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Old 06-09-2008, 01:00 AM   #1
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1972 23' Safari
Tallassee , Alabama
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 113
Damaged Rivets on Window Hinge

I have a 72 Safari and all the windows need to have their gaskets replaced. The windows all tilt out from the top using a continuous hinge. The hinge part on the window looks like an upside down J.

Foolishly, I started on the one that needed it the most - the big front window. I did as the service manual indicated, I raised the window up figuring it should just drop out of the hinge. Well it didn't and I suddenly realized that I was stuck because the window wouldn't come out or go back down, and I didn't have anyone around to help me.

I carefully attempted to lower the window enough to support it using one of the window lifting arms, but in the process, several of the rivets along the hinge extrusion and the window popped out. The hinge part on the window doesn't appear to be particularly damaged, just the rivets are damaged.

I was finally able to remove the window by moving it up and down several times and it suddenly dropped out of the hinge.

The rivets don't look the same as others, they are filled in on the outside but aren't the same as the standard Olympic rivets used on the shell. They also appear to be sanded down on the inside so there isn't much holding them in place. On one rivet, the head popped off, the others pulled out of the window so there is a gap between the hinge extrusion and the window.

I took some pictures but they don't show very much. I can post them if it will help.

Any suggestions on how to repair the rivets. How about replacement rivets?

When putting the window back in, how do I keep the hinge from binding again?

Tom Bray
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Old 06-09-2008, 08:27 AM   #2
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1993 21' Sovereign
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Tom, I've had a bunch of those rivets shear off like yours did, my repair method is simple:
1/8"x1/4" aluminum rivets, riveted from the side facing the trailer. The end that will mush out is on the outside of the trailer, where it won't damage anything. Make sure you use aluminum rivets, the steel ones will rust in short order.
As far as keeping the window from binding, lift it way up, at quite an angle, and push firmly up into the channel.
Here's a picture of the way they look after installation:
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Old 06-09-2008, 08:48 AM   #3
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1971 21' Globetrotter
Arvada , Colorado
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There is another way to do it using solid rivets. First you want to use MS20470A5-3 rivets, these are dead soft. Second, after removing all the old rivets, countersink the back side of the window frame. Install the new rivets with the universal head on the outside of the hinge and bucking the tail of the rivet into the countersink. Now shave, or sand the buck tail flush on the backside so the buck tails do not interfere with the seal.
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Old 06-12-2008, 11:26 PM   #4
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1972 23' Safari
Tallassee , Alabama
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One window back in with weather stripping

I talked to the service manager at Inland the other day and he also recommended using the pop rivets and then flattening them on both sides. The big caution was to make sure the rivets were all aluminum (which is what I have been using for everything except the belly pan)

I counter sunk the holes on the inside of the frame and popped in a rivet. Then after supporting one side with some steel to act as an anvil, I used a flat punch (not pointed) and a hammer to flatten the rivet into the counter sunk area. Go slow and work it flat, you don't need to hit it very hard (I tried it on two scrap pieces of aluminum first to figure out how it would go). The approach worked very well, I didn't have to shave anything off. On the outside I did the same thing, flattened the rivet and the rivet stem sort of blended into the rest of the rivet. It doesn't look exactly the same as the original rivets but it is very close and I think this is a lot stronger.

I am using the weather stripping that Inland recommends. It does do a nice job of sealing the window but it is a bit thick. They also recommended using the 3M weather stripping adhesive - you need to be quick when using it, it dries very quickly and it is sort of like contact cement - once the weather stripping hits it, it is stuck there and is difficult to move.

The front window is back in but it operates stiffly. Long term it will get one of those rock guards over it and that will probably limit its ability to open.

On the next window I am going to try stretching the weather stripping a little bit and see if it fits better. The way the front window is, it isn't going to leak but the I think that along the top edge under the hinge it might be a little too thick.
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Old 06-13-2008, 12:25 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Tom Bray View Post


The front window is back in but it operates stiffly. Long term it will get one of those rock guards over it and that will probably limit its ability to open.

On the next window I am going to try stretching the weather stripping a little bit and see if it fits better. The way the front window is, it isn't going to leak but the I think that along the top edge under the hinge it might be a little too thick.
The rockguard does not stop the window from opening completely.

DO NOT stretch the gasket. After a period of time, the "D" shaped gasket will change shape enough to ease the window closing. But the best thing about is, as you pointed out, is that it provides a superior seal over the original double flared gasket.

Andy
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Old 06-15-2008, 07:44 PM   #6
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1972 23' Safari
Tallassee , Alabama
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Points taken ...

I tried shooting a little bit of WD-40 into the hinge. Amazing, the window no longer binds. Now that I have the guides in correctly, it goes up and down fairly easily.

Is there a better lubricant for hinge?

Tom Bray
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Old 06-16-2008, 12:57 AM   #7
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Points taken ...

I tried shooting a little bit of WD-40 into the hinge. Amazing, the window no longer binds. Now that I have the guides in correctly, it goes up and down fairly easily.

Is there a better lubricant for hinge?

Tom Bray
Never use WD40 on your Airstream.

Always use "Silicone spray."

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Old 06-17-2008, 10:01 PM   #8
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1972 23' Safari
Tallassee , Alabama
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Other than keeping it off the finished aluminum (and making sure it doesn't drip on it), what is the reason for not using WD-40?
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Old 02-05-2011, 12:14 PM   #9
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1972 27' Overlander
Mo Hill , California
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Even better yet, I found the replacement rivets for those hinges at Grainger. Part number #1HBZ7.
And on the topic of new Gaskets, I've got extra of this automotive gasket that I am replacing on the entire trailer. I had to buy it by the 400' roll... Anyone need some for your windows? Check it out on my website as I get further through the install.
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