Restoration Reports 2007

May 2007: This work session started out with a bit of fun: I got to ride St. Nicholas Mountain for the first time! A switch move was needed to move the car to a more accessible location for the work session. The ride took a mere 10 minutes but the car sure rode nice...very nice...exactly as people who used to work on these Mountain cars report.

    With the car at the desired location work continued on replacing windows. Good friend Eric Hopp (owner of GN 1146) came out for most of the week and was a great help. A total of six windows were replaced; the second vestibule door window, the left side roomette (finally I got the most stubborn - and damaged -window of them all out!), three tall windows on the right side and the first of the round end windows. The latter proved to be interesting as it's a straight window on a curved car body. It employs an aluminum filler piece to fill out the space between the standard straight Adlake sash and the curved car body. We needed to experiment a bit with different brands of rope caulk to find a good product that wasn't too thick, but flexible enough to seal between the sash and the filler piece. We settled on Homax #18 Window and Door Caulk for its thin cross-section.

    The two windows between the patches were easy to take out. Once out they revealed major rust in the window sill area. Most of it concerning the mounting flanges of the window sash. These sills needed a lot of attention to make them work. Due to bulging of the outer skin in the same area a perfect seal could not be made between the sash and the car body gasket. Eric laboriously filled the remaining gap with Windo-Weld caulk to prevent more water from getting in the wall. For now this stop-gap measure will do until permanent repairs can be made (replacement of steel).

    When the last window went in we discovered a disturbing fact; the green tint on this window was very noticeably lighter than all the other windows and as such distracting from the overall looks of the car. Strangely enough the pane came from the same order as the other panes we had used this week. Apparently within the batch of Makrolon sheets used to manufacture my order different tints existed. I will contact the supplier to see how to correct this.

    Besides windows we also installed some of the missing hardware in the vestibule area and repainted two of the pinstripes on the left side. These will be replaced in the future by a full paintjob of course, but they sure make the car look a lot better already, and it sure was a nice break from doing windows. All but one of the cracked windows have been replaced now and we're down to doing nine more windows plus three to be newly installed when the patches have been permanently repaired.


October 2007: Due to an overly busy schedule I only managed to come out for another five days to work on St. Nicholas Mountain. In these five days I replaced three tall windows.

    First though, I had to solve the tint issue mentioned in the May report. I contacted the supplier to address the issue and was asked to determine how many more panes there were of the lighter tint. I compared all remaining panes with each other and luckily only found one other pane with the light tint. Together with the supplier we determined that they must have been cut from the same sheet. I sent the supplier a sample of the correct tint and they looked through their supply of sheets and found a few sheets very close to the desired tint. Total Plastics kindly cut two replacement panes and shipped them out for free. Great service! The one lighter pane already installed is at one of the window sill rust problem areas. It will be replaced when that window will be removed for repair of the window sill. One lesson learned through all this is that there is a wide range of tints that meet the manufacturer's specification for a color. When ordering it's good to discuss this with the supplier to avoid problems like the one stated here.

    Not surprisingly the window to the rear of the small patch had extensive rust problems in the sill area, similar to the two windows located between the two patches (see the May report), slowing work down considerably. The mounting flange at the bottom of the frame is a riveted-down angle iron. Expanding rust had lifted this angle so high above the window sill that the screw holes in the window frame did not line up with the sash anymore. As a temporary measure I grinded down the mounting flange until the window sash sat down correctly again. Some enlarging of the screw holes in the bottom mounting flange and using larger size screws made it possible to securely attach the sash again. When the car gets to the repair shop I'll have all three window sills repaired. Left to do now are the five "curved" windows at the observation end and one roomette window.

    I also completed the striping job on the "good" side of the car by adding the top stripe. I continued all stripes until the opposite end of the round-end door. Please check out the photos in the Restoration Gallery to see how the car looks now. I for one think she looks a lot better with the pin stripes (even though it is nothing near to the real Great Northern paint scheme yet).


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