"Ready, Fire, Aim!" or 'How I Did My Windows' - Fiberglass RV

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Old 02-04-2016, 08:34 PM   #1
Name: Totie Fan
Trailer: Tote N Tarry
West Coast
Posts: 81
"Ready, Fire, Aim!" or 'How I Did My Windows'

Spoiler Alert! It all turned out OK. Here's the "before" situation. Compound-curved plexiglass with leaks, severe cracks and fissures, thousands of pits (looked like the pits) in a semi-detached rubber molding with several tubes of silicon caulk holding it into place, in a curved "egg" with multiple drilled-filled holes.

Hated them. What to do? I could've replaced them and patched the fiberglass; I saw the youtube about how to do so (guy fumbling and cursing for a day with an odd tool, and voila, the same old scratch-prone/crack-prone UNOPENABLE windows). Undesirable.

Solution? "Why, I'll just buy some windows (used) off eBay, then hack a huge hole into the side of the egg without a clue as to what to do with the compound curvature. I figure I'll figure something out...."
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Old 02-04-2016, 09:01 PM   #2
Name: Totie Fan
Trailer: Tote N Tarry
West Coast
Posts: 81
Here's the "Almost After"

Almost-after, meaning they're still not quite done yet. But the process was kind of interesting (to me). Though...I doubt anyone else would be carving huge "hope for the best" holes in their eggs like I did, but you never know.

Although the final painting isn't done--so don't judge that, the finals are bolted in through the metal with washer-ed locknut bolts, 6 each, they're much stronger than the plexi was. And the frame to which they're attached is fiberglassed to be 'one' with the egg. Also the black caulking I kind of messed up, but I'll sand that off before the final marine paint coat. And they open! I can get a cross-breeze from stem to stern.

I had to really do many trials and mostly error, to get beyond the compound curvature problem, but I resolved it.
Basically I built a great stuff foam frame by setting the windows in temporarily, and framing them with cardboard, backfilling with foam, removing the windows and cardboard, then fiberglassing over the foam (I tried polyfiber as recommended on some sites but didn't like it much). After making a huge mess and at many points thinking I'd doomed the egg to the junk yard, I made it work somehow. After many iterations it will get better.

My photos are not uploading presently, but I'll put them up as soon as they do.
I keep trying, shrinking, different file types, no luck as yet...
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Old 02-05-2016, 03:35 AM   #3
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Name: Raz
Trailer: Trillium 2010
Posts: 3,555
Fortune favors the bold. And I think what you've done fits the bold category. Similar to a Burro. If you can get a good seal, why not? I doubt you would find original windows. You might consider fabricating a gravel guard to protect the front window. Thanks for sharing. Raz
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:27 PM   #4
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Name: Kathleen (Kai in Seattle)
Trailer: Amerigo FG-16 1973
Posts: 772
Hi, Totie Fan,

Your trials and tribulations make our little efforts seem less Herculean and more mundane...gives me hope for a good ending for the leaky windows in the amerigo. Thanks for the epic tale and photos of innovation and work. Always ready for more inspiration.
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Old 02-05-2016, 03:30 PM   #5
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Name: Jeff short for Jennifer
Trailer: 13 ft Scamp 1977
North Carolina
Posts: 65

It opens? wow, that is just too cool. I think you did a great job. Kind of like stepping off a cliff, but you landed on your feet....eventually. We reconfigured out Scamp so the cooktop is (a bit below, level with the sink) where the top bunk goes. I think with the Fantastic Fan and common sense it is safe enough, but would love to have more ventilation. And in the summer, any airflow is something to be grateful for.

Good work. can't wait to see more pictures.
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Old 02-06-2016, 08:41 AM   #6
Name: Totie Fan
Trailer: Tote N Tarry
West Coast
Posts: 81
I like Burro's shape; here are some more pictures

Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
... If you can get a good seal, why not? Raz
So that's why my black caulk is kind of oozing out too much, good seal but big mess. I'll have to sand that off when it comes to the finals.

But these show sort of the side profile, how the rigid fiberglass frame pushes out from the rigid egg-shell. Then the window was set back into it (after many sanding iterations, primer) and then caulked. Then I bolted them directly into the original egg through the metal, and their weight sits on the cut-out mostly, but it's supported all around. The bumped-out window frame is bonded to the egg too. If they break the glass is replace-able. I did have to buy RV window crank extenders, for the inside, otherwise the crank couldn't turn due to the protrusion, but with those (avail on eBay too) they open up fully front and back.

I think the rock guard is a great idea too, maybe I'll use something like roll-up-able quilted vinyl trimmed with a border edging.
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Old 02-06-2016, 09:02 AM   #7
Name: Totie Fan
Trailer: Tote N Tarry
West Coast
Posts: 81
Now, don't be scared...

I am not in any way shape or form proud of these horror pictures. Suffice to say that if I can recover from this mess, that fiberglass is a very forgiving material even for newbies. This is the phase when I was totally convinced I would win the "worst clown decision for their egg" contest. Also my egg was so disastered to begin with, so full of holes to be patched, maybe I figured, "why not make two really gigantic huge holes" to boot? Persistance, sandpaper (wear your respirator!) pays off.

These pictures show the polyfiber fleece/bondo method. Now "it works" OK I suppose but the material nubs-up, makes more work. The other window (which didn't load yet) I used fiberglass and resin, but that poofed up on its own and the resin dripped, so when I returned I had to deal with deformed fiberglass and resin to remove and redo.

So, I guess overall, even though not perfect, I'd vote for the fleece/bondo.

Darn, can't get the last to load, will try later.
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Old 02-07-2016, 03:18 AM   #8
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
Posts: 2,079
Kudos to you, looks like it's taking shape.

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