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Old 08-28-2006, 05:15 PM   #1
Reg
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1975 31' Excella 500
Crowley , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 6
Newbie needs help !!!!!

I just purchased my first Airstream and need lots of advice on needed repairs & where to buy needed parts and supplies etc. I am a lifelong do it myselfer and have a decent collection of tools. I do NOT however have any exp with rivets etc ,so I am a rank beginner needing help starting at that level. ANYONE out there willing to help will be appreciated!! A list of projects I know of at this time . As said I really need advice on what and where to get needed parts , rivets ,tools and any help needed to use them.

I am fortunate in that my trailer came with a Factory Servic Manual, so do have some info available.

I am not at this point trying to get my trailer in " show" condition,just decent useable. I am going to pull it to my place in Colorado and use it to stay in while I build a small house & a Large toy box( shop/garage).

PROJECTS
1 Front wing window has 1 1/2 " of water between inside & outside glass.
Was thinking of pulling window and draining water, then trying to re-seal and install?? How did water get there? Any ideas? Are these units avail,if so where?

2 A few rivets on skin missing or loose.

3 Small amount of water leaking in . Showing at bottom ledges of small port hole non movable windows under the larger moveable windows. Can't see where it is comeing from. Can it be running down inside of skin from loose rivets etc, or is it most likelly leaks at window frames etc.?

Any advice appreciated ,to help me find a starting place
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Old 08-28-2006, 07:17 PM   #2
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1973 31' Excella 500
Morristown , Tennessee
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I'll give this one a shot to start things off. Congratulations on your choice of coaches. You are hooked on the best.

Wing windows with water is one of the toughest problems. There are several threads describing this problem. It is difficult to remove and, disassemble and repair. The rounded rivets are Olympic and require some experience to get right.

Rivets missing can be serious or cosmetic. The large ones are Olympic and give strength to the skin which is critical in the overall structural strength. These don't seen too hard to replace but takes some time to make them look good. The other rivets are simple, squeeze and they're done. There the small ones with the holes in the center.

Leaking water is a real problem and I have no advice. Hopefully the others here will offer advice.

My suggestion is to good build the playhouse in Colorado and park the coach inside, get it in shape and show it off.

Anyway, good luck, congratulations and welcome to the forum. Learn to use the search feature and just ask and read. It's fun and relaxing.

Joe
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Old 08-28-2006, 08:18 PM   #3
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Hi Reg,
Welcome to the forums and a special welcome as a 75 vintage owner Your leaks are probably coming from several places. Just a few in no particular order...Vent stacks, awning rail, televison antenna, window frames, window seals(the black ones), glass seals(the gray ones), missing rivets, lights and possibly between panels. Now that I have you scared to death the good news is that they are all fixable with some time and the proper caulking. I would start at the top and work my way down. Also if you have carpet, pull it back from the edges and look for rotted wood where you see the leaks above. For some reason it ALWAYS seems to leak right over an outrigger causing problems with the floor. If you are lucky, have good karma or your stars are aligned you may have caught the leaks in time and not have floor damage. I have a 1975 in a fair state of destruction so if you need pictures of something or need to know where something is or goes give me a shout. I also just aquired a 1980 Excella II in about the same condition as my 75...talk about DOUBLE TROUBLE

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Old 08-30-2006, 03:27 PM   #4
Reg
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1975 31' Excella 500
Crowley , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 6
Thanks for the reply. Where should I buy the Olimpic rivets. Can they be put in with a good pop rivet gun ,or do you have to have a special tool. I know book says to use a special shaver to clean them up ,but figure for now I can file ,& or grind them after install. I don't think I have a bunch of them to do.

My trailer experienced a West Texas Hail Storm so would have to have lots of skin to be pristine. It is however totaLLY ORIGINAL except for the a/c, a one owner.
Thanks for any assistance. Reg
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Old 08-30-2006, 05:11 PM   #5
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1971 27' Overlander
Central , Ohio
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Draining Water From Window

Hi,

Welcome - this is the place for information - just bought our 71 in July and this Forum has been great.

Here is what my copy of an Airstream Service Manual says to do:

1. Drill hole through close out (shows picture of the interior trim strip) of Vista View at a 45 degree (upward obviously) angle until completely passing through inside pane of window only. (I'd change to a glass bit once I got through the interior trim/skin and frame).
2. Catch draining water with dry towel.
3. Allow water to drain on towel.
4. Fill hole with sealant.
5. Remove any loose sealer from exterior surface of glass and frame.
6. Reseal with silicone sealer to prevent further leakage.

I'm new at this - others may give you some better advice but, from there I'd:
1. Remove the sealer from the top of the exterior window frame and run a plastic scraper around the edge of the rest of the window frame to remove any other loose sealer.
2. Reseal the frame edge using Alcoa Gutter Seal or Parbond and let that set up.
3. Replace the seal that was on the top of your window frame with TremPro 635 - it sets up faster than Vulkem. See this link for parts:

http://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/...Code=VTS%2D267

Inland RV should also have this stuff and a bunch more items your probably going to need.

Good luck - hope this works out for you if you decide to try it.
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Old 08-31-2006, 11:23 PM   #6
Reg
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1975 31' Excella 500
Crowley , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ganglin
Hi,

Welcome - this is the place for information - just bought our 71 in July and this Forum has been great.

Here is what my copy of an Airstream Service Manual says to do:

1. Drill hole through close out (shows picture of the interior trim strip) of Vista View at a 45 degree (upward obviously) angle until completely passing through inside pane of window only. (I'd change to a glass bit once I got through the interior trim/skin and frame).
2. Catch draining water with dry towel.
3. Allow water to drain on towel.
4. Fill hole with sealant.
5. Remove any loose sealer from exterior surface of glass and frame.
6. Reseal with silicone sealer to prevent further leakage.

I'm new at this - others may give you some better advice but, from there I'd:
1. Remove the sealer from the top of the exterior window frame and run a plastic scraper around the edge of the rest of the window frame to remove any other loose sealer.
2. Reseal the frame edge using Alcoa Gutter Seal or Parbond and let that set up.
3. Replace the seal that was on the top of your window frame with TremPro 635 - it sets up faster than Vulkem. See this link for parts:

http://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/...Code=VTS%2D267

Inland RV should also have this stuff and a bunch more items your probably going to need.

Good luck - hope this works out for you if you decide to try it.
Wow, Ganglin that sounds like some good info. Is the "vista View" the small curved windows on each side of the front window?? In my ser. manual they call them "wing windows" Same thing??? My manual doesn't have any of this info you furnished. As best I understand what you describe ,this is done without removeing the window etc. Is that correct?? Any way you could fax or e/mail those instructions you have?? Fax# 817 292-2726 ,E/M jsashorty@sbcglobal.net Really do appreciate your response! THANKS ,Reg
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Old 09-01-2006, 11:42 PM   #7
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1971 27' Overlander
Central , Ohio
Join Date: Jun 2006
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No the Vista view windows are the curved ones that are built into the roof line near the front door for example on some Airstreams - like a skylite window in the roof curve with a built in slide down shade. Presume these leaked so instructions were in the 72 Service Manual.

The procedure would seem to be the same to me even though the windows that you reference are wing windows - yes that's what they are called in my manual also.

Here's what I'd do - combining the manual and boy I hope this works:

1/8 bit drill upward at a 45 degree angle from the inside so that you'll pierce the interior trim and know that you'll hit the inside pane of glass (gently)

when you hit the glass back off the pressure and just let the bit score the glass enough to dimple or roughen it up a bit so the glass bit has something to bite to

switch to a glass drilling bit and apply gentle pressure until you go through the inside pane only (a diamond bit for a Dremmel would work also)

let the water drain for a few days

Seal the inside hole with silicone caulk (almond if that matches your trim)

On the outside - remove the sealer on top of the window frame - the thick stuff that looks like caulk - razor knife - easy on the skin - less scratches - less buffing if you decide to do so later

plastic scraper (or sharpen a popscicle stick) and run it around the entire exterior window frame edge to remove any other loose sealer

seal the exterior frame as mentioned above - skipping Step 6. from the specific Airstream instructions

If you want the instructions I can scan and email them to you next week but the original post is exactly what the manual says.

Good luck to you - let us know what happens - easy on the bit pressure - be patient when drilling glass.
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Old 09-02-2006, 05:45 AM   #8
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 7,174
Images: 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ganglin
Hi,

Welcome - this is the place for information - just bought our 71 in July and this Forum has been great.

Here is what my copy of an Airstream Service Manual says to do:

1. Drill hole through close out (shows picture of the interior trim strip) of Vista View at a 45 degree (upward obviously) angle until completely passing through inside pane of window only. (I'd change to a glass bit once I got through the interior trim/skin and frame).
2. Catch draining water with dry towel.
3. Allow water to drain on towel.
4. Fill hole with sealant.
5. Remove any loose sealer from exterior surface of glass and frame.
6. Reseal with silicone sealer to prevent further leakage.

I'm new at this - others may give you some better advice but, from there I'd:
1. Remove the sealer from the top of the exterior window frame and run a plastic scraper around the edge of the rest of the window frame to remove any other loose sealer.
2. Reseal the frame edge using Alcoa Gutter Seal or Parbond and let that set up.
3. Replace the seal that was on the top of your window frame with TremPro 635 - it sets up faster than Vulkem. See this link for parts:

http://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/...Code=VTS%2D267

Inland RV should also have this stuff and a bunch more items your probably going to need.

Good luck - hope this works out for you if you decide to try it.
Word of advice here! The later model vista views are all glass! and if you screw up replacements are in the $250 range I think the directions from 1971 make the assumption that the interior portion of the vista view is plastic/plexiglass. As far as wing windows are concerned I have seen many, many units with holes drilled on the outside at the bottom of the frames. There was a discussion about this a year or so ago, complete with pictures.

Aaron
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Old 09-02-2006, 11:49 AM   #9
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1973 31' Sovereign
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: May 2004
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Reg,

The Olympic rivets are available from several places. I bought mine from Inland.

If you just have a few you could do OK with a manual pop-rivet gun. As I recall the Olympics have a center shaft that is a little larger than the 1/8" standard pop-rivets used inside, for mounting some of the trim and on the belly pan. They are also harder to pull manually than the smaller rivets. I had enough rivets that I decided to buy a pnuematic rivet gun. I found one at Harbor Freight for around $30 and am very happy to have it. Of course you do have to have an air compressor to run it. One especially nice thing about the pneumatic gun that I had not thought of until I started using it was that you can set a rivet with just one hand. That is great for mounting trim and etc. where you want to have your other hand completely free for holding something.

You can carefully grind off the shafts of the Olympics. Some people on the forums report good results using something like a Dremel tool. I bought a simple rivet shaver for about $30 if I recall correctly. I can run it with my air-powered cutoff tool. I allready had a small air compressor and I found a package of pnematic tools for under $100 that came in handy for a lot things on the AS. The cutoff tool was very handy for cutting rusty bolts and screws loose when replacing the floor. The air-powered wrench was very handy too.

Check out the following thread for more information about rivets. Especially look at my post #14. I have a pointer there to the type of rivet shaver I used.

http://www.airforums.com/forum...t=rivet+shaver

Malcolm
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Old 09-04-2006, 09:12 PM   #10
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1971 27' Overlander
Central , Ohio
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Quote:
Word of advice here! The later model vista views are all glass! and if you screw up replacements are in the $250 range I think the directions from 1971 make the assumption that the interior portion of the vista view is plastic/plexiglass. As far as wing windows are concerned I have seen many, many units with holes drilled on the outside at the bottom of the frames. There was a discussion about this a year or so ago, complete with pictures.

Aaron
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Wise advise obviously. I've never attempted this before but it just seems that drilling from the inside any time you can would be best? An interior hole would seem easier to maintain than an exterior one. In either case the key is patience with drilling glass/plastic - don't force the bit - let the drill do the work.
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Old 12-05-2006, 10:04 PM   #11
Reg
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1975 31' Excella 500
Crowley , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 6
Just a quick update on my progress on the "watter in the wing window" project.Thanks to Ganglin and observing that my windows were in fact TEMPERED GLASS, I made the decision to remove th wing window as a unit. I then CAREFULLY drilled a small hole in the window frame . I then probed with a small drill bit untill I located the inside cavity between the 2 glasses. .Then I carefully punched through the seal and drained the water out. Would advise much caution on the drilling operation as tempered glass will shatter really easy if a sharp object contacts it on the edges.(Just barelly penetrate the frame only) Now I am trying to figure out how to get the condensation out,Am considering inserting alcahol with a needle into cavety and then draining it to hopefully take left over water & condensation out. Will post progress
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Old 12-09-2006, 03:34 PM   #12
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1985 31' Sovereign
Tucson , Arizona
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 250
Thumbs up Drying out glass

Hi Reg,
In the electronic stores they have compresse nytrogen which you can inject in between the glass. It schould pick up moisture and relace the air. Nytrogen is heavier that air and will stay there.It will also help you to find any other leaks in the frame. The water got in trough some other openning on top of frame. Be carefull when you do this,do it in an open area since nytrogen is odorles . It is not poison but will sufacate if you in you are in a closed area. The amount you will be using should not be any problem for you.
Regards Russell in Sunny Tucso Az.
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