Sunday, April 1, 2012

Showin' mah durty side - leaky widows, check!

Hi everyone, it's been several days since I've posted!

Today's post is full of photos & a video all relating to a DIY project of how to fix leaky windows. So my apologies as I'm trying to be thorough with this project in my explanation of how I did this.

Been very, very busy lately. Took the RV back to the shop on Tuesday for the overhead window leak. Spoke with Mitch, the owner. He was not happy about the fact that it was still leaking & how the sides were applied to the RV during the rebuild. So he had them reseal & line the fiberglass sides up - they now fit properly into the frame. He had them clean up the edges of the framing too. And they took the front overhead window out, took out the glass, resealed it, then reseated it back into the window opening. Was told it was tested & no longer leaked. Got the call on Thursday that it was ready! Yay!! So I head over there when I can, the skies break loose! Well, that's probably a good of the guys went inside -- YEP, It's LEAKING!!! ARGH!!! So Mitch profusely apologizes, asks me to come back. I say, lets take a look. I can't keep doing the come back game. So their scratching their heads over this one. I say, lets go outside & look. I look up, yep, I determine it's not the window leaking, but it's the Coach Light in the center that is leaking!! So they get up on the roof, sure enough, water is sitting inside the cover. So they go to work, take off all the clearance lights (which should have been done during the rebuild, but it was overlooked!). All clearance lights are taken off, properly sealed down, then get a good layer of caulking when all installed again. Then I had to wait another 30 mins for the caulk to settle & for the rains to lift up. I'm pretty sure that was the problem. I've not tested it myself yet & we've not had a good rain since. But I needed to let the caulk seal & set before I go hitting it with water.

Let's hope that Ellie is now water tight!

Totally water tight.


Sadly, those clearance lights were NEVER sealed down properly! Not even by the factory. grrrrr

So, onto my leaky windows, even the ones that don't leak.

The day I took the RV over to the tire place to have new shocks & the tires rotated, I went across the road to Bluebonnet RV services. I spoke with Tim for his advice on my windows. He told me what needed to be done. So a few days later, I redid all of my windows. Yay, no more leaks that I know of!! My big picture window by my sofa had just recently started to leak, so I did it first. Then the next day, it poured rain -- NO LEAK! YAY! So then I set off to do the rest on the next chance I got. Did the rest all in the same day & I'm glad that project is finished & out of the way. So today, I want to share with ya'll on how to maintain or possibly fix a window leak. I hope this can be of help to others. Had I known about this sooner, I would have done mine a long time ago.

I put a video up on youtube, but for those that can't do vids, I'll also add detailed steps on todays blog.

Warning for those with short bandwidth or have to pay for vids, this video is almost 17 mins long:

So in text with photos, here are the steps:

Tools I used:
* Small head hammer
* Philips Screw Driver
* Shop vac with micro mini tools
* Bucket with cleaning solution - do not use bleach based products. I used Mr Clean. Bleach may break down components in the rubber glazing bead (some people refer to that as gasket)
* Old toothbrush for cleaning - scrubbing
* Another type of longer stranded brush to clean window tracks with

1. Remove glazing bead -- the rubber strip that is around the glass part of your RV window. I use the philips screw driver to carefully pry under the glazing bead to lift it, then I can pull it out.

See photos:

2. Drop Glazing bead in bucket of cleaning solution to soak while you clean window tracks. (do one window at a time, not multiple windows at a time)

3. Clean the window tracks, being sure to do a deep thorough cleaning. I first vacuum out the tracks, then brush dry with an old toothbrush, then blow the track out with the shop vac set on exhaust.
Then I dip the toothbrush in the cleaning solution & thoroughly wash the tracks carefully, don't want to soak them. Then I use my longer brush to get into the deeper part of the tracks, keep paying attention to all the little drain holes to be sure that they get cleared out. Inside of the tracks are 3 sets of drain holes, at least in my tracks. There are several drain holes in the felt part, then a few more bigger holes on the inside hard part of the track, then the holes that you can see from the outside of the window frame. You will want to really deep clean those tracks to clear the hole openings for water drainage from rains, washing the rig, etc.

4. After the tracks are cleaned, then use your toothbrush (no, an old one, not the one you use daily!), to scrub the glazing bead that you've been soaking in the cleaning solution. After that is totally cleaned, then dry with a towel & you are ready to pop back into the window track. This is done easiest if you have your windows closed. In order to clean the tracks, the windows have to be opened, but to reinstall the glazing bead, the windows should be closed.

5. Reinstall the glazing bead. It can be a little tricky to reinstall the rubber beading, but don't worry, it is not really hard to do. Follow the ridges & pop the rubber grooves back into the track.  

It might be necessary to use a small headed hammer to lightly tap the bead back into place if you don't have a lot of strength in your fingers to push the glazing bead back into place. I lined mine up, pushed it in, then secured it in with light taps with the hammer along the edge of the rubber part. Do not tap on the metal frame or you will mar/scratch/dent it.

Viola! Finished! Now hopefully, this window will not leak in the future! It wasn't leaking, but this one was done for maintenance to prevent any future leaking.

Note: When reinstalling the glazing bead, be sure to work from the bottom of the window frame to the top of the frame. You can slide the GB into place at the bottom of the track once you get it started, so you don't have to start in the very corner. After you get it started, simply slide it as tight as you can into the corner of the bottom. You will most likely have a gap at the top. The elements of weather & sun shrink the rubber eventually, so it is not like it was when newly installed. It's best to have the gap at the top then at the bottom. You can fill the top part with some black colored caulk to prevent bugs & such from getting back under the GB.

When I did my big picture window over my sofa, it wasn't too bad, but was starting to leak. So I got that under control before any leaks happened. I was very pleased to find that it worked when we had a downpour & no water was standing on the track or getting inside of the rig! So I decided to do all my windows. I'm glad I did. I was shocked when I took the bead off of the kitchen window! WOW! Bug city! They had their own community going on in there! Bet they blogged about the mean lady that took their city away! City? They had their own country in there!!!

Yuck!! It took me an entire day to do this project. But then, it also took time for me to stop & video/photograph the project as I went along. It was definitely needing to be done though & I'm very glad I did it. I'm grateful that I can do these projects myself & it is a bit self rewarding when finished.

~As always, be kind to your pets, clean up after them on your travels & respect your neighbor~


  1. Very impressive and will definitely be a big help for anybody who is having problems with leaking windows. Hopefully water will now stay out of your rig.

    1. Thanks Sandie, I generally get too thorough with my description of things, but any little bit helps! Rained this morning, all was dry! Need to get some more dri-z-air beads for condensation though.

  2. TexCyn, with your expertise I know where I'm bringing Mel if he ever develops a window leak. ;)

  3. Cyn, I think you need a TV Show for RV Maintance. You are truely a smart one. You can be a star. Great job and I hope your overhead leak is now history too.

    P.S. I hope your aren't going to use that tooth brush on your teeth. :-O
    JK of course.

    1. Oh now you tell me not to use the tootbrush! Dag nabbit!
      And thanks. I don't mind doing things myself once I understand how to do so & as long as I'm capable. Good thing I didn't try to rebuild the overhead though. That would have been outside of my range of capability.

  4. Great job, you are very handy and persistent. Hope the rework on the fiberglass looks better and lasts. Hope you'll show a photo. Glad you figured out what the leak was on the lights.

    1. I went out & took pics for you. Will post them once I put them into the computer. It looks much better. Now I'm not worried about the caulking wearing down & leaks. All is properly sealed down. It sure has been a learning curve!

  5. Well, I have to tell ya, you are just one awesome lady. I agree with JoJo on the TV show! I have one window starting to leak. You have given me the tools I needed to try the job myself, Thanks!!

    1. Thanks Sunny! It's really not difficult, but it is time consuming. How's life in Pa? I'll be delayed. Have to stick around for a few more weeks now.

  6. Boy oh boy, what a job you tackled! Thanks for sharing it so in depth. You sure did hit "pay dirt" around those windows, didn't you? Glad you got that all finished. Good luck to you on avoiding future "wet windows". Thanks again for sharing, and especially all the pointers and pictures. Very thoughtful of you.

    1. Thanks Russ. I saved a bunch of money since most RV places charge around $100 per hour. And really, it's not a tough job, just time consuming.

  7. You are amazing! Great job, not one I would have thought much about. I can see why it needs to be done. Thanks for the good instructions. Let's hope next time it rains, you will finally be DRY!

  8. what about the windows in front and back that dont have drains??
    thank you!


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