Caravan; front window removal, clean, reseal and re fit.

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markh75
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Caravan; front window removal, clean, reseal and re fit.

Postby markh75 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:39 am

This is another of my best projects; it was long after I'd got the caravan home that i decided that the front windows and fittings looked a bit tatty; so i decided to remove them and the hinge rail, clean everything off, reseal and then put it all back together.
The caravan has three windows on the front face, one large square on and two smaller ones; one each side of the main.
DSC_0017 (Small).JPG


To start with the rail is not straight, it bends back, and it actually bends slightly upwards, this is to allow for the curve around the front of the caravan; on some caravans you can undo the empenage for the window (stays that hold it open), and lift the window right up and wider open than normal and the window rail leader will unlock from the rail. I didn't have this on my caravan, so i would have to remove both small windows, and remove the locking blocks, the empenage and the outside ends of the rail attached to the caravan, and slid the window out sideways. Not an easy task because the sealant holding the rail is especially gummy stuff and hard to prise apart; i had to get a knife in and cut it and gradually peel it back, but keep it straight! First of all, i removed the rubber trim inset, this is more decorative than anything, and if its secured by a small screw at each end, thats all it is, it then peels out. This gives me access to the screw heads,and I need to undo the ones above the two smaller windows; they're stainless, 1/2" countersunk cross head screws, available from most caravan dealer shops. Its a good idea now, to mark on the caravan body, where the screw holes are! takes the guesswork out of what screw holes were used, you can mark this on the strip too; just use a dot with a marker, however, the mark may be erased when you clean the rail!
Once i have the two side windows out, and placed somewhere safe, where they wont be damaged; i removed the little locking blocks, and i mean little, they are pretty small with a very small screw to hold them in. They stop sideways movement of the centre window and for the two side ones, so that they can close and seal correctly.
DSC_0016 (Small).JPG
The small block that keeps the windows at the right distance from each other; you wouldnt believe how awkward and difficult it is trying to put it back in, the screw is not magnetic; i used a piece of tape on the screwdriver and partially stuck the block and screw to it.
The two ends of the window hinge rail now undone and loose, the two side windows slid out, the blocks removed; i can now slide the large window sideways and release it from its hinge rail, and fully remove the rail.
DSC_0012 (Small).JPG
above. you can see the window hinge rail; loose at the ends/outer sections, so that the centre window can slide out. I think this picture is me ready to put the window back in. You can see how it has to bend back to the contour of the caravan AND slightly upwards, or the side windows would hang downwards and in at the bottoms.
There's no need to unscrew anything in the frame, only the two window struts that hold the window open; and the rubber seal stays put, i will however go around them prior to refitting the windows, to make sure there's sealant behind the lip that sits on the body.
DSC_0008 (Small).JPG
above. The only things that need to be disconnected from the window frame, are the window stays. All the latches can stay in place.

The Next job is a long and dirty one; to remove the old sealant from both the caravan body and the window hinge rail, its pretty gummy stuff, and needs sharp blades, a lot of patience, petrol and old rags! I used a chisel to remove what was on mine, and then after I'd removed as much as i could, i wiped the areas with petrol on a rag, working a small area at a time; the petrol evaporates quickly so doing too large an area doesn't work. Petrol is the best to be honest, because white spirit leaves a sticky residue that has to be cleaned off again, and even when clean, there's a coating of oil left on the rail which can prevent the sealant creating an effective seal to the rail, it can separate.
Care needs to be exercised when trying to remove the sealant, especially when using sharp knives and Stanley blades, because the rail is flimsy and flexible, its hard to hold securely, and you risk some nasty cuts if you're not careful, which are made worse because of the stuff on your hands, petrol etc.
Care is also needed in abundance while trying to remove the sealant from the caravan, one slip, and the caravan paintwork can be damaged, scored, gouged, not to mention injury to yourself. Add to this, that you're standing on a step or ladder, balancing, trying to get access to the area you're working on.

Now that all of the sealant has been removed, and the two surfaces are clean and ready for new sealant, its time to re-fit the hinge rail. Remember of course that the centre section can be fitted at this stage, for this you will need screws, and a screwdriver (you can use a drill or drill driver; but personally i prefer to use the screwdriver because a drill/driver can easily rip the threads out of the caravan part of the screw holes; thus i prefer the feel of a screwdriver). A tube of non drying bedding sealant is needed; or the sealant strip on a roll can be used, the roll is preferable for this because the whole job can get very messy at this point.

When refitting the rail, i found that the roll of mastic was best fitted to the strip; fit it along its entire length, a squirt of sealant from the tube into each screw-hole is a good idea. i then put matchsticks in three holes for the screws to locate the rail correctly, the match sticks pierce the sealant strip, locating the rail correctly, and then after applying a blob of sealant from the tube on each hole in the rail the screws can be fitted; the blob of sealant makes sure that the seal between the screw and the rail is complete. Remove the matchsticks and replace them with screws. the large centre window can be slid in along the rail into position, and leave it resting on its rubber seal for now with the stays hanging IN the caravan. The spacing blocks are better left out just now; you need the three windows in to set them in the correct place.
DSC_0013 (Small).JPG
above. This is what you have to achieve; the centre section of the rail fitted, the screws in and a bed of mastic between the caravan and the rail; leaving the two ends of the rail free so that the side windows can be slid into position.

This part gets tricky, and if you're using sealant from the tube in a gun, it can get very messy! This is why the roll of sealant is best. Each window has to be fitted and held up/supported, taking its weight off the lose rail. Slide the window into the rail; make sure you have the correct window! Its an idea to use a nail rather than a matchstick at this point; a match stick may get snapped when the rail is flexed around and up to locate the screw holes. Make sure the nail head is small enough to pop through the hole in the rail; with the end screw hole located in this way, the other screws can go in before pulling the nail out, you use the holes in the rail to find the screw holes needed to hold it onto the caravan; dont forget to put a blob of sealant at each screw hole in the rail!
Repeat this operation at the other end of the rail.
Once the two side windows are in the rail; the rail screwed in place, its time to optimise the way the windows sit on their rubber seals, make sure they sit neatly and squarely, and evenly on the seal; now the blocks can be re-fitted.
DSC_0016 (Small).JPG
above. Its quite tricky fitting these sometimes, the screw is not magnetic, the block has to contact the rail, but you're trying to fit it below the level of the window as it sits on its seal, which is up to half an inch higher than the body of the caravan.

DSC_0015 (Small).JPG
above. The side windows must be at the end of the rail, but at the same time, sit evenly and squarely on their seals. Make sure that the end stop screws are fitted, these stop the windows moving sideways out of the rail.
The plastic trim strip that covers the screw heads goes back in its slot; if it was badly marked, sunburned or deformed when it was taken out, it can be replaced at a caravan dealers, make sure you buy a little more than you need, because it will shrink in time. On a warm day this will pop back in place easily, but you will need a plastic bladed scraper. i find it easier to sit its lower edge IN the channel, and use the plastic blade to push in and upwards working along the rail. Fit it with the end of the strip just touching the body of the caravan at its end; if its cut flush, it'll will be too short when shrinkage occurs, and leave the same at the other end.
You need to reconnect the window stays, it is best done from outside; i sit the window on my head while i loacte the screws in their holes in the window frames, it helps to loosen the adjuster so that the stays can be lengthened or shortened in order to locate their screws in their holes.
Go inside, and check that all the window closing catches can all reach and dont strain to lock the window closed; if they do, go to the one affected, and unscrew its latch in the frame and simply turn it 180 and re-fit it. You dont need to relocate it or drill any holes; theyre dual sided.
65cd_1.windowcatch. (Small).JPG

And below is the end result! give it all a wipe round to remove marks, and fingerprints etc, and the jobs a good 'un!

DSC_0017 (Small).JPG
Last edited by markh75 on Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:19 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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DAZ40
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Re: Caravan; front window removal, clean, reseal and re fit.

Postby DAZ40 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:44 pm

Keep up the good work mark not long now for the holidays :D
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markh75
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Re: Caravan; front window removal, clean, reseal and re fit.

Postby markh75 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:10 pm

LOL.
Been working on it today; gave it a wash yesterday and the paintwork came up a bit dull, but i got something in Halfrauds wots fixed it! the caravan is gleaming now! Just in from rubbing it and polishing it, i have one or two little sealnt jobs needing dun, but i'll need to go to the other side of the valley to the caravan dealers for some sealant so i can do it!
Made a gadget today for filling the water can; its really just a 2ft (or so) length of white bathroom pipe, with a 5" rubber collar on it. Its adjustable in most directions and most heights of taps, as the rubber collar can slide up or down the pipe. I think the rubber collar comes from drainage piping. It and the pipe have never been used, so i washed both out.
2015-06-17 18.24.36 (Small).jpg

2015-06-17 18.24.52 (Small).jpg


I've checked the systems in the caravan and alls well there, checked the running gear, A O K; just one or two small jobs to do and we're ready. Were going away next week.

Rorschach
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Re: Caravan; front window removal, clean, reseal and re fit.

Postby Rorschach » Thu Jun 18, 2015 6:19 pm

Good job as always, enjoy your trip away!

markh75
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Re: Caravan; front window removal, clean, reseal and re fit.

Postby markh75 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 7:56 pm

We're not going now. I cancelled it; the weather in the coming week is to be wild. we weren't going far and so there's no point in going, sitting in a caravan in the rain, when we can do the same at home. :|
Last edited by markh75 on Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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DAZ40
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Re: Caravan; front window removal, clean, reseal and re fit.

Postby DAZ40 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:06 pm

Never mind mark get more of them jobs done :)
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markh75
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Re: Caravan; front window removal, clean, reseal and re fit.

Postby markh75 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:19 pm

No more jobs being done when i feel this way. No more posts either. i'm kidding myself on. :|

Ducati Pete
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Re: Caravan; front window removal, clean, reseal and re fit.

Postby Ducati Pete » Sat Oct 08, 2016 11:44 am

Hi, where to get the "non drying bedding sealant" ??
Shop online Kas bedding in Australia from ClickNBuyAustralia.

markh75
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Re: Caravan; front window removal, clean, reseal and re fit.

Postby markh75 » Sat Oct 08, 2016 3:37 pm

Hi, the non drying bedding sealant can be bought online from caravan dealers, or in the dealers accessory shop, its not expensive. i pay up to £3 a tube. Hodgson's Seamseal CV. Its good, and IDL99 is very good too but put the tube in some fairly hot water before you use it, it can be pretty darned hard to move/squeeze out sometimes. Don't use boiling water. ;)


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