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Old 06-24-2016, 08:24 AM   #1
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ext skin/window replacement

I have a 1969 Tradewinds. It came with a significant dent in the front lower corner panel. I don't think there is any damage to the interior frame.
Got an estimate to have the work done and am now thinking of doing it ourselves. We are pretty handy... replaced the two axels ourselves.
As I understand this is done from the outside. Will also replace the curved window on the same side.
My questions are..How difficult is a job like this? Hours?
What type of rivets will I need?
Other essential tools?
Any good videos available?
Thanks!
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Old 06-24-2016, 09:31 AM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
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The job is best done by removing the interior furnishings and interior skins in the area of the repair, then removing the rivets holding the outer skin and window frame in place, and then buck riveting, using solid rivets, the new segment and window in place. This is a big job-plan on a couple of days. You will also need a pneumatic riveter and bucking tools, which will run you a couple hundred dollars, assuming you have a compressor already.

Alternatively, you could leave the interior intact, drill out the rivets from the outside, and replace the skin and window using Olympic rivets, which are a kind of blind or "pop" rivet with a head that can be dressed so that at the end of the job it looks just like a bucked rivet. This is the approach that many professional shops take, and although considered by many to be not as good as the first option mentioned above, it is acceptable. This approach will take half as long as the first option. Allowing for the learning curve, I would still guess you could do it in a day. As far as special tools go, it would be good to have a pneumatic pop riveting tool--you can get one at Harbor Freight for $30 or so. The Olympic rivets are pricey, and you will need to rent/borrow/buy the rivet head shaving tool, which is quite pricey.

Two thoughts:

Those wing sindows in 1969 are hard to come by and much more expensive than the ones used in the 70's. Make sure you are getting the correct window for your year. Also, if the glass is still intact, you can rebuild these windows as a single pane, if that is your goal.

The lower corner skin is a 3D formed piece of aluminum, not just a flat sheet that wraps around the corner. You can buy a new part that has the same shape as the one on your trailer, but the alloy will almost certainly not match the rest of your trailer. With this in mind, you may want to investigate ways to repair the dent (ie., with heat and a "dent roller", or finding someone with an English Wheel who can work the dent out).

good luck!
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Old 06-25-2016, 06:05 AM   #3
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Thanks for the information! The PO put plexiglass in the window frame and it is unsightly. What do you mean you can rebuild the window as a single pane? This might be a lot easier than replacing the window.
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Old 06-26-2016, 11:36 AM   #4
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Well, most of these "wing windows" were originally built with double panes of glass. One of the most common problems people have as these age is that they end up with water or at least condensation in between the panes. There are several threads on these forums that address rebuilding these wing windows either as a double pane, or going from double to single pane.

Now, depending on the design of your wing window, you might be able to get the pane of glass out of the frame without removing the frame from the trailer. If you remove the plastic trim piece on the inside of the trailer, you should be able to see the back of the wing window and see how it is configured. If you see some screws looking at you that surround the glass, then you might be able to remove this back piece and replace the glass in the window with the frame still riveted in place. There are at least three designs of these windows, though, so chances are, that to disassemble the window, you would still have to remove the frame. Getting just the piece of glass to fit a 1969 trailer might prove to be very difficult also. Try the various online dealers and vintage trialer supply places.

good luck!
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Old 06-28-2016, 05:47 PM   #5
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The 69's had only single pane wing windows. I'm not sure when the double panes came into play. My 71 had single also.

With the 69 you have three options as previously stated. 1) Use Lexan again. 2) pay for 69 wing windows, they are expensive and hard to find. 3) Replace with 70 and on wing windows and rivet in a filler on the outboard lower corner.
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