In a previous post, I asked for advice on the process for re-sealing a window. Lynnmor pointed me to YouTube where I found the info I needed. Thanks. Today I pulled the window and cleaned the camper opening and the window sealing surface. I found that the header had rotted and have replaced that. However, there are two other issues.
The first issue is that all the videos I watched said the aluminum panels should be stapled to the window framing around the opening. Mine is not, nor has it ever been. Should I staple it?
The second and more serious issue is that above the window frame, there was about a 2 inch wide band of some sort of coating either sprayed or brushed on. It had cracked and crazed badly and I realized there were some holes through the aluminum panel that the coating was covering. No wonder the header rotted. This coating would not dissolve using acetone, naptha or denatured alcohol. However, lacquer thinner did the trick. I have attached a photo of a cleaned area and I'm wondering what to do to seal these holes. Replacing the panel is the obvious solution, but that's not a possibility at the moment. Maybe over the winter.
Thanks for any suggestions,
Last Edit: Jul 13, 2019 14:18:02 GMT -5 by crashman
It sounds like there was a previous half-a$$ed repair. Are those irregular holes caused by corrosion? I would staple to help stabilize the area and force caulk into all holes, being careful to not use so much that the butyl tape isn't compromised. The tape may not adhere to some caulks.
Yep, poorly done repair, with an attempt to hide it with the mystery stuff. Corrosion (actually electrolysis) like that is typical when the aluminum skin reacts with the steel staples due to the presence of moisture. Your panel was stapled, they were rotted and or removed during the previous "repair". Since it looks like the metal is "backed" / supported by the wooden header and you are going to replace the metal I would use some epoxy to fill / cover the holes, sand it smooth so the butyl tape has something to seal against, then reinstall the window. And yes, you can re-staple the metal to the wood frame.
2018 Durango 318RLT Ford Lariat F250 Former RVIA master tech.
Thanks for the comments and advice. I should have noted that those holes are all still exposed when window is in place. The frame does not cover them and some of them are above the level of the header. I think I will install some sort of backing, above the header, so that the caulk or epoxy I use to fill the holes has some support.
I could have epoxied the holes, but I was concerned about epoxy's lack of flex and thought it might crack. I ended up just applying blobs of Dynaflex caulk with the plan of having the the panel replaced over the winter. I suppose I could have found a flexible epoxy.
One thing I would mention to those who plan on doing a similar window job is that the butyl tape doesn't always behave like people say it will. I used Dicor 1" x 1/8" tape, which I ordered online. It seemed in good condition when I received it and I found it easy to apply to the window and the opening. Online videos and reviews suggested that you could lay multiple layers in places where you were concerned about gaps. If you were working in warm weather, they said, the excess would squeeze out and you'd have a good even seal. I did this job in the middle of a heat wave. The day I set the window and the day after, the high temp was 95. I think it went down to 80 at night. The excess did not squeeze out like I hoped and now the window has seal thicknesses of up to 1/4" in places. The inner trim rim is also not flat against the paneling in a few places because of the varying seal thickness. If I wasn't planning on having the panel replaced, which will require removing the window, I would pull it out and try again. Maybe I got bad tape, but there was no way to know that at the time. I will say that several folks online complained about how sticky their tape was and how that made it difficult to work with. I didn't experience any of that, so maybe mine was dried out? There's clearly no substitute for experience.
The end of this story. The KZ has been replaced with a 2016 Winnie Drop. So, I needed to get the KZ repaired to sell it. I got an estimate from a local RV dealer - $2,100 to replace the damaged metal. I understand that they have to remove and potentially replace the corner mouldings, find the "unfindable" matching metal, etc., but that price was out of the question. So I bought a window that was 2 inches taller (same width), cut out the damaged metal, reframed it and installed it. I used a different butyl tape that was 1000 times better than the junk I used the first time. Of course, I did have to build a rock guard. The guard and hinge are aluminum and all hardware is stainless. I added two latches to secure it while traveling after the photos were taken. If anyone needs an KZ OEM 48x18x2 front window with a rock guard, I've got one for sale. Since I'm now maintaining a Winnebago, I probably won't be back on this forum, but I wanted to thank all of you who have been so generous with advice. This board is a very valuable resource. Take care, Dave