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Old 11-17-2014, 12:41 AM   #1
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
Step by step how to replace a '69 Airstream wing window

Our '69 had a very poor window repair done by the PO with cheap plexiglass. It had severely yellowed and broken lengthwise in several places and that was being held together with multiple kinds of tape (can't seem to find a before pic with the broken stuff) After looking in to replacement options I found them very pricey as you have to buy the window, frame and all, I decided what the hell I'm handy I'm gonna to give it a go myself. So here is what I did. Here is the best before shot I can find. Notice the nice rusty screw heads to the right from the previous repair attempt. Well they are not screw heads, they are rusted solid flat head driver bolts. Imagine how fun those will be to remove. Luckily Mike and I are replacing the floor so all the interior paneling and window frames had to come out anyway
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Old 11-17-2014, 12:52 AM   #2
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
Here's the inside

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After drilling out all the rivets surrounding the window frame we very carefully pried them out, There was obviously some sealant holding on to the frames in some places so we slipped a long blade in to cut the seal

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Once we had the backside exposed we tried using a wrench to unlock those bolts but as expected Mike had to grind off pretty much every one of the rusty screw/bolts. Luckily lots were so rusty they just snapped and all we had to do is hit them with the center punch to knock the rusty bits out of the hole
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Old 11-17-2014, 01:41 AM   #3
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
Next came the clean up of the frame. There were many, many years of sealants, adhesives and glue reside to remove. Luckily I work at a sign shop and we have good stuff to use for this kind of job. The goop we use for glue removal at work seems to work on almost everything I have seen stuck on the airstream that I want off of the airstream. And well...because I work at a sign shop I had to make an awesome label for my spray bottle at home

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Now since it says Airstream on it now can I sell it for 5 hundred bucks a bottle?
Seriously this stuffs awesome, it melts through most of the crud I have found on the trailer, and I mean literally. I had stuff on the gutter rail of this girl that looked like little pebbles were scattered across the rail that I had pressure washed at full tilt, point blank range and those little pebbles didn't move at all, some kind of super sealant from the 60's...Yikes... I laid a soaked paper towel with this stuff over the crunchy bits and sprayed it till it was saturated and it mostly scraped off with a putty knife in one swoop after 60 seconds of soaking

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Seriously how many laws would I be breaking to re-label and sell someone else's product. I cleaned all the window frames completely down to bare metal with no residue of nothing in no time flat. Sadly before I had brought some home from work I spent 5 hours on a sunny down with a dental pick pulling crap from the seams of one single window... never again...after I figured it out I was down to about 40 minute to have a frame spotless

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Well now that I had my fun, here's the secret. It's called Rapid Remover. It is a citrus based adhesive remover. Spray it on, leave it sit 60 seconds, if the area starts to look dry in that time spray more on, then when the stuff you are trying to get off is the consistency off boogers scrape it off in to a paper towel. Then spray the area again and buff with a paper towel to get the rest of the reside off. I use it to wipe all of the Sitkaflex I have been getting on my bare hands for the last few weeks so I don't look like a freak in public. Want some, check with a sign shop in your area or search online for a supplier. One thing I can tell you is it doesn't touch the Aluminum tinted gutter seal... At all...I had grey hands from that stuff for a bit...oops...and it seems once the Sitkaflex is cured a couple weeks it doesn't really break through it anymore, but it's great when its under a week fresh. On the plus side it also does't touch my clear coat at all either. We use it on vehicles at work daily, it works great and doesn't affect cured paints and it most definitely works awesome on 40 year old Vulkem and it softened up all of the silicone I found on the trailer enough that I could scrape it right off with a rigid plastic scraper and worked real well on my sloppyness with the fresh uncured Sitkaflex that I used for all my windows and vents.

So in short walk into a sign shop near you and ask for a small sample to try on your goo removal issues
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Old 11-17-2014, 01:57 AM   #4
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
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A whole lotta goo removed from the exterior frame later...
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Old 11-17-2014, 02:02 AM   #5
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
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Posts: 675
Then comes the inner track

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Gotta love silicon, it came out easy enough with the Miracle Airstream Crap Remover spray, but I do have etching on several areas of the trailer from someone that didn't know silicon should never be used on Aluminum

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Old 11-17-2014, 02:05 AM   #6
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
Voila... One very clean window frame ready for tomorrow

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To bad about the etching from the silicone that you can see in the pic above, we'll see how much the new bead of sealant will hide of that problem later

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Old 11-17-2014, 02:11 AM   #7
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
My many attempts until I had the window fit perfectly with the coroplast
At work we have lots of coroplast scraps, it's the stuff real estate and election signs are made from, I used those to figure out the exact dimensions of the window. The replacement wing windows you can buy online with the frame attached talk about three 90 Degree angles. I can now assure you there is not a single 90 degree in those babys. 6 templates later...

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I love the look of this last one. It has clear 4mil coro in it and it looks great at night. Just for the record the 4 mil coroplast fits amazing within the tracks of the '69 windows and make an excellent temporary repair if needed

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Old 11-17-2014, 02:21 AM   #8
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
While you are doing all this work, take the time to paint those interior plastic window trims you removed. Old ugly yellow isn't that appealing. I used three coats of the Krylon fusion Dover Ivory colour spray paint, no primer or top coat needed and solid enough to use outside, nice and simple

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Old 11-17-2014, 03:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thesignlady View Post
While you are doing all this work, take the time to paint those interior plastic window trims you removed. Old ugly yellow isn't that appealing. I used three coats of the Krylon fusion Dover Ivory colour spray paint, no primer or top coat needed and solid enough to use outside, nice and simple
The 1969 wing windows can be replaced at a much cheaper cost by using a 1970 wing window, AND, an adapter plate.

If plastic is used, it should only be Lexan.

Andy
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Old 11-17-2014, 12:09 PM   #10
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
You bet it is Lexan, I can't believe how many people are willing to go through this much work just to cheap out at this point to save a couple bucks
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Old 11-17-2014, 12:24 PM   #11
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
Here is the PDF of the final template I ended up using for my wing windows replacement with Lexan.

(This PDF also includes the '69 airstream replacement rear bath light fixture template I did. I changed my fixtures to LED bulbs and now I have a nice piece of frosted opal lexan cut to fit to replace the original old brittle, yellowed, worn out molded lens) I'll do a thread on that process later when I figure out where in the reno mayhem I have misplaced the digital camera with those pictures ;-)

'69 Airstream wing window.pdf
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Old 12-29-2014, 12:41 PM   #12
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thanks for the write up on this. I also have a 69 safari with a broken wing window, of course its the opposite window of yours. I got the frame out and cleaned all the duct tape and glue off of the trailer that some did this make shift repair before I bought it. I ordered my lexan sheet today and waiting for it to come in to do the repair.
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Old 12-30-2014, 12:33 AM   #13
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
For the first step of the actual window replacement after ensuring the frame was clean and dry I gave the channel and the lexan a good wipe out with 90 percent rubbing alcohol and waited for a couple minutes for that to evaporate off. I used grey Sitkaflex to place a bead about a quarter inch thick around the channel that I had previously squished in to a medicine dispenser to make the application much smoother. (get them at your pharmacy counter for a few cents each)

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I prefer the sitkaflex for the window application as when it dries it dries somewhat hard and rubbery, trempro never really dries as hard and remains sticky for a long time collecting dust and dirt. Have plenty of paper towels near by with some rapid remover to wipe up any sitkaflex messes while its still tacky
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Old 12-30-2014, 01:01 AM   #14
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
I didn't actually get a picture of popping the window in as all hands were busy not screwing it up But we flexed the Lexan in at about the half way point, then we slid the window over well still keeping it flexed outwards as far as we could so it didn't dig in to the goop in the frame to soon. Once we got the window popped in we fit the pre-gooped channel that holds it all together back in to place, again sorry no pics as we were covered in sitkaflex at this point. Here is a pic of the frame popped in with the sitkaflex squishing through the rivet holes and gaps

For the next step of installing the rivets we would load a Olympic Rivet into our hand riveter and while slightly clenching the riveter just a bit closed so the rivet didn't slide out of the gun, then we would dip the rivet right into the cut tip of the sitkaflex tube right up to the rivet head so that we could ensure no leaky rivets. (note there are rivets sold with neoprene washers on them, they are not recommended, ever...)

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here is the first gooped up rivet coming through

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Here is what the Olympic rivet looks like when it expands and opens up. If you are working alone and you are finding that your rivets keep popping too soon or not popping at all it is likely because one of the points of the "triangles" is hitting a obstacle, try slightly rotating it a we bit so the flat side of the "triangle" is against your obstacle. In my case the obstacle was usually a rib, so not generally a problem on the windows

Here is the top before rivets and the bottom corner after.
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