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Old 11-05-2007, 07:51 AM   #1
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Repairing double pane window solar film

After seeing other threads on this subject, and after a year of trepidation, I'm going to try to get through this from start to finish, with photos.

THE PROBLEM: Afte a zillion years, the solar film applied to the inner side of the outer pane of glass starts to craze and bubble. Here's a detail how mine have bubbled in the silvered area. The rest of the film looks like it has long wrinkles.

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All mine are in bad shape, but from what I can tell, the film was two-tone, with a silver component along the top edge. You can see the effect of this along the left edge (the top edge of the window when installed) in the photo here.

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On inspection of the frame, you can see 4 rivets holding the frame together and a row of about 8 rivets holding the hinge piece at the top edge. All of these must be drilled out (well, you could drill out only the 4-5 at one end of the hinge piece and that would allow the two sides of the frame to come apart, up to you). The rivets have very small heads, which lead me to believe they were 3/32, but in fact they are 1/8 and soft. It is easier to drill the hinge rivets out from the back side, which requires removing the weather striping in that area. I was amazed at the strength of the glue and rubber after 30 years. It was compressed, but not cracked at all.

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Once you get the rivets out, you can slide the frame off with a mallet and wood block. I made this a little easier by using the wood block and mallet to spread the frame from the top and bottom edges a little, before tapping on the end to slide each piece off. Note the slim square cross section steel bar sticking out of the frame to the right of the mallet handle. Two of these are what holds the frame together and prevents the top and bottom edges from bowing out away from the glass edge.

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Once you get the frame pieces off, you can remove the U-shaped rubber gasket that runs in one piece around the glass. What you find are the two pieces of glass "glued" together with something resembling the butyl "plumber's putty" that's widely used to install sinks today. There is also a silver metalic tape that overlaps the glass by about 1/8" on both sides. Presumably, this kept the putty from sticking to the rubber gasket, or maybe was just a feature to keep workers' hands from getting all gooked up. Anyway, you have to cut this all the way around, as it still can apply a lot of tension between the two sheets of glass.

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NOW FOR THE STUPID PART! Don't use a common screwdriver in a twisting motion to get the two sheets of glass apart. CRACK, SHATTER! I was about 90% done and broke the inner glass (all the while thinking, jees, this is stupid). I'll fix it with lexan, no problem, but still totally stupid. I recommend (first) go slower and have some patience and (second) use a few slim wood wedges or something equally soft.

The film comes off pretty quickly. If you use a scraper, be sure to use steel, not carbide, which will surely scratch the glass. The silvered area came off immediately, but the non-silvered part of the film required some water to get the glue off. (the glue for these solar films is water soluble, but you have to scratch off the film in order to get the water on the glue)

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Next step is to order the U-shaped gasket material, get the replacement piece of lexan, and find out what the putty is between the two sheets. I know I've seen the gasket material mentioned on another thread on this same topic, but I don't have a clue about the putty. I'm debating reinstalling a new sheet of solar film. Anyone have thoughts on this?

For info, the double glass panel was made up of 0.152" outer glass, 0.2" putty, and 0.122" inner glass. The solar film thickness is negligable. Total time to this point (including sweeping up the broken glass), 1.5 hours.

Zep
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:54 AM   #2
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I feel a great thread in the making.......

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Old 11-05-2007, 08:00 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeppelinium
NOW FOR THE STUPID PART! Don't use a common screwdriver in a twisting motion to get the two sheets of glass apart. CRACK, SHATTER! I was about 90% done and broke the inner glass (all the while thinking, jees, this is stupid). I'll fix it with lexan, no problem, but still totally stupid. I recommend (first) go slower and have some patience and (second) use a few slim wood wedges or something equally soft.


Zep
Been there, done that! Great advice. The "putty" looking stuff is probably butyl. I got a 30' x 3/4 x 1/8 roll for about $6 at the local airstream dealer for my front wing window work.

Jim
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Old 11-05-2007, 10:06 AM   #4
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Thumbs up Wow! Way to go Zep!

What a carefully documented process. Karma comin' at you. Thanks for sharing. The worst thing about my AS is the windows. I'd heard about breaking out the inner pane to scrape the crud off and then just having single pane. Seeing your process convinces me that I think I'll just have to live with the crappy windows. You're a brave man to take on such challenge. Still, I'm book marking your thread for "someday."
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Old 11-05-2007, 10:06 AM   #5
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Zep,

Are you going to tackle a vista view also....
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Old 11-05-2007, 10:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ganglin
... Are you going to tackle a vista view also....
Not a chance!

The Vista View windows come in two types--early 70's had a flat retaining "ring/clip" that you could pull out, which released the inside pane (which was plexiglass). Taking that clip out could be done with the window installed in the shell. The frame is welded and the clip is the only access. I did one back in 1998 using plumber's putty (which is all I knew about back in those days) and it didn't hold up very long--blobs of putty sliding down in the window in the heat of the Mojave sun. But I did manage to get the solar film cleaned up.

The later Vista Views (maybe 1975 and on) have two frame halves riveted together, just like the larger windows. But this means that to get them apart you have to remove the whole frame/window from the shell. PITA for sure.

If you're not familiar, my solution (in another thread) was to completely remove all vista view windows and patch them over with 2024-T3. I've got two of the later versions and one of the earlier out in the shop, I just noticed.

The bottom line is, however, I'm not fooling around with Vista Views. I don't need badly insulated and leaky ports in my shell--which is a mild version of what I really think.

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Old 11-05-2007, 11:08 AM   #7
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I'm in the same boat with my '74 Vistaviews with plexiglass. I am looking for something to replace the putty that was there originally. What would you use today, instead of the plumbers putty?

I love this forum. An endless wealth of information, some of it timely too. I wish it had been available 12 years ago when I was living in My Baby.
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Old 11-05-2007, 11:18 AM   #8
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On my '73, that putty stuff in the Vista Views is also butyl. Of course, I didn't figure that out until after I rebuilt them. Just by dumb luck that I found a fellow in window shop that gave me the right stuff.

Jim
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Old 11-05-2007, 11:45 AM   #9
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Zep,

The vista views in my 71 are just a single pane glass - no film and no interior plexiglass or any channel for it to fit in. You begin to wonder how many ways they actually tried to make them. May sound nutty but, since we've not had any problems with ours, I was actually considering getting another one and putting it in the can over the tub....

Keep the photos coming man... good stuff.
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Old 11-05-2007, 03:36 PM   #10
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Actually, I'm betting you had the model with the clip and a PO removed the inside plexiglass. That was the one big advantage of that design. You could easily convert it to a single pane and everything would look unmodified.

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Old 11-09-2007, 12:33 PM   #11
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Wow! Zep you are amaizing! You have built my confidence better than a therapist.

Did you find the gray U shaped gasket material? My windows have some white rubbrt plugs loose on the inside bottom of the windows (looks like they fell out of something/somewhere) and that they plugged some holes. Is it possible that they were something to do with draining condinsation. Do you have any ideas? Do you think that you will use a butyl calk? Is this something that can be had at a glass shop?

Once again for the comprehensive info.
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Old 11-09-2007, 01:01 PM   #12
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My 75 TW vista views look like crap. My inner window is Plexiglas and it has the retainer ring holding it in. The split in the ring is at the 12 o'clock position. How do you remove the ring? It seems to be pretty snug.
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Old 11-09-2007, 01:09 PM   #13
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Richard, that clip comes out with effort. There is no good way to grip it, so you'll wind up dinging it a little. I used a sharp edged screwdriver and mallet and I place the screwdriver point next to the split and tapped toward the center of the pane, catching the clip with the sharp edge and forcing it to slipe along the surface of the plexiglass.

Stone Ridge, yes, I'll use butyl. I'm working on determining whether 0.25" thick will make the total panel too thick (by about 0.03"). The alternative is to use what the glass folks call pre-shimmed butyl, which has a rubber cord in it. There is version that is 0.215" thick, which would make a panel about 0.01" undersized.

The "plugs" you see are a method of providing that pre-shimming action to maintain a consistent butyl thickness as you press the glass panes together.

The gray U-shaped gasket material is available, but I need to find a shop who will sell one roll of it, rather than the minium order of 8 rolls from the wholesaler. More news on this next week.

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Old 11-10-2007, 11:11 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster
My 75 TW vista views look like crap. My inner window is Plexiglas and it has the retainer ring holding it in. The split in the ring is at the 12 o'clock position. How do you remove the ring? It seems to be pretty snug.
Richard,

In my search for the correct butyl and gaskets, I found this page at DK Hardware. You could get the exact thickness butyl tape to repair your vista view.

Architectural Butyl Tapes

Zep
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