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Skylight problem

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Skylight problem Empty Skylight problem

Post by Magrick on Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:34 pm

Hi, we are new to motorhoming! We seem to have broken the handle on the center skylight of our Broadway. At least it’s not winding Just going round and round and the skylight is not quite fully closed.  Is there a quick fix? Or have we completely mucked it up!,,scratch head
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Post by Gromit on Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:49 pm

Hi

Sorry to be the bearer of (probably) sad tidings, but you may have stuffed it beyond repair.

Ours did the same in France and I took it apart to reveal the mechanism, and found the broken bit. It was obviously quite easily replaceable, and couldn't have cost more than a fiver, but on returning home, "That part is not available separately Sir!!"

So I asked for the complete winder mechanism which is just held on with a number of screws, and the reply was, "Sorry Sir . . . . . . "

In the end, in order to continue using the van quite quickly, I had to have a complete new skylight, which was NOT cheap. If I had been able to spend longer chasing up suppliers I might have sourced the parts, but it looks like they are quite difficult to find.

My suggestion would be to consult your dealer if he's any good, or perhaps better still, get in a mobile fixing bloke. He is more likely to be able (and willing) to do a repair, whereas the dealer might just take the easy way out, and tell you a new skylight is your only option.

Good luck
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Post by marconi on Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:26 pm

I fully agree with Gromit. I didn't want another van with that awful mechanism but had to accept what they fit.

On my last, non AS van I left the vent slightly open and the wind got up, it ripped the vent open and the rain got in and messed up the mechanism. I wont go into details of the mechanism anyone in the know will recognise the engineering fluff used to make it work.

I stood behind another customer at a dealers when he screamed "How MUCH its only a dodgy winding mechanism the rest of the vent is OK". Sorry Sir.........

It is possible to make a repair yourself and have the vent working, I did it and sold the van like it after several years use.

Would you believe the default position for the vent with the mechanism gone wrong is fully open. After my repair it defaults to fully closed, you do have to use your hand to assist the lifting while you wind, but don't you feel the need to do that anyway, I know I do on a brand new one.

All you have to do is remove the top, clear bit, and remove all the counter balance springs in the mechanism. It still goes up and down assisted and holds in a reasonable wind, no longer is the winder having to continually fight opposite forces from the springs and it locks shut too.

When its playing up try not to use it too much as the two sides will get our of step due to the pull of those springs ripping the cable through the gearbox.

New gearboxes are available but quite expensive and Dealers will deny their existence as Gromit says. They are not difficult to fit.
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Post by Gromit on Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:38 pm

marconi wrote: . . . . you do have to use your hand to assist the lifting while you wind, but don't you feel the need to do that anyway, I know I do on a brand new one.
Spot on Marconi.  up!

In fact I had just come back to add that to my post. I'm certain the main reason they break is the excessive force needed to lift the bubble if you only use the winder. Having seen the mechanism at close quarters, I suspect it was designed by one Michael Mouse!!  Whistle1

If you can't reach to help it up, and most people won't be able to, use something like a short length of walking stick with the rubber foot on the end to protect the plastic.

Dave
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Post by marconi on Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:44 pm

Gromit wrote:
marconi wrote: . . . . you do have to use your hand to assist the lifting while you wind, but don't you feel the need to do that anyway, I know I do on a brand new one.
Spot on Marconi.  up!

In fact I had just come back to add that to my post. I'm certain the main reason they break is the excessive force needed to lift the bubble if you only use the winder. Having seen the mechanism at close quarters, I suspect it was designed by one Michael Mouse!!  Whistle1

If you can't reach to help it up, and most people won't be able to, use something like a short length of walking stick with the rubber foot on the end to protect the plastic.

Dave

Yes I thought it was the Mad Apprentice who was let loose on it. In fact lots of Caravan and Motorhome fixtures and fittings are designers from the same loony bin, just look a Whale stuff.
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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Tue Aug 18, 2020 4:19 pm

Is it a Heki 3 skylight? Seem to be lots of spare bits available here, if you know what is bust.

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Post by gemdeco on Tue Aug 18, 2020 4:26 pm

Hi
    The winding mechanism on our Gloucester broke it was a really simple fix, nothing to to with gearboxs etc.the plastic part on the winding handle the octanginal drive had rounded off about £7.00 including postage, be brave and take it apart,maybe leave it until the end of summer
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Post by gemdeco on Tue Aug 18, 2020 4:26 pm

Hi
    The winding mechanism on our Gloucester broke it was a really simple fix, nothing to to with gearboxs etc.the plastic part on the winding handle the octanginal drive had rounded off about £7.00 including postage, be brave and take it apart,maybe leave it until the end of summer
regards
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Post by Magrick on Tue Aug 18, 2020 4:39 pm

Thanks for all the replies. Very helpful although as you’ve said we seem to have made an expensive muck up. Shame there aren’t videos on YouTube that might help and tell you how it might be possible to repair things - not necessarily this,  but I’m sure we’ll probably end up breaking something else!
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Post by Paramedic on Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:18 pm

Appreciate this is after your event, but the damage likely caused by the perspex skylight adhering to the surrounding rubber seal. This usually happens if the skylight hasn't been open for some time. It can be mitigated in part by regularly applying a lubricant grease and always apply gentle upward pressure with your finger tips of on hand as you operate the winter with the other.

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Post by Pete Taylor on Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:39 pm

The skylight on our Stanton has become slightly "juddery" of late; it's 2014 and I've never thought to lubricate it. It is a Remis unit and has always felt less robust than the Heki unit we had in our Topaz.

It appears to be the sliders on the end of the lifting arms sticking slightly in their channel; I've given a quirt of WD40 and we'll see how it goes.

Hope you get sorted Magrick.


Last edited by Pete Taylor on Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:02 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Magrick on Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:49 pm

Just found two videos on YouTube about fixing a remis skylight (which I’ve found out is what we have on our Broadway)   Not good at attaching links but if anyone else has this problem then just search ‘fixing a remis skylight’. 
Hope this helps anyone else brave enough to ‘do it yourself’.
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Post by Spospe on Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:05 pm

here you go:

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and

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Post by Molly3 on Wed Aug 19, 2020 12:38 am

Mine collapsed  on my nuevo   the winding mechanism  was changed  under warranty  not the whole  skylight , the dealer had the parts in stock , done while  I waited  ,about 3 hours  . S M C  motorhomes  Newark . A few months  later the fridge died  also replaced  on their warranty
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Post by marconi on Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:03 am

Pete Taylor wrote:The skylight on our Stanton has become slightly "juddery" of late; it's 2014 and I've never thought to lubricate it. It is a Remis unit and has always felt less robust than the Heki unit we had in our Topaz.

It appears to be the sliders on the end of the lifting arms sticking slightly in their channel; I've given a quirt of WD40 and we'll see how it goes.

Hope you get sorted Magrick.
Be careful with the WD40, oil, grease or even water near the cables and gear box on the Remis Skylight. The whole thing depends on friction, there are nylon hairs bonded to the cables to increase the friction, whilst it works. Wonderful engineering.

Of course we all know that a skylight will never get water dust and dirt in it.
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Post by IanH on Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:28 am

Pete Taylor wrote:The skylight on our Stanton has become slightly "juddery" of late; it's 2014 and I've never thought to lubricate it. It is a Remis unit and has always felt less robust than the Heki unit we had in our Topaz.

It appears to be the sliders on the end of the lifting arms sticking slightly in their channel; I've given a quirt of WD40 and we'll see how it goes.

Hope you get sorted Magrick.
Pete

Bit late now but I wouldn't have used WD40!
This is used far too often as an "easy fix", a much better, and safer option is to use a silicone spray, Lidl's have had some good ones recently but they're easily available

A very thin smear of silicone grease on the rubber seal is good too, the plastic and rubber seem to love sticking to each other, also, as someone else said, pushing the skylight up at the same time as turning the handle, especially after long periods on none use, is a good plan too

up!
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Post by Spospe on Wed Aug 19, 2020 4:51 pm

IanH wrote:
pushing the skylight up at the same time as turning the handle, especially after long periods on none use, is a good plan too
up!

100% agree and also supporting the skylight as it closes the last few inches (this helps if the winding mechanism has some minor damage as a  result of the skylight being wrenched open in windy weather).
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Post by marconi on Wed Aug 19, 2020 7:09 pm

Spospe wrote:
IanH wrote:
pushing the skylight up at the same time as turning the handle, especially after long periods on none use, is a good plan too
up!

100% agree and also supporting the skylight as it closes the last few inches (this helps if the winding mechanism has some minor damage as a  result of the skylight being wrenched open in windy weather).

Very True. The Heki with the manual push up handle is much better, particularly when we feel have to push/pull the Remis anyway. I told the Sales, I will have to accept the Remis and get ready to replace it with a Heki.

With the Remis Skylight you get very little winder trouble if you you don't use it. Just leaks at the roof when the corners warp up being between two clamps pulling the sides down. I had that on the last van and already on the Nuevo at 9 months old.

Quoting John Cleese again in the trade Customer Service Videos, where he plays a Service Engineer. "You have been using this haven't you"
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Post by Pete Taylor on Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:48 pm

marconi wrote:
Pete Taylor wrote:The skylight on our Stanton has become slightly "juddery" of late; it's 2014 and I've never thought to lubricate it. It is a Remis unit and has always felt less robust than the Heki unit we had in our Topaz.

It appears to be the sliders on the end of the lifting arms sticking slightly in their channel; I've given a quirt of WD40 and we'll see how it goes.

Hope you get sorted Magrick.
Be careful with the WD40, oil, grease or even water near the cables and gear box on the Remis Skylight. The whole thing depends on friction, there are nylon hairs bonded to the cables to increase the friction, whilst it works. Wonderful engineering.

Of course we all know that a skylight will never get water dust and dirt in it.
Marconi; I'm afraid that you are totally wrong; don't know where you got your information from. The mechanism is a tubular rack and pinion (as used in car windscreen-wiper mechanisms sine the 1930s), it depends upon a gear being in mesh with the rack; nothing to do with friction drive. The bristles are purely there to carry lubricant, backwards and forwards, in the tube... to reduce friction! With a wiper-mechanism application, this lubrication happens regularly, with a skylight, not so often, hence the sticking. 
Regarding WD40; I've been familiar with the formulation of this water-dispersant/lubricant (read the small print on the can) for 40+ years in industrial/motor-racing applications. 
Chinese "Silicone" snake-oils are available just about anywhere- use with caution; I've never seen a LIDL can in a motorsport paddock. These liquids can turn to sticky "goo". Buy wisely, pay the extra quid.

Pete. C.Eng. M.IMechE.   drinksallround

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Post by marconi on Thu Aug 20, 2020 12:07 am

Pete Taylor wrote:
marconi wrote:
Pete Taylor wrote:The skylight on our Stanton has become slightly "juddery" of late; it's 2014 and I've never thought to lubricate it. It is a Remis unit and has always felt less robust than the Heki unit we had in our Topaz.

It appears to be the sliders on the end of the lifting arms sticking slightly in their channel; I've given a quirt of WD40 and we'll see how it goes.

Hope you get sorted Magrick.
Be careful with the WD40, oil, grease or even water near the cables and gear box on the Remis Skylight. The whole thing depends on friction, there are nylon hairs bonded to the cables to increase the friction, whilst it works. Wonderful engineering.

Of course we all know that a skylight will never get water dust and dirt in it.
Marconi; I'm afraid that you are totally wrong; don't know where you got your information from. The mechanism is a tubular rack and pinion (as used in car windscreen-wiper mechanisms sine the 1930s), it depends upon a gear being in mesh with the rack; nothing to do with friction drive.

That's interesting Pete.

I got my information from practical experience on the one I took apart and got working again.

I didn't mean to imply that it was a friction drive. It was very poorly made, the gearbox was much smaller and flimsy compared with the current models, as I have seen in the one on the Nuevo. Time will tell if it works better and lasts longer.

The nylon hairs increased the diameter of the cable (like a Bowden Cable) which lay across the back of the plastic gearbox, shaped so at that at the center point it was pushed by the hairs against the gear to apply pressure hardly a proper mesh. Without the hairs the cable was too thin and would never touch the gear. The gear teeth didn't appear to be worn.
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