Originally Posted by Sevier
Hello All -
I recall reading somewhere that Drew discovered the root of their leaky window issue was the gasket. We've removed all our windows, cleaned them and the bus frame, and reinstalled, with pa-lenty of new caulk (urethane, not silicone). Most painful job so far, even more then gutting.
However, after a power-wash on the roof, we noticed there was a bit of water pulling inside the bus, in the little track at the bottom of a few windows. We suspect its the gaskets.
So, how do you all suggest going about sealing up your gaskets? We were going to use Sikaflex 220+, and, well, try to run a bead right over the gasket, to adhere also to the aluminum frame and the glass window. Was going to put painters tape on the glass window to try to keep a nice clean line, so we arent smearing our windows too much and making it look awful. The SkiaFlex can be painted over, and we will be painting our window frames anyway.
And in a few spots where a bit of the gasket has fallen down out of its little gasket crevice, we were going to cut that bit off, and then fill the gasket crive with caulk (will need to cut a teeny tiny hole in the nozzle!)
What do you think?
I think you are on the right track.
I pulled all the windows out of the entrance side of my bus, except for the most forward one, since the frame of the entrance door overlaps that one window frame about 1×3 inches. I could
cut the window frame (cutoff wheel on a Dremel and lots of patience) to get it out, but don't want to do that. I could
remove the whole door frame, but that is a real can of worms: the factory sealant around the door frame is still very good, would be a pain to cut-out, clean up, and re-seal, and then there is the whole "take it apart and things don't want to line back up when re-installing" problem to worry about - you just never know how a bit of long term flex or a minor bump that shows no dent can affect the alignment of body parts on vehicles (I love Hondas, for example, but a minor fender bender can cause them to leak water through the roof! - at least the older ones)
The window frames I took out were all scrubbed clean of grime, buffed clean of stains with Bon-Ami (hasn't scratched yet!), polished to a mirror finish, painted with tinted clear-coat (made for polished metals), and re-installed. The clear-coat is holding up well - much better than expected on the aluminum frames - whereas the same paint has flaked off other aluminum/chrome stuff I used it on.
I re-installed those windows with adhesive-tape-backed foam window weather-stripping (not spray foam!) on the sides, and Henry's Crystal Clear sealant (found at HD) on the bottom. I cleaned the bus-frame where the window sits, painted it, then uses painter's tape on that frame and the bottom of the aluminum window frame to create a strait edge, gooped the sealant in the bottom of the window "hole" (bus-frame), and with the foam tape stuck to the window frame, I inserted the window and set it down into the fresh Crystal Clear sealant. Then I used my finger to smooth the sealant bead on the outside, and removed the painter's tape. That seams to have worked well, but I haven't been driving
through torrential downpours where wind may try to drive rain past the foam weather stripping on the window sides. But that was 3/4" thick, compressed down to 1/8" or less, so I'm not too worried. If I had used sealant on the sides, removing the windows in the future could be a problem.
I had to pry them out as it was, slightly bending one frame, and threatening to crack all the glass, just because of a very little bit of seam-sealer at the top [why it was there, IDK, because the factory window-awning (an extension of the roof panel) fully prevents water from entering there]. As it is now, just the bit of sealant at the bottom will create a chore to remove them in the future if necessary.
I didn't think the one most-forward window was a problem - it didn't seem to leak with a hose. I installed inner wall paneling. It molded. I replaced it with better stuff. It showed water marks and more mold. I finally figured out it was the one window I didn't remove.
So how to re-seal it without removing it?
The outside had dried up sealant around the whole window frame. It looked terrible, and was cracking, and left a large gap under the aluminum frame. It was all hard as a rock, and didn't want to come off easy. I used a steam cleaner
to heat it up and soften it. Then it came off real easy like with only an automotive gasket scraper - didn't even need a razor blade until the very end - little bit of residue; I also used a small 90°-angle "pick" to dig the old sealant out from under the aluminum window frame, and in the corners, etc. The bit of condensed water from the steam added just the right amount of lube to keep the softened caulk from sticking to everything else.
Then I ran a bead of Henry's Elastomeric Roofing Sealant around the outside. I think this is what was on there in the first place, and was not factory. This was one of only a few windows that had sealant - some had none at the bottom - only the bit of "glue" at the top mentioned above. I chose this stuff at this time because it remains relatively soft over time. It skins over in a day, but, like, I opened the tube 6 months ago, plugged it with a plastic cap, and all in the tube is still goopy - no need to clean out the nossle-cone or stick a nail into the tube opening to get it to flow again. I used it to seal the A/C coolant lines that come through the roof to the condensers up there, as well as the seam around the custom roof-hatch. Lots of little stuff sticks to it. It shrinks a lot. But it remains soft inside; and so was the 20-year-old caulk around that window that I removed: hard as a rock on the outside, still a bit flexible on the inside. It had "shrunk" so much, it deformed and cracked (bus from Tucson, AZ desert). But I used this stuff, not the Crystal Clear, because it can be removed easier, and some day I hope to get that window out, cleaned, polished, painted, and re-installed properly, like the rest on that side.
The other side of the bus never got the windows done. Too much rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain..... They didn't leak with a hose, but then as soon as I installed a cabinet on the inside - literally that week - the E-window started leaking when it rained just a little, running down the unfinished (still factory steel) wall to the bracket for the cabinet at the chair-rail, then into the cabinet, to the bottom, where it pooled and began to rust. Gotta love it.
I hit that E-Window frame with the steam cleaner on the outside to clean off the bit of old caulk, and noticed that it made removing the reflective tape that was still on the aluminum window frame real easy - with the same automotive gasket scraper. I couldn't get it off with a razor - at least not without gouging the aluminum. With the steam cleaner, I could scrape it off with a finger-nail. Its glue mostly still remained, though. That was the last of the reflective tape, and the visual difference is amazing considering the little bit that was left. Anyway, I sealed that with the Elastomeric stuff also, since some day when I get to some place where it doesn't rain 3 of 7 days every week for 2 years strait, I'll be taking all the windows out of that side, cleaning, polishing, and painting them, etc. But it takes a full 8-hour day to clean, polish, & prep/tape-off one
window, then a week to paint ONE side of a window (paint MUST cure fully
on polished metal and be left UNTOUCHED, or forget it!) and another week to paint the other side, and with 9 windows, that is 3-4 weeks of down-time. And it CANT rain while the window paint dries, 'cause there won't be shelter to store them.