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Bubble Window Replacement on Mirage


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Greetings all! As of a few days ago I was not even aware that Toyota Motorhomes existed! So, yes, I am new here and contemplating a 1986 Mirage. I have long been a fan of the 22RE and currently drive a so-so rusty '88 4runner all over the country doing art fairs. This is what I would be using the Mirage for.

So...bubble window over front passenger side is out - how best to replace it and with what? Do I scour junk yards across the country or is their an aftermarket replacement? Do I make my own with plexi and a heat gun?

Tires: do I want 195's or 185's? Does it matter alot? The mirage is gutted and will hold my art show stuff which may be around 500lbs? For Mirage do I def. want D class?

I need a larger vehicle (than the 4runner) to hold my show stuff and get me around reliably: it's either the Mirage, a Sienna mini-van or (ugh) a ford cargo van. Any thoughts...?

Thanks for all the info!

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Greetings all! As of a few days ago I was not even aware that Toyota Motorhomes existed! So, yes, I am new here and contemplating a 1986 Mirage. I have long been a fan of the 22RE and currently drive a so-so rusty '88 4runner all over the country doing art fairs. This is what I would be using the Mirage for.

So...bubble window over front passenger side is out - how best to replace it and with what? Do I scour junk yards across the country or is their an aftermarket replacement? Do I make my own with plexi and a heat gun?

Tires: do I want 195's or 185's? Does it matter alot? The mirage is gutted and will hold my art show stuff which may be around 500lbs? For Mirage do I def. want D class?

I need a larger vehicle (than the 4runner) to hold my show stuff and get me around reliably: it's either the Mirage, a Sienna mini-van or (ugh) a ford cargo van. Any thoughts...?

Thanks for all the info!

There are no after market windows for the Mirage. I did have a guy on one of my other groups that had enough left of his to make a mold and then made a new one using a friends commercial oven. I asked him if he would be willing to make them for others but got no answer so I guess he's not interested. You would be on your own there. As far as tires it depends on if there are duallies in the back or not. If so your probably better off with the d load range 185's. No reason to go to 195's as they are usually much more money. If you can find them 195/75/14's would work but they are not as durable and the more flexible sidewalls make for a rougher ride. Yes most people think the stiffer sidewalls of the D's are rougher but trust me they are not. More flex means more bounce.

LS

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  • 2 weeks later...

Someone posted a similar topic a couple days ago. If your a DIYer, you might be able to make your own.

"... Plexi and a heat gun..."

Your on the right track, but I don't think the heat gun will work for something this large. Look at this link and scroll down near the bottom for a short writeup I did.

http://toyotamotorhome.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=4930

John Mc

88 Dolphin 4 Auto

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as someone who buys and sells a few cars a year for profit

one model Ive found that can bee gotten that is extremely reliable, but very hard to work on, is the toyota previa.

no offense to anyone but the demographic of the owner of the car is likely to want to get rid of it for nothing.

On the other hand I dont like most minivans at all, and the sienna ends up costing a lot for some reason.

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Ive been looking for a bubble window for a long time. Guess you have to make one or remove and patch with fiberglass as others have done . But you lose the cool look. Curious how much are they asking for it and how many miles?

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If I understand correctly, this rig is going to be set up to be used like a cargo van, not a camper. Considering it's gutted condition, and intended use, I'd take out the existing window frame, frame it in just like the wall around it, and then patch the exterior skin right over it. Quick and dirty is the way to go here. There's no sense restoring the rig to original condition if you don't need it to be a nice camper when you're done.

Edited by Giant in a Shoebox
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Yes, I would be using it as a cargo van - but I would also be using the bunk to sleep in and love the bubble windows, so would never dream of patching over it. I heat forge lexan in my art work - so would remake a window.

The rig I was considering ended up being a complete abused nightmare! The seller was very deceptive and there were tons of issues. ($1400 Mirage - 88K -Nashville C.L.) Waste of 2 days drive and expense.

Still looking for a Mirage if anyone finds one let me know!

Thanks for all the advice!

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  • 9 months later...

Greetings all! I've recently acquired a mini in decent shape, sans bubble windows of course. This prompted me to create my own through much trial and error, and I still have the molds. Assuming their aren't major differences between yours and mine and you still have the weatherstripping, I might be able to make these for others. Drop a line if interested!

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Yes, I'd be interested in replacement windows for a Mirage! I don't have one quite yet but let me know more info! You mentioned you have a mini - is that a mini Mirage? I didn't think they had the same bubble windows??

Olive

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Response to Olive:

Yes I do have a mirage with the bubble windows, to make them is quite the involved process. I'm not sure if the moderator would like it if I gave out my contact info, as I am more than willing to work something out with anyone interested.

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Response to Olive:

Yes I do have a mirage with the bubble windows, to make them is quite the involved process. I'm not sure if the moderator would like it if I gave out my contact info, as I am more than willing to work something out with anyone interested.

I'm a moderator and I say give us what you got. I know a few who have figured out how to make them and none of them have offered to do it for others. I'm all for resourses that can help people maintain and save these wonderful little motorhomes

Linda S

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I need um too! ...But was thinking of getting rid of my Mirage?? Mirage will hold plenty but will go slower than other vehicles suggested. I get 17-18 MPG so gutted it should go faster and better mpg. But what medium do you work in. If ceramic or metal you might consider other vehicles. I'm all for more Mirage's out on the road. So get one.I love when I see another!

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Are you looking to sell your Mirage? If so, give details. Looking for auto trans with OD and AC! Does it have upgraded axle? Where are you located?

Currently I do fiber sculpture - soft sculpture in vintage wooden shaddow boxes from old soda crates and sewing machine drawers. Not too heavy - with my tent and display walls maybe 500lbs?

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I was thinking about selling it. It does have auto trans with overdrive which you should never use only downhill. It had aftermarket a/c in it but when I changed engine 15 years ago it came out. It does NOT have fully floating axle but may have upgraded axle being an 85. Quite rusty living in RI. Never left me stranded ...except when I run out of gas. I think when new gas tank went in low gas light didn't get hooked up. Its seen all lower 48

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Ok... here goes nothing. I'll sell them for $75 a piece or you can follow these instructions and modify them how you like. If you're interested in skipping the process email me at gild0019@gmail.com. First you take your cracked bubbled windows out. You can do this by removing the spline that holds the acrylic windows in, thats the plastic rope-like stuff in the middle of the rubber weatherstripping around the circumference of window imbedded in the rubber itself. Pull it out gently, and be careful not to tear it. Then you can pry the acrylic bubble portion out using a putty knife - again be very careful as you need the old window to cast the mold. Once you have done this it's a good idea to seal the rather large hole. I did with heavy poly and duct tape but cleaning the duct tape residue off before reinstallation is a huge pain! (I did this all outside in the rainy season) Once the bubble (and/or center) windows are out, you can now cast the molds. On the smaller side bubble windows I mixed up mortar mix (found at any hardware store) and poured this into the inner side of the window with shrink wrap as a buffer between the acrylic window and the mortar mix. (mortar mix is essentially concrete without the aggregate - i.e. a very fine concrete) With the center window I had to build a wooden jig to prevent the mold from bowing outward. (the center window takes much more mortar to create and becomes heavy enough to distend the center window out of the intended geometry - hence the wooden framework) Let the molds at least dry overnight - mortar mix is intended for use between bricks and becomes very brittle when you set a large portion of it. The maximum thickness of these molds are about and inch for the side window molds and about three inches on the center window mold. If the mold tapers too thin on the edges it will crumble away with little force. As you are letting the molds cure, you need to source the acrylic. I found a 30" by 60" sheet of bronzed (tinted) .125" (1/8") acrylic at Menards. An easy way to rough out the dimensions of each window is to create a template by cutting and forming paper to the old windows. (Make sure to label them inner/outer and passenger/driver because they are not reversible!) Now use this flat piece of paper to trace out the new windows on your new acrylic sheet - leave the protective backing on the new acrylic. (it's ok if the templates are an 1/8 inch or so too large because you'll have to trim the final product anyway - make sure to label those too!) Cut out the traced portions of acrylic with a fine toothed blade using a jigsaw or scroll saw. (careful here too - these types of saws love to scratch or crack the new acrylic) Now you should have three molds and three flat pieces of acrylic. Place bubbled side up one mold at a time in your oven (yes the oven in your kitchen) with a small block of wood under it to prevent damaging the mold. 275 degrees seemed to be the sweet spot. (any higher temperature will distort or melt the acrylic any lower takes longer) Heat the mold for 20 to 30 minutes (or longer) to equilibrate the mold temp to the oven temp. (concrete is a massive heat sink - my molds were still warm the next day!) Once the mold has reached the operating temperature remove the protective backing (its on both sides of the acrylic!) and center your cut-out acrylic on the mold and shut the oven door. This isn't like baking a cake so feel free to open the oven to check the progress - it should take roughly twenty minutes for the new acrylic to heat up and form to the mold. Don't leave it in there too long as distortions can and will occur. Two options at this point, open the oven door and turn the oven off letting the acrylic cool with the mold (susceptible to springback -you'll find out what I mean if you go this route) or pull the acrylic off the mold (it's going to be soft and pliable) and place it in the old acrylic window to verify the geometry. Once you pull it out of the oven it sets in about ten seconds so be quick (and careful) about it. You can heat it multiple times but the more you do increases potential for distortions and imperfections. After you're satisfied with the results you'll need to trim the edges of the newly minted windows with some sort of sander - I used a little bench mounted belt sander. Clean up the rubber weatherstripping and put them in the same way you took them out. I used black RTV silicone for insurance against leaks. Use polycarbonate if you like but most polycarbonate it clear so not only will you have to tint it manually, it may not respond to heat like the acrylic does. I'm sure there will be questions - I'll try to answer them the best I can. Sounds easy right? Good luck!

Matt

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Matt,

Thank you, that is great info! I do not have my Mirage yet, but when I do ........ So you are willing to sell the bubble windows for $75 each is that correct?

I use lexan in my work - but with a small dap and die set - have made a larger bubble in oven once - but it was far from perfect.

Olive

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 8 years later...

Hey guys and girls I just fell in love with the Maroge myself I sourced one here in Massachusetts I bought it today spent way too much money because it needs way too much work but I don’t know why I can just picture myself in this thing so a couple of questions does anyone know a source for a new window gasket the rubber on the one I bought looks very very cracked and old and it is caked with silicone all over it looks very ugly it obviously leaked the Thisis is a huge thing does anyone know if this camper body can be Lifted off the truck so I can roll another SR5 under it or at least repair the frame

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Show me pics close up of inside and out so I can tell more about the shape of it. Probably similar to Sunrader window gasket but there is no sure way to tell unless you remove a window. clean some of that gunk off first if it covers the rubber. This would be my guess

TRIM-LOK - LK1179-25 Trim-Lok EPDM Dense Rubber Window Locking Gasket – Fits 1/4” Glass and 1/8” Panel Edge, 25’ Length – Two-Piece Locking System (Inline), Weather Stripping Seal for Stationary Windows or Windshields: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific

Key to lock it in

Trim-Lok LK937-25 EPDM Dense Rubber Black Window Locking Gasket, Mates up with Dual Piece Locking Gaskets, Dense EPDM Rubber, 25' Length: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific

This stuff isn't cheap. Better to try to get some thicknesses measured. plexi and coach body

 

Mirage motorhomes were built on Toyotas Nissans Chevy S10 and Ford Rangers. The shell had to be built separately and installed on the vehicle. Probably screws into the overhead of truck and bolts securing it to frame at the bottom. You'd have to track and label all wiring. Not an easy job but it could be done

Linda S

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Unfortunately, I can't honestly say. It's so gunked up. It looks wider than anything I have come across before. How wide is it on the outside? Inside looks just like my Sunrader. If the outside width is close I would go with the seals I posted. Just be sure you never work on the windows unless they are warm. Park in the sun first. Old plexi get brittle especially when cold. I'll measure width of my Sunrader gasket tomorrow and post it

Linda S

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I’ll put a tape measure on it in and outside today and post it here. And thank you for the heads up on the cold!! I never would have thought about that!!!!

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Posted (edited)

What is that  on the inside 1.5/8ths and 7/8 on the outside I haven’t had a chance to get my measurements yet. 
 

Again I want to apologize in advance if these questions have already been asked but can someone help explain to me how the converter works it seems like none of those things on the inside are working as far as electric and when I went to try and charge the battery with the cord that pulls out the side it’s 220 plug there is an adapter inside it looks like it goes from a 220 plug to a 110 is that what I use do I just use the adapter and plug it into a regular 110 plug and then it charges a separate battery for the inside stuff?

Edited by Ragtop
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not a 220 plug, but a 110v plug used for higher current. the adapter lets you use it in a regular 110v outlet.  it will charge your house battery if things are working

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I see so I can put that adapter I found on it and plug it into 110 it’s strange to me that the “house”battery doesn’t charge when the car is running. Also when I am plugged into shore power they call it I guess everything in the house including the lights will work directly on that and at the same time the house battery will be charging? Is that how it works and then when I unplug it the house battery takes over and again I’m sorry if all these questions are ridiculous but everybody here was brand new at one time thank you

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Posted (edited)

One last thing for now as far as the propane refrigerator is that really not viable these days is that something I should be looking at upgrading with something more modern or are those good and if it works should I keep it same thing with the propane heater that’s in there there’s some basic upgrades I should be looking at possibly doing?

Edited by Ragtop
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Angles distorted gasket measurements. I measured again with calipers. Make that 1 inch inside and out.

Your house battery should be charging when the vehicle is running. You need to test that battery while it's running.

Should be 13.5 to 14.5. 

If not you have an isolator problem or faulty wiring

Linda S

 

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Posted (edited)

If things are working correctly when your plugged into "shore power" (110v AC) the CONVERTER takes 110v AC and makes it 12v DC. The 12v DC powers the lights, water pump and any fans. Extra 12v energy will charge the house battery.

Those 3 items are ALWAYS powered by 12v DC. 

110v AC will power the home style outlets and if you have them the microwave and roof Air,

When your running the truck engine the alternator should charge the truck battery and the RV house battery. There is a thingie called an isolator that links the alternator to the house battery. With the engine off the isolator opens and the house battery runs things, but the truck battery stays disconnected, so the next morning you still have a charged truck battery and can go your merry way.

Edited by WME
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