Brush Seal Retrofit
The original white seal is held in place by the wood trim which effectively sandwiches the white seal into place. For those who don’t know, you can remove the screws from the wood trim and adjust the white seal to make it tighter or further from the camper wall.
I don’t care for the white seal because it leaves a dirty streak on the inside of the camper walls, plus I don’t like how it drags across the face of the windows and windows latches when raising or lowering the lid. XP came up with a brush seal solution that seems like a great upgrade, so I wanted to retrofit my camper. I had been trying to get the brush seals that XP was using directly from them, but that never happened so I came up with my own solution. I don’t know how this solution compares to what they are doing.
I had been told that retrofitting to brush seals was a big job because it involves milling a new profile into the underside of the wood trim. I don’t have time for that kind of project, so I was looking for a simpler solution. These brush seals on Amazon seemed to be the perfect product:
The aluminum flange that holds the brush is the same thickness as the original white seal. This means that the wood trim will cover over the brush seal in the same way that it covers over the white seal. No millwork required. The bristles are silicone which somehow seems better than nylon. The aluminum mostly isn’t going to be visible, but it has a satin finish that I think blends in well with the clean and contemporary aesthetic of the XP interior.
Step 1: Remove the wood trim and set it aside. For the corners, I removed the screws and then used some tape to hold the piece up near the ceiling out of the way. Remove the white seal.
Step 2: I started with the smallest section which is the piece between the door and back right corner of the camper. The brush seal consists of two parts. The bristles are crimped into a small U shaped piece of aluminum. This can be easily bent into a curve to cause the bristles to fan out. The other piece is an aluminum flange with another U channel. The bristle piece slides into the flange piece similar to how the tent fabric slides into the mounting channel around the bed. Separate the two parts of the brush seal and look at the picture that shows the bristles bent into a curve that matches the radius of the inside of the camper shell. Carefully bend the piece without kinking it. I bent it past 90 degrees and then adjusted it a little later in the process. For the other end, I included a picture of how I terminated the brush seal at the door. By bending the bristle channel just right, you can get the bristles to fan out and the end of the bristle channel can remain tucked neatly under the wood trim. This has the benefit of contributing to the weather sealing at the edge of the door and it ensures that the bristle channel is locked into the flange and won’t work its way out over time.
Step 3: Cut the flange piece so that is about 1” shorter on each end than the actual length of the fiberglass ledge. You need the aluminum flange to be cut short enough that it will allow for the bristle piece to bend and also to ensure that sharp corners of the flange don’t damage the inside of the upper half of the shell when raising and lowering. Set the flange such that the bristles are in the right spot against the inside of the shell. Every camper is different so you will need to determine where to set the flange. I ordered two different brush sizes: 0.8” bristles and the 1.6” bristles. This is because the gap that needs to be filled is variable on my camper. Drill pilot holes in the fiberglass “ledge” and install the flange using stainless steel pan head screws. Be careful that the flange doesn’t protrude too far “out” to ensure that it won’t scratch the inside of the camper shell. I chose to set the flange such that the bristle tips are just long enough to reach the wall, as opposed to using really long bristles which would “bend” substantially against the wall. Time will tell if this was a good decision or not. The good thing is that once the flanges are installed, you can easily swap out different bristle lengths by sliding the old bristles out and new ones in.
Step 4: Make sure the crimp on the end of the bristle channel is tight so bristles won’t fall out and then file it smooth (mine had burrs from the factory). You want the bristle channel to be at least 12” longer than the flange that you already cut. Use wire cutters to cut the bristle channel and be certain to check that it’s crimped tight where you cut it. The reason for cutting the bristle channel longer than the flange is that it allows you to bend the channel into the corner radius and then slide a second flange over the end to continue the installation. This way, the seam between flanges and the seam between bristle channels are offset so they can lace together. It’s important that you file the end of the bristle channel crimps because you want to be able to butt the ends of two different pieces together very snugly so that it functions as one continuous length of bristle.
Step 5: You should now have one piece of flange installed between the door and the back left corner, plus a longer piece of bristle channel installed in the flange such that it is curved at the corner and protruding 12” or so across the backside under the big picture window. Slide the next piece of flange over the end of the protruding bristle channel. If you bent the bristle channel greater than 90 degrees so it’s slightly pointing into the interior of the camper, you can use the next piece of flange as leverage to perfect the radius of the bend. I found it was easier to overbend and then correct it once it’s secured in place on one side than to try to get the perfect radius before installing.
Step 6: Enjoy a cold beer. And then keep installing with the staggered pattern. On my camper, the gap in the rear is much smaller than the gap along the side length. I haven’t finished the project yet, but I plan to use the longer bristled pieces I bought for the places with bigger gaps. And maybe even trim the bristle length but I haven’t tried that yet.
no problems reported.
No extra tips reported.