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Old 12-04-2017, 05:42 PM   #1
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Airstream Motorhome Windows - not very clear subject

For the longest time I had thought the Argosy and Classic side slider window frames were the same and the only thing that made the windows different was how the seals were installed, the change in handles/latches and whether or not there were gray sliders installed. Well it turns out that’s not true. The actual frame extrusions are completely different. There is no way the gray sliders will work in an Argosy window frame and probably no way you can eliminate the gray sliders from the Classic window frames. Note, this discussion does not include the cockpit slider windows. As near as I could tell I couldn’t see any real differences when I compared a Classic cockpit window frame to one from an Argosy. The Argosy extrusion is on the right and the other two are from a Classic.

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The window evolution seems to be the 74 and early 75 Argosy windows with the aluminum metal handles, extrusions with four tracks and furry seals throughout. Sometime in 1975 the handles were changed to what is used throughout the Classic years. At some point either at the end of Argosy production or else in the early stages of the Classic range the extrusions were changed and the gray slides introduced. I don’t know much about the 90 and newer Classics so some of this may not apply.

Most of you have probably never seen what the early handles and latches looked like. Here's a picture of what my Argosy has.
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One thing that really surprised me was the curve of the window frames changed sometime after 1978, i.e. with the introduction of the gray sliders. I had always assumed the curve of the window frames was the same but if you look at the pictures below you can see the Argosy window definitely has less of a curve to it than the Classic window frames. In the first picture the Argosy window is on the right. In the second picture the Argosy window is in the middle. You can definitely see the differences between the two types. What I don’t know is whether or not the curve of the glass is different. Sometime in the near future I will be removing the slider panes from the windows at which point I will be able to see if there is a difference in the glass curvature. For the moment I’m betting the glass curvature is the same between windows with the real difference being the curve of the extrusions.

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Ernie and I spent a fair amount of time replacing the seals on one of Peanut’s slider windows with the new more flexible seals that Peter recommends and uses. The issue we were having with trying to get the pane to close properly was the upper outer curve of the window was hitting the window frame. As it hit the frame it would catch on the seal and try to push the seal into the track. Now that I’ve seen the actual difference in the frame curvatures I have a better understanding of why we are having problems getting the window to close.

This also reinforces my belief that the glass is the same for Argosies and Classic’s, just the frames were changed. I believe the frame curvature difference also explains why the new seal that Peter prefers doesn’t seem to work well in Peanut. The new seal is very flexible and has no steel backing whereas the older seals had have a steel framework that would resist collapsing as the edge of the window pane pushes against it. The window would be hard to close but would not deform the seal like we experienced in peanut with the new seal. As another data point, I know someone with a 75 Argosy that still has the original seals installed. He was able to resurrect the seals in his windows by using a silicone spray as lubricant. He says the windows open and close just fine now. I’m going to discuss with Martin the idea of removing the new seal from the window and installing the original style of seal to see if it makes any difference.

I’m not sure if any of the above information is worth anything other than tidbits for a trivia test but as much trouble as we all have with these windows it sure would be nice to know if there might be some alternative solutions to getting them to work smoothly. For the gray slider issue I’m wondering if there might not be a better choice of materials with a higher slipperiness factor such as nylon or delrin. I think one of the problems with the gray sliders is they are not very stable, i.e. they are too flexible. If you look at how they are made, they just seem fragile. Machining them out of a solid bar as Davejay suggests might be a good alternative.

Here's a picture of the gray slider after removal from the window frame.
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Martin had an interesting observation a while back. He noted that the windows on the really late Classics like Vycan's 94 Classic 36 diesel pusher were different and suggested that they might be have been made by someone other than Airstream. I can’t find his original post so hopefully Martin will chime in here with more info on the subject However I'm not sure the curvature near the top of the window on Vycan’s 94 is the same as the earlier Classic’s and Argosies.

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One thing I would like to know is how many owners have few if any issues with their windows and how many owners have constant battles with their windows. I for one can say that my 74 Argosy currently has NO working windows, pretty much the same for Peanut. On my old 310, until I fixed the passenger left rear slider and a couple of others that sorta worked if you were careful, it mostly had non-working windows.


Brad
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Old 12-04-2017, 06:08 PM   #2
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For me fixing the windows on my AS is like sorting and cleaning the basement in the house: You know you gotta do is soon, but there is always something less frustrating you can use as an excuse to avoid it.
I had done all of my windows in my 20' 77 Argosy and it went well but took significant effort and a lot of expensive channel material.
I did one of my sliders in the 84 AS and I am reluctant to do the others. The channel was glued in and tends to rip before it lets go.
I do prefer the channel material in the AS vs the 77 Argosy.
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Old 12-04-2017, 06:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkahler View Post
.... The issue we were having with trying to get the pane to close properly was the upper outer curve of the window was hitting the window frame. As it hit the frame it would catch on the seal and try to push the seal into the track. Now that I’ve seen the actual difference in the frame curvatures I have a better understanding of why we are having problems getting the window to close.
...
Brad
Brad, I finally completely understand the issue you are having and I think you solved the mystery. It was always hard to explain, what in the world would have caused those cockpit frames to go out of alignment that badly.
Now I am curious to hear if the original Schlegle will solve this problem.

Ooops, edit, just reread and you said this discussion does not incl the cockpit windows. Did you get those to work with the new material?
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Old 12-04-2017, 06:51 PM   #4
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Brad, I had the idea of finding someone to design a 3D-printable slider. I haven't looked into it at all... as someone else pointed out there's usually something more pressing, lol. But maybe 3D printing could be possible with a more durable material like nylon. All my windows except one are functional. I have a slice of a slider to use as a template if I ever get around to it.

I'm wondering how much a replacement side window set you back?
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Old 12-04-2017, 06:55 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by PeterH-Airstreamer View Post
Brad, I finally completely understand the issue you are having and I think you solved the mystery. It was always hard to explain, what in the world would have caused those cockpit frames to go out of alignment that badly.
Now I am curious to hear if the original Schlegle will solve this problem.

Ooops, edit, just reread and you said this discussion does not incl the cockpit windows. Did you get those to work with the new material?
Peter, I plan to revisit the cockpit window issues on Peanut sometime this winter. Over the past few months I've been stewing over both the side windows and the cockpit windows and it's just frustrating to say the least. I'm going to try and borrow the 345 cockpit window assembly again and do a much more detailed comparison to the matching Argosy cockpit window assembly I have in storage. Peanut's drivers cockpit window works pretty well. Not so the passenger side.

We'll see what Martin thinks about trying the original style Schlegel and go from there.

Brad
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Old 12-04-2017, 07:10 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by GinaParmesan View Post
Brad, I had the idea of finding someone to design a 3D-printable slider. I haven't looked into it at all... as someone else pointed out there's usually something more pressing, lol. But maybe 3D printing could be possible with a more durable material like nylon. All my windows except one are functional. I have a slice of a slider to use as a template if I ever get around to it.
I'm not overly familiar with 3D printing so I'm not sure what the capabilities are. The original is extruded which is a totally different process. Hopefully this thread can bring in some fresh ideas like 3D printing.

Quote:
I'm wondering how much a replacement side window set you back?
Several thousands of dollars, several years of labor and some horse trading

Basically I bought a 345 for parts, spent several years dismantling it and then swapped some parts with a forum member who did the same thing with an Argosy.

Not something I'd recommend as an easy way to get parts

Brad
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Old 12-05-2017, 01:47 AM   #7
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I remember recently reading another thread (within the last week) where a member was saying they could get the grey slides made. I only have Argosy windows so don't have the slides but I am sure someone could find that post if they needed (I think Tony asked for a dozen to be made?????).

I am happy to try the old type Schlegel on Peanut, just not sure if it is still available. I remember another post saying the stuff very VTS etc now doesn't have the metal back???

As for the windows in the later models.....I found a very similar window from C.R. Laurence, and was suggesting we could approach them to have some replacements made. Totally depends on the minimum run size but must be cheaper than $500 per window for used replacements! and they will seal!!!!!
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Old 12-05-2017, 05:13 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by martin300662 View Post
I remember recently reading another thread (within the last week) where a member was saying they could get the grey slides made. I only have Argosy windows so don't have the slides but I am sure someone could find that post if they needed (I think Tony asked for a dozen to be made?????).
I remember seeing that one as well. I think eventually someone will figure out how to make a viable replacement. Hopefully sooner than later!

Quote:
I am happy to try the old type Schlegel on Peanut, just not sure if it is still available. I remember another post saying the stuff very VTS etc now doesn't have the metal back???
I think I have enough to do one window and if I remember right the stuff from InlandRV. Tonight I'll do an inventory to verify how much if any that I have.

Quote:
As for the windows in the later models.....I found a very similar window from C.R. Laurence, and was suggesting we could approach them to have some replacements made. Totally depends on the minimum run size but must be cheaper than $500 per window for used replacements! and they will seal!!!!!
Can you post a picture of the C.R. Laurence window?

Yeah, I would expect $500 would be a show stopper.

Brad
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Old 12-05-2017, 06:11 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by bkahler View Post

Can you post a picture of the C.R. Laurence window?

Yeah, I would expect $500 would be a show stopper.

Brad
This was the Argosy bus with the CRL windows





The windows are these



These are available from resellers at around $250, but my suggestion was to see if we could get CRL to make some direct replacements (using their clamp in technology), and with clear anodising not powder coating.
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Old 12-05-2017, 07:04 AM   #10
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At first glance I thought those windows were sitting to low so I compared them to my Argosy and they are right where they're supposed to be

I think you're right, if they were silver anodized they would look a lot better, at least for my taste. I wonder what their measurements are?

How did you find out they were C.R. Laurence windows?
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Old 12-05-2017, 07:06 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by WayneG View Post
For me fixing the windows on my AS is like sorting and cleaning the basement in the house: You know you gotta do is soon, but there is always something less frustrating you can use as an excuse to avoid it.
I had done all of my windows in my 20' 77 Argosy and it went well but took significant effort and a lot of expensive channel material.
I did one of my sliders in the 84 AS and I am reluctant to do the others. The channel was glued in and tends to rip before it lets go.
I do prefer the channel material in the AS vs the 77 Argosy.
I couldn't agree more!

When I replaced the seals on my 310 I thought it was a pain, but then I tried an Argosy window and revised my estimate of the 310 to just being a challenge. The Argosy style is a real pain!

Brad
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Old 12-05-2017, 09:06 AM   #12
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How did you find out they were C.R. Laurence windows?
I found a write up on the modifications to the bus online somewhere and that said they were from CRL. If they are the standard 'contoured van windows' then they are actually about 1.5" taller and 1" narrower. CRL do a quotation service (you give them sizes and shapes and they quote) they appeared fine with the change of size but weren't happy with the contour (at least without out extra info on the curvature but it looks like you have that in your photos Brad!)
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Old 12-05-2017, 09:54 AM   #13
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I found a write up on the modifications to the bus online somewhere and that said they were from CRL. If they are the standard 'contoured van windows' then they are actually about 1.5" taller and 1" narrower. CRL do a quotation service (you give them sizes and shapes and they quote) they appeared fine with the change of size but weren't happy with the contour (at least without out extra info on the curvature but it looks like you have that in your photos Brad!)
I would be happy to send them a passenger side window frame from a 345 (less the glass) if would help them develop a proper window to use as drop in replacements.
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Old 12-05-2017, 11:27 AM   #14
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One complication is the need for both 24" and 30" tall windows (the 24" are used above counter tops, the 30" above the sofa etc) I am assuming the 24" are just the top section of the 30", but maybe I am wrong!

It is one of the subtle differences between Bella's new windows and the normal rear-bath layout found in Peanut. Bella has two 24" and then a 30" (the 24"s above the extended counter) whereas the normal layout is two 30"s and then a 24". This means that generally the 30" is much more common, but we need a solution for both.

Just as importantly, and this seems a good thread to pose the question on; who actually opens the windows when driving? Fundamentally we only have sliders instead of the pop-open windows found on the trailers is to allow them to be opened when driving.....yet to my knowledge no one does! Far better to switch to trailer windows and remove the issue.
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Old 12-05-2017, 11:29 AM   #15
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I’d like to take the Airstream engineers who designed these windows outside behind the woodshed and give them a very sound thrashing!!!! +#%@$!!
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Old 12-05-2017, 12:40 PM   #16
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I frequently drive with my sliders open! Love to hear that big block sound.

I recently replaced my cockpit slider seals with the gasket that Peter recommends. Now my windows will not close all the way. They hit in the corners as Brad describes, leaving a small gap open towards the bottom. I recently ordered the original metal style from airstreamsupply.com and have been waiting for them to arrive. I am hoping that that will allow my windows to fully close again.
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Old 12-05-2017, 02:54 PM   #17
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I frequently drive with my sliders open! Love to hear that big block sound.

I recently replaced my cockpit slider seals with the gasket that Peter recommends. Now my windows will not close all the way. They hit in the corners as Brad describes, leaving a small gap open towards the bottom. I recently ordered the original metal style from airstreamsupply.com and have been waiting for them to arrive. I am hoping that that will allow my windows to fully close again.
I definitely have the cockpit sliders open, just about all the time. It is the house sliders that I wish I changed to the standard type.,along with the modern trailer type VistaViews. I sound like a abroken record but I still can't understand why Airstream continue to launch models which are just van conversions when the trailer parts list could make a really nice classic style motorhome.
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Old 12-05-2017, 04:29 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by martin300662 View Post
One complication is the need for both 24" and 30" tall windows (the 24" are used above counter tops, the 30" above the sofa etc) I am assuming the 24" are just the top section of the 30", but maybe I am wrong!

It is one of the subtle differences between Bella's new windows and the normal rear-bath layout found in Peanut. Bella has two 24" and then a 30" (the 24"s above the extended counter) whereas the normal layout is two 30"s and then a 24". This means that generally the 30" is much more common, but we need a solution for both.
I'm pretty sure I have a mostly complete 24" up in the barn as well.

Quote:
Just as importantly, and this seems a good thread to pose the question on; who actually opens the windows when driving? Fundamentally we only have sliders instead of the pop-open windows found on the trailers is to allow them to be opened when driving.....yet to my knowledge no one does! Far better to switch to trailer windows and remove the issue.
I think we always kept the sliders closed in the 310. I would think the wind would play havoc with the curtains and blinds while driving if they were open.

You don't know how many times I've looked at the 74 Excella trailer windows I have in the barn thinking I should just use those windows in the Argosy

Now you have me really thinking about it......

Brad
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Old 12-05-2017, 04:31 PM   #19
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Id like to take the Airstream engineers who designed these windows outside behind the woodshed and give them a very sound thrashing!!!! +#%@$!!
I believe there's a good chance they wouldn't understand why we weren't so upset!
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Old 12-05-2017, 04:36 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by chiefair View Post
I frequently drive with my sliders open! Love to hear that big block sound.

I recently replaced my cockpit slider seals with the gasket that Peter recommends. Now my windows will not close all the way. They hit in the corners as Brad describes, leaving a small gap open towards the bottom. I recently ordered the original metal style from airstreamsupply.com and have been waiting for them to arrive. I am hoping that that will allow my windows to fully close again.
We had real issues with Peanut's passenger side cockpit window when replacing the original worn out schlegel with the newer style rubber. The top outer corner just pushes the rubber and crushes it. However, the drivers side seemed to work pretty good although we did have to tweak the track a little bit due to an odd deformity in the glass. Once we did that it closed ok.

If the metal style schlegel works on Peanut's side window we will probably attempt the same thing on the passenger cockpit window to see if it makes a difference.

Brad
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