Tale of two Scamp Side Windows! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-14-2015, 10:07 PM   #1
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Trailer: Had Scamp 13', want another small trailer.
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Tale of two Scamp Side Windows!

It's not a story that is of great value, but just what I found when I started to replace the butyl tape on my 1978 Scamp 13' two side window's.

One window had been replaced in prior years...the clue being that window was black! I elected to start the replacement with the black window...because it was the window in the shade, and closest to my garage where my tools were kept!

It took about 5-10-minutes to drill out the 26 rivets, and remove the window. It took only one look for me to see that a previous owner (PO) had installed the window with clear Rubber Silicone. No butyl tape, just Rubber Silicone (RS).

Some three hours later I had removed the remains of the RS from the window frame, and off the side of the Scamp. My main tool of attack was a wire brush installed in a electric drill, plus a metal scraper, a small wood working chisel, and lots of paint thinner! Oh yes, there was a hammer that came into use a time or two!

Now, I won't belittle the use of RS by the PO because i don't know the circumstances he was working under. Obviously he had little experiance in using RS as a sealing gasket, or he would have never re-installed the window using rivets. For RS to seal a gap between a fiberglass shell and a window frame, the RS can't be compressed in total, but must be compressed in two stages. With rivets, that is not possible.

The second window was an original window, and the removal took about the same 5-10 mintes. I believe that this window hadn't been removed in the past 37 years because the condition of remains of the butyl tape. The remains were nothing but many flaking strips of harden matter.

However, the difference in cleaning the shell and window frame was like night and day! It took me perhaps, at most, 10 minutes to clean both the frame and shell, and have the window back into the opening. Old butyl tape is so easy to remove!

One thing that I learned when using the best quality (white) butyl tape i could buy from a local RV dealer, was to keep the tape in the refrigerator until I was ready to apply the tape to the metal window flange. Much easier to work with when cool.

After much pondering, i decided to add two wooden frames in the insides of the window openings, and attach the windows to the wood frames using metal screws., and not use rivets. I believe using screws gives me much more control in the compression of the butyl tape.

My plan is to seal off all the existing leaks, and then come back and hopefully improve on any prior work. In the case of the windows, that would be remove the screws, and use SS nuts and bolts to hold the windows in place.

Bill
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Old 05-15-2015, 01:05 AM   #2
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Good point about SR. Needing to be compressed in 2 stages.
I am about to reinstall my windows and I have the white butyl tape. I will take your advice and cool the Butyl. I have a Trillium so the screws go thru the window, the fibreglass and into wood. Should I tighten the screws in stages as the butyl is cold?


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Old 05-15-2015, 03:18 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by dleverton View Post
Good point about SR. Needing to be compressed in 2 stages.
I am about to reinstall my windows and I have the white butyl tape. I will take your advice and cool the Butyl. I have a Trillium so the screws go thru the window, the fibreglass and into wood. Should I tighten the screws in stages as the butyl is cold?
I like to cool down the butyl in the fridge for a while before using it, keeps it from sticking to much to your fingers. By the time you get to screwing the frame together the tape will be plenty soft. Tightening the frame down in rounds is a good idea as you can control the amount of pressure you apply until you're happy with the seal.
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Old 05-15-2015, 05:53 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Borrego Dave View Post
I like to cool down the butyl in the fridge for a while before using it, keeps it from sticking to much to your fingers. By the time you get to screwing the frame together the tape will be plenty soft. Tightening the frame down in rounds is a good idea as you can control the amount of pressure you apply until you're happy with the seal.
That has also been my experience using the white butyl tape. It seems to warm up quite quickly in 80 degree temperature. In fact, when I was installing the last window, I failed to match the holes in the window flange with the holes in the fiberglass (off about 1/4-inch) and the window was very difficult to move that 1/4-inch, because the tape had quickly stuck to the fiberglass!

I used a 18-volt battery powered drill to install the screws. One of the very last tools I'd want to do without. The ability to control the torque is so very useful. I always start screws at one of the lowest torque settings, and work upward until I'm happy with the results.

Bill
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Old 05-15-2015, 09:43 AM   #5
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Name: Darral
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Interesting repair! Thanks for sharing. I hope I'm a "fer" piece of time away from having to do this...especially since my Scamp is stored out of the sun. But I'm always interested--especially where they're side-by-side-- in the butyl vs silicone battle!
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Old 05-15-2015, 11:27 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
Interesting repair! Thanks for sharing. I hope I'm a "fer" piece of time away from having to do this...especially since my Scamp is stored out of the sun. But I'm always interested--especially where they're side-by-side-- in the butyl vs silicone battle!
Thanks Darral T., I believe that a good silicone has it's place in a repair kit.

Sometimes it is the only easy way to stop a terrible leak...like when a trailer is being flooded with rain water. Years ago when in the Florida Keys, in a new Kumfort 5th wheel trailer, it started raining cats and dogs! My trailer must have been built on a Monday when the workers were still hung-over, because they failed to seal one of the windows in our bedroom! It's true...no sealing material at all!

The leak was so bad that my dear wife would hold a glass under the poring water, then empty it into a waste basket!

By standing on a park bench in my swimming suit, in the poring rain, I was able to apply enough rubber silicone around the leaking window, to stop the leak. I'm afraid the sight of me in a swim suit caused several of our park neighbors to leave...when it did stop raining!

As for butyl tape, I once read that it should be replace every 7 to 10 years years! Or was that every 10 or 15 years? Dang! Too bad my memory is so bad!

Bill
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