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Old 07-07-2019, 11:16 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 17
Unusual window seal situation

I'm working on a 2003 Ford E450 Collins bus

I took out the windows thinking it would be a good idea to clean them out and reseal as others have suggested. Upon doing that, I saw that there are black rubber or foam tubes (I can't exactly tell what the material is -- I'd say more similar to rubber than foam) that are actually creating the seal for the windows. They are in pretty good shape. There's also a bit of silicone-type sealant on the bottom. Seems there was a very small amount of leakage from some judging by rust, but not much.

The unusual thing is (at least I haven't seen this shown in any video or forum about this) that the bottom tube is lifting the window up about 1/3" or more. I removed the tube from one window, put the window back on dry as a test, and there is a gap at the top (not to mention the window seals on the front face of the top aluminum bar, not the top bar of the aluminum itself, meaning it needs to go up even higher than just the gap). I suspect one or two lines of butyl tape will not give it that much lift.

The most simple solution that will work is appealing, but that said I live in the PNW so a good seal is important. One idea was to just to keep the black tubes in place, and get that 3m auto sealant and seal up from the exterior and interior around the tubes very well. Will that sort of sealant stick to the tubes and create a seal?

Perhaps something like this or this could be used to replace the black tubes entirely, then sealant applied to both sides? There are some sections that need to be replaced either way from deterioration-- so I will need some sort of substitute for those sections even if I don't replace tubes on all of the windows.

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Old 01-10-2020, 01:24 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Denver, CO
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Year: 2003
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: Ford E450
Engine: 7.3L diesel
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What did you end up doing? I have the exact same bus and encountering the same issue!
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Old 01-10-2020, 01:54 PM   #3
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Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Minotour
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I have not seen this firsthand, but my thought immediately went to caulk backing rod. It’s foam and comes in a roll. Different diameters are available. The OP mentions panel adhesive I think. That stuff is really strong. I don’t think I’d go that route unless you want permanence. There are some really good siliconized caulk out there. That is what I found on my Thomas. They had color matched NSBC caulking. I cleaned all this off since it was well oxidized. Since I’ve repainted I will be going with clear.
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Old 01-10-2020, 04:43 PM   #4
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Year: 1935
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Engine: 317 ci/tid / Isuzu
Look for EPDM rubber seals (material is EDPM).
Perhaps here:

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Old 12-06-2020, 06:06 PM   #5
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Has anyone came upon a solution for this problem? I have a 2009 Collins shorty with this same problem. Every window is leaking, and couldn't get butyl tape to do the trick.
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Old 12-06-2020, 06:19 PM   #6
Join Date: Jun 2019
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Originally Posted by finchthebus View Post

Has anyone came upon a solution for this problem? I have a 2009 Collins shorty with this same problem. Every window is leaking, and couldn't get butyl tape to do the trick.

What I wound up doing was leaving the rest of the black tubes in place and caulking the hell out of it with Dicor Lap Sealant caulk. I would highly recommend the Dicor sealant. For windows, use "non self leveling" and for roof use "self leveling". Also, I did discover there is a good RV supply store around me that sells similar black tubing, so one could find some and then Dicor over that. Before that though I just used a few layers of butle tape stacked up and caulked over all that.

My caulking job is UGLY! Terrible honestly. I couldnt figure it out no matter how hard I tried... and even so, no leaks! Leaks were a huge issue but that caulk is magic. Used other ones that worked but not as well. I would advise anyone -- just dont take out the windows at all and caulk the hell out of it! Would have saved me a lot of time if I had done that to begin with.
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Old 12-06-2020, 08:53 PM   #7
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: mid Mo.
Posts: 681
Year: 1976
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: F33695
Engine: 427 chevy converted to 466
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Aren't those busses fiberglass? If so that tube is in there because it allows flexing/shifting of the window within the fiberglass w/o pinching it out of shape. I'm not sure sealing them in won't cause problems with the windows themselves. I agree that a foam style cord could be the answer and you can get that from McMaster-Carr.
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rubber, seal, tubes, window

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