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Old 04-03-2017, 11:23 PM   #1
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1970 31' Sovereign
Oakland , California
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1970 Sovereign Front glass broke - help me remove frame

I am two weeks into Airstream ownership (1970 Sovereign in pretty good original condition), and have never had a trailer, so bear with me, I haven't learned the jargon so I'm not having a lot of luck searching.

The front window (big square one above the propane tanks) broke this weekend all on it's own (no one around but me - just popped like it was shot out by a BB gun - weird!).

After a lot of shop vac and damp paper towel work I got it all cleaned up.

Next I decided I needed to remove the frame so I can get get a flat piece of replacement glass cut and install it. I noted most of the other windows that tilt out will come out of their channel and can be removed if you open them almost horizontal, so I drilled out the 4 each side rivets to remove the opening arms, and tried to lift the window out. I drilled out the rivets because it looked like there was a C or E clip on the pivot pins, but they didn't look likely to budge and I don't have all my tools where the trailer is.

Anyhow, the hinge/pivot on this glass does not come out, so... Do I need to remove the piece it pivots in at the top that is held on by 5 or 6 philips screws?

These screws look unlikely to come out no matter what I do, so, assuming I have to drill them out, what is the best path forward? Drill them enough to get the piece off and then install new sheet metal screws next to them, or remove them entirely and reuse the holes (which I expect I will make larger and uglier).

Can anyone recommend a glass type to buy locally? I assume it should be tempered, but the original glass is really thin.

Are there any other tasks I should tackle at the same time? New gasket material around frame? Please respond with specifics and supplier if at all possible - I haven't researched suppliers much yet.

Thanks for taking time to look at this long read - I hope I DON"T have to bug you all too often, because it means stuff is broken.
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Old 04-04-2017, 05:43 AM   #2
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1974 27' Overlander
Baltimore , Maryland
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Sorry for your window. Tempered glass has a weird way of exploding hours or days after it was damaged, so you probably don't have a poltergeist.

The front window of my 74 did come out of the channel just like the others. It would help if you could post a picture of what you're dealing with. Someone with a 70 may chime in.

Yes, you probably need new window gaskets all around if yours are original. Vintage Trailer Supply is where I got mine.
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Old 04-04-2017, 05:55 AM   #3
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Another option

Do you have a rock guard? If not, a stray rock probably broke the glass. The good news is that since it is flat, you can get a replacement at any glass shop. The front window on my 67 Overlander was shattered during the delivery trip. The 67 windows are frameless, so even easier to replace. Since I do not have a rock guard, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and replace the glass with lexan. I went up in thickness from 3/32" to 1/8".
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Old 04-04-2017, 11:36 AM   #4
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1970 31' Sovereign
Oakland , California
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I do have a rock guard, but have no intention of towing it anywhere - it's going to be basically a move-able weekend cabin on my property.

I'll post a picture of the hinge ASAP. Will order some new gasket material too. I need the gasket the glass is sandwiched against (currently gray) and the black sealing gasket between the window frame and body too yes?
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Old 04-04-2017, 01:53 PM   #5
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Try lifting it to just above horizontal and then sliding it out sideways. There may be a screw in the channel you will need to remove.
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Old 04-04-2017, 01:56 PM   #6
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1971 31' Excella 500
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BambiTex View Post
Do you have a rock guard? If not, a stray rock probably broke the glass. The good news is that since it is flat, you can get a replacement at any glass shop. The front window on my 67 Overlander was shattered during the delivery trip. The 67 windows are frameless, so even easier to replace. Since I do not have a rock guard, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and replace the glass with lexan. I went up in thickness from 3/32" to 1/8".
I replaced mine with Lexan and had aircraft guy put Lexan in. To get frame out. After you get the side stops out with drill and put both in a safe place. Then with a tall ladder head above window frame lift to great 90* to 115* range and shimmy the frame and remember the angle exactly it took to replace. Higher than the notes said. Lexan is strong but be caution would you wash it with lots of water.
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Old 04-04-2017, 04:04 PM   #7
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1975 31' Sovereign
Palomar Mountain , California
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Lexan is strong - but is just many layers of plastic.
It will discolor over time from the sun and is soft - be very careful cleaning it as dust will scratch it and it will become hazy real fast - use plenty of water!
We went back to tempered glass on our boats - which I would use if I had to replace a window on my AS.
Remember, you can't cut tempered glass to fit - measure carefully, have them cut it and send out to be tempered, than install.
Good luck
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Old 04-04-2017, 07:05 PM   #8
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1975 26' Argosy 26
Vista , California
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I had plexi glass in my rear window and tried to have it replaced, at a glass shop and was told he could not get that thin tempered glass. Does anybody know if that is true, I now have Lexon, but I kind of like it because it it light weight, and easy to open!
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Old 04-07-2017, 09:35 PM   #9
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1970 31' Sovereign
Oakland , California
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Heading up this weekend to give it a go. If I'm not going to be towing it anywhere, does it need to be tempered glass? I suppose lexan would do the job for a while.

thanks for all the input. I still have a curved side window to replace that's cloudy plastic at the moment.
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Old 04-08-2017, 07:07 AM   #10
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If you aren't towing, Lexan will work fine.
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Old 04-09-2017, 10:46 AM   #11
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1970 31' Sovereign
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n2916s - that worked - the aluminum blast shield slid out, then the window was allowed to go about 10 degrees above horizontal and it came out easily.

How do I separate the two sides of the window that hold the glass in place? I drilled out the 8 rivets, 2 at each corner, but it is still not wanting to come apart.
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Old 04-10-2017, 07:15 AM   #12
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1976 25' Caravanner
Salt Lake City , Utah
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I just finished rebuilding my front window. Each corner has a bent (90-degree) bar held by the rivets you just removed. The lower two corners no doubt are rusted/encrusted and hard to remove. The upper corners should be easier. In any case, apply penetrating oil constantly for a couple of days and then some heat to help free them. I had one corner I just left in since you can remove the glass unit once the top bar is removed. Take it slow and be gentle.
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Old 04-17-2017, 12:00 PM   #13
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1970 31' Sovereign
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Any of you have dimensions for the replacement glass? My Airstream is a three hour drive from my home and I forgot to measure before I left this weekend.
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