How difficult is it to tidy up someone else's messy work (window installation)?

hollynomates

New member
Hi everyone, I'm potentially buying a Sprinter where the previous owner installed windows and did not do a particularly tidy job. I haven't tested them with water to see if they leak although given the amount of sealant I think they must be watertight. It's something that would bother me and if it's easily fixable I'd like to do so but not too sure how difficult it might be and would like some input.
IMG_3149.JPG

I believe the van was painted after the window install and so there's a thick layer of paint on top of it.
 

Montucky

Member
Wow - I'd look at that as an example of how everything else in the van was potentially constructed. It's a warning... Buyer beware! You might be able to clean up that window, but I'd be concerned about the other shortcuts that may not be so obvious.
 

hollynomates

New member
Wow - I'd look at that as an example of how everything else in the van was potentially constructed. It's a warning... Buyer beware! You might be able to clean up that window, but I'd be concerned about the other shortcuts that may not be so obvious.
It was a food truck, and we would be stripping it entirely to convert so there's no other work done it to really besides this window and one other which is equally ugly.
 

sparkplug

Active member
It wouldn't be too difficult in the sense of it being complicated but it would be time consuming.

I would suggest that the best approach would be to remove the window completely and then spend some time cleaning off the remaining silicone. This takes a fair bit of time - although there are some products which are designed to help with silicone removal. I've never used any of them so do your research and test that it won't affect your paintwork.

Once the silicone has been removed from the van and from the window then I would check if the edge of the metal where it was cut has been painted over - if not then paint it to prevent rust forming.

To refit the window I would suggest using a two part vehicle window bonding kit.

Clean and degrease the van and the window to ensure a good bond.

There is a primer which you apply to both the vehicle and to the window which dries in 10 mins and then a sealant which you apply to the window and push into place.

I used a cheap caulking gun for this and it was a disaster as it simply didn't have the power to push the sealant as it's thicker than the usual sika flex and bathroom sealants I've used in the past. It's worth spending $20-30 on a good gun to do this task IMO.

Once pushed into place you can use some gaffer tape to hold the window to stop it slipping as the sealant cures.

There's a video which I found helpful as it was the same window manufacturer I used, but the basic principles should apply to yours as well.

 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Depending upon what the sealant or adhesive sealant is, you can probably soften it with a heat gun and remove most of it with a plastic scraper.

Unless the window cutout is oversize and as crappy as the sealant looks, a proper decent looking bead of sealant can then be reapplied and re-painted. That ugly sealant may be hiding large gaps in the cut out for the window.

vic
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
:idunno:

If that top area is thin squeezed out sealant, then probably not grossly oversize.

After seeing the inside pic I agree that removing the window and resetting it is the way to go. It doesn't look like silicone sealant. That is a good thing in my mind.

vic
 

Ferrets

Member
Looking at that fine craftsmanship - I'd be wondering if the installer was also involved in the operation and maintenance (if any) of that van.
 

hollynomates

New member
Looking at that fine craftsmanship - I'd be wondering if the installer was also involved in the operation and maintenance (if any) of that van.
He had it for a year and did about 20k miles. Says it was maintained but no records. He dropped the price right away when we test drove it on the first day he had it for sale, which made me suspicious. But it sailed through its PPI. The sliding door is also broken in some manner and not sure what that costs to fix. I don't have a ton of good options where I live.
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Unless you want a larger window I would remove it and see what you have. I wish I was good enough to look at a couple pictures and tell you what you need. I'm not. Maybe the existing window can be R&R'd for not much money.

:2cents: vic
 

sparkplug

Active member
Depending on the window but there's usually a fair amount of 'wiggle room' on these.

It's hard to tell from that picture exactly where the cut is because whatever has been used as sealant is obscuring the view.

I agree that it doesn't look like silicone thought as it doesn't squeeze out like that.

I suspect the opening has been cut a little bit too large, but it clearly isn't so large that there isn't sufficient metal left for the window to bond to - otherwise it would have fallen out already.

The main risk is that it will slip after re-fitting if it isn't taped up well to prevent this.

The other big plus point for me is that you have proper access to the inside of the window. Those window sealant kits are normally big enough to do two of these small windows so you should have enough sealant left to run a second bead around the inside just for good measure.

The other good thing with metal is that if one cut is off you can just weld another bit on and start again. Probably cheaper than buying a new window - but I don't think this is going to be a problem. It's a job I would personally be confident to take on.

All the other warning bells, however, are of more concern to me having similarly bought a van which passed all inspection but when it got down to it there were so many little things which had been shoddily 'repaired' that it's taken me two years to discover them all and put them right. I've pretty much done a full nose to tail strip down so I don't think there can be many more surprises left now.

If you can get it at the right price and don't mind doing some repairs then it should be OK.

I'm quite pleased now with hindsight because I've really got to know my van very well and I know pretty much exactly what has been done and how long ago. More importantly I know it's been done to my standards.

It's probably cost me the same as buying a nicer van would have done - but I've learned a lot along the way and it's spread that cost over a few years. It also means that I have a lot of new parts which should last the rest of the life of the van now.
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Not to be unkind, but it is pretty naive to think that any Sprinter or truck which is over 10 years old won't need work. Pre purchase inspections are good, but the ultimate decision is on the purchaser. The 2004 and the 2006 which I purchased were basically good, but each needed significant parts and labor to get them into good mechanical working order.

The Sprinter has been purchased. Dig in and correct things found in a proper order... items that affect safety first.

Have fun.

:cheers: vic
 

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