Monday, October 10, 2016

1966-68 Windows 101..

 I have previously done one of these tutorials for the Herh Hallmark 12 windows, I think it only fitting that I do the same for the windows used by Airstream 1966- 1968. The following photos and explanation are fairly universal for all three years. These windows are extremely temperamental and are the cause of a great deal of water damage to Airstreams of this period. They are notorious leakers. I am going to show you how to rebuild them and end the issues with the 
All cranks, latches, seals, and even replacement glass is available through Vintage Trailer Supply. They have worked very hard to make exact replacements. In most cases the replacements are better quality than the originals.

The window glass used during these years was a new invention. It was a chemically tempered glass produced by Corning Glass,  molded to the curve of the trailer. This created a very sleek look mimicking  the trailer body. When open, these windows almost disappear visually. The glass itself is fairly delicate. It has been known to spontaneously explode. In the past something struck the glass and it just has not gotten around to shattering until that moment.

The reason these windows leak is the foam seals. The glass must sit firmly against the gasket. 

Over time they dry out, get hard and cease sealing the water out. I recommend you replace them every five years. You can keep them working a while longer through an annual application of glycerin. That is an old time solution to keeping rubber supple longer.

You can clearly see how wide the gap currently is at this window. When it rains the water just curves right into the trailers interior.

Usually someone will whip out a tube of silicon and inject it into the gap at the edge of the window.  Rarely does this fix the leak. More often than not, it makes it even worse. Often they run a bead along the hinge edge too which is completely futile and only creates stress for the window cranks.

Here is how to stop the leak properly.

You don't have to, but I find it easiest to remove the entire window. First you pop the "c"clip on the crank arm. 

You could also pop it off at this end. Next remove the screws holding the top of the sash to hinge. There are three on most windows. Five screws on the rear and front windows. Apply some PB Blaster the day before since that is a steel screw into an aluminum frame. Rocking the screw loose and tight often helps get it turning in the proper direction. Take your time, you DO NOT WANT TO SNAP THE SCREW. It is best to hold the bottom edge of the window with one arm and loosen the screws with the other. Once the screws are out, the top bar will separate from the hinge. 
You can do all the steps with the glass still attached. I just find it easier to clean everything completely while it on the bench.

See all that silicon? You can't really get to it while it is still mounted to the hinge.It really needs to all be removed.

Here the old seal has been cut away with a razor knife. To get the rest off you might have to try a variety of solvents to get all the old adhesive off of the frames. I find lacquer thinner to be the best thing if the original seals are still present. 

You need to get the frame 100% completely clean. You can use steel tools on this surface. I often use red Scotch Bright 3M pads. A wire well might be a little too aggressive however.

You also need to clean the nooks and corners of the insides of the window frames. These corners are then sealed with Acryl- R. 

Pay special attention to these bottom corners while cleaning. You cannot use metal tools here, but rags, solvent and wooden points can help getting all the old stuff out. These areas need to be sealed before going further.

After is is all cleaned well and the seams all sealed, you measure from the hinge to the corners.

I have this tool called a Notcher. It cuts out a perfect corner. I leave 1/16th of the seal so when folded, it makes a perfect corner. You can do this with a razor knife just not as accurately.

The seals have adhesive on the back side. Before I peal the protective strip, I dry fit the piece I cut. Next I wipe all the surfaces with denatured alcohol. This assures all the hand oils are cleaned off and any dust. It is essential to making the adhesive stick well. This is what the seal looks like when installed. 
Re install the window back into the hinge.
Reinstall the crank arms.

The original window latch clips were made of mild steel. They are usually very rusty and quite often they snap off. I suggest replacing them at this point.

The new replacements are made of stainless steel and this replacement only needs to happen once. 

Occasionally, a replacement glass will have a little more curve than the trailer actually does. In this situation you might need to use a thicker seal. I have occasionally had to use a "d" seal instead of the rectangular seal that is a perfect match to the originals. The latest generation of replacement glass is a much better fit than the previous generation was. 

The best thing about this project is that by the time you get to the last window you will be pretty good at it.

good luck.

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