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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.

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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. 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, 18 views)
File Type: jpg Inside the RS.jpg (245.4 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg Inside RS 2.jpg (226.5 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg 2012 Roadtrek RS with bicyles .jpg (398.8 KB, 15 views)
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Old 06-03-2019, 04:55 AM   #11
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I have a 1995 Explorer 230 Class B. I also had leaking proble from the two overhead windows. I taped the area off and used the Flex Seal liquid and painted it on. Two years with no leaks.
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:45 PM   #12
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We have a 1995 Xplorer 230. Same problem with leaking top windows. Used paitsble flex seal on them over two years ago. Still no leaks. Guess I should have posted it lol. Wish they never put those leak prone heat letting windows in. Thought about fiber classing over them.
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Old 05-26-2020, 07:21 PM   #13
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Its been awhile since you did this fix on your 96.

I have the same problem and was wondering how this has held up.

Thanks for your feedback!
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Old 05-26-2020, 07:27 PM   #14
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Just the other day I was thinking that I should post an update!
There's nothing but good news. I keep my RV outside *all year* and the coating still seems fine. I accidentally dripped a small drop on the passenger window and left it there (despite my daughter constantly complaining about it.) It's like the canary in the coal mine for me - it, and the windows themselves, show no sign of that Flexseal coming off! And we've had torrential downpours, etc.
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Old 05-26-2020, 07:31 PM   #15
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I've been zooming in on your pictures fantasizing about the project being done and behind me..

Since you responded so fast I will ask another question.

Did at anytime you actually lay your weight on the roof or was this done with some scaffolding or other method I should attempt?

Thanks
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Old 05-26-2020, 07:39 PM   #16
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I totally put my entire 180 pounds on the roof right below the windows. Slowly at first to make sure it wasn't going to bow or anything. It didn't seem to have any problem with that weight at all.
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Old 05-26-2020, 08:06 PM   #17
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I am a little scared for my RT even though I weigh the same as you..

So you were on your knees and/or sitting 'criss-cross applesauce' (use to be called Indian style but that's not politically correct anymore) and you were at some point on just on one knee and one foot etc?


You weren't lying on the glass somewhat at all? Just whole body and weight on the little area in front of the opera windows?

Basically I am asking if you moved all around and did not have any fiberglass flexing noises, windshield seal flexing noises or anything negative happen or did you just sit in the one spot and reached all 3 windows from the one spot you were sitting?

I don't want to crawl up there on my 96 and do anything different if I can help it.

Thanks again, your details are priceless!
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Old 05-26-2020, 10:21 PM   #18
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I drove the RV, nose first into the garage - about 2-3 feet.
Then from the roof of the garage I could step down onto the fiberglass that is directly above the driver and passenger seats.
For the most part, yes, I sat with my legs out, but several times got up onto my knees.

Like you, I started out gingerly - testing the waters to make sure I wasn't going to break, bend or dent anything. But, by the third window I was certainly more carefree about it.

I can't say if yours is built the same way as mine and of course ultimately this is your decision. But, it worked fine for me.

Key to success I think was a) prepping the surfaces to be 100% free of any grease or dirt. and b) having a minimum of three solid days without rain to let it cure properly.

-Pete
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Old 05-27-2020, 02:32 AM   #19
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Perfect, I will be attempting this exact procedure when the rain lets up here in Florida. (next week unfortunately)

Very confident this will solve my problem!

Thank you for your help, I will give an update as soon as the project is complete.
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Old 05-27-2020, 12:25 PM   #20
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VTPete

How did you address the rubber seal?
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