12-07-2007, 09:39 PM
2 Rivet Member
1977 31' Sovereign
Join Date: Oct 2006
’77 Sovereign Front Window Replacement
Hi everyone, I’m hoping this 3 part post will help anyone who’s lost a front window on their AS. We lost ours to a friendly rock last spring on the way to Flagstaff, AZ. I finally got the time (and gumption) to remove the window and fix. I didn’t realize there are two panes of glass, so thankfully I only have to replace the outer layer. I’m using .125 inch Lexan on the outer layer and keeping the original glass on the inner.
This first section is the removal and preparation of the existing window & frame. But before I get too far, I'd like to list off some dimensions of the different parts I found as I disassembled the window.
Inner glass pane dimensions – 41.5” Long x 21.75” Tall x .117” Thick
Outer glass pane dimensions – 41.5” Long x 21.75” Tall x .187” Thick (this piece was shattered, so Length x Tall dimensions are taken from the inner pane, I could accurately measure thickness)
Small white plastic spacers - .250” Long x .175 Thick spaced every 6”
Corner “L” braces – 1.5” Long x 1.5” Long (3 to 4 in photo) x .250 Deep (2 to 3 in photo) x .190 Wide (1 to 2 in photo, these look like they’re made from key stock)
Glass channel in window frame - .600” Wide (A to B in photo) x .375 Deep
There is also a grey weather stripping channel that surrounds the glass on the outer edges to protect it from the aluminum frame. Be careful no to tear this (as I did). There was also a sticky grey sealant between the panes which I removed with a razor and some foaming glass cleaner (to lubricate the blade). Automotive paint reducer worked to dissolve any remaining grey sealant very quickly.
Well, with all that said…
- Open the front window and remove the 2 lower screws on the opening mechanism. Everything else has rivets; these are the only 2 screws. Mine were fine thread, flat head, machine screws. Don’t get in such a hurry when you remove these that you loose the little spacer around the screw.
- Completely remove the plastic slides from the window frame.
- I drilled out the rived holding in the little clips on the upper lip. You don’t need to do this. Simply get a helper and open the window wide enough that the lips release from each other. The window is quite heavy, so the second person is helpful in keeping the window from hitting the tanks.
- Find yourself an outdoor table, lay a towel across it to protect the glass, and drill out the rivets. I drilled out the bottom 4 rivets on the frame, figuring I’d slide the glass down & out of the channel. I’m using .156” solid rivets to reassemble the window, so I used a #21 drill here.
- Here’s where I got stuck. The frames wouldn’t separate (I later found due to corrosion), so I picked out the broken shards of glass as I deliberated what my next step would be. I finally decided to insert a flat screwdriver at the corner where the old glass had been and use a hammer to tap the 2 frames apart. It worked!
- Here’s where I used the razors to get the grey sealant from between the sheets of glass. I used the razor knife to make the first cuts and remove the glass, I used the plain razor with some lubricating glass cleaner to finish scraping off the remaining sealant. (If anyone knows what this stuff really is, please insert appropriate term here.) Stay close to the edge with the razor just incase it scratches the glass.
- Use the foaming cleaner and thoroughly clean the glass. Use some solvent to remove any remaining sealant from the glass. Set the glass aside.
- During the process of frame disassembly I broke one of the corner braces. I’m using some key stock I heated with the torch, bent, then drilled to replace it.
- This is a good time to clean up the existing frame. I used a small square file to clean up the corroded frame and a hammer & locking pliers to straighten any bends I made during removal. 400 grit sandpaper took off any roughness, maroon Scotch Brite polished up the remaining scuzz, and Mother’s polish finished it off.
- When all this was complete, I cut my piece of lexan to match the size of the inner piece of glass. I was planning on using 3M’s Window Weld, but wasn’t sure how to duplicate the spacers between the two plates of glass, as they had degraded over time. I finally pulled out my old models from when I was a kid, and sure enough, the trees measured the same as the plastic spacers. I used my rived cutter to cut them to the desired .25” length.
Next time...gluing the window.