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Old 05-02-2007, 07:06 PM   #1
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Removing Vista Views

I was going to post this in the "sovereign redux, sorta" or "removing Overlander interior skin" but it wouldn't get the right audience there, so here's another thread!

My Vista Views leak and look like hell, in both the Overlander and Sovereign. I had removed the inner pane in both windows in the Overlander a few years ago, but it didn't last. At least in the '72 Overlander you can get the inner pane out by removing the clip ring. the '75 Sovereign windows are riveted together and the frame is made in such a way that it has to be removed from the shell in order to get it apart. Ouch!

Here we go. The Overlander windows are riveted in. Piece of cake, just drill out the rivets, right? But BEWARE--drill the entire rivet out, not just the head. The frame is not tight down on the shell, so the rivet shaft not only is bucked on the indside, but it has a little bulge where that gap is. If you don't drill it out completely, you'll find you have all these little stumps that you've got to drill out, but you now don't have a nice guide hole.

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Once you've drilled out the rivets, you can SLOWLY pry the frame away from the shell. You can see I use an old motel key as a pad.

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Yea! It's out! OH CRAP! The frame edge is very narrow and I cut the covers to fit exactly, which is too small. too small. to darn small. Back to Denver for more 2024. Not only that, but the trim of the skin is really ragged and in many cases the rivets don't even have purchase. Lots of them had less than one diameter whe they should have at least 2D.

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Got the new aluminum (thanks for cutting rectangles to size, Kip/Aerowood), trimmed the ends to the same curve as the frames, and then put a slight bend to it using a 4" piece of PVC and clamps. You've got to clamp it right on the edge and then a couple places in the middle.

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But if you get the bend about right (doesn't have to be perfect, but it should be slightly more curvy than the shell to ensure that the edges pull down tight to the shell when riveted), you get a nice fit. There is a trick to getting the holes in the right place--have someone hold the patch on the outside and you go inside and mark the existing holes on the patch, then put the new holes BETWEEN THEM and a little further from the edge.

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The hole in the inside skin will be covered with the sliding window cover, since it's made with the same vynil finish and will look compatible. It'll also be trimmed so that the ends are rounded with as big a radius as possible. I'll finish up the outside patches using black Proseal and 5/32 bucked rivets (the modern 5/32 MS20470A5-X rivet provides a similar head to the obsolete 1/8 rivets that were used originally). The inside will be sealed with Vulkem.

Zep
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Old 05-02-2007, 07:10 PM   #2
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Gee, and I was going to suggest a rock to remove the windows...
Your way is much neater, and the patches look like they were made for the trailer. "That was the VistaView deletion option for 1975"...
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Old 05-02-2007, 07:21 PM   #3
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the inner shrouds

Here's a little different take on the Sovereign. The front Vista Views were installed with Olympic rivets (looks like a warranty job and boy was it crappy--lots of bucked rivet shafts still in place under the frames!). You can't drill them out. As soon as you push the center pin in, they loosen and will spin. So after experimenting will several time-consuming techniques to remove them, here's my best method:

1. Use a nail set and small hammer to push the pin in.
2. Insert the nail set only slightly, just enough to get a grip on the hole, then tilt the head and break one of the three legs.
3. Use a large plier to finish prying them out.

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By the way, the original use of something that resembles double-stick foam tape between the frames and the skin contributes to the leaks. Maybe someone thought that the stiff frames might cut or vibrate-crack the shell as everything vibrated? The whole installation is just not good.

On the inside, you need to remove the shroud. You don't have to remove the inner skin completely, just along the bottom edge and in the case of these two windows close together, the rivets along the intervening rib. You can curl the skin away from the shell and reach up and pull the shroud out. You have to first remove the rivets along it's bottom edge. There are only two rivets up at the top of the shroud--the plastic will break away as you give it a tug.

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Some of the shroud come out in one piece, but they are all very brittle after 30+ years. One note about the two rivets at the top edge of the shrouds. They are bucked rivets and have a small strip of aluminum that was inside the plastic (toward the inside of the trailer and therefore visible before the shroud was detached). With the plastic now missing, it's possible the rivet will be loose and will need a dollop of Vulkem to make sure it doesn't leak.

Here's the five identical windows from the Sovereign. There are two of the other type from the Overlander, a long one (about 1/4" shorter than the Sovereign [new] version) and a short one.

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Can't wait to get the shell watertight! YES! Now where the heck and I going to get 1-1/2" fiberglass insulation?

Zep
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Old 05-02-2007, 07:25 PM   #4
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Have you given any thought yet about what you will be concealing the inner shell surrounds for the vistaviews? Curtains? Wall (ceiling) hangings? Maybe some kind of indirect lighting to make it look like it's still a window? Mirrors?
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Old 05-02-2007, 07:27 PM   #5
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QC & Airstream

Nice post! The pics. of the partial rivet holes shows an aspect of Airstream that seems to be universal over the whole trailer and over time. I just took a glass and plastic vista view apart and found that the plastic window was cut in a rough approximation of the proper shape with the gasket making up the difference. It seems like in many instances when you would expect a template, it was just done by eye and by gosh and by golly. I assume that workmanship and quality control have varied over the years with different owners of Airstream. I question the current policy of having the dealers make up for the manufacturer's difficiencies. That gives the original maker less incentive to do the job right to begin with, and since the price for warranty repairs is set, the dealer doesn't have as much incentive to repair it either. It seems sad that such a great basic design is often compromised by less than professional workmanship and attention to detail. End of rant.
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Old 05-02-2007, 07:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
Have you given any thought yet about what you will be concealing the inner shell surrounds for the vistaviews? Curtains? Wall (ceiling) hangings? Maybe some kind of indirect lighting to make it look like it's still a window? Mirrors?
Nope, nothing fancy. Just take the original inner sliding covers and rivet it in place on the inside, with rounded corners. Now you've got more wall for an upper cabinet or lights (recessed like you suggest, possibly).

Zep
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Old 05-02-2007, 08:24 PM   #7
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Wow Zep it looks like you are making good time. When are you going to need that bucker?
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Old 05-02-2007, 10:20 PM   #8
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wow

Zep,
I would guess this is your way of saying-
I HAVE HAD ENOUGH
The rest of us wimps will probably stick with closed covers or busted inner pains.
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Old 05-03-2007, 08:58 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerowood
Wow Zep it looks like you are making good time. When are you going to need that bucker?
Not real soon, Kip. I've still got to clean the shell skin around the edges. I tried to use a heat gun to help get the old adhesive off, but it wasn't effective. Acetone gets the foam/paper off, but no effect on the adhesive--you just can't keep it wet long enough in the sun and altitude. Mineral spirits were no better. Scotchbrite helps a little, but the existing holes and ragged edges eat it up pretty fast. Any ideas out there?

I was thinking of getting the skin cleaned and patches clecoed in this weekend, then Prosealing during the week. I'll be busy Mother's day weekend, so some time immediately after that.

Zep
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Old 05-03-2007, 09:25 AM   #10
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Have you tried goo gone
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Old 05-03-2007, 10:40 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerowood
Have you tried goo gone
damn, ur, durn, I knew that. I'll get some today. Thanks.

Zep
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Old 05-03-2007, 11:10 AM   #12
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Really, Really Nice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeppelinium
A really great job, Zep! I like the way it looks, not to mention no leaks hopefully.
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Old 05-04-2007, 08:38 AM   #13
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Angry

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerowood
Have you tried goo gone
Got the Goo Gone. Not much help.
Got some Goof Off. Same thing.
Got out the old Bix paint remover. Nada.
As I said before, heat gun. Nope.
Applied everything with some elbow grease and Scotchbrite. Zip.

You can see the yellowed paper/foam stuff in the photos above. When you scrape it down to the last layer, it seems like the hardest laquered paper. Very smooth, so smooth and hard that Scothbrite doesn't seem to be able to get a bite on it.

I'm reluctant to get out the grinder. Maybe just get it down as much as possible and then Proseal it?

Help! Zep
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Old 05-04-2007, 09:26 AM   #14
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Pro seal sticks to everything so that would work. I had to remove that tape from my window when I replaced the my aft skin and I had to use a scotchbrite surface conditioning disc on a die grinder to get the last layer off.
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