoid further damage, we recommend using denatured alcohol.

Step Three: Prepare Patches
All patches should be installed on the inside of the curtain. Patches installed on the outside are vulnerable to wind flow while on the road and do not provide the desired cosmetic appearance. The patch material should be cut to overlap the hole by at least 2-3 inches on all sides. For best results, round the edges to avoid “corners”.

Step four: Prepare to Patch
The heat gun should be allowed sufficient time to heat to its hottest setting or 1500 degrees. This is very important in that the PVC coating must be broken down to a molten stage before the patch will actually adhere to the curtain body. A second person will now be necessary to proceed holding a flat, rigid surface or board at the damaged area on the outside of the trailer. This provides a firm, flat surface for the man inside that will actually install the patch. Be sure the board is free of any dirt, grime or paint as the heat tends to bond such materials to the curtain body.

Step Five: Patching
Place the patch over the damaged area in the desired location. Now place the heat gun tip between the two layers of material at the center and using the roller begin pressing and rolling parallel to the gun tip until the bond occurs. Continue the process working to the outer edges until finished. Do not hurry this process!! Remember the PVC coating must be broken down by the heat and the roller must be used to “push” the two layers together. Short cutting or under heating will result in patches that are not effective, or long lasting.
Perhaps the most important element of this procedure is PRACTICE. We strongly recommend you practice before each repair operation to familiarize yourself with these steps and perhaps most importantly, gain confidence.
Every member of Center-Line is here to aid and assist you in any way possible. Should you have a question concerning this or any other item, do not hesitate to contact us at 800-458-0086. Patience, reviewing, and practice will quickly make all of this second nature to you. Mastering these techniques will add years to your curtainside.

Need a part you cannot find? We can help! Give us a call at 1-800-458-0086.