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Old 04-19-2020, 09:37 AM   #1
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1966 24' Tradewind
1976 31' Excella 500
Frankfort , KENTUCKY
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 10
upper Vista View window replacement

Hello fellow Airstream enthusiasts! I'm restoring a 1976 Airstream Excella, including the windows (inner layer between the windows peeling, etc.). the 3 bottom Vista View with the snap rings was a piece of cake (easy). I'm finding the 5 upper Vista View windows to be more difficult.

1.) I successfully removed the first window from the body (drilled (52) rivets + (6) rivets on the inside holding the shade on + chiseled the old urethane away from the inner window casing and the shell.

2.) next step - cleaned the left over "gunk" - urethane/butyl.

3.) This is where I'm stuck! Appears to be (4) steel rivets holding the window frame together. I used a grinder to level them off with the frame, thinking that would be easier than drilling them out. is there any good way to get the frame off? the remainder of the steel rivets have quite a grip on the frame. I do not want to bend the frame. any advice? with steel rivets, I can't get a center punch to leave a dent in the rivet shaft that's left (after grinding off the head), nor get the drill bit to bite enough to start a hole.

thank you in advance for tips/tricks!

Blessings,
Rick
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Old 04-19-2020, 03:15 PM   #2
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1972 25' Tradewind
1976 31' Excella 500
1974 31' Excella 500
1975 24' Argosy 24
Denver , Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 671
I don't know if this will help with the particular issue you're facing, but here's a post I made on removing and restoring a VistaVue...
http://beahmstream.com/removing-and-...stavue-window/


...
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Old 04-19-2020, 05:00 PM   #3
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1994 34' Excella
Warren , Manitoba
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Do a search on Vista View windows. About 6 years ago I did a couple of posts with pictures. Did every window on my 1976 except the front curved ones. Others also did these windows and there are lots of posts and pictures.
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Old 04-19-2020, 05:24 PM   #4
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Dewey , Arizona
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Member "Zeppelinium" removed the vista views from one (or more) of his trailers. You might want to contact him regarding details. When I had a vintage trailer, I was not in love with the vista view windows.
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Old 04-19-2020, 08:36 PM   #5
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1966 24' Tradewind
1976 31' Excella 500
Frankfort , KENTUCKY
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 10
Great instructions and pictures! My windows are a bit different. Never was able to break the steel rivets free. Ended up breaking the inner glass to get a good look at the inside. Thinking real hard about altering my approach with the remaining 4 upper vista windows
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Old 04-19-2020, 10:19 PM   #6
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1994 34' Excella
Warren , Manitoba
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There is a steel bar that holds the two halves of the frame together, riveted in place with 2 rivets on each side. Carefully cut with a hacksaw where the frame joins together , top and bottom, and the frame will come apart. I bought a window to take apart to see how things were put together.
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Old 04-20-2020, 11:37 AM   #7
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1976 31' Excella 500
Chappell Hill , Texas
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My 76 Excella came with the inner panes broken and the outer glass held into place by 1/2 CPVC pieces cut in half and wedged between the glass and inner frame, and then they foam filled the remaining space and finished off with latex caulk!!! Really.

Without removing the window frames, I worked on them with the glass still captured by the frames.
I cleaned all the junk out including bits of old gasket, caulk, foam, Vulkem, etc. Then I set a bead of 3/16" window glazing around the outside frame, pushed the glass outward tight to the glazing then installed a square o-ring material I found at the O-ring Store online. Had to beat it into place with a rubber mallet then glued the two ends with super glue to finish making it an o-ring.
It turned out it was a perfect tight fit and forced the glass onto the outer glazing, then finished the outer with gray urethane. And no more leaks.

I did have to trim the sharp sealing edges of the o-ring side that was going down into the gap because it was really tight. I also use some silicone lube on a couple it was so tight.
Here's the before and after.
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Old 04-21-2020, 10:44 AM   #8
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1966 24' Tradewind
1976 31' Excella 500
Frankfort , KENTUCKY
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 10
new approach

Appreciate all the comments and suggestions! With so much time spent on the first window (exterior rivet removal, interior skin access to cut the inside frame glazing away and the impossibility of removing the frame from the window panes/seals due to the steel rivets. I'm considering this as a new approach. - very much dependent on how the first window goes back in.
1.) break/remove inner glass
2.) thoroughly clean the window and frame
3.) use a large conversion gasket to fill the void left by the removed glass (Vintage TrailerGaskets.com)
4.) cut the "window gasket" from the exterior window edge and replace/seal with CRL Aluminum Silicone sealant where the glass and exterior aluminum edge meet.

thoughts? -
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Old 04-21-2020, 11:08 AM   #9
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1972 25' Tradewind
1976 31' Excella 500
1974 31' Excella 500
1975 24' Argosy 24
Denver , Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 671
If you posted pics of your windows, so people could see what you're dealing with, you'd probably get more helpful advice.


I always think it's a bad idea to break things that are able to be fixed "the right way."


The vista vue windows on the Excella I'm working on today have a piece of aluminum that goes all the way around the interior perimeter of the frame. That piece of aluminum is easily removed (it just pulls right out), leaving two panes of glass held in place only by butyl tape and a gasket. This is a great design compared to the ones I had in my LandYacht, because it's very easy to remove the inner aluminum piece and take out both pieces of glass without having to remove the frame.



Just want to make sure you're not breaking windows if you don't have to (not to mention, you'll no longer have double pane windows, and they make a big difference for cold and heat!).
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Old 04-22-2020, 07:45 AM   #10
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1976 31' Excella 500
Chappell Hill , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2017
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlmnmSloop View Post
Appreciate all the comments and suggestions! With so much time spent on the first window (exterior rivet removal, interior skin access to cut the inside frame glazing away and the impossibility of removing the frame from the window panes/seals due to the steel rivets. I'm considering this as a new approach. - very much dependent on how the first window goes back in.
1.) break/remove inner glass
2.) thoroughly clean the window and frame
3.) use a large conversion gasket to fill the void left by the removed glass (Vintage TrailerGaskets.com)
4.) cut the "window gasket" from the exterior window edge and replace/seal with CRL Aluminum Silicone sealant where the glass and exterior aluminum edge meet.

thoughts? -
Not sure if you can get the VTG.com gaskets into place without taking the frames apart or at least have them out.
Also DO NOT use silicone on your Airstream. Use a urethane product like SikaFlex. Its easier to use, easier to remove when its time to re-caulk, and it lasts longer without leaking.
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