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Old 08-30-2020, 05:05 PM   #1
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1970 29' Ambassador
Beautiful Santa Rosa , California
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 384
How to "weld" the ends of glazing vinyl

Hi All,
In a departure from my usual thread "1970 Ambassador Reality Check" I am in the process of rehabbing all of the windows on the coach by taking them apart, cleaning them up, replacing the vinyl glazing, reassembling and placing back onto the body.

My question is about how to join the cut ends of the vinyl glazing. I have read all of the threads that I can find, and the only thing that I have seen is to put a dab of sealant where the two ends meet.

The originals appear to each be a strand of glazing that was "welded" together, as opposed to coming out of a mold, which would leave a much less visible seam...

Has anyone tried to use heat to melt the ends together? Other methods?



Thanks,
David
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Old 08-31-2020, 10:39 AM   #2
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I have not done this and there are several available chemistries which work on different sets of materials but hobby shops sell welding cements that melt and fuse plastic. One, I think, is called plasti-weld. As an alternative, I used Gorilla Glue brand super glue to glue my slide seal when others, including one the Airstream dealer said the factory uses, failed. It stuck the rubber seal to the aluminum body and fiberglass cap and has held for 4 years with no problems.
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Old 08-31-2020, 10:54 AM   #3
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Hi A & M,
Thanks -- that is the kind of info that I have been hoping for. Since the area where the two surfaces will not be under tension, the main requirement of the adhesive (or joining of the two ends) will be for water tightness. Since I am going through and replacing tons of leaking Olympic rivets, I am trying to do the same for all of the windows.



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David
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Old 09-02-2020, 05:56 PM   #4
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It. CAN. Be. Done!

Hi All,
In messing around with some pieces of the glazing vinyl and my adjustable temperature soldering iron, I have discovered that this material can indeed be "welded" together.

I will take pics tomorrow, but the technique is simply to keep increasing the temperature until the tip of the soldering iron will soften/melt the vinyl. Then it is a matter of technique and patience as you smear the vinyl back and forth across the seam and then let it cool.

I have been welding some polypropylene, so the hot end of the soldering iron was covered in black plastic, but I will switch to a broad tip (that is also clean) and take pictures of the final result.


David
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Old 09-02-2020, 06:55 PM   #5
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Ether is used to weld Plexiglas.
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Old 09-03-2020, 10:36 AM   #6
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1970 29' Ambassador
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Hi AK, All,
AK, I am not sure if ether would work on vinyl or not, especially since I don't have any and am unsure of how to get some.

Heat definitely works. I have found the other tips for my soldering iron. Today I will try the flat blade and different temperatures, and report back -- hopefully, with pics.


Thanks,
David
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Old 09-03-2020, 11:27 AM   #7
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I am not sure what you mean by "vinyl glazing" the original windows are glass.
If you are replacing plastic windows I strongly recommend Lexan polycarbonate instead of Plexiglass acrylic. It is easier to work and less prone to cracking. In either case UV resistant will last a lot longer without yellowing, MEK may work for welding.
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Old 09-03-2020, 12:50 PM   #8
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Hi Lu,
Thanks for the post! I am referring to the U-shaped vinyl weatherstripping that wraps around the glass or plexiglass before it is re-installed into its frame. Only a wedge-shaped part of it shows (the part where the glass meets the frame) when everything is back together.

That glazing on my 1970 Ambassador is quite dried out and hard. On some windows, the part that is visible while in the frame has spilt away from the rest of the glazing. Some think that the solution is to cut that part of the glazing away and then run a bead of sealant where the glass meets the frame. I am dis-assembling the windows, so I have the opportunity to replace that whole glazing strip.



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David
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Old 09-04-2020, 07:13 AM   #9
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1981 31' Excella II
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2002sheds,

I’m so excited! I’ve been using this forum to help me with my AS renovation & now I can finally contribute something! So I’m currently working on dual pane windows for my ‘81 AS & bought window gasket from Vintage Trailer Gaskets, by the foot instead of pre-spliced because I’m frugal. The spliced gaskets cost around four times more than the gasket material by the foot. Here is what the finished splice looks like installed:
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I’m using a regular clothes iron, set on high (cotton/linen setting) for 30-45 seconds on each flat surface starting with the center (the edge with no thicker side flange). Here is the set up:
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Get a board the same thickness of your windows. Cover a section with foil, securing with painter’s tape.

Use more tape to secure your gasket on the board, with a 1/2” gasket overlap in the center.
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Cover the sections of gasket on either side of the 1/2” splice area with foil & painter’s tape. This will prevent the rest of the gasket from melting.
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Cover everything with a piece of parchment paper. If you’re not familiar, parchment paper is sold in same section as plastic wrap & foil in the grocery store. Heat the splice area with the tip of your iron set on high. Count to 45. Remove iron, flip your board over, setting the covered heated gasket on another board to cool and press down lightly. Count to 30.
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Each side section is done the same way, but you’ll need to set the hot iron just inside the raised edge. You can feel it through the parchment paper on each side.

When finished, I use a razor blade to carefully cut off the second extra little raised bump edge of the splice on each side. Voila! These heat-splices have held tight even when the gasket is under tension.

Hope this helps. Good luck to you.
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Old 09-05-2020, 06:02 PM   #10
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Hi Happy,
Thanks very much for your reply! I have been experimenting with different temperature settings on my soldering iron, but have definitely not perfected the process. Yours looks to be the right way to do this!

I am especially pleased because my windows are all single pane. To my knowledge, I can only buy the glazing vinyl in a roll/strip format. Now I can fix these windows!
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Old 11-24-2020, 03:05 PM   #11
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1978 31' Sovereign
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Alternatively, you can install the vinyl window glazing around said window (in my case, a vista view), and slide on one of the window sashes to keep one side mostly tight. This just makes working with the glazing a bit easier.

Be sure to pull the glazing somewhat tight (nothing overkill here) and around the rest of the window. Double check your glazing, making sure it's semi-tight but still flexible. Cut the glazing to size, keeping in mind that when you install the window sash on the other end, the glazing may want to keep chugging along and extend itself a bit more.

You can install the other sash if you feel comfy (be sure to use spray silicone to keep things from tearing, and deburr the inside of your window frame if you did any hack sawing), or even just nix the window sash idea and have a helper clamp the glazing all along the edge of the window!

Clamp the glazing at the 2 meeting ends and dab some Loctite Vinyl, Fabric, & Plastic flexible adhesive between the two ends. Clamp for 8hrs or so. This stuff works great and is about $3 and some change, available at most every hardware store.

Just make sure your clamps aren't too strong to where they permanently deform / damage the gasket material. The melting idea is what I wanted to go for first, it's called vulcanizing, which is quite a process to do it well and seamlessly (literally). Vintagetrailergaskets uses the loctite method, so you pay 4x as much for his time and materials - a fair trade-off.

I don't advise melting the glazing due to losing the triple or even quadruple sealing affect from the glazing splines. If you do, I'd go heavy on that section with some TremPro635 and/or silicone foam and metal secondary sealant!

- Bobby
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