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Old 07-27-2021, 12:01 PM   #1
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1994 SMB with leaky windows

While out camping near Yellowstone NP we got caught in a humdinger of a hailstorm. Our sliding side windows have always be problematic and have had minor leaks over the years. But during this storm we were sopping and bailing water like we were in Noah's ark. Specifically, the channel that the window sits in fills with water and overwhelms the weep holes making for a very soggy situation inside. I've tried numerous remedies but am now at the point that I need some guidance.

Removing the windows and resealing with butyl tape seems to be the best solution. However, to do that I need to basically take apart the inside to get at the screws. I've applied way too much silicone caulk (I know that you're not supposed to do that, but it's worked up til now) but based on numerous tests with me on the inside and the Boss outside spraying the hose I've identified where the water is coming in. I've also noticed that the felt in the sliding window channel is worn at critical locations. My questions:

1) How does one remove the sliding glass pane? In order to replace the felt, it appears that it needs to be removed.

2) Some of the screws that hold the window housing together are now either broken or stripped. I guess with over 173K on the odometer, that's bound to happen. On the left window, the water is coming in through the screw holes. Any ideas of how to remedy this?

As always, thanks for the assistance.

Photos attached:
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window.jpg   felt.jpg  
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Old 07-29-2021, 08:07 AM   #2
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Being in the auto/truck glass business I'm fairly certain the entire window unit should be removed so it can be re-installed after whatever sealant used can be renewed.

Typically those window units are not designed to be repaired but an experienced auto glass installer who has some experience with RV windows should be able to help. From the looks of your window the center dividing bar should be held into the surrounding frame with two small screws near the top and bottom, probably partially obscured with the rubber seal strips holding the left element into the frame.

If you try removing the rubber seal strips they might be very brittle and crumble in your hands as they're coming out. Suitable replacement material will be difficult to find---I have no idea where to source it.

At some point it will probably be necessary to remove each unit for disassembling with an even chance reassembling it will be quite a chore.

Unfortunately since I cannot see these units in person I'm a bit uncertain how to best advise you to proceed. See if there's a reputable RV repair shop nearby, ask them to recommend a glass shop for your needed repairs.

Sorry I can't be more helpful. Feel free to PM me.

J W
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Old 07-29-2021, 08:14 AM   #3
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If it were me I think I would want a new replacement standing by. By the time you get that window pulled out, you could be holding a piece of junk in your hand.
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Old 07-29-2021, 11:51 AM   #4
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Good advice Gahamby. Thanks.
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Old 07-29-2021, 02:49 PM   #5
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This got me looking at my slide by window. Granted mine is a lot newer, but still 14 years old. The bar between the fixed and sliding panes is held in with SS pop rivets. One was poking out and needed a tap in. I could see how debris could clog the drain holes. Pulling that window out does not look like a good time! Given the age and milage on yours, it might just be time to retire it. I wish my window was an awning window so I could keep it open in the rain. My window currently doesn't leak so I'm not messing with it. I might vacuum out the slide channel and blow out the drain holes. Good luck with yours.
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Old 07-29-2021, 03:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gahamby View Post
... I could see how debris could clog the drain holes... My window currently doesn't leak so I'm not messing with it. I might vacuum out the slide channel and blow out the drain holes.
And this is why I tend to read many of the Threads, not something I considered doing gahamby until you just mentioned it. Just placed on my "to-do" list. Thanks for bring that up.
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Old 07-29-2021, 03:22 PM   #7
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Some truly mundane maintenance that will save much more later.
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Old 08-04-2021, 02:39 PM   #8
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I have the same issue with my weep holes not draining the water in the channels quick enough. The channel fills with water in a decent rain and with the curvature of my van the windows are of course leaning inward so when the channels fill up they'll overflow inward towards the interior before they flow out towards the exterior. I know the seals around the windows are water tight so I'd like to figure out how to fix the drainage problem. I might need some new weather stripping on the bottom that the windows glide along. Mine is brittle and cracking.
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Old 08-04-2021, 03:27 PM   #9
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I've received some excellent advice from members on this and other forums and have come to understand that windows (especially on old rigs) are problematic. My windows do not have weatherstripping on the glide, but seem to rely on felt embedded in a groove on the sliding one. I have entered the "creative engineering" phase in which (based on some suggestions I received through PM) I am attempting to re-establish a seal by building up layers of waterproof tape on the outside channel so they create a tighter fit between the frame and the felt as that is where the water is leaking in. The trick is laying enough tape down to make a weather tight fit and still be able to slide the windows when I want them open. Obviously, this is a temporary fix as the "seal" will wear down with use, but early indications are that I may be able to achieve a tight enough fit to get me through 95+% of the situations I will encounter on the road. Nonetheless, the ultimate solution seems to be new windows and that would take me down a whole 'nother rabbit hole and lighten my wallet significantly. Best of luck on fixing your problem.
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Old 08-04-2021, 04:15 PM   #10
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Thanks for the quick response! That's the same path I figured I'd embark on. I hadn't thought of building up the thickness with multiple pieces of tape, thats interesting. I was thinking I'd look around for some adhesive-backed material that was already the correct thickness but the space is slimmer than most weather stripping I've seen. Good luck to you as well!
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