Love Bug - Help with Windows - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-20-2013, 03:37 PM   #1
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Love Bug - Help with Windows

Well it's been a year and we may be nearing the end of our Love Bug project. We hits some bumps in the road but are back at it again.

Concerning windows. We decided to reinstall the original awning type side windows. They are ridged with a sleeve that fits into the window opening. Here is our problem. When we insert and clamp the window frame into the hole, we can't pull the top and bottom of the window frame tight to the top and bottom of the window hole in the camper. It is because the side of the camper has a curve where the side of the camper curves to the top of the camper.

May irrelevant, but the driver side has slightly more bend than the passenger side, creating a slightly larger gap on that window.

Is this the way that these windows are supposed to "fit"? Install the center close and then fill the gaps along the top and bottom edges with additional butyl tape and caulk?

We will be installing drip rails over the windows.

There is no inside frame for the window. When we got the the camper the frames were riveted directly through the fiberglass camper shell, no washers, then ensolite installed over the rivet (stubs).

We have discussed cutting a 1" X wood board to fit the around the inside of the window (for esthetic purposes) and screw through the exterior frame into the "new" interior frame...sandwiching the fiberglass shell between the two while creating a frame on the inside to hide the rivets and hang a curtain rod. We could use this method to pull the curve out of the shell if we pull things tighter - closer to each other at the top and bottom of the frame flattening the shell.

BUT

...there is the risk of the shell bending the interior wooden frame (over time) back to its current shape forcing the window frame to be bent, causing an ill-fitting window.

... or, the window frame will not, immediately, withstand the stress of the "sandwich" method, previously mentioned, and the screws will pull through the aluminum window frame while attempting to hold the frame tight against the shell.

When we removed the windows, almost a year ago, they were such a mess and caked with silicone. I don't know if there was a gap at the top and bottom.

Any body have any insight or ideas for installing these windows.

Any advice is welcomed.

Cathy
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Old 07-20-2013, 06:26 PM   #2
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Hi Cathy. We're glad you're closing in on the LB. I can visualize that your window frames won't bear evenly on the trailer wall all round but not the reason. Sure those windows are original? Could someone have tried to replace with oversize and got the cutout onto the body radius at top such that the flange couldn't bear at the top? Fotos might help one of our FGRV Sherlocks figure this out.

jack
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Old 07-20-2013, 07:27 PM   #3
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Thanks Jack,

The windows measure 21" high, 25" wide. Radius corners. The hole for the window is just big enough (a little tight) for the window frame to slide into. I have taken some pics with my ipad but am posting this from my laptop. I will try to post pics from ipad as soon as I submit this post. There is already butyl tape on the window frame that is not in place. 2nd time. I tried to get a profile of the frame that is already in place. I cut the butyl tape that oozed out away but took the clamps off before securing them to the shell. Will def. have to re clamp that one, hope I won't have to take it off and retape it. The passenger side is the one in place. The driver side curves more with a 3/4" gap at the top and 1/2 " gap at the bottom when the window was in.

The windows appear to be vintage and another LB that I saw last year had the same windows. But I don't know for sure. Hope you can make out the pics. The window attaches to the frame by means of metal strips bent to receive one another, and provide the hinge action at the top. There is a set screw at the top to hold the position of the window inside the frame.
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Old 07-20-2013, 07:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
Hi Cathy. We're glad you're closing in on the LB. I can visualize that your window frames won't bear evenly on the trailer wall all round but not the reason. Sure those windows are original? Could someone have tried to replace with oversize and got the cutout onto the body radius at top such that the flange couldn't bear at the top? Fotos might help one of our FGRV Sherlocks figure this out.

jack
Here are the pics...
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Old 07-20-2013, 07:32 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
Hi Cathy. We're glad you're closing in on the LB. I can visualize that your window frames won't bear evenly on the trailer wall all round but not the reason. Sure those windows are original? Could someone have tried to replace with oversize and got the cutout onto the body radius at top such that the flange couldn't bear at the top? Fotos might help one of our FGRV Sherlocks figure this out.

jack
More
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:59 PM   #6
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Cat,
I'm thinking you have a bit of body bulge happening. The FG is relatively flexible. I don't know how you are finishing the inside. Is the ensolite still there?

I'd be tempted to do the plywood ring on the inside with T nuts matching the holes of the outer ring. Jack the roof up a bit with one of those load bars for a pick up and insert the windows. Use a small amount of butyl. You can slowly tighten the nuts up all the way around.
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Old 07-21-2013, 11:33 AM   #7
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As I stated above we have two concerns with the wood sandwich..

...that over time with humidity and bumpy roads, the fiberglass shell will pull the window frame/wood sandwich back to its sagging position

...or that the aluminum window frame will not withstand the stress of the screws. The holes are about 4 inches apart all the way around the window frame.

Either of these methods may work but they may not. The physics of these materials in combination, is beyond my experience or understanding and we must not risk damaging the window frame.

I understand that laminated layers are stronger that single layers but the wood is the only real supporting part of this option, and wood can crack or bend.

Roy,
I def. think this is a possible option, I just keep seeing the possible pitfalls in my minds eye. I am hoping that someone has experience with this sort of problem and has made a successful "fix".

Today we are going to try jacking the roof on the driver side, and adjusting the galley support poles that span the upper and lower kitchen cabinets. That side is bowed slightly more than the passenger side (where the closet supports the roof).

Does anybody have a window installed in a slightly curved shell? if so, how is it installed?

Does anybody know what the maximum gap can be without causing leakage?

Thanks,

Cat
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Old 07-21-2013, 11:42 AM   #8
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Cat,
Before you drive yourself crazy worrying about all this, just grab the FG at the middle of the opening and give it a wiggle in and out. You will see how flexible it really is.

I consider these bodies to be like a wall made with the metal studs. They start off flimsy, the more screws you add and connect things to them, the more they firm up like a wall with wood studs.
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:09 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Cat futrell View Post
Does anybody have a window installed in a slightly curved shell? if so, how is it installed?

Does anybody know what the maximum gap can be without causing leakage?

Thanks,

Cat
As you know, you could probably bend the frame, but you can't bend the glass! Multiple layers of butyl will build up the gap area. Allow it to fill in and squish out when you cinch down the window.
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Old 07-23-2013, 04:13 PM   #10
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As you know, you could probably bend the frame, but you can't bend the glass! Multiple layers of butyl will build up the gap area. Allow it to fill in and squish out when you cinch down the window.
Yes Donna, I think that is probably where we are. We are going to get the shell as flat as possible and then use extra butyl to build up top and bottom. Do you know if there is a caulk that is particularly compatible with butyl? I am thinking that we will have to cut down into the butyl a little to give the caulk more surface to grip. Feel like we have to use caulk over the butyl because of the stickiness of the butyl. Don't want pine needle and oak leaf fringe around the windows.
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Old 07-23-2013, 04:38 PM   #11
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Cathy, Roy's suggestion of machine screws thru the frame and f-glass into t-nuts sunk in an inner plywood frame sounds to me like a pretty good idea. You might be surprised how much this sandwich will suck up simply due to the ply frame acting as a big batten or clamp face spreading the force of the thru bolting. Best to dry fit to see just how much before you bed the frame on butyl tape. The glass might not take the stress as Donna notes so use your judgment.

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Old 07-23-2013, 05:17 PM   #12
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If I was trying to flatten the fiberglass, I think I'd go with an aluminum frame on the inside. I'd make it from 1/2" or 3/4" aluminum angle and maybe have the corners welded for additional rigidity. Plus it would never rot.
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:22 PM   #13
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I would be leery of trying to flatten the fiberglass. If its much at all, you're begging for stress cracks later. To ft some hatches on mine, I got some thick plastic and belt sanded it down to make a spacer. Butyl both sides and you're good to go, just run the screws right through it, and it won't move.
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:29 PM   #14
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Thomas, that is part of my thinking. The windows have radius corners, clipping and bending that curve is beyond me. So I would need to use 4 pieces of aluminum and stop just befor the corner curve begins.
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