Not the most “romantic” or instant joy repair….but a necessity for sure!
Our Avion had its rear side, kitchen and bath window’s re-glazed last June when at Fletcher’s RV Service in the Finger Lakes but they had forgotten to do the front when the rock guard was down. UGH. Similarly and much to our chagrin, when we were picking up our Avion at Cayo in MI THIS June he told us he did not do it either because he did not have a source for the glaze bead. (Had he told us that prior to us picking up our Avion assuming all of the punch list was done correctly—-and asked, we DID know the source, since we had ordered it for Fletch to install) DOUBLE UGH!
So anyway, long story short…our Pewter Palace still needed its front windows redone with new rubber window glaze bead. And we decided after two failed attempts getting someone else to do it, we better just start learning to do way more for ourselves when it comes to working on this trailer. Once we go full time, we are going to have to be far more self-reliant anyway. This way we also only have ourselves to blame when “repairs” are not done correctly or fail shortly thereafter.
Back in early 2017—After conferring with multiple fellow Avion owners online we had found a reliable source in Interstate RV Metal Supply. (they also sell other Hehr window parts, replacements, etc. and are very friendly and accommodating on the phone. ). I will have other potential resource sites linked at end of this blog post in case you have a different style bead or different brand of vintage trailer.
Catalog # 009-344 1/8″ Glaze Bead. PH 1-800-587-3463 or 503-786-8860
** they do not have a very online user-friendly site. You do have to call them to order this product, but gladly, their customer service folks are wonderful.
This glaze bead comes in two colors–white and black. We strongly recommend the BLACK because as you will see from our photos, once installed gives a nice finished look, will not get dirty looking and simply visually recesses and matches the windows rather than the white which we feel would stick out like a sore thumb against the aluminum skin of the trailers.
(left photo below is with old bead removed, right photo is after new bead put in)
So over Labor Day weekend, 2018…we labored! And Bingo!….we managed to get all three of the front windows cleaned out of the old glaze bead (45 years later) removed. It had to be done because it had shrunk considerably and the 45 degree angle cut corners had over 1 inch gaps between them where silicone had been slathed in to prevent water from seeping in and underneath. The aluminum tracks had to be cleaned out of an over zealous black butyl tape that had been applied when the windows had been set in. Major goo had oozed into the outside of the window edges and was underneath the window glaze. The weather was warm, about 84 degrees with some humidity and this project DOES need to be done in warm weather so that the rubber glaze bead (both the existing you have to remove, and the new that needs to be installed) stays pliable and warm to make it easier to get in.
- Use a cloth tape measure and generously measure your total lengths needed for each window. Then at at least a foot for each window to ensure you have plenty!
- Only do the install in warm weather and preferably with sun out and place the rubber glaze bead in the sun, on an asphalt drive if possible so it really warms up.
- Remove the rock guard lock pin plates off front of window mullions first. You may need a power drill with correct bit to get these off.
- We suggest NOT using your old bead for measuring the length of your new bead. The old bead may have shrunk and is not accurate measurement.
- Apply the new bead in one length from your stock (in other words…do not precut what you think is your exact length needed for that window) and when getting close to your seam cut, cut it longer by at least 2 inches, then start trimming in until you have a really tight, snug fit. Back it off a bit so the rubber is really tightly butting together. This will reduce gaps in seams after a time where it is exposed to elements and starts to shrink from sunlight, etc.
- Be sure to clean out the tracks really well once you remove the old bead. Remove any dirt, bits of glue, Butyl tape ooze, silicone or anything that may impede the new bead being installed. Use your toothbrush, plastic putty knife, plastic bone tool and scrubbies for this part of the job.
You may want to have the following pieces of equipment handy to help remove and to install the bead.
- Needle nose and flat nose pliers
- Sturdy scissors (for cutting the bead at 45 degree angle for any 90 degree window corners.
- Screw driver
- Old toothbrush (or the one you got from a hotel when you forgot yours!)
- Some plastic paint/putty knives, or better yet, a “bone tool” which is a hard plastic scraper type gizmo that is great for getting off the silicone or any other crud that may be on your aluminum skin. The plastic bone tool will not scrape or mar your skin. You can find a great bone tool on the amazon page of one of our favorite bloggers—Long Long Honeymoon (they have a vintage airstream)
- Set of Pick tools, (see photo of kit with blue handles, found at Home Depot, Lowes)
- Rags, scrubbies/we used Kevin’s GoJo brand cleaning wipes
Cleaning/Polishing the Front Windows—Plexiglas caution!!
We also took this opportunity to polish the front windows since they are Plexiglas and after 45 years have had their share of scratches, dirt and grime. BE CAREFUL WITH PLEXIGLAS!!! you cannot use regular Windex or window cleaners on them! Using the wrong stuff will result in a fogging and haze on the plastic window. Yes, a former owner of our trailer neglected to remember this and our front left curved plexi window has that “fog” permanently and we will replace it at some point with new Lexan. Just water is fine, but we have been using a cleaner especially formulated for Plexiglas that is available most anywhere other cleaners are found. Ours is pink so you can really tell it is different than the traditional blue stuff that normally has ammonia or vinegar in it.
We used this plexiglas polish to do our windows. We only used the foam pad, but the kit comes with various grits of sandpaper circles to use if you wish. We did not attempt this because we were afraid of doing more damage to the hazy window and without having a replacement ready- we could not take the chance, two weeks from our Tin Can Tourist Rally trip. But the polish paste worked well and did make a difference for sure so we are happy for now with the results. We used a rechargable power drill and it worked great.
After the cleaning and polishing of the windows, here is the actual application of the rubber glaze bead. Looks easy in video but takes a bit to get the “knack”.
The video’s kind of make this look easier than it is. Just take your time, you will need strong, nimble fingers to do this. I did not have enough strength in my fingers–but Kevin did! Nice thing is that until you finish the corners or seams with a bit of Parbond sealant you can take it out and re position as needed till you get it right.
Be sure when you are putting it in that when in correctly it will be very snug and hold tight to the window itself. If you see any bulge or gap, then it is not in properly so take back out that section and try again.
if you are doing your front windows your seams will be in the top and bottom of the vertical inside edges. Whenever you have 90 degree corners you will need to cut your glaze bead at 45 degrees like a picture frame. This is our first corner and before Parbond sealant is put in. The rippling in corner is because Kevin was sure to really stuff as much of the rubber in as possible to avoid shrinkage issues later.
IF you are doing your side windows then it is recommended that you place your seam at the center bottom with a straight cut- butting the two ends together really tightly and firmly. Positioning your bead around rounded corners is not a problem but be sure you are not stretching it at all to get it in there, Kevin recommends pushing it back a bit even to ensure that there is no tension on the rubber glaze bead so that it does not want to pop out of the corners. (this was our first corner, not bad but we got better!) This is before Parbond sealant was applied.
Some sites we saw did recommend putting a little silicone on the starting points and also on the corners. We did not. It might be something we regret, but as Kevin noted, he did really push back on the rubber as it was installed to be sure that there was no tension on the corners, etc. We have seen where on other rigs that corners pull out when the shrinkage starts. We do plan to apply some conditioner to this each year to keep it more pliable and soft and hopefully this will also reduce shrinkage. We noticed that the glaze seams from where Fletch did the windows just over a year ago have already pulled apart perhaps an 1/8th inch. We will place some more clear Parbond in those to reseal again.
FINAL STEPS IN THIS PROJECT:
Sealing the seams of glaze bead: After you have the bead in place and are pleased with the snug fit then put a bead of clear Parbond sealant over that seam. We have not found Parbond in black which would have been our preference, but the clear basically works fine and the black glaze bead makes the clear look black anyway. We purchase our Parbond from http://www.VintageTrailerSupply.com We also use the hypodermic tube injectors that they sell on the same page since that does allow for better control of flow than direct from the tube of Parbond. Parbond is great stuff to have around and is used many places on a trailer to prevent leaks, seal joints, etc. It comes in clear and aluminum. Cayo used aluminum stuff to block holes caused when we switched out our Carefree awning with our Zipdee.
Other possible sources for Avion Window supplies:
- www.Pellandent.com (torque crank operator boxes for windows and much more!)
Replacement of some of these torque operators for our windows will be done in a future blog so keep and eye out for that soon!
So that is all for this project! Hope your window re-glazing is successful! Let us know!