Thursday, July 21, 2011

Window Replacement

Replacing/Resealing Windows

If you need to replace an window in your LD, the place to go is:

Nagco Glass of Pomona
243 E. Holt Ave
Pomona, CA 91767
Phone: (909) 623-3343

If you live a distance from SOCAL, then you should get your local glass installer to deal with Nagco and have the glass shipped via UPS.

Removing the Hehr windows used on a 1986 LD, cleaning off the old sealant, applying new sealant and reinstalling the windows is well within the scope of a handy do-it-yourselfer. It is just a matter of removing screws and being careful when breaking loose the old sealant and
lifting out the window. There are at least two major types of sealant for RV Hehr window installation. Both are available in tape roll form. The newer type sealant is the one to use, as it will last longer before drying out and leaking. Reinstalling the window and tightening the screws squeezes the sealant between the window and the RV body skin and ensures a watertight result. Starting with a small window lets you know whether or not you should tackle the larger ones. You will need another person to help when lifting and holding the larger windows for removal and for installation.

You will need putty knife, polyurethane sealant, utility knife, rags, mineral spirits, acetone.

1) Remove interior window trim ring by removing screws. Note window will not be secured after removing the screws, so you may want someone outside to catch the window, though it's likely the remaining butyl rubber will hold it in place.

2) Remove window, cleaning all the old sealant off of all surfaces, both on the window frame and from the LD. I used a putty knife to scrape off and then cleaned surfaces with mineral spirits. Inspect window opening for any signs of dry-rot...I had a couple that I had to repair, cutting out the rotten wood and replacing with 1x2 if I recall correctly.

3) Measure the D gasket and cut a length long enough to go around the entire window with just a little overlap for margin (you will trim later). The D gasket is going to be applied to the lip of the window frame, sticky-side applied to frame over the small channel that is in the lip. Do NOT apply the gasket yet or remove the tape.

4) Thoroughly clean the window lip, removing all residue, then clean the lip surface where you will attach the gasket with acetone. Acetone is important as LD will tell's very important the gasket seals well against the window frame.

5) Applying the gasket: You will want the joint in the gasket to be at the bottom of the window frame. Apply starting at middle bottom and work your way arond the frame. Where the ends meet back up, trim to fit, then squirt a little sealant into both ends before 'closing the loop'. Next, using your utility knife, put a small 1/2" slit in the inside edge (toward window) of the gasket on all four sides of the window...this is important as it allows the gasket to compress when you re-attach it to the LD.

6) Prepping for Re-install: Make sure window opening is clean from all residue. Where there are seams in aluminum sides on the LD, clean out old sealant and re-apply some polyurethane, working into the joint about 1" back from the edge of the window opening. This is very important!7) Re-install: apply a 1/8" thick bead of polyurethane sealant along top of gasket on window. Now, picking up the window carefully, avoiding wrapping fingers around the edges, insert window back into opening on the LD. You may have to jockey it around a bit to slide it in completely. Have a helper to hold the window in place while the other person re-installs the window frame inside. Be careful not to strip out screws on the aluminum window frame. After all the screws are re-installed, clean excess sealant around the outside of the window.
One problem that might occur would be that water damage has occurred in the wood structure beside and or below the window, such that the wood wall would not be solid enough to allow the sealant tape to compress for a tight seal when the window was replaced. For that and structural reasons, it would be best that wood is replaced where necessary when the window is removed. Even that is not beyond the handy do-it-yourselfer, as no really hard woods or complex joints are involved. Galvanized metal joint supports can be used to facilitate the repair even though they were not used in original build. Duplicates of the original interior paneling has been recently available from the Home Depot-type stores.

If you have pin holes in the exterior aluminum skin and it is too expensive to replace skins, one repair that you might consider is to apply exterior grade protective vinyl adhesive sheeting. This is sold for chip protection and is used on the front of some Class A / Diesel pusher RVs.

Taken a bit at a time, some really remarkable work can be accomplished with average skills and nearby advice on problems. But if you are not a do-it-yourselfer with some successful experiences, don't touch it!

Contributors: Don McG, ajandkj, Larry Wade

Revised 21 Jul 11

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