1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Helm Windshield is Finally Done

After a long string of problems, I finally got the last windshield installed at the helm. My windshield trials and tribulations started when I disassembled the original helm windshield and found a bunch of broken bits and pieces. I also had to make new parts to replace the center opening windshield frame, which had been removed and replaced with a sheet of plexiglass by a previous owner. I ordered new tempered glass. Then, just when I had the original windshield ready to paint and reinstall, the bastard thieves burglarized my tent, clearing out many tens of thousands of dollars worth of tools, supplies, and original parts, including several of the heavy windshield frame extrusions. Fortunately, my insurance covered the loss, and I commissioned a new windshield frame. But the fabricator ultimately wasn’t up to the task, and I had to break open the paint to repair damage he caused and to make the boat fit the new frame. With new paint on the hard top and dashboard and the new windshield frame painted in metalic black Awl Grip, things were finally looking pretty good. I ordered new windshields from Motion Windows because their design is absolutely the best in the industry. But, as with the bow seat windows I ordered from them, their design is great but Motion Windows’ execution is a problem. Specifically, they oversized five out of the six windows I ordered. A little bit smaller than specified isn’t a problem, but the worst of the window clamp rings was 3/16″ too big to fit in the window opening. After their first unprofessional, insulting response, I stopped payment and waited to see what they would do. When the boss at Motion contacted me, I explained that it doesn’t matter if you’ve got the best product design in the world if you can’t nail the implementation. We went back and forth a few times before they finally agreed to make new clamp rings to within 1/8″ of my specification. I carefully measured again and then waited. Finally, the new rings arrived…and they were too damned big. But not so ridiculously big that I couldn’t modify them to make them fit. But seriously…are you kidding me?!?!

OK…rant over. Now it’s picture time.

Motion Windows' frame and trim ring extrusions...a brilliant design

Motion Windows’ frame and trim ring extrusions…a brilliant design

The window frames (the more complex extrusion on top in the pic above) rest inside the window opening. The clamp/trim rings screw into the frame extrusion from inside the window opening, clamping the window into the opening with no screws on the exterior. The extrusion on the right was for the big center opening windshield, and the trim ring stays outside of the window opening. On the left is the extrusion they used for the port and starboard helm windshield frames. The L-shaped portion of the clamp ring where the screws go through fits inside the window opening…unless, of course, the clamp ring is made too big.

The clamp rings arrived nicely wrapped

The clamp rings arrived nicely wrapped

Lining up a new trim ring with the first one Motion sent

Lining up a new trim ring with the first one Motion sent

On the far end, you can see how oversized the first ring was

On the far end, you can see how oversized the first ring was: 3/16″ oversized

Some corner welds look pretty good

Some corner welds look pretty good

38-15/16", just like I ordered

38-15/16″, just like I ordered

Both of the trim rings had at least one dimension that was exactly as I ordered, which tells me Motion Windows can manufacture their windows accurately.

But other corner welds are relatively big blobs

But other corner welds are relatively big blobs that stick out too far

34-11/16″ (heavy) ≠ 34-9/16″ ±1/16…oversized again!

Trim ring doesn't fit on a corner

Trim ring doesn’t fit on a corner of the window opening

It’s frustrating that, once again, Motion Windows oversized the trim rings. The weld blobs were a problem before, too, with the bow seat windows. If they’d just dress them a bit with a grinder, as they clearly do with the weld along the face of the extrusion, I suspect the rings would fit fine. So I took a cutoff wheel to the new trim, breaking open the brand new powder coat in the process. That gives aluminum oxidation a place to start, but what else can I do?

I cringe when I break open brand new, perfect aluminum coatings to fix manufacturing flaws

I cringe when I break open brand new, perfect aluminum coatings to fix manufacturing flaws

Corner #1 shaved

Corner #1 shaved

and #2

and #2

And #3

And #3

With the corners shaved, the trim fits in the hole. I quickly applied Sikaflex to the bare aluminum. Hopefully, that will keep oxidation from loosening up the powder coat.

The helm window frame has been taped and ready for window install for almost two months

The helm window frame has been taped and ready for window install for almost two months

A generous application of Sikaflex 291 LOT on the window frame

A generous application of Sikaflex 291 LOT on the window frame

Flip the window into the opening, then squeegee off the caulk that squeezes out

Flip the window into the opening, then squeegee off the caulk that squeezes out

A dab of Sikaflex on each clamp ring screw should help keep the aluminum sealed as the stainless screws drive home

A dab of Sikaflex on the trim screws helps keep the aluminum sealed as the screws drive home

Pulling the tape

Pulling the tape

Looks good!

Looks good!

Final wipe down cleans up the last of the Sikaflex

Final wipe down cleans up the last of the Sikaflex

Oh...one last thing

Oh…one last thing

Much better

Much better

Finally, the helm windshield is done!

Finally, the helm windshield is done!

 The lesson learned here is that Motion Windows has an excellent concept for their windows, but they consistently oversize their product with sloppy cuts and blobby welds. Maybe they’re better with windows that only have 90° or radiused corners.  Either way, I’m glad the windows are finally in and I can put a check in that box. Once I fill a few more holes, I’ll be able to wash the boat since she’s looking pretty sad from all the dust. In the mean time, I’ve got to keep moving forward if we’re going to splash later this year.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Exhaust V

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10 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Helm Windshield is Finally Done

  1. Chooses to be anonymous says:

    did you fix the starboard clamp ring that was over sized and didn’t fit all the screw holes the first time you put in the windshields or is that still a live with it for now?

  2. William B. Kelleher says:

    What did you do about the dumb handles and gas struts on the center window ?

    Bill Kelleher

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      The dumb handles and gas struts are still there. I’m really focusing on getting things done that have to happen for the boat to splash. I can live with the goofy window parts for a while.
      Cheers,
      Q

  3. Kenny King says:

    Look forward to reading about your progress and personal comments!!!!

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