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Old 01-24-2009, 12:18 PM   #1
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Quick Wing Window Fix

All my double pane wing windows leak. I removed them from the Safari, but I'm not quite ready to do that to the Sovereign and Overlander (yet). Even though this fix won't cure the dirty condition inside the window, it does seem to stop the water infiltration. I've only had this fix in for a week, but in that time the windows have completely dried out--it's the first time I've seen them without condensation inside in years.

The problem is, the outside edge of the rubber surround/seal becomes brittle and damaged in the sun. As it deteriorates, along with the sealing putty between the panes (the putty used in the 70s isn't nearly as resiliant as the butyl rubber available today), water can infiltrate from the outer pane, through the trough of the frame, and back up into the window. I've seen 2" of water depth at the bottom of the window! (No clue how it gets that high or how it gets out.) You can see a typically deteriorated seal edge here:

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So last week I finally gave myself a dope slap to the forehead (thank you, Click and Clack), suddenly realizing that the water wasn't coming in at the top of the window, between the shell and the frame, but from the outer glass. I decided to cut away the visible edge of the seal (it's not doing the window any good at this point) and apply a bead of vulkem at the glass/frame interface. Cutting away the edge of the seal does two things.

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First, it allows the vulkem to squeeze into the space between the glass and frame. Second, it allows you to create a nice concave curve--looks very much like a factory job. On the left you can see the first application of the vulkem, then on the right the shaped bead. I use old motel room keys--those electronic cards are wonderful for scraping vintage Airstreams! After you scape (or use your finger--this doesn't work as well as it does on an acrylic cault because a wet finger doesn't slide on vulkem like it does on acrylic) you will have something of a mess.

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But after a day or two, depending on temperature, you can use a shop rag (I use the blue shop paper towels) dampened with MEK to provide the final finished look.

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You still have a crappy, dirty window, but it's dry and you can quit worrying that the water leak is coming from this source...

Zep

P.S.--So you want to really fix the window. The bad news is, I haven't found any butyl the right thickness. But you can take plain butyl tape, the kind of roll you find at RV stores for installing vents, and roll an appropriate diameter snake of butyl to put between the panes. To get the desired pane to pane thickness, save those spacer buttons from the inner edge of the old putty. You'll get a perfect thickness to your repaired glass sandwich. Put some aluminum tape around the edge and jam the frame back on! You can see some of the challenges of actually opening up and repairing double pane windows here
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f454...ilm-37422.html
I am thinking you can't put solar film on the wing windows because they have double curvature, but I haven't tried it.
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Old 05-28-2009, 07:51 AM   #2
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Nice work there Zepp will become useful as i aquired a Safari a couple of years back and its in dire need of some window repair work gonna get to it this weekend
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Old 05-28-2009, 08:10 AM   #3
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Hey Zepp
Once again your command of Airstream miscellany is unrivaled. U da Man. But which motel?
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Old 05-28-2009, 11:07 AM   #4
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any reason not to use parbond, instead? it would be less messy...

you mention "really" fixing the windows. Have you actually taken one apart, successfully?
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Old 05-28-2009, 06:40 PM   #5
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The mess is ubiquitous. I used Parbond but Vulkem is cheaper. I have dissassembled the windows (and would rather have a root canal than do it again) and if I can take the liberty of speaking for Zep I know he has also (dissassembled/ reassembled that is, not the root canal). The dissassembly part is fairly easy.

You can minimize the mess with masking tape.
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Old 05-28-2009, 06:45 PM   #6
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Where has this post been???

Zep,

This is a great post. Your description and drawings are very informative. Now just where has it been hiding since January?
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
...you mention "really" fixing the windows. Have you actually taken one apart, successfully?
See this thread for taking apart a double pane window and replacing the solar film -- http://www.airforums.com/forums/f454...ilm-37422.html

Unfortunately, the spacing between the panes in the wing windows is different, so you have to build up the butyl to the right thickness yourself. See post #3 and ask JIM AND SUSAN what luck they had.

Zep
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeppelinium View Post
See this thread for taking apart a double pane window and replacing the solar film -- http://www.airforums.com/forums/f454...ilm-37422.html

Unfortunately, the spacing between the panes in the wing windows is different, so you have to build up the butyl to the right thickness yourself. See post #3 and ask JIM AND SUSAN what luck they had.

Zep
I think I posted about it in my Full Monte thread (I Think). It worked ok, I just can't remember the details right now.

Jim
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:54 AM   #9
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any reason not to use parbond, instead? it would be less messy...
I used Vulkem and Sikaflex in different places around the windows. The Sika seems to weather better than the Vulkem. But there could several reasons for that (not the least of which is the lack of talent of the guy working on my trailer ).

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Old 06-02-2009, 01:02 PM   #10
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I remember that wing-window repair....seems to me, it didn't end well. or am I remembering wrong?
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Old 06-02-2009, 02:15 PM   #11
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Yup. I broke one of the window panes trying to get it out. Too much drill and not enough skill. I replaced the broken pane with Lexan, it's holding up well. One thing I did was drill several small holes on the top portion of the INSIDE window frame to let any moisture escape. No more water/vapor in the windows. The outside sealing went much better with the Vulkem/Sikaflex (similar to what Zep did). No more leaks into the window frame and walls.

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Old 06-03-2009, 02:11 PM   #12
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Hi, there!
Recently acquired our first-of-hopefully-many...a 1974 Sovereign. I love her love her love her and she's in great shape, but the windows...ugh. They don't seem to be leaking, but the window tint is all bubbled up in the wing windows, and the gasket (or something black and sticky?) has melted down in between the vista windows.

I've read (I think) all the threads on taking apart & putting back together the windows. Zeppelinium's thread re: replacing the window tint ROCKS.

However, I see on this thread something about building up the butyl. Being new to this, I don't know what that means...I thought butyl was some kind of gasket material...so not sure how to build it up. (This is why I'm researching BEFORE I take the windows out...my husband will not be thrilled if I can't get them back together or don't have all the right stuff before I start.)

I appreciate any advice you can give--thanks!
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Old 06-03-2009, 02:21 PM   #13
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sorry, I think I described the windows wrong...the tint is bubbled in the side windows that open. I assumed those were wing windows (they look like wings to me!) but I just read someone else's post explaining wing windows.

So, to clarify: all the windows on the sides need work. Is there an updated list somewhere with a list of everything I should have on hand for this project? I know I saw it in a thread, but now I can't find it. Thanks again!
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Old 06-03-2009, 09:47 PM   #14
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Becky, see post #7 above for details on the tools and specs on the butyl. Getting the right butyl is not easy--it as a hard cord of plastic embedded in the strip of butyl that has the right diameter to keep the window panes at the right spacing. You could make a facsimille of the right stuff by manually taking the butyl that is commonly available at most RV places (for installing things like vents) and doubling it and squeezing it to the right thickness.

The problem with the wing windows is that I haven't found a butyl with the spacing cord that is the right thickness for the wing windows, so you are forced to make it manually. If you make it a little over thick, then carefully squeeze the panes together to fit in the frame, they butyl ought to compress to the right thickness. It will just spread unevenly into the interstichel space. But it will look a hell of a lot better than the melting crappy plumber's putty that's in there now.

Zep
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