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TomW 03-17-2004 07:02 AM

Open your frameless windows wide?
My '67 Overlander has the curved, frameless Corning windows. As I am still restoring it since its December purchase, there has been no reason to open the windows since they have no leak problems. New seals are at hand for when the opportunity presents itself.

This past weekend, in trying to get a good shot of some just completed interior work, I decided to open the forward window and stand on the hitch. When the window was cranked about halfway out, I stopped and looked at where the forces are applied to the glass to open it. With the way it is designed, the thought of opening the window all the way (perpendicular to body?) made me extremely uneasy. The thought that replacement windows are all but impossible to find made me crank it back down, and ask questions.

In an actual camping situation, I don't plan to sit in the Overlander sipping lemonade enjoying the breeze from an open window. I'll sit outside for that relaxation. At night, I will turn the A/C on. So, other than replacing the seals, I don't foresee opening the windows much although I want them to work when I do want to open them.

My question: Am I just being a wuss? I know that tempered glass is stronger than ordinary glass, but does it age well? Has anyone ever broken one of these frameless windows by leaving it open too wide or in the wrong weather? Any general comments on how strong these windows are?


wrepete 03-20-2004 09:22 PM

Hey Tom,

We started out with a new 1967 Overlander International 26'L [#1267-J-954], purchased June 3, 1967. We had the trailer for ten years, and the only problem that I can still remember was with those windows.

The difficulty was not with the glass breaking, but with stress caused by winds working the glass out of the metal strip that secures it in place. I was able to work them back in place along with some sealer, but became very sensitive to the potential of strong crosswinds. [The one over the sink was cleanly out of the slot and laying along the upper surface above the window.] We were at an I-80 rest stop west of Des Moines, and after the wind died down I taped it in place with good old duct tape.

My recommendation is to pay close attention to the weather, and routinely check the status of each window in its slot.

If you enjoy your '67 as much as we did, you're going to have a great time.


Airstream Life 03-21-2004 06:56 AM

Tom, I'll add a few thoughts on those windows. Our '68 has a nearly identical window with the only difference being that Airstream added a thin aluminum "frame" to the glass in the later 1960's.

The frame marginally strengthens the glass, but in my opinion the primary benefit of it is that it makes the windows somewhat more visible to passers-by. We do not open the windows more than 1/4 during rallies because it is nearly impossible to see the windows when you are walking parallel to the trailer, and the result is painful and can result in broken glass.

Stefrobrts (who is on this forum) has posted some pictures somewhere of her custom-made window awnings that solve this problem by making the open glass easily visible.

When there is no danger of people hitting the window, we routinely crank them fully open and have not experienced a problem. Most of the stress is on the rugged hinge assembly and the crank mechanism, and not the glass itself. The cranks use soft pot metal for the gears, and this is where you'll probably encounter a problem someday -- they strip easily.

As Bud points out, if the hinge clamp ("slot") that holds the glass in place lets loose, you will lose a window. If you aren't sure, consider removing and re-securing it in the hinge clamp with double-sided tape and silicone. (Yes, this is one of the places where silicone is OK to use on an Airstream!) Otherwise, one might just fall out during towing.

When camping, we always close down the windows during high winds just because the glass is virtually unobtainable. If one breaks, you will be replacing it with acrylic plastic.

Even with those precautions accidents happen. Towing back through Maryland last week we lost one of those windows. Not sure if the cause was flying road debris or just age, but when we pulled into the next fuel stop, it was shattered. The chemical tempering of these windows will not protect them against everything, and I can tell you from personal experience that they do shatter into sharper fragments than modern tempered auto glass.

Stefrobrts 03-21-2004 09:58 AM

1 Attachment(s)
I have one plastic window in mine as well, because the window shattered while the previous owner was towing it. He felt that sometimes the road stress causes flex and bang - there goes your window. Bad luck I guess.

I couldn't make it without opening my windows. We have retreated to the trailer on more than one camping adventure where we wanted to get away from the flys and skeeters, and we were happy to have those screened windows. Also on a hot day I'll just leave them open so the trailer's not such a hot box when we get back. We were in Sisters Oregon last year, and it was over 100 out, and we had the windows open all day and night because hot breeze was better than no breeze, and inside was our only shade to get away from the sun. The windows bobbed up and down a bit, but I saw no problem with leaving them open even in strong wind.

Here are my window awnings. They did protect it from being run into by some guys walking by at a star party last year. I heard them saying, 'if I hadn't seen that awning I would have walked right into it!'

TomW 03-21-2004 12:32 PM

Although I did say this…

Originally posted by tcwilliams
In an actual camping situation, I don't plan to sit in the Overlander sipping lemonade enjoying the breeze from an open window. I'll sit outside for that relaxation. At night, I will turn the A/C on.
This plan would work extremely well if one starts with a fully functional Airstream. A month or so ago, my wife indicated there was an event at her alma mater she really wanted to attend with our three & four year olds, and me. Unfortunately, she was having trouble locating a motel room for one night. “No problem”, ever helpful me said as I struggled aligning a large, custom trimmed section of OSB into the rear of the Overlander, “We can take the Airstream loaded with sleeping bags!” I kept a straight face as she took in the lack of carpet, furniture, toilet, running water, heat, and functional Bay Breeze air conditioner. “Our first outing in the Airstream!”, I said indicating my willingness to make a 400 mile round-trip with toddlers to camp in a campus parking lot in Tuscaloosa Alabama.

Last week, she confirmed the unavailability of motel rooms while observing the aft belly skin still draping the ground. “Will you be ready?”. Picking up the gauntlet, I inquired as to the expected temperature at the day’s event. “Cool in the evening, but I will put the boys in long sleeve pajamas”.

Now, I had already spent a lot of time sealing seams and addressing soft/missing floor issues, so the Overlander was structurally ready to tow. But finishing the details responsible for the belly skin laying on the ground kept me busy almost down to the wire. And, at the last minute, I decided to partially reconnect the wiring system for 12 VDC operation for overhead lights and so the boys could watch Disney flicks before they went to bed. And, to make the experience as rich as possible, Walmart sold me a porta-potti for $20.

We headed out early yesterday morning looking good. I pulled over a couple of times early on to the check running gear, and was happy at every stop. We were about a third of the way there when there was a muffled screech sound followed by a low roar. Pulling over to the side of the interstate, I found that the Suburban’s radiator fan clutch decided to freeze up in the engaged position. Deciding it would only affect gas mileage, I attempted to restart the engine to find the starter motor solenoid did not care for the heat from a 454’s exhaust manifold while towing at 65 mph.

After discussion, we decided that if I could get the motor restarted, we would continue, as she really wanted to make the event, her parents were already on standby to save the grandchildren, and I had put too many late hours in to turn back now.

We pulled in to the 85 degF University of Alabama campus with no further incident. Enjoying the scheduled events all day, we retreated to the Airstream around eight last evening. It was still hot, and I had no lemonade to drink. But I am smiling as I remember laying there sweating with the windows partially opened watching “Pete's Dragon” on a 13-inch, portable TV.

p.s. Our luxurious accommodations:

85MH325 03-21-2004 02:11 PM

Ahhhh... ain't Airstreamin' great!
Thanks for sharing, Tom! Great story! It's fun to listen to these. I think everyone who owns a trailer has the story about "THE TRIP FROM HELL!" Keep us entertained with the saga of the trip home, PLEASE!:) :)


p.s. LOVE the accomodations! Did your wife enjoy the room service?:D

Stefrobrts 03-21-2004 03:18 PM

Good for you, Tom! That was very brave to set a deadline and have a little adventure. Sounds like your wife's a good sport too. And the AS was the hero, because it didn't actually give you any trouble! I predict many happy years of airstreaming in your future...:cool:

PS: I haven't had a TRIP FROM HELL yet. Does everyone HAVE to have one? Is it a rule? Just kidding...

85MH325 03-21-2004 04:30 PM


Originally posted by Stefrobrts
PS: I haven't had a TRIP FROM HELL yet. Does everyone HAVE to have one? Is it a rule? Just kidding...
It's OK Steph. EVERYONE has had one. We understand that it's been traumatic... but it's OK to talk about it...:D :D :D


TomW 03-21-2004 06:48 PM

Re: Ahhhh... ain't Airstreamin' great!

Originally posted by 85MH325
Keep us entertained with the saga of the trip home, PLEASE!:) :)
Sorrry, I should have added, "Today's trip home was mechanically uneventful, in part to the fact that I never shut the motor off".

But I had the unsecured porta-potti aft of the axle...:(

Glad you enjoyed the saga of the first trip,

TomW 08-23-2004 07:59 AM

Now we're cooking with gas!
This seemed like a good thread to post a followup; I hope you can relate to my second adventure.

After a mere eight months of weekend work, and 436 rivets on the forum, my wife and I took our first overnight trip in our fully functional Overlander this weekend. It was a big success! Although our two boys were not with us, we are planning a repeat trip next weekend where I am sure they will find time to repeatedly figure out how an RV toilet works :) .

It started out as the perfect destination at a really good time. My in-laws had planned on keeping the Boyz Friday night, so my wife suggested we take the Overlander up to Montesano State Park at the same time. I thought the destination was great in that it was a real campground (to test the Airstream), and there were many hills & winding roads enroute (to validate the Suburban).

Goals were simple: Get there, grill steaks for supper, sleep, make sausage & biscuit for breakfast, then return home. All this while making a list of what to bring/do next time. By noon on Friday, the threat of rain had substituted "sandwiches" for "grilled steaks".

By scheduled departure time, we were delayed as my wife reviewed tornado warnings on television. We left after it appeared the worst of the bad weather was heading away from our destination. The rain, however, was here to stay.

I must say that the Airstream tows beautifully in a pouring rain. Going up some of the hills on our chosen route gave me an appreciation for how the Shuttle astronauts must feel. Some of those hills have QUITE the grade. Going down the other side of the hill, luckily, was NOT Six-Flags' "Great American Scream Machine" as I had done a major brake job on the Airstream. The Suburban's engine has a really cool sound when the four-barrel carburetor opens up to pull a grade. We heard it a lot. The gauges, with the exception of the gas gauge, remained steady the entire trip.

In somewhat of "a nod from the gods", there was one pull-through space available at the park. We took it, and proceeded to make camp. I was happy to find the refrigerator's pilot light had remained lit the entire trip. With the driving over, I had a cold beer as my better half proceeded to cut shelving paper for the overhead bins, and unload the boxes of camping supplies loaded beforehand.

The air conditioner worked a bit too well for my wife’s comfort. But she was happy to have hot water with which to rinse her face. I was happy to not open a window (remember the original topic? :D )

Although I forgot the sausage, we both enjoyed the fresh baked biscuits Saturday morning. I did, however, remember the Mr. Coffee & supplies.

Unfortunately, we both forgot the camera, so I have no pictures to share with you. I will try harder to remember on next week's trip. Maybe it will snow just to make things interesting...


Craftsman 08-23-2004 09:08 AM

Great story Tom. Besides bring our Airstream home we've yet to take our first overnight trip in it. I'm really looking forward to it after reading your posts.


Stefrobrts 08-23-2004 10:22 AM

Congrats, Tom, sounds like a perfect trip. The most important part to enjoying every AS trip is to be flexible - like you said, if it rains, make sandwiches instead of grilling. Sounds like you had all the ammenities, and if you had a working fridge then you are ahead of us!

Yup, you'll be hitting the road for weeks at a time in no time. Sure, right now it seems impossible, but the AS will somehow convince you to do it - believe me!

Over59 08-23-2004 04:38 PM

I have new tempered glass windows for the front and back of the caravel. There is nothing in that hinge to secure the window. The screws dont' seem for do anything and the aluminum silicon didn't hold the glass. Unfortunately I was trying to do this myself while home for lunch and it may work better with two people. I need a better faster curing adhesive and maybe if I lock the window closed it will set. I tried to remove the hinge but it doesn't clear the side of the trailer to slide out. Is this hinge suppose to clamp on the glass with the screws. Mine has been messed with and I cann't tell what the original idea was so I can repair it. I just don't see what the screws from the inside side of the hinge are suppose to do.

rluhr 08-23-2004 05:17 PM


Originally Posted by Over59
Is this hinge suppose to clamp on the glass with the screws. Mine has been messed with and I cann't tell what the original idea was so I can repair it. I just don't see what the screws from the inside side of the hinge are suppose to do.

It's easier to show than to describe in text. Ask me at the Forum rally this weekend and I can show you how it works.

But basically, the screws hold the "clamp" part of the hinge together. If you take the screws out, you should be able to separate the two parts of the hinge clamp. Pressure from the clamp, along with a little adhesive, holds the glass in place.

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