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Old 05-10-2007, 07:57 PM   #1
bilby05
 
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1962 24' Tradewind
1962 24' Tradewind
Canyon , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 264
What I Shoulda Known About Window Tinting

Hello,
I just finished the last window on our '69 Sovereign and thought I should pass some info along. It follows:

Good web site instructions are at Window Film - Concord Window Film - Automotive Window Films - Commercial Window Films This web site has a good section on installing the film on windows. It is the company that I ordered my film from and followed their instructions. I used the darkest and most reflective film cause I hate a hot living space. The demo is on regular flat house windows, but applies to other windows as well. It has a link to an automotive installation site and the first thing is suggests is "Don't try it!" but for the brave of heart it offers some good advice and hints.

Getting the window off is the first challenge. Thanks to the advice of others including Inland Andy, I managed to get them off. On my '69 Sovereign it is as simple (hah!) as disconnecting the window raiser rods from the window frame by popping off the fasteners (called acorn nuts, push nuts, cap nuts, axle cap nuts and those #$@^$&% do dads) I used a small 7/16 in. open end wrench and a screwdriver to pop them off. Then you can raise the window to about 30 degrees above horizontal and the hinging fitting will drop out of the groove that it rests in. Sounds easy? It is, unless your airstream is 30-40 years old and has been messed with by the DPO. LIKE MINE!!!! In that case it takes a bit of wiggling of the window, pushing on the center of the window top to straighten out curved connections etc. I would suggest that you use a good, but short, ladder. I found standing in the back of my pickup, after pulling it really close to the Airstream, worked good and was more stable than a ladder.

Cleaning the window before filming is really, really important. If I had it to do again I think I would put them in the shower and clean the inside edges and vinyl between the aluminum and the glass with a tooth brush. I did use a toothbrush and a spray bottle of distilled water (with a bit of baby shampoo) to clean the windows. And scraped them with a single edge razor blade. Unfortunately with 40 year old seals and muchly corroded aluminum frames their was always some grit left. What happens when you mount the film and squeegee it into place it sucks more of the grit from under the frame and deposits it under the film. The instructions warn about that, but I did not have much luck getting out all of the grit. So I have bumpy film around the edges.

Once the film is in place, as per web site instructions, it seems to help to pre trim the film about 1/4 to 1/2 inch larger than the window glass. Keeping everything wet, the next step is to squeegee the film to work out the bubbles. In addition to the web instructions I found it helpful to cut about a 1 inch piece off the 8 inch squeegee and use it for finer detailed film manipulations. The web site is very thorough but I did not pay close enough attention to some of the details, so I got air bubbles under the film that I couldn't get out. I found that I could slice the air bubbles that were at the edge and force the air out. But, that leaves slits in the film that look like cracks in the glass, but are not noticeable from a distance. I did notice on the last one that I did that if I kept squeegeeing even after I thought it was hopeless the "air wrinkles" finally did start to disappear.

The next fun step was to replace the window. Easier said than done. It is simply the reverse of the previous removal process. One thing that Andy suggested was to be sure that you have both ends of the hinging device in place than push up on the center of the top of the window to pop the center of the hinging element into place. Sometimes it really does go "pop", other times it is wiggle, wiggle, push, wiggle, pop. Something I learned the hard way is to be sure you know where the center of the inner window frame fits into the outer frame's center. I couldn't tell for sure so I marked it on both inner and outer frame with a sharpie marker. Itís a real bear to try and move the inner frame left or right after you have it in place.

The easiest way to get new push nuts (use new ones) back on is to use a big pair of channel locks. You can hold the push nut over the end of the raiser rod and clamp down with the channel locks. Otherwise you need three hands. You may be more evolved than I, but I still only have two.

Seriously, I don't think I would try it again. I needed them done and did not have the cash to pay someone else to do it. Part of the "we tight" school of "keeping 'em on the road" is making do with whatcha got.

Hope this helps some other soul who deigns to try it.


Remember, your mileage may vary. No animals were harmed in the making of this project. Some restrictions apply.


cheers, bill b.
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Old 05-10-2007, 08:21 PM   #2
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Not to rub it in, but I had great success tinting our windows on our Overlander. Funny, I didn't take ours out, maybe because they are slightly different. Here's a photo...
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Old 05-10-2007, 08:40 PM   #3
bilby05
 
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1962 24' Tradewind
1962 24' Tradewind
Canyon , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 264
Nicely Done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
Not to rub it in, but I had great success tinting our windows on our Overlander. Funny, I didn't take ours out, maybe because they are slightly different. Here's a photo...
Nice job. Our Sovereign has the rounded corners with the Corning windows. I think the problem, for me, was that the corners are not only rounded but the overall profile of the glass is curved to follow the curvature of the Airstream. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it. :-) I am curious about doing the job without removing the windows. Did you remove the screens from the inside, or did you do it with the windows open and working looking up, like painting a ceiling? Again, if I had to do it over again (and I might, considering the bubbles) it might be easier to remove the screens and work from the inside. I saw it done on the DIY channel, removing the windows, so that's the way I chose. They made it look easy. They always do.
cheers, bill b.
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Old 05-18-2007, 06:55 PM   #4
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1969 27' Overlander
Hamilton , Texas
Join Date: May 2007
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On my '69 Overlander I also have the rounded corners. I used the film that does not use adhesive and placed it on the outside of the glass no window removal, I'm just too lazy to do that, besides on this old guy I was afraid I'ld drop a heavy window or mess up the track where it slides on. I made a paper patteren of each window & marked where it came from first then cut the film exactly to fit it with sharp exacto. Cleaned each window with ammonia and newspaper, then with rubbing alcahol, just before placing the film on the window.Use a spray bottle with water and a drop or two of dish soap, spray window and film both sides then put film on window. You can slide it around for placement better and see your air bubles better. Use a plastic spatula to drag the bubbles from top to bottom . My film has been on three years, occasionally I have to remove one and clean behind it. this is the beauthy of the non-adhesive type you can take it off if you screw up or don't like it. Cost a little more, but not much. Get it at Wal-Mart in the automotive dept. I used Limo-Dark Gray see photos of cold baked potato in photo section.
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Old 05-18-2007, 07:07 PM   #5
Well Preserved

 
1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20,193
Quote:
Originally Posted by bilby05
Nice job. Our Sovereign has the rounded corners with the Corning windows. I think the problem, for me, was that the corners are not only rounded but the overall profile of the glass is curved to follow the curvature of the Airstream. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it. :-) I am curious about doing the job without removing the windows. Did you remove the screens from the inside, or did you do it with the windows open and working looking up, like painting a ceiling? Again, if I had to do it over again (and I might, considering the bubbles) it might be easier to remove the screens and work from the inside. I saw it done on the DIY channel, removing the windows, so that's the way I chose. They made it look easy. They always do.
cheers, bill b.
I removed the screens, and worked from inside. That way I wasn't craning my head around, and reaching overhead, and getting soapy stingey stuff in my eyes. Entire trailer took asn hour and a half, and most of that time was going for more tint (shamelessly rubbing it in this time).
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Old 02-06-2017, 09:41 AM   #6
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1975 Argosy 26
Nashville , Tennessee
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Does the dark tint make the trailer much darker inside? I am torn between privacy and enjoying the light pouring in.
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Old 04-08-2017, 07:10 AM   #7
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1970 31' Sovereign
Charleston , South Carolina
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 22
Corrosion around window frame

My '70 Sovereign was ready for tinting, and I had a guy who was experienced with Airstreams come out to check it out. He said the corrosion that pulled up under the edge of the film would eventually ruin the tinting, and refused to do the job. He was the best, experienced, and took pride in his work and I respected that. He continued researching.

I had also just started the exterior polishing project, and tried some Nuvite around the window frames, first with a towel, then with a chemical-resistant stiff poly brush from Lowes. Bingo!! It took off the corrosion and left a smooth, shiny surface. No crap to suck under the film. A job that probably should be done anyway, but solved the issue of window tint.
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