Windows and exterior fixtures

The next step in our renovation is to remove all the exterior fixtures and windows.  The windows need to come out for a couple of reasons:  There is a lot of work to be done on them – gaskets and weather stripping need replacing, glass requires a good cleaning and tinting, support arms, striker plates, latches all need to be cleaned and painted and the positioners (plastic parts riveted to the frames interior that hold the window arms in place) need replacing too.  The second reason to remove the windows is because our next step is to lift the entire frame from the chassis and suspend it while we sandblast and do any necessary welding to the chassis.  We will also replace the sub floor and re-insulate with something more eco friendly before securing the frame back on.  For now, we’ll just focus on the windows.

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Unfortunately I do not have any photos of the actual process of removing the windows but it is easily explained:

First, remove the interior window frames and take of the knobs from the support arms.  They are held on by a single, very small allen screw on the underside.  Next, detach the window support arms from the actual frame holding the glass.  This can be quite difficult if the little ring holding it on is rusted, but try looking for the break in the ring and get a narrow paint scraper or screwdriver in there until the ring breaks free.  The support arm should be free now and you can pull it out from the inside.  Remove the positioner from each side of the interior window frame.  It is held in place by 4 rivets, each removed with a 1/8 drill bit.  Now you are ready to remove the entire glass window and its frame (known as a sash).  You will need a step ladder positioned outside at your window.  Open the window until it is at approximately a 65 degree angle and gently pull, it should just slide right out away from the trailer.  Make a mental note of how you took it out because that is also exactly how it goes back in.

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Here are a couple photos of some of the window latches that were removed.  They’re in very rough shape but each one costs $35 dollars to replace and there are 16 on my trailer so we are going to bring them back to life!

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Above are some of the window support arms.  Let them sit in CLR along with the latches and any striker plates, then take some steel wool to them.

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When they are completely clean and dry, give them a coat of flat grey primer.  Let sit and then a coat of aluminum enamel.

They will end up looking like this:

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Window support arms.

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Striker plate.

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Window latch.

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Window latch top view.

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Window latch hardware.  Give these a light coat of enamel only so they still fit or just replace them.  Easily found at any hardware store.

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Above are some of the interior window frames.  They required a lot of work with the steel wool and paint stripper.  Underneath the coating of smoke damage was an off white paint that I wanted to remove.

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More interior frames from the 30 inch windows.  They were quite severely bent and I wasn’t sure if they would be salvageable but they came up beautifully by using a soft mallet on a flat surface to hammer them back into shape.

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As you can see, these ones still need a bit more work with the mallet to get them into perfect shape.  The one smaller roof fan frame may still have to be replaced as it has a broken seam.

Next, comes the hard part.  You have to remove the glass from the actual frame.  This is done by getting rid of the old weather stripping around the inside of the frame.  Use an adhesive remover and a chisel to scrape it off.  Its really on there so it takes a while and the frame must be completely clean of all remnants so that the new weather strip will adhere properly when we attach it later.

Once the weather stripping is off, remove all of the rivets on the hinge at the top of the frame and four at the bottom.  As far as I can tell, that top hinge is not replaceable.  I have not seen it anywhere, so do not lose or break it!

Once the hinge is off, all rivets out, you can gently start to pry apart the seams.  There is one at the top and one at the bottom in the middle of each frame.  The top one will come apart fairly easily, but the bottom is very difficult.  Scrape off any old visible adhesive, use a lubricant and some adhesive remover to get as much off as possible from within the crack.  Use a narrow instrument like a small screwdriver and gently tap it with a hammer to create some space where the frames meet.  They are reinforced on both top and bottom with an approximately 2 inch metal bar inside the frame that you wont be able to see yet.  Unfortunately, in the absolute worst case scenario, you may have to use a very thin reciprocating saw blade and just cut through the seam and the metal bar inside and then use some sort of sealant afterwards.  This has been the case for several of my windows.

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Above, a window before removing the weather stripping, rivets, hinge, glass, etc…

In order to actually get the glass out, lay it down on a soft surface and gently tap the top and bottom of the metal frame parallel to the floor until the frames separate a bit.  Tap top and bottom evenly.  Eventually the frames will separate so much that you can just pull them off with your hands, but you wont be able to until they are quite far apart.

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Finally the glass is out.  Give it a good clean, you can tint it too and since they no longer make the gasket just fill the gap in the sash with silicon and make sure the glass is snug.

Adhere your weather stripping after re-riveting the hinge. (See more on that in my next post)  Most people recommend using this as the adhesive for the weather stripping:

http://odmrv.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=81&products_id=658

You can also special order that product at Fastenal.

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Above, a before and after photo of the sash.  Its been polished up and all the adhesive and weather stripping removed.  Use some Goo Gone, a wire brush and give it a rinse afterwards.

Here is half a sash completed and the other half still needing work:

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The amber lights on the exterior can all be removed from the outside, you will need a ladder.  Each light has 2 rivets.  These can now be replaced with LED equivalents that you might be able to find at an auto parts store or you can purchase online at Out Of Doors Mart too.  The grote can light near the main door can also be replaced with a LED but you will need to remove that from the inside, it has just a few screws but it also has a thick layer of TremPro sealant to remove too.  The tail lights can also be replaced with LED’s.  You can purchase an entire replacement kit for that here:

http://odmrv.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=116_118&products_id=1398

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The next step is going to be a big one!  We will remove the entire shell, leaving the chassis free.  Then we will take up the plywood floor, get the old insulation out and see what needs to be done to the chassis, perform any sandblasting or welding, re-insulate and put everything back together.  I do not have the resources to do this part alone so I am taking the trailer to a professional welders workshop this week.  He has indicated that this job could take a few weeks but I will be there getting the step by step instructions and photos to post in the meantime.

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