Serious window problem-78 Surfside - Fiberglass RV

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Old 07-03-2006, 09:18 PM   #1
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Trailer: Surfside 1978
Posts: 12
we recently purchased a 78 surfside. I just took out a side window because it was leaking. they are actually all leaking but we only took one out so far. We noticed the that actual opening in the fiberglass had no screw holes on the rear side. The window opening is actually a little large and it looks as if the previous owner, or the manufacturer had tried to drill holes into the side of the opening but realized that the holes would be too close to the edge. therefore there are absolutely no screw holes on the one side. needless to say, after putting butyl tape and reinstalling the window ever so carefully, we tested it with a hose and now that one side even seems to be leaking even more than previously. we have no idea what to do because where the screw holes are in the actual window frame are too far away from the fiberglass to drill. i hope this makes sense. essentially the seal on the rear side window is only held together with butyl putty and not screwed together like the rest of the three sides, hence the serious leak on that side. after all that hard work trying to figure out how to reinstall and doing it so carefully we are getting frustrated! i hope that some of you pros can give us some good ideas that we can do ourselves. we aren't super handy so that's a bit of a problem in terms of what we can actually do ourselves. i see so many gorgeous trailers on this side and that's our end goal; however since we just bought this, it'd be nice to just have it not leak right now. ideas anyone????

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Old 07-03-2006, 10:43 PM   #2
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Trailer: Scamp
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The really nice thing about fiberglass is that it's easy to repair (but not so easy to hide the repair) -- Just pull the window again and build out the edge of the hole until it's the right size -- Too bad the factory didn't do that in the first place. Best part is that your first foray into the world of fiberglass will be hidden by the window!

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Old 07-04-2006, 05:36 AM   #3
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Just to add to Pete's description, I've done a diagram of one way you can make this repair. Applying fiberglass and resin isn't too difficult, but keeping it off everything else is a bigger problem and knowing how to set the job up is hardest of all.

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I hope diagram 1 shows your current problem in cross section. Remove the window and chamfer the edge of the existing shell where you will be building out as this makes the repair stronger.

2. Fit a temporary flange to the outside of the shell with a smooth side facing inwards - double-sided sticky tape is good for this (it stops resin from seeping between the existing shell and the temporary flange) though back it up with some duct tape elsewhere as some sticky tape is softened by resin. The flange must either be made from a plastic that fiberglass doesn't stick to, or it must be coated with mold release wax (6-8 coats) before it is fixed in place.

3. Laminate a repair strip onto the edge of the window opening - carry over onto the existing shell by at least an inch and go out past the point where the opening will be cut.

4. After the fiberglass has hardened, remove the temporary flange and trim the opening to fit the window.

All of this is worth trying out using a scrap piece of plywood to simulate your trailer shell, before you try it for real on your trailer.

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Old 07-04-2006, 08:10 AM   #4
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Posts: 25,065
Does the window have a clamping ring? The part that goes on the inside and the screws go from the outside window through the ring on the inside. I only ask because I'm thinking if you don't have one of these on the window, it may need one. Members have made clamping rings out of wood, plastic-cutting board material and I've made one out of polished aluminum diamond plate.
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Old 07-04-2006, 08:12 AM   #5
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You could even extend the double thickness of fiberglass a little further by folding back the cloth and have a double thickness to screw into.
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Old 07-04-2006, 05:29 PM   #6
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Trailer: 1978 Surfside
Posts: 18
I have just reinstalled the windows in my 78 surfside. When the windows were out I noticed that there were existing screw holes in some of the fiberglass, but not all the way around. I dont see this as a problem at all. I replaced the inner wooden "clamping ring" that Donna mentioned. This is what your screws are going into in order to pull the window tight to the outside of the trailer and compress the butyl tape. If your trailer is still leaking, I would concider replacing your wooded frame on the inside so that you can achieve a greater clamping force when the screws are being tightened into new holes in new plywood. I did read a post on here about window reinstall and it mentioned going around the screws a few times to tighten the buytl evenly and have an equal force around the window. The post also mentions having some butyl leak out from around the window for a day or two. Do you have this scenario? If you dont, then I would guess you dont have enough clamping force applied through the screws to create a leak tight seal. I would try replacing the clamping rings before attempting any fiberglass repair that may not be necessary.

I hope this helps.

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Old 07-04-2006, 08:54 PM   #7
Name: Alan
Trailer: Triple E Surf Side
Posts: 67
I'm with Kevin, it may be that the clamp ring (which on my '76 Surfside is 3/4" plywood) has rotted in the area of the screw holes and lost its ability to clamp. However I would argue that it is quite possible to over tighten the screws. You don't have to tighten a geat deal, and if you over tighten you can actually cause teh aluminum window frame to get wayy with hollowas at the point of the screws. The butly tape does not need to be squished out a great amount. I would use stainless steel screws to avoid rust staining and rusting in the wood. The advice I got was to resist the temptation to put silicon over the butly tape. As I remember it the holes were pretty close to the edge of the fiberglass and mine have not laaked since the replacement 3 summers ago. I would be surprised if the holes are in the wrong spot. They got a very thorough testing the other night too.

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Old 07-06-2006, 11:41 AM   #8
Trailer: Surfside TM14 1978
Posts: 49
My 79 Surfside has the same trouble with the 'road side' window. The cut-out hole is too big for the window. I replaced the wooden 'clamp ring' (it was rotten) and it seems to be OK now.
(Has anyone noticed odd markings inside their rig under the insulation? Mine had " 1 One Une" written on the lower 1/2 rear shell, and on the upper 1/2 front shell. Any thoughts? (I was hoping for the traditional 'help me I am trapped in a factory message)).
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Old 07-06-2006, 08:18 PM   #9
Name: Alan
Trailer: Triple E Surf Side
Posts: 67
I have on a couple of occasions called the Triple E factory in Manitoba and they have been as helpful as they can - given that some of them probably weren't born when the trailers were being built. But it may be worth a try.

My Palm address book says I spoke to Doug in the parts department at the factory in Winkler Manitoba - here are the coordinates.

Work: 204-325-4361
Fax: 204-325-5241

Clearance lights:

On a totally different subject I found today that the original clearance light covers which I will tell you about in a separate email.


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