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Friday, September 25, 2020

MOTORHOME MODIFICATION - Repairing Blown Thermopane Windows and Doggie Poopyard Fencing

We are still not feeling up to snuff yet. Right now it's a Waiting Game. More on that later.

While we're sitting home this week, Steve thought he would start a new motor home modification project. 

Our motorhome has dual pane windows known as thermopane. They're very nice and help with heat loss or air conditioning as well as sound muffling. We really like them. But since they are of the vintage age, 25 years old now, some of them have blown their thermopane seal.  Especially the side windows of the cockpit area. The rest of the windows around the coach are in pretty good shape.

Four years ago, while we were spending a couple months down in Florida, we did go over to Hudson to Suncoast Designs. They did a wonderful job taking apart our 3 piece window on the passenger side cockpit area, cleaning them up, resealing them, and reinstalling. It cost $225 for all three panes of that window section. Here is my blog post from that project.

blog of our repair at Suncoast Designs 

That side has held up beautifully, and we are very happy with the work. Now the driver's side cockpit window has gotten pretty bad. But we aren't planning on going to Florida in the near future.  The topmost larger portion had already been replaced years ago, but not the rest of the panes on that window configuration.

The two lower portions were getting dangerously clouded up. It was getting so bad that Steve did not have easy access to view through them for his driver side mirror. He decided we would try to fix it ourselves.

We watched a couple YouTubes and read a couple blogs about guys who had done this project themselves.  We figured that we could do it, and ordered up the supplies. We ordered the proper sealant that goes around the edges of the windows, as well as the proper spacer for between the panes once we had them apart and cleaned up. We also ordered the good black sticky butyl tape for around the exterior window frame itself when we would be putting it back against the motorhome opening.

Steve's first step was to remove the entire three pane window section from the driver's side of our motorhome. Steve was one jump ahead of me before I could get the camera out there. By unscrewing all the little screws from the inside flange, then he can carefully removed the whole window construction piece from the outside by unsticking the butyl sealant all around. He carefully lowered the window to the ground and brought it into the garage before I even got out there with the camera. Mister Zoom Zoom at his best!

One wonderful hint that we had seen on YouTube was to seal up the window space opening while the glass is out, is to cover it with a few strips of carpet protection film. This is the same film that people put across carpeting during open house showings to eliminate foot traffic marks on their carpeting. It worked really well to put a couple layers across the open window.

Once he sealed the film into place, he also stuck a few pieces of cardboard to the inside surface to give it a little more rigid construction. That way if the wind would blow against it, it should hold by being pretty taunt and smooth. It should hold up until we get the window put back in.

This is the now removed window frame in the garage. Like I said, the upper portion is just fine. It's the two smaller portions that need to come out and be repaired. One is the slider, and one is stationary behind another trim strip.

Steve carefully laid it out flat on a large piece of plywood to work on the frame. That way the frame would not flex or bend or twist by working on a flat surface. He carefully removed the tiny screws and the little plates that held the frame together.

This is the one end of the window frame that comes apart. Once he loosened this part he was able to take out both of the small pieces of glass. 

He carefully labeled each piece of glass as to which was the inside, the outside, and it if was the slider or fixed panes.  Then he took the panes of glass apart. 

The construction of our thermopanes are two pieces of tempered glass with a thin strip in between of metal called a spacer. The metal is a type of an aluminum. Some of the other Safari motorhomes, as well as some other motorhomes, have used other window construction that have a rubber spacer. That rubber spacer tends to move and flex and make what's called "snakes" on the window in between the panes. They're very unsightly. 

The problem is that as the thermopanes leak, something happens with that aluminum spacer which causes actual etching on the glass in between the layers. It's some kind of chemical shedding that is so strong it etches the glass! We watched a couple YouTube videos on guys fixing these windows, and they said once you get the window apart, if the glass is etched, there's really nothing you can do. Yep, that was our case. The more we tried with various cleaners and solvents, nothing would take off those big gray blotches. It's permanently etched into the glass!!!

We tried vinegar, CLR, Mr. Clean Eraser, Soft Scrub, glass cooktop cleaner, and even lightly scraping with a razor blade.  Nothing worked, it was etched right into the glass surface. Dang!!!!

After deciding that we tried everything possible, then we called the commercial glass place down in Green Bay. Packerland Glass said yes, they can build us two new units just like the ones we have, if we drop them off. For social distancing, they said all we have to do is drop them off at the door with our name taped onto them and call from the parking lot. They will come out and get them. They quoted us $80 each--- which includes new glass, with tinting to match what we have, and tempered because it is for a recreational vehicle side window. $80 each is not too bad, in our opinion. The only problem is it will be sent out to another place for fabrication. It may take a week or more. So we are glad that the side of the motorhome opening is sealed up well, in case we have any bad weather.

Well, it looks like that project is kind of on hold for now. I will make another blog post when we get the new pieces and put it all back together again. In the meantime, it was time to work on another project.


We have sassy doggies. 

We know that. It is in their nature because they are of the herding variety breed, is to bark warnings of anything they see. "Danger danger, a wolf is after our sheep!!! or danger danger it's a burglar"...  you know the drill?

When we let them outside into their little potty yard, which is a fenced in section on the back corner of our house, they bark frantically at anything else they see out the side fence. Whether it's our neighbors dogs who are let out into their own potty yard, who are very quiet and well-behaved dogs. Or the neighbor beyond that who sometimes babysits his grand-dog, or his teenage grandkids who play basketball. Ours find something to bark about, and work themselves up, and are quite sassy. We have to correct them.  Or we have to bring them right back in the house.  We try to keep them quiet, and especially we look out first and see if there's anybody out there before we let our sassy dogs out to go to the bathroom.  If there is someone out there, we wait until they go back in.  Then ours are quiet and fine and do their business. 

The fence is like this:
They are portable large mesh metal panels
that are wire-tied together at the joins.

Our dogs are "inside doggies", they are only outdoors for a few minutes at a time. It's not that they are doing irritating incessant all day long barking. It's just while they are out there, if there's something interesting to look at and bark at it. Otherwise they are perfectly quiet when there's nobody else around.  So it's not that they are a habitual problem or irritating anybody else. All of our neighbors have dogs, and they all bark from time to time. I think it bothers us more than anyone else.  Nobody has ever complained, and we have apologized to them numerous times. 

Even indoors, it bothers us. They bark when just looking out the glass french door from the she shed, when they can see over to the neighbor's yard and bark their fool heads off ----  while they're inside the house and work themselves up into a frenzy!

We had tried a piece of privacy tarp strapped along our fence a while back. That didn't last long and eroded due to the UV rays. Actually, the dogs could kind of see through it because it was a screening type material and they still barked because they could still see.

So we decided it was time to put up a taller privacy fence. The cost is quite expensive and it really wasn't in our budget. A 24 foot span of white vinyl 6ft by 6ft wide panels would run us about $350 between the 4 panels and the 5 posts. Ouch! That's a little more than we could afford right now with all of our other projects going on. 

But, my Smart and Savvy Facebook Marketplace Watching Guy found someone selling 4 vinyl panels, 5 posts, for the mere price of $50!

All we need are the four panels between the corner of the house and straight back. It won't even be on our property line, just along the corner of the house leading back to the east, so they don't see anything to the south. The rest of the area can be our original open grid fencing because the dogs never bark at anything out back to the east or to the north. Just to the south.

(drawn with finger on my smart phone)

The pictures of the used fence looked good online, we made contact with the seller that if we went to pick them up, we would need to be socially distanced of course. Once we got there, we were dismayed to see that they were actually a very light pale tan beige color, and not white, as we thought. But the price was good and we figured let's just snap them up anyhow.

I googled, (Google is my friend), on how to prepare the surface of the PVC vinyl fencing panels for paint. It was suggested to use this Rust-Oleum product primer which is made for specifically for plastic items in preparation for paint.

We set up the fence panels and had adequate ventilation in the garage. The stuff is really really stinky! I rolled it on all of the surfaces and let them cure for two days.

Now it was time to roll on the paint. We used a good thick acrylic porch and floor enamel paint in white. Two coats and I think the panels are looking great.

I'm glad that we have the space in the garage to do the project like this with the panels in a horizontal position, set up on saw horses. It's much easier than trying to paint the fence when it's already installed vertically.

This morning, as I write this blog, Steve is already out there figuring out the placements of the posts and the leveling of the ground and where we need to fudge it a little, or to dig away, or where we need to beef it up. I am sure our neighbors are going to appreciate us putting up this little fence. It's nowhere near the property line and it's not trying to make the neighbors feel alienated or fenced away from us. It's merely to block the view of the two sassy little dogs and hopefully curtail their barking.

Things are getting more and more beautiful here as fall has arrived in Wisconsin. Just walking around our backyard and looking at the changing colors on the trees from the Nature Preserve behind us---  it is absolutely beautiful. The sun is going to be out today and I think the colors are going to get more and more vivid.

My tomatoes are almost at the end of the season. Just a few more green "hanger-oners", I might pull them off pretty soon and bring them inside to ripen in dark brown paper bags. 

We will soon need to rip these out of the way because we have another project coming and we will need access on this side of the house. More on that later in an upcoming blog.

In the meantime, 
please stay safe and healthy. 

We are doing our best 
but we aren't doing
as good as we thought. 

More on that later in an upcoming blog too----


  1. Looking forward to the final post on the window repairs. Have a few of my own that could use improvement...

  2. too very interesting projects. sorry you are both under the weather. germs are everywhere, social distancing or not. especially if the grandkids are anywhere near. Best of luck on getting better soon.

  3. Hope whatever is causing you to feel unwell is past soon. Take care and stay well!

  4. Thank you, I also appreciate the time you take to update your site and help everyone thru your projects.

  5. Thank you, I also appreciate the time you take to update your site and help everyone thru your projects.


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