No, not the computer kind. Land Rover windows.
Probabaly every Series Land rover owner knows the problem. Although Land Rover did many great things when developing the Series Land Rover, one of the things that wasn’t so good was the design of the window runners for the sliding glass windows. Old school technology even when the vehicles first came out in the late 50’s, these are basically felt covered thin steel channels with a U-shaped cross section, sitting in the window frames, supposedly acting as a weatherproof seal and allowing the windows to slide back and forth. Great concept for use in the dessert, but in the typically miserable British weather. prone to trapping moisture and debris and rapidly rusting out. I think typically, most window strips last about 10 years before requiring replacement. Unfortunately, what this does is then allow water to seep into the door frames (or doors if you have a station wagon), accelerating corrosion of the window and door frames. It also means that the windows don’t slide easily and results in a shower of rust everytime you slam the door.
Since Libby is a LWB station wagon, she was prone to suffer from this more than other Landies, simply because she has six sets of sliding windows. When she rejoined me me here in the US, all the windows were loose and to be honest, the front door window frames were completly rusted out. It was time to take action!
The easiest option would have been to scoop out the debris, obtain some new strips (which atre cheap and easy to obtain), glue them back in and forget about it. However, this wouldn’t really solve the problem. The water leakage (and resulting corrosion) would continue and I would end up doing the job again in a few years time. However, there is a far superior (abeilt more expensive) alternative. These are Rocky Mountain Products window tracks and door tops! They are far superior to the OEM ones and work extremly well. Plus, being made out of stout rubber and anodised aluminium, they are less likely to corrode and disintrigate when wet.
The first set of windows I tackled were the rear ones. These were extremly loose and I was worried about them falling out! I was put on to Rocky Mountain products by reading TeriAnn Wakeman’s Green Rover website. For those of you who have not encountered it, it is a good read. In it she details in considerable detail her experiences in living with her elderly series II LWB Dormobile Camper and her extensive modifications to it to turn it into a reliable long range expedition vehicle, which she has taken all across the US and from Mexico to Canada. Although she has extensivly modified the Green Rover to suit it’s current purpose, these are well thought out modifications and upgrades, done for a purpose and and not to make the vehicle more aggressive. Well worth a read and some of the expedition pictures are superb.
Anyhow, in her website, she details how she went about replacing her side window chanels with Rocky Mountain ones, which are essentially follow the instructions as supplied by RM. So, thinking this was a good idea, I went ahead and ordered a kit, which basically consisted of six lengths of rubber double channel window strips enclosed in an aluminum surround, and a bag of stainless steel screws.
The channels have to be cut to the appropriate length, but one kit will do two side windows. I obtained my kits direct from RM Products in Canada, but they are available from their UK distributor, Rocky Mountain Spares, (though it seems like in the UK you are paying the numerical equivalent in pounds sterling to what I paid in dollars!).
I won’t go into adnauseum detail on the complete procedure, since it is clearly explained on TeriAnn’s site and in the RM instructions. I basically follows the instructions to the letter and installed the tracks in my rear windows in just a couple of hours. Basically remove the windows (take very good care NOT to lose the metal part in the window catch – it falls out easily. Ask me how I know!). Remove the old window strips, which was relatively easy as they were so rusted, they basically fell out. A harder job was removing the old screws, but basically these eventually came out by being unscrwed with some pliers! The aluminum drip tray was removed, emptied and cleaned up and the drain holes cleaned out and re-sealed to the bodywork. After refitting the newly cleaned and emptied galvanised drip tray, the new tracks were cut to the correct length with a small chop saw, ensuring a tight fit in the intended location. The new tracks were installed in sequence (bottom, top, front side and rear side if I recall correctly) using both the stainless steel screws supplied, as well as some Black Permatex adhesive to provide a watertight flexible seal between the window track and the bodywork. I actually added some clear sealant to the top of this joint between the bodywork and the tracks, just to make extra sure everything was sealed and waterproof. One thing to note is that when installing the screws, you need to eacavate a little of the rubber to allow it to sit down tight below the bottom of the glass window pane, otherwise you won’t be able to install the windows correctly.
I did have some pictures taken during this procedure, but do you think I can find them? Oh No. If they ever turn up, I will add them to this page. However, here is the final product.
Ok, difficult to see I know, but this window is now tighly sealed against water. The drain holes work as they should and no water gets inside. The only thing that I would say is that the windows are a lot stiffer to slide back and forth, but I found that running a bar of soap along the channels made things slide a little easier. However, that is a small price to pay for a dryer interior.
I was very happy with this repair and modifications. Although I generally keep Libby in fairly original condition, this was one mofofication / upgrade I was happy to perform. Despite the extra cost, I think it was well worth it. So much so, that in fact I did the cntre door windows as well, but that is a story for another day.
The Window track kit is designed for the rear sliding windows of an Landy. However, I have also used it on my centre door windows and I’m fairly certain that it could be installed in the rear sliding window of the truck-cab version, so it is fairly versatile.
Tommorrow, dealing with the middle doors and replacing the front window tops.