SURFSIDE WINDOW FRAMES - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-19-2007, 09:05 PM   #1
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Trailer: 1975 Surfside TM14
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Hi All,

Earlier this past week I removed one of my windows to investigate the integrity of the inside wooden frames. These were made from 3/4" 7ply plywood and allow the aluminium window frames to attach to the thin fiberglass walls with self tapping sytle screws.

As I had suspected the frames had suffered some rot and degradation from over 30 years of doing it's thing. It wasn't horrible but it wasn't great either. The original frames were in sufficient condition to allow me to use them as patterns for makling new frames. Originally I was thinking I wood replace the plywood with a sturdy hardwood such as birch or oak. Then I thought about the cost of some 40 ft of 3" wide hardwood and figured I would use thta money somewhere else more visible. A rummage thru the garage wood pile yielded a suitable sized pice of 3/" plywood (exterioer grade) which I promptly sliced up on the table saw into suitable strips. The original frames had beveled edges so as to not have a corner where the ensolite foam rubber wall treatment overlaps it. The original bevel was about 30 degrees but I chose to use 45 degrees as this was easier and made for less cutting. I built one frame complete today. The simple butt joins where glued with exterior waterporof white carpenters glue and then were stapled together with a air stapler. Result was a simple yet strong frame.

The easiest time to replace thw window crank operators is when the windows are coompletely out of the trailer. The operators are cheap at under $10 and I plan to replace all 4 in my trailer. I stripped the window of all old sealant and cleaned all the aluminium up with a pad of metal wool. While they didn't come out like new they certainly have a sparkle to them and the overall result is well worth the effort.

As I didn't have a box of new Stainless screws I didn't attempt to install the window and it's new frame today. Hopefully the weather cooperates and I will maybe try tommorrow.!

I have attached a few pictures to show the overall project for those who might be interested to undertake this sort of repair.

Cheerio

Gerald
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SURFSIDE_window_1.jpg   SURFSIDE_window_2.jpg  

SURFSIDE_window_3.jpg  
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Old 05-20-2007, 07:44 AM   #2
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That's a clean looking Surfside. Great project information and pictures. Where are you getting the window operators?
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Old 05-20-2007, 09:58 AM   #3
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Geralds;

Great looking trailer, and a good repair job. A suggestion I would make is to fiberglass the wooden frames in place. I have become very apssionate about avoiding the possiblity of direct water-wood contact anywhere in my rebuild.

Victor
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Old 05-20-2007, 12:37 PM   #4
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Trailer: 1975 Surfside TM14
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That's a clean looking Surfside. Great project information and pictures. Where are you getting the window operators?

Cam,

I got the window operators from GNR camping World on Dugald Rd in Winnipeg. I suggest you check your windows to ensure all 4 are the same and remove one as a sample to match when you go. I could look up the part number that I used but yours may be different. They come in a load of varieties many of which look very similiar. Ask the counter person to match them for you as the one's I needed were not on display but he had them in the back. They were $10.95 as I recall. To properly replace them I think the window needs to be removed from the trailer. I have seen evidence that one of mine was replaced in-situ but things have to be bent to make this happen I beleive. Once out of the trailer is very easy to disassemble the window frame and actually pop rivet the new operator in place just like new. Is also a good time to SOS pad the aluminium and hardware to a nice shine and reseal the window when you put it back!

By the way, while my SURFSIDE is "starting" to look clean now, it didn't when I got it. Unfortunately I didn't take a full before I started pic. Here is a shot of it after I had washed it down, it was streaked black all over, and started paint remval on the front.

Getting all the paint off was a chore even with a FIBREGLASS SAFE paint stripper and a gas powered pressure washer!

Cheerio

Gerald
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Old 05-20-2007, 12:49 PM   #5
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Geralds;

Great looking trailer, and a good repair job. A suggestion I would make is to fiberglass the wooden frames in place. I have become very apssionate about avoiding the possiblity of direct water-wood contact anywhere in my rebuild.

Victor

Victor,

The problem with glassing in the new wood is that often the reason it rots in the first place is due to water entry around the screws. If you glass in your wood and this occurs at some point in the future the repair job is significantly more difficult and thus I chose not to try this route. I think yearly attention to the window seals and sealing each screw(stainless steel) with silicon on the threads will all but eliminate future rot. Originally I had thought of using hardwood for the frames but after thinking about it the original plywood was there for 32 years on mine so if my repair lasts another 32 years well............. I just used plywood I had and I may paint the frames to seal them a little.

I think the time and money are better spent on other areas that will really update and improve the comfort of these great little trailers. Like the 25 yards of material I bought to reupholster the interior in a nice modern look! Future pictures to highlight this work.

Cheers to all

Gerald
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Old 05-20-2007, 04:59 PM   #6
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.....and sealing each screw(stainless steel) with silicon on the threads will all but eliminate future rot.......
A boatbuilder's trick to get a really good seal around screws/bolts is to make sure there is a void that's waiting to get filled with sealant. The bigger the void, the more the chance that movement of the screwed-down-object won't break the seal. To make a void, use a countersink bit to create a recess in the surface of the fiberglass, as shown in red below (you'll have to imagine the fiberglass and the plywood backing separately, as they're both shown as one piece in the brown-y colour below!).


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Old 05-20-2007, 09:07 PM   #7
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A boatbuilder's trick to get a really good seal around screws/bolts is to make sure there is a void that's waiting to get filled with sealant. The bigger the void, the more the chance that movement of the screwed-down-object won't break the seal. To make a void, use a countersink bit to create a recess in the surface of the fiberglass, as shown in red below (you'll have to imagine the fiberglass and the plywood backing separately, as they're both shown as one piece in the brown-y colour below!).


Attachment 7876


Andrew
Thanks for the comments Andrew I will keep this trick in mind when I reinstall the windows. Nice to see you here on the FG forums after many years of seeing you on the teardrop sites.............I still have my teardrops but thought I would go upsized with FG

cheers
Gerald
Winnipeg
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Old 05-20-2007, 09:59 PM   #8
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Might there be an electrolysis problem between stainless and aluminum? There is if steel (not stainless) and aluminum come in contact with each other.
I had to replace 36 sq' ft. of aluminum roofing which had been covered with steel roofing with the same pattern. The original aluminum mobile home roof had turned to jelly. Fortunately I wasn't to blame for the problem.

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Old 05-29-2007, 09:25 PM   #9
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Further to my Window upgrades I have done all 3 of the rear windows to date and we have had several days of hard rain. 2 are 100% (non-leaky) but the third (rear window) is somehow leaking. Due to the shape of the rear wall/roof ttransistion a great deal of water seems to come off of the roof and collect on the top of this frame and was getting in. I suspect I will have to remove it again and reinstall with new and more butyl sealant on the top and sides. I think my problem stems from having made in inside wooden replacement frame a bit small and it made for a tigher fit than on the others. The leak was unfortunate but is all about learning right. Here's a pic of the first window with it's new oak trimming test fitted. The wood is as yet unfinished and will be stained and sealed with varethane once all wood work is complete. The new table/bed board is also test fitted and as yet unbfinished. The original cushions are shown in place but these will be replaced once the new upholstery is done. I have also added oak trim around the seating area ledge which will match all other window trims. Just an attempt to give the old girl a more modern up-market feel. I hope to tain all this new oak to more or less match the existing cupboard doors but I may decide to go a little lighter

cheerio

Gerald
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