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Old 11-11-2015, 03:40 PM   #1
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Close off the gap at the bottom of a window frame to stop (some) leaks?

Like about anyone else with normal bus windows and old sealing, there are leaks at the bottom corners when it rains. Looking at the frame, it's kind of clear that the gap on each lower corner in the window frame is where it's most problematic, as pictured below...



Seems like a pretty easy fix here is to literally weld or otherwise seal off that gap. Then one mostly has to contend with water coming in the sides and top.

Has anyone else done this mod by chance? It seems like this might be a lot better solution than trying to load up the window frame with a ton of sealant. Still will need some, but perhaps not as much?

Thoughts?
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Old 11-11-2015, 05:50 PM   #2
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Hi. I'd offer a couple of ideas but it would be helpful to see the rest of the window frame with the window both open and closed. Do you want to open and close the windows after stopping the leak--I presume you do. Jack

P.S. I'll be heading off to a bus rally Friday morning until next Tuesday so unless you happen to reply by tomorrow evening I won't be able to respond until my return
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Old 11-11-2015, 06:25 PM   #3
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Hi. I'd offer a couple of ideas but it would be helpful to see the rest of the window frame with the window both open and closed. Do you want to open and close the windows after stopping the leak--I presume you do. Jack
The bottom half of the windows is fixed, and just sent in caulking. Upper half slides up and down. I can take a picture tonite perhaps with the window out.
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Old 11-12-2015, 01:16 PM   #4
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This picture shows what the window opening is like, with the gap. Seems like a no-brainer to close that gap off for good rather than slather a ton of caulk in there.

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Old 11-12-2015, 01:20 PM   #5
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The trick is to not even let water get that far in behind the window. You want to clean the exterior joints and seal them with a thermoplastic caulking (NO SILICONE!!).
Completely seal the top and sides of the window and partially seal the bottom. Leave a small gap on the bottom-left and bottom-right so that if water does make its way back there it can still drain out.
For good measure, you can also clean (acetone works) those inner bottom corners where the water is currently leaking from and really goober that thermoplastic sealant into the corner before putting the window back in.
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Old 11-12-2015, 01:29 PM   #6
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Jatzy - This may be a silly question, but why no silicone?

I have some small leaks in my windows too, and I'm trying to figure out the best way to seal 'em up. Ours seem like they're coming from the top of the window....you can actually see daylight through the tops of some of them - almost looks like a piece is missing.

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Old 11-12-2015, 01:40 PM   #7
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Silicone is just not meant for the job. There are many products which are designed specifically for exterior window sealing. Supra Expert is my personal favourite due to it being reasonably priced, resilient to huge temperature swings and able to stretch and squish without cracking . It can even be applied in sub-freezing conditions without issue.

The biggest problem with silicone is the clean-up. If you ever decide to replace a window you will be left with the awful task of removing all silicone. It tends to crumble. Thermoplastic caulking will pull out in stretchy strings once you get a hold of an edge.
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Old 11-12-2015, 02:00 PM   #8
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Good silicone don't crumble.

If I installed that window with silicone, and proper surface prep, you would never get the window out of the opening ever again.

As with any caulking, surface prep is everything.

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Old 11-12-2015, 02:15 PM   #9
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Thank you, gentlemen! Appreciate the info...
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Old 11-12-2015, 02:43 PM   #10
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The trick is to not even let water get that far in behind the window. You want to clean the exterior joints and seal them with a thermoplastic caulking (NO SILICONE!!).
Definitely was going to clean and caulk the joint too.

But to my original question, is there any reason to not permanently block off that gap? It seems like it's that way simply to make construction easier/cheaper.
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Old 11-12-2015, 02:45 PM   #11
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If I installed that window with silicone, and proper surface prep, you would never get the window out of the opening ever again.
That said, the next person who has to take that window out to fix a broken pane or recaulk is gonna hate your guts
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Old 11-12-2015, 02:53 PM   #12
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But to my original question, is there any reason to not permanently block off that gap? It seems like it's that way simply to make construction easier/cheaper.
I may not have been clear enough in one of my previous posts. Clean the inside corners of that lower sill and put a handsome dose of caulking in there before putting the window back in. That should seal the area up. I did the same thing. I even went so far as to round the lower corners of the aluminum window frames with a grinder so that the edges wouldn't cut into the caulking.
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Old 11-12-2015, 03:10 PM   #13
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I may not have been clear enough in one of my previous posts. Clean the inside corners of that lower sill and put a handsome dose of caulking in there before putting the window back in. That should seal the area up. I did the same thing. I even went so far as to round the lower corners of the aluminum window frames with a grinder so that the edges wouldn't cut into the caulking.
Heh - ok well my question is about whether to make it literally permanent, and you're suggesting a temporary (even if it's years) seal. I'll use epoxy caulk on it then ;)

My guiding principle at times is, "If someone else has this bus in 10 years, will they curse me for doing this?" If I actually epoxied the entire window in, I'd have a fantastic seal but never, ever get that thing out. But if I epoxy that gap and use std. caulk for the window, I don't think it's going to cause any grief.
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Old 11-12-2015, 03:15 PM   #14
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Equally as temporary or permanent as all of the other window seals... You need them all to work to keep the water out. Epoxy is a nice solution, though. You'll still want it in the same place as I mentioned earlier. Don't put it on the outside of the gap. It needs to follow the seam on the inside of the pane from front to back.

EDIT:
actually, I was just looking back at your pictures and it looks like the sides of the lower sill may have been welded to the ribs (first bus I've seen done like that). If that's the case and there are no holes in the welds then you might be able to apply the epoxy on the back of the gap. Just poke around and make sure there's no way for pooling water on the sill to drip down the ribs and into the wall..
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Old 11-12-2015, 04:17 PM   #15
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Just poke around and make sure there's no way for pooling water on the sill to drip down the ribs and into the wall..
That pooling and dripping down the ribs into the wall is exactly what it's been doing over the years I've found. It gets in via those little gaps in the bottom corners.
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Old 11-12-2015, 04:21 PM   #16
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Well yes, of course I get that.. What I'm saying is to make sure that the seam along the whole 90 degree angle where the rib meets the sill is properly sealed. If you were to simply fill in that big gap at the back, but there were pin-holes along the sill/rib joint then water could still drip down along the rib and into the wall.
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Old 11-12-2015, 04:30 PM   #17
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Ok.. Pictures work best



So blue is the gap that you really want to seal. Good good..

Now, what I'm trying to get across is that the red line seam is even more important to have sealed up since that water will go directly down the rib and into the wall if there are any pin-holes in the weld, or if it isn't welded at all (it's hard to tell from the pictures. mine wasn't welded here at all). The green point in that little nook was a weak spot in my sills. It's worth making sure that yours is very well sealed.
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Old 11-12-2015, 05:13 PM   #18
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Pictures FTW! Got it now, thanks!
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Old 11-12-2015, 06:01 PM   #19
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Jatzy has it exactly right as to prep and application and no silicone. Be certain to treat the areas you intend to seal with rust converter followed by primer prior to sealing things up. Jack
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Old 06-19-2020, 07:51 AM   #20
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Breaking my head over these leaky windows

Quote:
Originally Posted by Puggy View Post
Like about anyone else with normal bus windows and old sealing, there are leaks at the bottom corners when it rains. Looking at the frame, it's kind of clear that the gap on each lower corner in the window frame is where it's most problematic, as pictured below...



Seems like a pretty easy fix here is to literally weld or otherwise seal off that gap. Then one mostly has to contend with water coming in the sides and top.

Has anyone else done this mod by chance? It seems like this might be a lot better solution than trying to load up the window frame with a ton of sealant. Still will need some, but perhaps not as much?

Thoughts?

I am thinking about welding the gaps shut to fix the window seal leaks. This is my third round trying to get my windows properly sealed and I am on the edge of madness. I have sanded and cleaned the window frames on both previous attempts and used 3M Dyntron Auto Seam Sealer but the windows are still leaking through the bottom corners of the windows and through the bus seams in some areas.

I want to know if anyone has actually gone through with welding the gaps on each of the windows instead. I intend to use flex seal and butyl tape as well but it seems to me that welding these gasps shut will be the solution to the leaks. If anyone has gone the welding route please let me know the outcome. PLEASE HELP!
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