From Yahoo Group: 10/10/01 #1284
Re: Window Removal and Glass Replacement, reusing the Existing Plastic Frames
I have a 1974 Vega Voyager, in Blaine Harbor, Blaine, Washington.
A couple of years ago, I decided to remove my main salon windows and replace the existing Plexiglas with “real” tinted safety glass, partly because of their scratched condition, but also because they were leaking along the sliders. To avoid future leaks, I also decided to make them one piece fixed panes.
I did not want to go to the expense of buying new frames, because of the cost and was therefore quite motivated to preserve the integrity of the existing frames….. in anticipation of re-using them….. tall order, you say!
Fortunately, my frames were not bedded in 3M 5200….. if yours are….. forget it!
I started with the rear window facing the cockpit and first removed all the interior screws and the one piece interior plastic trim. I then went to the outside and removed the sealant along the edge of the joint between the frame and the salon wall….. just enough so that I had the start of a groove all the way round the frame. Next, back inside to push the frame gently outwards, to see if I could find a weak spot to start on, for removing the main caulking between the frame and the wall on the outside and thereby loosening the frame.
With a stiff pointed knife, thin scraper and anything else that would fit in the groove I had created, I started at one corner and patiently dug out the caulking inch by inch, working away from the corner in both directions, until I was able to flex the frame from the inside, over the area that I had removed the caulk from. Once this was done, it became easier as the non-caulked area was increased. I just repeated this along the top and down the sides, until it was loose on three faces. The temptation, of course, then, was to rotate the window from the top to loosen the bottom caulked edge…..DO NOT DO THIS….. the exterior frame trim will snap! For the bottom edge, you should be able to separate the caulked joint working from the inside the salon, sufficiently to get your knife down to separate the caulking and push the whole frame outwards.
Repeat the whole process for the other windows. I managed, with lots of patience and care, to get them out without breaking anything.
Now the plastic window frames on my boat had a one joint seam halfway up the vertical face of one side. My local glass dealer, who, fortunately, also happens to be a neighbour, committed to remove the plexiglass and replace with “real” glass, on a time and charges basis. Overall, it cost me $300 Canadian, which, in “real” money, is considerably less! Incidentally, re-installing the windows was not only easy, but quite rewarding, as it really spruced up the visibility through the window and also the overall appearance of the boat. Oh, one other thing, they didn’t leak anymore!
By the way, the new glass was placed in the outer groove of the frame and bedded in that “black auto window goo” that they use on car windshields….. works just fine
All you need is time and patience….. I hope this little “saga” gives you the confidence to try it yourself!