I have another kind- I'll try that this morning. Great idea! I hope it works on your other window, too.
You can't just pick out one thing in a list of things in a process and consider that to be a cure. There is no cure other than rebuilding the window with modern versions of materials. You can't restore rusted away steel and rotted fabric or even make it functional again.
What if you got the window open and then could not close it again? You will be much worse off than you are now with a window stuck in the closed position. Please don't try to force it open when there is no guarantee you can get it closed again. You did state that this summer you don't want to start something you might not be able to finish.
It isn't opening- but it was recently, so it was worth a try. It is much easier to close than to open because you can push on the edge of the window so that doesn't worry me. When I first got the trailer I cleaned them out really good and washed the felt and got them working fairly well, but I think now they are stuck for good (until I take them out or find someone to do it).
patching a hole in fiberglass
We all realize there is more than one way to do things and this thread is a history of how I am doing things on my 1971 Campster renovation project. This is not my first fiberglass RV renovation.
Once upon a time there was a leaky and corroded, ancient electrical inlet
and now there is a hole that needs to be filled
I saved some patching material when I took out the old kitchen counter
Just tape it in place and trace the outline of the hole onto the patching
I cut around the outline using a bimetal blade on a bandsaw
After a little test fitting and minor adjustments it fit just right.
Next on the outside of the trailer I sanded a bevel on the edges of the opening and I also sanded a bevel on the edges of the patch. This helps to widen the surface area and the depth of the epoxy adhesive which helps to prevent cracks developing along those edges.
I used duct tape on the inside to hold the patch in place making sure the tape spanned over all the gaps. That tape is now acting as a backer to keep the filler materials from pushing all the way on through the gap as I work. The outside surface of the patch should be level to the surface of the exterior wall or slightly higher. The wall was not perfectly flat but that did not matter as long as the patch was not below that surface level. Sanding to level is better than adding filler to bring it up level. I start securing the patch in place using an Epoxy Putty stick for the adhesive/gap filler. Begin in two corners, let it harden then do the other two corners. That way it is fixed in position but if you did need to adjust the height you only have a little bit of epoxy to remove to break the patch free.
Now finish filling all around the edges of the patch with the epoxy putty. It will stick to itself so you can add more, sand some after it cures and add more again if needed. Then do a final surface level sanding. I use a random orbital sander for this work. Coarser grit first then 220 for the final.
My patch might look not very even in this photo but when you run your hand over the surface and look at it in a sideways glancing light you will find no difference in the surface of the materials. It is now ready for cleaning, priming and paint.
You can see how the sander took off some the the surface on the patch where it had been higher than the surface of the wall.
If this was a patch for a much larger area I would have added a layer of cloth over the outside of the wall to strengthen the joined edges. But that is not necessary for a hole this size that is not going to have a lot of force or stress applied to it. Filling in a window opening would have required that extra layer of fiberglass.
There will be fiberglass cloth and resin applied over patch on the inside of the wall to reinforce it. A couple of layers of cloth with resin will be enough. I don't need to show you a standard fiberglass cloth and resin patch on the inside of a rough fiberglass interior wall as there is nothing special about doing that.
I would never use Bondo for leveling fiberglass as it is a hygrosopic material meaning that it absorbs moisture even after it cures. I you do need to use a surface filler that is easy to sand you can mix micro balloons into thick viscoscity epoxy resin. That is how it is done in boat yards. The epoxy makes a strong bond to the fiberglass gel coat.
I use the epoxy putty stick material to fill in all small holes, dings and chips in the gel coat. It is quick to cure, easy to mix and apply and it bonds well to the gel coat and any uncoated fiberglass. The epoxy putty stick I am using here is PC Lumber, it does not matter that the label say lumber it also works great on fiberglass. I like that the color is a light beige and also this formula has a very smooth, creamy texture that sands out nicely.
I have time tested this patching method, I used it 5 years ago on renovating my fiberglass Sunrader motorhome and there has been no failure of the work. :wub
:eek: Feeling very discouraged with the results of trying to find any close matches for replacements to the exterior seals that trim out the windows. Repairing fiberglass is a whole lot easier than repairing windows you can't find seals for. Funny how that works, sometimes it is the very small parts that mess up the big stuff such as glass and aluminum framing.
I have not given up just yet but I do think I will take a trip to the RV boneyard and see what I can find in the way of windows that are of more recent vintage which would work as replacements.
The glass in my Campster side windows is 3/16" thick. I am pretty handy with my Mitutoyo calipers, they are always in my tool box when I work on projects.
Actually I am pretty good at sourcing materials and I even get hired for that work. But sometimes things don't exist. Unfortunately the windows on my Campster have a total of 8 different seals that were used on them and it appears that only the window run channel and the fuzzy felt strip used on one divider and the screen spline are still available. Also possibly one of the outer seals might be a close match to one that still exist from Hehr but I don't yet have a sample of that seal to verify that. So that leaves 5 seals, possibly 4 that are so far unobtainable. One of them is similar to the looks of a triple fin windshield wiper blade that I remember from a couple of decades ago but it did not match in size for fitting into the 1/32" deep T slot groove in the extrusion with any of the currently made materials. We will see what tomorrow turns up on my visit to the auto parts store, perhaps I can modify a newer wiper blade for use as that wiper seal by cutting it apart. I have a few more samples I ordered that will get here in a week or so that have some potential as substitutes.
But as the repair guy at my local RV repair shop who has a room full of window seals hung from the ceiling said....they don't make windows like that any more, they changed the way the frames are made for the sliders.
My entry door seal no longer exist but that is not an issue as I can stack up two modern gaskets and make it work OK.
Desktop fillament extruders are around now because of people turning plastic pellets into 3D printing fillament but they are not yet capable of doing the kind of shapes I need to make in the pliable plastics.
MMMM, guess I was expecting a response more like others say, "thanks, I'll look into that" for the free info offered for a possible fix from you or none at all. Everyone has knowledge that may help others from many sources. Some times it's the forest for the trees thing that lights the light for the fix. Think this is the 3rd time I've offered info to you as a suggestion and got a....well, kind of slap down reply so I'll step back. I know you'll do fine on your reno without info from the rest of us.
I keep reposting the sentence above that I started the thread with in the hope that you will understand what it says. I am sorry that you still don't understand. Thank you for offering to step back, I do appreciate that.
Messaged you b...Dave.
Still working on replacing seals on the side sliding window on my Campster. The alumimum frame part I am addressing is the vertical center bar on the outside the window. It has a couple of seal strips on it. The one I replacing in this posting presses against the sliding pane and wipes across it as the pane moves in the track. Function often gives us the keywords that help us find replacements. But of course so does our own personal memory bank that records visual images of things we have seen before and done before.
The seals function of wiping was only milliseconds deep in recognition and the memory of a very recent DIY project, changing the windshield wiper blades on my car, followed immediately after. The original seal is triple finned and I could find no close matches for it in either window and glass catalogs or among the current generation of automotive wiper blades or in the RV industry.
What my original seal looks like in the side view.
This is why it has to be replaced, almost 2 inches too short from loss of plasticsiser and it is deformed as well as hardened.
What more recent windshield wipers look like
As you can see in the photos above they both have a base that will slide into a T slot. The base on the older version is slightly wider and very slightly thinner but close enough to be worth giving it a try with a modern wiper blade.
What the new wiper blade looks like installed in the T slot. I don't think the height difference between the old seal and new seal is significant. It is slightly taller but the original seal has shrunk in size in the last 45 years.
The new blade does fit easily into the aluminum extrusion. However a strong sideways pressure can pull an edge out from under the lip. Therefore I have installed it with some adhesive making sure to spread it in under the edges of the T slot profile as well as on the center area.
I won't install this piece back onto the window today as I want to be sure the adhesive is well cured before putting any sideways force on the wiper blade. No point in rushing the installation other than rain is here for the next several days and I truly do wish I was done with fixing windows. :umb
And here comes the rain.... I just got the window I was working on back in just a couple of hours ago. Happy not to have to put the tarp on tonight. Taking the window out was much easier than fitting it back into the hole. It took me a couple of tries to get it into the opening and of course the butyl tape was what was not helping matters with the first couple of tries. Third time was the charm, it turned out that if I put the lower left corner in first the rest of the window went in relatively easy. I will have to remember on the other two window to do a dry check fit without any butyl tape in place to see if there is a preferred corner that I should start with. I was trying to start by putting the top edge in first, then I tried the long bottom edge, those did not work as an approach so I got radical and started in a corner.
It was not an easy task to wrestle the window in on my own, 3/16" thick glass does not make for a lightweight object and I don't have long arms or a lot of strength in my back. But I do want other women to realize that we can do a window install all by ourselves if need be. Of course it is easier to have help and would have taken it had there been some around. :u
The sliding window now slides along just right, not too loose and not too tight. At least I had the joy of trying it and having it work perfectly as my reward tonight!
I had to make replacement parts for the small U channel sections that keep the fixed pane of glass elevated off the bottom of the aluminum extrusion so that any water getting into that lower channel of the frame will run out the weep holes. The original pieces were starting to fracture.
As I could not find any plastic U channel in our workshop stash I 3D printed the new pieces. Now that was fun, I had been meaning to get around to learning to use the printer. They were printed using black ABS filament.
Tomorrow I will make window handles out of aluminum angle since my slider is now functional. I am looking forward to having an easy task to complete :wub
Next big project up is fixing the doorway. I don't mind the fiberglass work of fixing the opening for the door. But I do know just how tricky it can be to get a door frame installed with even gaps between door and frame, having the door swing just right and get the latch aligned. Fortunately my work on the door does not have to pass inspection as it did when I had to hang aluminum framed bathroom doors in a 757. It drove me nuts trying to get perfectly even gaps all the way around the door. Fortunately I got to move on to other jobs fairly soon. The Campster door is pretty much out of whack, it will also require some wrestling time and it is not light weight either.
Two of the sample pieces of window gasket seals that I ordered last week have proved to be of use as suitable replacements in my Campster sliding windows so I am feeling....:okra
I have shown those seals in another thread, they are post #32 and #34 of this thread https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...t-74974-3.html
So now I have all the puzzle pieces I need for renovating the fixed pane and I only need to find one more seal for the sliding pane half of the opening. That is big progress for having started with no information as to the seals needed for a total rehabilitation and then realizing just how many of them were going to be needed. Finding substitute seals is at least a little easier than finding a needle in a haystack. I am glad to have turned the corner from the road name frustrated onto the road named optimistic.
Not much other progress as I was in rainy day slacker mode for part of this week. Blame it on the weather when no one else is handy :reye2
But the weather prediction for next week is perfect, sunny and not extremely hot. I will not be able to blame being lazy on the weather. I will cut myself no slack on my slackerly behavior pattern. Yeah I know I am crazy because in this last paragraph I am really talking to myself. :chatter
Not to worry about me missing out on summer fun by working on my project, I am working right next door to a sandy beach. Those are the Olympic mountains in the background and big cargo container in the distance on the water with a paddle boarder in the foreground.
No rain in the forecast this week so I am working on fiberglass repairs.
I have one big job to accomplish which is reinforcing the opening for the door. Actually I am very lucky that is the worst of it for fiberglass repairs and it is not an overly difficult task.
There is a crack at the top and bottom in the corners of the opening on the side with the door knob. The cause is quite an obvious one, there is no assist handle at the door so the frame gets used for one. The fiberglass is not even close to being thick enough around the door for the task of being a doorway much less an assist handle so it cracked under the stress.
The solution is to reinforce all of fiberglass around the door opening. The stepped contour of the shell makes that simple to do without effecting the rest of the rear wall.
I will be building up several additional layers of fiberglass on the interior with one or two new layers on the exterior. Then later on when I build a new kitchen cabinet and at that time I will add in reinforcement for installing an assist handle. I don't have my cabinet designed yet so that reinforcement can wait until I am sure of my approach.
It is very likely that while working on the doorway I will at times have some small amounts of resin left during the various steps. Therefore today I was prepping all of the other areas in the shell that need small repairs to take advantage of those small leftover batches of resin. Epoxy resin is expensive so I don't want to waste any of it.
One of those small repairs is to fill in a hole in the shell that is just above the tongue area. It is hard to tell from the photo but the hole is on a narrow ledge in a contoured area of the shell. Gravity will have its way unless I back the repair up while adding cloth and resin.
The shell comes up from the bottom at a slant, then makes a turn parallel to the ground then goes up vertically heading up to the belly band. On that short, 1-1/2" ledge parallel to the ground section the hole is the width of the ledge and it is about 4 inches long. The hole extends just slightly into the radius areas which is another reason for backing it up with a matched contour backer piece. There was a failed repair to this hole by a PO. So I took that repair material out.
Today's task was to create a template from which to build a backer piece.
I started the template making process by using a good sized, plastic contour gauge that I pressed against the surfaces. Then I traced the outline of thw contour from the gauge . I calculated the straight sections and extended them to intersect, I used a drafting template with circles to estimate the radius of the inside and outside curves and I used a protractor to check the angles. Then I built it as a 3D CAD model (see image below), used the 3D model to create a 2D drawing of it and printed out a paper template for a check fit. After a couple of tries I got a perfect fit :)
I could cut the backer plate from ridged foam using the CNC machine that is here at the workshop but it is buried too deep under my friends stuff and I don't want to nag him into the work of cleaning up as he has other things to get done that are client related versus my fixing up my little sad trailer. So instead tomorrow I will cut a solid template of 3/8" plywood and then use that as a router pattern to make about 6 identical sections from 3/4" thick wood. They will each have two holes drilled through as shown in the CAD model. The holes are there so I can run a 1/4" dowel rod through them to perfectly line up all the sections so that I will have a nice wide backer with a perfect contour its whole length. I will show photos of that process tomorrow or the next day. It goes fairly quickly to put it together once you have the tools out. Unfortunately my portable router table has to be fetched back home so I did not get the backer finished up today.
I have the pieces roughed out for using with the router template pattern for backing up the hole in the fiberglass I need to fill in.
Extending the door frame and beefing up the thickness of the area where the door mounts is coming along at a pace of one or two layers each day or so. Probably 4 days or so left before it is ready to sand and prime on the exterior surface.
This morning I decided to tackle two task I have not been looking forward to because I knew I would end up covered in dust from head to toe. Does anyone like getting turned into the abominable snowman?
Those dreaded task were taking out the old the blocking for the table support rail. It was made from good strong Doug Fir that had been bonded to the shell with thickened resin and also screwed into from the exterior to hold it in place while the resin cured. The screws were all rusted and bleeding rust down the outside of the shell. No way to back them out of there. But since I had to grind down that thickened resin and wood on the inside the heads of the screws eventually just dropped out of the holes. My new table rail will extend almost all the way across the front wall to allow for some versatile positioning options.
The other grinding job was an area just under the passenger side window where whoever laid up the shell made a big bodged up mess of fiberglass cloth and resin that extended about 18 inches long. Since I want to insulate I needed to grind that back to the level it was supposed to have been.
I have now come clean in the shower but am still working on getting the dust out of the Campster. I looks like the ash fallout from Mt. St. Helen's is in there. But at least that job is done and I can move on to the next bit of unpleasantness which is more fiber glass lay-up around the doorway.
Looking forward to the day I can start building cabinets...but that is a ways off with lots of other tasks to come before it.
Ejoying your posts and learning from them.
We have a 1970 Campster that the former owner pulled out of the field with a tractor. From that you can tell what shape it was in.
I knew we could make her pretty again.
The windows were siliconed shut-took Rich several days hard work to dig out the stuff.
There were no screens and no handle to open windows.
We just push real hard with a opened hand on the glass.
Rich had to make a new wood surround for the pop top as the old one was rotted.
A new vinyl floor was installed. Contact paper pulled off caninets and cabinets painted white.
I made a new canvas top out of ripstop-it was like trying to sew water!
That s just a few things we did and there is much more.
In August we are headed to a vintage camper rally so have been busy cleaning and doing minor repairs that seem to pop up every now and then,
We really like this little camper and the attention it attracts.
I am glad you are at the point of being able to camp in it this summer.
I like the nice clean lined but still interesting vinyl design you did and the two tone color scheme of gold and white.
I still have that pop top wood to replace as well as the fabric. I will get to it when I need to start the paint job up on top. No point in taking it off and putting it back on twice :loltu
Most everyday I keep meaning to get those window handles done. I have the metal, but I just don't get around to the cutting and rounding off two corners. Such as simple job to make a pair, not sure why I have not stopped to do it.
Repairing the door frame corners on a Campster
I was working on various odds and ends of fiberglass, getting ready to adhere in the floor section where I had rot to replace and such, all daylight kind of jobs that are on going at the moment.
As much of what I am working on at the moment is in support of fixing the issues of the leaking doorway I also began repairs on the aluminum door frame. As it was never properly supported due to an oversized cutout in the fiberglass shell there was some damage to it. All the welds at the corners of the frame were broken. A PO's attempts to hold it together with steel L brackets had also caused its own issues. Oh well it is not in my budget to replace the dooor and its frame but I can certainly use a few basic metal working skills to bring it back to useful life.
Some of the corners and areas around screw holes had gotten somewhat bent, depressed and such. So I did some spot annealing where I needed to bring those areas back to flat again before I started pounding on it. Aluminum can be annealed to soften it but unlike steel or brass you will have no observable color change to guide you as to when it is annealed. All I can tell you about that is it does not take as long as annealing a piece of brass or steel. As I have done a bit of butane torch annealing over the years I just take a fair guess at it as compared to annealing time required for brass and or steel and so far it seems to be just about right. Why would I anneal it? I anneal it to help prevent the old work hardened (by stress and forming) aluminum from cracking when I pound on it to flatten it back out. I have a big chunk of steel I use an an anvil to back up my parts when hammering them back to flat. Other steel shapes that fit into the extrusion areas are my die forming tools. Nothing fancy needed, just a big old flat blade screw driver that has been ground to have an even wider tip and a few sizes of pin punches. You too can be a metal worker with just a few simple objects :)
I am not a welder of aluminum but I can fabricate brackets from a length of architectural aluminum angle so that is how I chose to mend to corners of the frame back together. For this job you need aluminum angle that does not have an inside radius in the corner. That type is found with the keywords "aluminum architectural angle". It is pretty easy to come by in hardware stores. You can cut it with a carbide blade in your power miter saw. Just take it slow and easy and make sure the blade has stopped spinning before you raise it back out of the cut.
My bracket repair will be stronger that it was with the original welded corners. Tonight I fabricated the brackets and tomorrow when daylight comes I will use them to reassemble the door frame. In order to install the brackets you do need to remove the old welding material from the surface of the framing so that the new brackets can sit flush against the frame. I did that removal with a metal cutting burr and my Dremel motor followed by the use of a metal needle file to get at the little bits under some narrow channels in the frame extrusion. Unfortunately I can't easily remove the hinges on the door and it is heavy and needs a lot of support so I will save the task of reassembly for outside while it is resting on the saw horses.
But I did take a photo so you can see where I am installing the brackets. They will not be visible after installation other than a few rivet heads in the corners of the frame. Those rivet heads will not interfere with the door gaskets. When I install the brackets I will adding a thin layer of urethane adhesive caulk between the brackets and the frame which will help create some water proofing seal in the corners. Of course more caulking will also be added on the surface. This work and good support under the threshold should keep things nice and dry with no more frame separation at the corners.
By the way you can not make this type of nearly invisible repair unless you remove the door and frame from the trailer because you will need access to that backside of the frame. One other thing I am going to do when I reassemble the frame is move the piece that used to be the threshold up to the top of the frame. It had several holes drilled in it that are potential sources of leaks should my hole filling material every fail. The piece that was at the top has no holes in that lip. You can see those holes I am talking about in the first photo on this thread. Right behind those holes and broken corner web you can see the rotted floor which is why I had to take the time to repair the door frame.
Some women go for flower bouquets, I like those but I also enjoy the one below in our workshop. It is made up from all kinds of dowels, rods, narrow metal pieces, plastics etc. Today I selected a piece of 1/4" wood dowel out it for my afternoon task.
I know my thread jumps around back and forth fairly often. That has to do with needing to break up my work sessions into short segments of bending time, kneeling time and standing time. Well sometimes there is also resin, glue and paint drying time when I am shut out for a while so I go and work on something else.
This afternoon I finished up fabricating the backup blocking for the fiberglass repair I need to do shown in the photo above. That hole is about 6 inches wide and the surface it is on is parallel to the ground, therefore I wanted to back it up on the outside to begin my patch work.
I had previously created a template of the shape of the compound curve and planes of the surfaces. Today I took it and made that template into a router jig that was used with a pattern bearing router bit that can follow the shape of a template. The part I am routing is indexed on two of its side edges with some aluminum angle and also by two short lengths of 1/4" dowel. The dowel holes in the template were first used to drill two holes into all of my wood blanks I was going to be routing. I did that drilling on the drill press so that all the holes went perfectly straight.
I did put a wood handle on the top of the template to help keep all my fingers intact. Nothing special about the jig, it is just made from materials we had on hand, the main thing is to keep control of the piece you are shaping while keeping your fingers safe.
After I finished routing enough pieces of wood to create a stacked up length long enough to create the backup section I skewered them together with 1/4" dowel. I chucked a long enough skewer into my drill motor, sanded it a little as typically a wood dowel rod is a little too snug of a fit and slightly rough as well. Once I finished that step I just used the drill motor to twist drive the first dowel through the pieces adding them on one by one, snugged together as I went. Then the second dowel went in and the result is a nice long surface with even edges. I did not need to do any touch up sanding.
I applied a layer of silicone to the surface of my backup blocking. That will help prevent resin leaking out as well as act as mold release agent. It is just 100% silicone caulking that I spread on with a paint brush then smoothed out with a dampened fingertip. It is not a deep layer, just enough to have a little give under pressure to help seal against the surface. I did say this thread was going to show my way of doing things and of course I do know it is likely different than how you might approach the same situation.
Once I secure the backer piece in place I will also do a belt and suspenders approach of adding non curing clay around the perimeter to catch any more potential resin leaks the silicone might have allowed out. An ounce of prevention is better than a resin mess to clean up. I can't be on both the inside and outside at the same time. :nope
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