The last few weeks, my assistant, Talia, and I have been restoring the aluminum framed jalousie louvered windows. We're doing windows first because they are independent of the wood framing. We've got some more help with framing and wood construction after Mardi Gras (Feb 13), so we can find other important tasks to work on!
The windows were easy to remove, other than a few screws rusted beyond normal removal. Once they popped out of the walls, we deconstructed the aluminum frames by removing the few screws that secured them, then using a mallet or hammer to carefully tap the frame and old, hard gaskets away from the glass. The deconstructed frames revealed three different, very specific rubber gaskets sealing the lines where aluminum meets glass - so how do I replace these?? Amazingly, I found some great sources for gaskets custom-made to match vintage camper windows. I figured out the era and manufacturer of my Prowler windows, and ordered the right amounts to cover all 6 window units.
Now that the windows are deconstructed, Talia and I have been using all kinds of abrasive brushes and tools to clean the considerable crusty bits off the aluminum frames. It's taking a lot of arm work! The glass gets cleaned with vinegar and razors to truly clean the water stains off, then a brand new gasket gets wrapped around the perimeter of the glass. The sparkling clean aluminum jalousie louver frame edges are dipped in soapy water for lubrication, and then gently tapped back into place over the gasket, so aluminum and glass are never in contact. Then these glass units are re-screwed into the larger frame with the moving brackets. The whole window is now resealed and sparkling clean, and can go back into the old spaces, until the windows are re-framed with the rest of the camper.
What a satisfactory difference between old, grimy, corroded and cloudy windows, and the polished, cleaned and repaired ones!! The windows are relatively cosmetic, and are using a significant amount of money and time, but this level of care will make sure the Prowler functions at its best, and looks glamorous as hell. I am also glad to get our hands dirty first with something a little less consequential than the wood frame. Small wins still hit like wins!