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Old 05-29-2019, 10:13 AM   #1
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Default How I finally dealt with my '96 Roadtrek leaking windows - successfully!

There are so many different posts on the topic of leaking Roadtrek windows, that I wasn't sure where to post this! But, I want to briefly summarize how i finally fixed those top leaking skylights.

I bought my '96 a couple of years ago with only 23,000 miles on it - the mechanic said it was solid as a rock. But, the inside clearly had been subjected to at least an entire summer of being left outside in the rain while the back windows were left open and the top windows leaked. The story of stripping it down and getting rid of the mildew is the topic of a long thread elsewhere.

For the top windows, they leaked from the day I bought it. I first tried to bring them to my local automotive glass experts (Portland Glass.) After three attempts at re-sealing them, they *still leaked* - not from where the windows attach to the frame of the vehicle, but from where the glass is attached to the inner frame of the window. At one point, I even tried using a rubber tape around the edges, but that came off at highway speeds.

After so many attempts to seal them, they were now ugly with black bumps of squished out sealant all over the place - and still they leaked. I contacted some experts regarding pulling them out and replacing them entirely, but the cost was prohibitively expensive and no one was interested in doing that sort of thing.

So, my final solution, one that has worked for a solid year while the van has been subject to a year's worth of rain and thousands of miles of driving was this:

I parked the RV so the front was just poking into my garage door openings and used the roof of the garage to easily access the windows. (This was important because I needed easily access to the windows.)

Then, using acetone, I scrubbed the fiberglass for a full two inches beyond the frame of the windows. I trimmed off as much of the old bumping sealants and also used acetone to remove all hints of adhesive residue left behind from my previous attempts. Then I scrubbed the windows, again with acetone until I felt they were completely clean. (I did this while crossing my fingers that there wasn't some kind of coating on the glass that the acetone would fog up - there wasn't.)

Then I used blue masking tape to mask out a good 1 to 1.5 inch border on the outside of the window and another inch or so into the glass. I used a round glass to cut nice curves on the corners - the result being that I had had masked off the windows and the fiberglass such that the window seals and at least an inch beyond the seals were exposed.

Then, I bought a $35 can of black Flex Seal. Yes, Flex Seal - the same stuff advertised on TV. Using a foam brush, starting at the top (because it's going to droop down as you paint it on), I put a liberal coating on the entire exposed area. Because it's quite wet, it tends to slide downhill and if I were to do it again, I might park the RV in a way that lifts up the front end a bit. But, the way I did it meant that it pooled up a bit down at the bottom and left a thicker coat where it was needed the most. And, it left a thinner coat on the glass.

I did this on a day when the weather forecast called for three straight days without rain because it really takes that long to cure properly.

The Flex Seal will make any bump or uneven surface more obvious, but it also levels out nicely, creating no areas for water to pool up.

After about an hour, the stuff firmed up enough to carefully (very, very carefully) remove the masking tape, leaving a gorgeous sharp black edge. It's messy stuff, so when you remove the making tape, take your time and have a trash bag handy for all the goop covered tape.

Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect for a product that's advertised on TV like this is... but it's been more than a year and the stuff shows no sign of lifting up from the glass or fiberglass. And the windows are dry as a bone!

It felt like slathering on some goop was a nuclear option - but in the end, I wish I had done it before I had tried everything else that ended up making the windows just look worse. If anyone is interested, I can post photos. EDIT: Adding photos below - note that some of the white you see on the interior shots is just reflected light from the cabin.

interior2.jpg

interior1.jpg

exterior1.jpg
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Old 05-29-2019, 12:02 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by VTPete View Post
There are so many different posts on the topic of leaking Roadtrek windows, that I wasn't sure where to post this! But, I want to briefly summarize how i finally fixed those top leaking skylights.

I bought my '96 a couple of years ago with only 23,000 miles on it - the mechanic said it was solid as a rock. But, the inside clearly had been subjected to at least an entire summer of being left outside in the rain while the back windows were left open and the top windows leaked. The story of stripping it down and getting rid of the mildew is the topic of a long thread elsewhere.

For the top windows, they leaked from the day I bought it. I first tried to bring them to my local automotive glass experts (Portland Glass.) After three attempts at re-sealing them, they *still leaked* - not from where the windows attach to the frame of the vehicle, but from where the glass is attached to the inner frame of the window. At one point, I even tried using a rubber tape around the edges, but that came off at highway speeds.

After so many attempts to seal them, they were now ugly with black bumps of squished out sealant all over the place - and still they leaked. I contacted some experts regarding pulling them out and replacing them entirely, but the cost was prohibitively expensive and no one was interested in doing that sort of thing.

So, my final solution, one that has worked for a solid year while the van has been subject to a year's worth of rain and thousands of miles of driving was this:

I parked the RV so the front was just poking into my garage door openings and used the roof of the garage to easily access the windows. (This was important because I needed easily access to the windows.)

Then, using acetone, I scrubbed the fiberglass for a full two inches beyond the frame of the windows. I trimmed off as much of the old bumping sealants and also used acetone to remove all hints of adhesive residue left behind from my previous attempts. Then I scrubbed the windows, again with acetone until I felt they were completely clean. (I did this while crossing my fingers that there wasn't some kind of coating on the glass that the acetone would fog up - there wasn't.)

Then I used blue masking tape to mask out a good 1 to 1.5 inch border on the outside of the window and another inch or so into the glass. I used a round glass to cut nice curves on the corners - the result being that I had had masked off the windows and the fiberglass such that the window seals and at least an inch beyond the seals were exposed.

Then, I bought a $35 can of black Flex Seal. Yes, Flex Seal - the same stuff advertised on TV. Using a foam brush, starting at the top (because it's going to droop down as you paint it on), I put a liberal coating on the entire exposed area. Because it's quite wet, it tends to slide downhill and if I were to do it again, I might park the RV in a way that lifts up the front end a bit. But, the way I did it meant that it pooled up a bit down at the bottom and left a thicker coat where it was needed the most. And, it left a thinner coat on the glass.

I did this on a day when the weather forecast called for three straight days without rain because it really takes that long to cure properly.

The Flex Seal will make any bump or uneven surface more obvious, but it also levels out nicely, creating no areas for water to pool up.

After about an hour, the stuff firmed up enough to carefully (very, very carefully) remove the masking tape, leaving a gorgeous sharp black edge. It's messy stuff, so when you remove the making tape, take your time and have a trash bag handy for all the goop covered tape.

Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect for a product that's advertised on TV like this is... but it's been more than a year and the stuff shows no sign of lifting up from the glass or fiberglass. And the windows are dry as a bone!

It felt like slathering on some goop was a nuclear option - but in the end, I wish I had done it before I had tried everything else that ended up making the windows just look worse. If anyone is interested, I can post photos.
If convenient, Yes, I would like to see your B. Good story, enjoyed reading about the use of the roof for access, and more.

Thanks for posting.

Bud
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Old 05-29-2019, 12:32 PM   #3
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Bud,
Before I left this AM, I took some photos. It had rained heavily last night which made for better photos of the exterior and how the water behaves on the windows. I edited my first post to add them to it rather than adding them here. Enjoy!
-Pete
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Old 05-29-2019, 01:04 PM   #4
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Bud,
Before I left this AM, I took some photos. It had rained heavily last night which made for better photos of the exterior and how the water behaves on the windows. I edited my first post to add them to it rather than adding them here. Enjoy!
-Pete
I'm betting that it holds up well. But just in case, your B is lucky and has you.
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Old 05-30-2019, 04:40 PM   #5
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Excellent work VTPete

I have a 95 Roadtrek and just had the 3 skylight windows resealed. Haven't had it in the rain yet but after reading your post I'll know what to do if they leak.

Especially liked the idea of how you were able to access the exterior side using your roof. Wondering if 3 or 4 coats of spray Flex Seal would work just as well.
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Old 05-30-2019, 04:51 PM   #6
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If anyone tries the spray-can version, I hope they post their results here!
My kids like dipping rocks in it. Actually, we went around coating all kinds of things. Ha ha!
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Old 06-02-2019, 04:40 PM   #7
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Default Very nice solution.... glad I don't have real windows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VTPete View Post
There are so many different posts on the topic of leaking Roadtrek windows, that I wasn't sure where to post this! But, I want to briefly summarize how i finally fixed those top leaking skylights.

I bought my '96 a couple of years ago with only 23,000 miles on it - the mechanic said it was solid as a rock. But, the inside clearly had been subjected to at least an entire summer of being left outside in the rain while the back windows were left open and the top windows leaked. The story of stripping it down and getting rid of the mildew is the topic of a long thread elsewhere.

For the top windows, they leaked from the day I bought it. I first tried to bring them to my local automotive glass experts (Portland Glass.) After three attempts at re-sealing them, they *still leaked* - not from where the windows attach to the frame of the vehicle, but from where the glass is attached to the inner frame of the window. At one point, I even tried using a rubber tape around the edges, but that came off at highway speeds.

After so many attempts to seal them, they were now ugly with black bumps of squished out sealant all over the place - and still they leaked. I contacted some experts regarding pulling them out and replacing them entirely, but the cost was prohibitively expensive and no one was interested in doing that sort of thing.

So, my final solution, one that has worked for a solid year while the van has been subject to a year's worth of rain and thousands of miles of driving was this:

I parked the RV so the front was just poking into my garage door openings and used the roof of the garage to easily access the windows. (This was important because I needed easily access to the windows.)

Then, using acetone, I scrubbed the fiberglass for a full two inches beyond the frame of the windows. I trimmed off as much of the old bumping sealants and also used acetone to remove all hints of adhesive residue left behind from my previous attempts. Then I scrubbed the windows, again with acetone until I felt they were completely clean. (I did this while crossing my fingers that there wasn't some kind of coating on the glass that the acetone would fog up - there wasn't.)

Then I used blue masking tape to mask out a good 1 to 1.5 inch border on the outside of the window and another inch or so into the glass. I used a round glass to cut nice curves on the corners - the result being that I had had masked off the windows and the fiberglass such that the window seals and at least an inch beyond the seals were exposed.

Then, I bought a $35 can of black Flex Seal. Yes, Flex Seal - the same stuff advertised on TV. Using a foam brush, starting at the top (because it's going to droop down as you paint it on), I put a liberal coating on the entire exposed area. Because it's quite wet, it tends to slide downhill and if I were to do it again, I might park the RV in a way that lifts up the front end a bit. But, the way I did it meant that it pooled up a bit down at the bottom and left a thicker coat where it was needed the most. And, it left a thinner coat on the glass.

I did this on a day when the weather forecast called for three straight days without rain because it really takes that long to cure properly.

The Flex Seal will make any bump or uneven surface more obvious, but it also levels out nicely, creating no areas for water to pool up.

After about an hour, the stuff firmed up enough to carefully (very, very carefully) remove the masking tape, leaving a gorgeous sharp black edge. It's messy stuff, so when you remove the making tape, take your time and have a trash bag handy for all the goop covered tape.

Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect for a product that's advertised on TV like this is... but it's been more than a year and the stuff shows no sign of lifting up from the glass or fiberglass. And the windows are dry as a bone!

It felt like slathering on some goop was a nuclear option - but in the end, I wish I had done it before I had tried everything else that ended up making the windows just look worse. If anyone is interested, I can post photos. EDIT: Adding photos below - note that some of the white you see on the interior shots is just reflected light from the cabin.

Attachment 7620

Attachment 7621

Attachment 7622
When I saw these models, I originally thought.... WOW, they look cool.....

Recently, I saw someone with a 190 who had another problem.... HEAT..... they couldn't find a way to keep the heat from the front skylights from warming up the front cabin....

Of course, all vehicles get hot inside when closed, but, it's a window.. and they are on the roof....

Would have been more clever if Roadtrek had installed an inside panel that could be opened and closed... My old car had a moon roof and sunroof combination... you would be amazed at how much heat would be cut down by closing that inside panel...

Great job on the fix...by the way... are you sure that it's only 23,000 miles.... that's awfully low mileage on a 1996...I suppose it's not impossible, but, you have to wonder if they did all the maintenance just based on time... you know...it's not just miles...? I hope you have the service records.
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Old 06-02-2019, 05:19 PM   #8
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If anyone tries the spray-can version, I hope they post their results here!
My kids like dipping rocks in it. Actually, we went around coating all kinds of things. Ha ha!
When I bought my class b, the gray dump valve had obviously been just replaced. But it leaked just a slight drip on the down side of the valve housing. So it only dripped briefly after dumping tanks.

The space is tight and the "o" ring probably was not correctly seated. Even though the valves are cheap, I was addressing other issues and didn't want to replace and otherwise new valve. So I sprayed the Rustoleum sealer (similar to Flex seal) around the down side seam in multiple light layers. I probably applied 5-6 quick coats over 2 days and problem solved.

If I were to develop a drip elsewhere in my drain plumping, I wouldn't hesitate to apply either spray or liquid flex seal again. The flex seal material is tough when dried, but if it didn't work it wouldn't prevent you from removing the section for a permanent repair. I figure using it in the right situation has no down-side. And if it works, bonus!
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Old 06-02-2019, 09:35 PM   #9
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I agree, those top windows are killers for heat. I have a large reflective panel that I throw up there, but most of the time, I just park in the shade.
As for the miles, yes, they're low and real and no, I'm sure that regular maintenance wasn't done based on time. I have a lot of records, but I'm pretty sure that it spent most of it's life just parked outside - it has all the tell-tail symptoms of being parked outside. The engine, transmissions, etc. are fantastic, but the exterior is faded, it had water issues and areas subjected to water ( like under the front bumper) show surface rust. It was still worth fixing up!
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Old 06-02-2019, 10:03 PM   #10
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Default I understand... you probably got this for a very low price?

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I agree, those top windows are killers for heat. I have a large reflective panel that I throw up there, but most of the time, I just park in the shade.
As for the miles, yes, they're low and real and no, I'm sure that regular maintenance wasn't done based on time. I have a lot of records, but I'm pretty sure that it spent most of it's life just parked outside - it has all the tell-tail symptoms of being parked outside. The engine, transmissions, etc. are fantastic, but the exterior is faded, it had water issues and areas subjected to water ( like under the front bumper) show surface rust. It was still worth fixing up!
Pete, couple of quick things;

1. Maybe you're handy and can fix things. Me, I don't repair my vehicles; I know my limitations and just enjoy using them. I am meticulous about getting my cars and van serviced which is why I have two cars about 10 years old and normally keep them at least 15 plus years.

2. My Mercedes is pretty complex; fortunately I have a really good and honest independent mechanic. The only thing that scares me about the Mercedes is the emissions system and around 40,000 miles Mercedes replaced the entire system under warranty, WHEW! That was great.

Yeah, my 2012 RS has more miles than your 1996.... like double and my 2010 Subaru has almost 100,000 miles and even it's a low mileage car by today's standards... so, of course when I saw your post with 23,000 miles on the 1996... it's definitely an outlier.

Condition is everything with used vehicles... here's a picture of my RS . I purchased it two years ago with 26,000 and now has just under 46,000 miles.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg RS Adventurous.jpg (318.6 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg Inside the RS.jpg (245.4 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg Inside RS 2.jpg (226.5 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg 2012 Roadtrek RS with bicyles .jpg (398.8 KB, 8 views)
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