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Old 07-07-2009, 07:22 PM   #1
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2007 25' Safari FB SE
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Windows are shattering

We just finished a 16 day tour of the Northwest. The trip was great except for the loss of two operable windows. We have a 2007 Safari SL SE FB. We lost a driver side rear window on the first day and a passenger side window on the last day. Our first thought was we forgot to latch the window but my wife is sure we did. We had the same window break a few months ago and we had thought we forgot to latch it. So we have a check off to make sure the windows are latched. In just three months we have had to replace 3 windows at a cost of ~$800.

Our latest thought is that the latches are vibrating loose ( the I-5 thru Stockton is a pot hole mess) and when large vehicles pass the widow is pulled open and then shatters.

Is anyone else having this problem? I searched the forum but didn't find any posts.

So with the start of a two week trip and no window we needed to get a replacement window so I called several Airstream dealers. The dealer from whom we purchased our Airstream (California RV) is no longer in business, A dealer in Fife Washington (Didn't return my calls) and on this trip we had the good fortune to be traveling through Eugene Oregon. I called George M Sutton RV. They didn't have the window in stock but without hesitation were willing to take a window off a new Airstream and install it on my AS. We were able to get to Eugene the next day and have the window replaced.


So we lost about 2 hours on our trip but that wasn't too bad, we got to meet some great folks at Sutton RV - Tom and Scott in the Service department took great care of us and we got to spend some time looking at the new Airstreams, some of which were tempting. You've got to see the 34 foot toy hauler.

So this is a long post, just want to know if anyone else is having problems with windows shattering and acknowledge the great service at Sutton RV.

I have tightened down the nuts on the latch bolts and super glued the nuts to the bolts, hope this will keep the latches.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:29 PM   #2
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Not sure what you mean by "lost" windows. We "lost" a driver's side window on our 06 Interstate last year, passed a truck on a two-lane road and it just blew nearly off. The gasket or whatever around it was flapping, some glass was gone. What was left was crackled all over and barely together, we took pictures and applied duct tape. Thank goodness comprehensive covered the replacement. Our big issue with it was that the part number Airstream had was for a different window, that was a bit of an ordeal finally getting the right window. Interesting that you have lost three.
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Old 07-20-2010, 01:55 PM   #3
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2 shattered windows while parked in 12 mos

I have had 2 windows shatter over the last 12 months, both during the summer and while the trailer is parked and unoccupied. In the first case the glass in the long narrow living room window was shattered into a thousand pieces but remained intact for a few days, and now the kitchen window was not only shattered but the glass was all over the ground beneath it. There is no evidence of any foul play. I now have to figure out what to do. In the case of the long narrow window I used a piece of thick plexi as a temporary fix but only have plastic up over the kitchen sink. I've owned the trailer for 5 years with no prior problems, and I do take it on the road. I live in Wisconsin.

So there are 2 questions: Why is this glass shattering? and Where do I go for replacement glass?
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Old 07-20-2010, 02:19 PM   #4
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not a chronic thing

I do not believe this to be any kind of chronic problem-otherwise there'd be a ton of: "what's up with this?" threads. That being said, tempered glass can seemingly have a mind of its own. A sharp blow with a minimal contact area will usually shatter tempered glass-I say shatter, cuz it just crazes and usually maintains its shape until vibration, wind or other movement will cause it to lose surface tension, then it just collapses into a billion pieces. So, a wayward rock, or someone with a bb/pellet gun; OR a binding framework could cause a problem. Newer airstreams do not have frames around the opening glass, they are just panes of glass that seal against a gasket, whereas the older units have a dedicated frame. In the case of the A/S in the field, I'd suspect some vandalism-either that or extreme temperature changes...check out this site for replacements: http://www.marxrv.com/rvsalvage.htm
but something to watch for, for sure.
Nice to hear about Sutton RV.
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Old 07-20-2010, 02:21 PM   #5
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I encountered a similiar situation while towing a 69 trailer on a delivery. Over the course of the cross country trip I lost almost all the windows.
The problem turned out to be that the frame had rusted through at the rear where water runs down the body and around the wrap. Apparently the weight of the unsupported bumper on one side put enough twist on the body that it stressed the windows and they would eventually shatter. The problem at the back was not visible. I had to actually pick up on the bumper physically to see the problem.

I was towing in cold weather. You are stationary in hot weather .but I imagine heat would add to the stress on the glass

Not saying this is the problem in your case but it would be a good thing to check out, based on my experience.
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Old 07-20-2010, 02:26 PM   #6
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I'm just guessing here........But our 2010 doesn't seem like when we latch our windows they are very tight. You can unlatch them VERY easily. Came from the factory that way. No rain enters or anything, MAYBE your are TOO tight and thats causing the shattering.

Just throwing it out there.

Shane
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Old 07-20-2010, 02:33 PM   #7
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We had a window shatter and shower glass during opening once. Sutton RV who we were near at the time said they didn't have one but would order it and they'd have it in two weeks.

Called Uwe at Area 63 down near where we were going and he ordered one 2nd day air. Stopped by his place and waited for UPS. Once they delivered he installed it and we were on our way to the beach.
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Old 07-20-2010, 02:34 PM   #8
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Shattering glass

Tempered glass, as Airstream uses, can shatter for seemingly no reason.

The basic reason, seems to be that at one time or another, the trailer was in a good dust or wind storm.

When that happens, very fine grains of sand, hit the trailer, and of course the windows as well.

Those small grains of sand, actually pierce the "tempered" surface of the glass, that the human eye cannot see.

Then, in time, when enough temperature changes takes place, the glass temper lets go, resulting in the unexplained reason for the glass to just "shatter".

Shattering glass on an Airstream, is not uncommon, and is covered by an insurance policy as a "comprehensive" loss.

This mysterious breakage, has been going on since Airstream went to tempered glass in 1966.

So, don't be alarmed. The aliens are not out to get you.

Andy
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Old 07-20-2010, 02:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Tempered glass, as Airstream uses, can shatter for seemingly no reason.

The basic reason, seems to be that at one time or another, the trailer was in a good dust or wind storm.

When that happens, very fine grains of sand, hit the trailer, and of course the windows as well.

Those small grains of sand, actually pierce the "tempered" surface of the glass, that the human eye cannot see.

Then, in time, when enough temperature changes takes place, the glass temper lets go, resulting in the unexplained reason for the glass to just "shatter".

Shattering glass on an Airstream, is not uncommon, and is covered by an insurance policy as a "comprehensive" loss.

This mysterious breakage, has been going on since Airstream went to tempered glass in 1966.

So, don't be alarmed. The aliens are not out to get you.

Andy
Andy,

Thank you for that info. Very interesting.
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Old 07-20-2010, 02:48 PM   #10
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Glad my automobile glass doesn't do that!
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:27 PM   #11
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Andy,

Is there any reason that you are aware of that Airstream doesn't use "Safety" glass? If SG available as an aftermarket retrofit?
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:28 PM   #12
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On our trip home with our new trailer at the end of October, 2007, after 100 miles, we lost one of the side windows on the streetside. I discovered one of the latches was very loose and had fallen over, so the window was unsecured at the leading side. This should have been adjusted properly at the factory or by the dealer. After some discussion, Airstream paid for the window, although not particularly graciously.

The new one's C channel did not fit well into the C channel on the body at the top of the window opening. After a lot of work on both C channels I was able to get it fitted and it closed reluctantly. Eventually at the JC service center they worked on it and now it closes fairly well.

I think the latches should be adjusted tightly enough so they can't vibrate lose and fall over leaving a window unsecured. I think real hinges on the windows instead of the primitive C channel system would be an improvement. Personally I prefer the older version windows with a fixed panel above a smaller panel that opens. There's a frame around those windows too. Seems like there would be less opportunity to break and they would provide plenty of ventilation combined with the fans.

The fact that car windows don't break and Airstream windows do, suggests a design problem. They may know this but not know what to do about it. I think car windows are safety glass (have a plastic panel between two glass panels) and that makes them stronger. I don't think safety glass is more expensive than the glass Airstream uses. I convinced them it was a latch problem, not a glass problem. It took some time and perhaps they were just sick of listening to me.

Gene
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:39 PM   #13
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Andy,

Is there any reason that you are aware of that Airstream doesn't use "Safety" glass? If SG available as an aftermarket retrofit?
By "Safety" glass do you mean with a layer of plastic like a car windshield?

Or do you mean like the side windows in a car? The side windows in a car are tempered glass like those in an Airstream. They break in the same manner. Check out a salvage yard and look inside cars that have the windows broken out. Cars haven't used the laminated glass in the side windows in many years. Certianly since the 1970s. The last ones I can remember for sure were in the 1950s.

They are "Safety" too because the tempering process causes them to break into small pieces that don't have sharp edges like regular glass. Same for things like sliding patio doors in homes.

I have also heard of car windows mysteriously breaking too. Especially in hot weather. Not very often, but as someone pointed out, it is still unusual in Airstreams.
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:06 PM   #14
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Andy,

Is there any reason that you are aware of that Airstream doesn't use "Safety" glass? If SG available as an aftermarket retrofit?
Manufacturing "anything" involves costs.

If Airstream did the ultimate in production, no one could afford them.

Costs then, become paramount.

Safety glass would be the same thing as waterproof floor, fabrics that would not stain, carpeting that could not be hurt, walls that would tolerate smokers, appliances that are commercial quality, etc. etc.

Safety glass is great for windshields, not windows in a travel trailer.

Automobiles are made by the hundreds of thousands, Airstreams are not.

That, in itself, changes costs, real quick.

Andy
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