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Old 01-15-2003, 03:50 PM   #1
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Sovereign 1992: Want to cut a window in the roof. Has anyone experience?

I am the fresh (and very happy) owner of an Airstream 1992 Sovereign 21'. It is one of the last A/S's built for the European market. I am planning to add some light into the interior by cutting one or two window(s) in the roof, at least one at the location, where there is currently the antenna (which I do not need). Not doing it myself - I plan to bring my trailer to a professional trailer repair company suited to do such things. My question: Does anyone have experience with this? What do I have to be careful of? What problems might arise? Thanks, Hans
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Old 01-15-2003, 09:49 PM   #2
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Hans,

I think you are asking for trouble, It is hard enough worrying about leaks as it is without making more. I don't think you will find any reputable shops even here in the states that would do what you are asking. Maybe a roof vent which has a curb and a definite application to the roof but I have never heard of a roof window. If you wanted to get real funky I guess you could put in a residential type skylite, would probably devalue your A/S and leak like a sieve, (spellcheck please?)



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Old 01-15-2003, 10:46 PM   #3
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They can put a sunroof/moonroof in a car, why not something similar in an Airstream? Look outside for vertical rivet lines, these will be ribs, make sure you clear when cutting. Watch for wires, there is a light close and there are probably others. Install and seal it properly and there is no reason it will leak.

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Old 01-16-2003, 12:19 AM   #4
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Thanks Chas & John. I also thought, that a professional company for trailers (that also gives you a warranty that the sunwindow will not leak) should know. The only thing is that an A/S trailer is very rare in my country, so the company might not have the experience, since the A/Ss "coat" is quite thicker as a normal trailer. But: There are 2 small windows in the roof already originally, so with good insulation against leakage it should work. I will write a mail to the A/S company and ask them for advice.
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Old 01-16-2003, 06:57 AM   #5
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Tempered

AS windows are made of tempered glass.

There is no difference in penetrating the roof for a window frame and or a vent. A penetration is a penetration!

simply take measures to seal the flange when placing the window.

I hope you are not thinking of a window that opens, if you are, you may have a problem with water settling around the gasket and this will lead to rot and any time you open the window, the water will surely fall into the trailer.

I recommend a "fixed" window that does not open.

Of course you could implement a "skylight" from your local hardware store but now you would have a window that is not made by AS.

A window from the door of an Airstream is a fixed type window.

Good luck,
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Old 01-16-2003, 08:05 AM   #6
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Skylights

Hans,

Welcome & congrat's on you "new" A/S!

I have a factory installed skylight and I'll the share good & bad points:

The good point is that it really helps to brighten the living area on a cloudy day.

The bad points are that they break(I carry a spare), their not clear enough to star gaze, sun glares into the trailer and they do allow in too much heat during the summer. Fortunately the skylight has a blind attached inside which you can close to reduce the heat & glare from the sun. Mine is mostly closed.

my 2 cents-John
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Old 01-16-2003, 08:18 AM   #7
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Thanks a lot for your information!
@John: The factory installed skylight you mention: is this an original part of Airstream?
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Old 01-16-2003, 09:18 AM   #8
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Hans,

Yes it was installed in the trailer during it being manufactured.

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Old 01-16-2003, 09:31 PM   #9
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For a great many years virtually all the wiring in the trailer ran along the ceiling just a few inches to the curb side of the top center of the trailer. I assume it still does. The wiring bundle is accomodated by a "notch" in the ribs. There would be problems in trying to open up the roof beyond that "notch" as there would be no place to run the wires.

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Old 01-16-2003, 10:25 PM   #10
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Moon roof?

Some years ago, I installed a moon roof in my Datsun 260-Z. The frame of the window clamped around the opening cut in the roof with rubber gaskets. In the followng 5 or more years of owning the car, I never had a drop of leakage. I'm sure the same roof could be installed in an Airstream.

The glass was tinted and tilted up. The tint pretty much took care of the heat and glare problem. The glass was removable, but I never bothered to remove it after the first couple of times.

The hardest thing was saber-sawing that hole in the roof! They say measure twice, cut once. Well, I measured at least 20 times before I started sawing. Fortunately, the fit was perfect.
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Old 01-16-2003, 10:42 PM   #11
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What about the curve of the roof???

Shari
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Old 01-17-2003, 06:30 AM   #12
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80's maybe?

Shari,

I don't know what year A/S changed the roof design, but mine is flatter than the 60's & 70's, as they do have more of a curve.

Too me water leaks are my #1 concern! But if Hans, if you feel it's needed, enjoy your Airstream!!!

I just wouldn't introduce any more ave for water to get into the trailer.

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Old 01-17-2003, 07:13 AM   #13
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John, you are right, water leaks are my no. 1 concern too, as I think is true for every Airstream-fan ... I already have discussed this issue with a local trailer-company here, and they say, that the problem might be the curved roof. I will tow the trailer to them and they will inspect the whole thing. IF they would install a roof window, they would have a 1 year warranty, that no water leaks appear. Well, I will see what they tell me after having seen my Sovereign. A/S-trailers are not too common in my country, actually are almost never seen. If you see an A/S, it is usually on a trailer fair, where the A/S is used as a "show-trailer". The reason is size and costs. European trailers are much cheaper - but they are not Airstreams. They are just missing this special "character" or feeling or however you call it ...
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Old 01-17-2003, 07:31 AM   #14
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Sealers for A/S

Hans,

There are 2 sealers that are recommend to use on A/S.

One is Vulkem(for large seams) and the other is Parbound-aluminum(for small seams).

Your repair shop may not have these, but they are available in the states.

Good luck-John
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