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Old 08-25-2007, 05:34 PM   #441
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Next, you go inside the camper and remove the sheet metal screws holding the frame together. There is an inner frame that is riveted to the shell of the camper and an outer frame that the outside piece of glass sits in. The sheet metal screws hold the outer to the inner. Logical, right?

These sheet metal screws are the big, huge, enormous, gigantic problem. The dang screws were somewhat rusted, but I don’t think that is the real problem removing them. The factory apparently used some kind of compound on them to keep from working loose due to all of the vibration and flex in the curved areas, also logical.

There are 14 of these screws holding in one window. They will not move with a screw driver. I tried cleaning the compound off of them, no turn. I tried the drill with a Phillips bit, no turn. I tried drilling them out (more on that in a minute). The way I finally got them out was to take the Dremel and cut the sides of the screws flat. Then took a pair of vice grips and slowly backed them out. This worked on 7 of the screws; they came out pretty easily that way. The problem is the other 7 screws snapped off about ¼ inch below the head. These are a nightmare to get out.

Pic is of one that came out easily. You can see all the way thru to the outside.

Jim
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Old 08-25-2007, 06:01 PM   #442
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So, for the ones wouldn’t come out easily, the screws that snapped off……

The screws are tiny sheet metal. Either a #6 or #8 ¾” sheet metal. I bought #8 stainless steel to replace them with. I tried drilling them out with an Easy Out set. Maybe that set has cheap drill bits, I don’t know, but the bits wouldn’t even make a dent in the screws. I went to Lowes and bought Titanium tipped bits, no luck.

I have managed to get 3 of the 7 out, but it’s a real “chop job”. What I did was to use the Dremel and the drill to remove enough aluminum from the inner frame so that I could get a small needle nose Vice Grip on them down inside the frame. After messing around for about 1 hour per screw they eventually came out.

So here’s the thing, I’ve used “Easy Out” type set ups before to remove larger screws and bolts. These things are so small, it’s hard to get at them. Anybody got any suggestions?

The picture is of one of the “Chop Job” holes I had to cut to get that rascal outta there. Ugly, isn’t it? What is the best type of drill bit to use on a sheet metal screw?

Jim
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Old 08-26-2007, 05:11 PM   #443
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Disaster

I don't want to talk about it right now.

Jim
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Old 08-26-2007, 07:52 PM   #444
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Condolences

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim & Susan
I don't want to talk about it right now.

Jim
Shattering experience, my deepest regrets that it happened.
Here is to you getting it fixed cheaply, properly and promptly.
We are all in this together.

R
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Old 08-26-2007, 08:03 PM   #445
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Ouch!
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Old 08-27-2007, 08:21 AM   #446
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I'd be swearing it was meant to be *among other things" and am anxious to hear which gremlin made it through the perimeter...

I started posting the following but ended up saving as a text file due to the late hour. Nothing miraculous, just thoughts... I sure would like to know if someone has a better method too!

High-speed steel (HSS) and the titanium coated drill bits are an income vehicle annuity for tool & die makers, I quit purchasing them a long time ago. Look for cobalt steel drills at 3 times the price, but barring snapping the bit by dropping (or throwing) the tool with the bit chucked in it, they last and last and will cut through tempered steel - to drill out steel in aluminum one should have a drill holder, a small drill press or router jig for the dremel since very few people can hold steady enough by hand to keep the drill tip from waltzing around the harder material..

Remember you can modify the side os the needle tip on a new pair of vice-grips to be able to bite the screw shank without needing a huge amount of surrounding aluminum removed - flatten a 90° corner to 60° or notch needle side just short of the tip and relieve the shoulders to make a screw-shank sized biting nub - and a small burr in the dremel to ring around the rusty screw to get access...

For a cleaner chop job try aluminum oxide cut off wheels for your dremel, not the emery wheels they sell oodles of but the black fiber reinforced discs. Merely plunge through iron shank leaving a neat slit in aluminum instead of crater of wobbly bits, etc. A nearly worn out one would reduce the outer diameter and reduce the cut length in aluminum when plunging through the screw shank. Many many stripped blade and phillips screws have been modified for removal here by just slicing a new groove for a blade screwdriver.

And finally - when one has a corrosion welded 'iron in aluminum' fastener maybe use the iron against the aluminum - even before the screw head vacates its rightful place take a sharp flat nosed punch and ~lightly~ peen the screw from all points inward to both fracture the thread oxidation and relax the aluminum bore. Then try and worry the screw out without snapping head off, though if it separates use the sharp edge to mill away some aluminum to get a better bite on the iron, punch parallel to the aluminum and peen away until it wants to move and snatch it out w/ vice-grips - its ugly but can work out in the field...
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Old 08-27-2007, 09:50 AM   #447
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I just tried to post an explanation of what happened, but it disapeared into the ether. I'll try again tonight.

Jim

On Edit: anybody got any good suggestions about how to safely remove the broken glass?
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Old 08-28-2007, 04:01 PM   #448
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So, here’s what happened.

I got all of the screws drilled out that were holding the outer window frame to the inner. Lots of work, but eventually it got done. When I went to remove the outer frame with the glass in it, it wouldn’t come out. There appeared to be a fastener still in there. Take a look at the picture. The hole next to my finger is where the screw appeared to be. There wasn’t one. This was one of the screws that actually came out intact. So, what to do? Drill the hole all the way thru, maybe. Did that, frame/window still won’t come off. Go back inside the camper, drill some more from the inside, enlarging the hole around the non-existent fastener and look for an additional fastener. No new fasteners. Dang.

At this point, the battery powered drill had lost its charge, so I go to the garage and find my corded drill. This, as they say, is where the wheels began to come off the train. The corded drill is not nearly so, umm, forgiving, as the battery powered one. For one thing, it has no keyless chuck. For another, it is a variable speed drill, but the speeds are much higher that the battery powered one. Like an idiot, I decide to use a large drill bit (been using 1/8 and 3/16 to this point), I think a ¼. When you drill these things out, you have to go thru the inner window frame and then into and thru part of the outer frame. Using a lower speed drill with a small bore bit, you can “feel” each layer as you break thru. Not so with the more powerful drill with the larger bit. I could “feel” the bit break thru the inner window frame, but was a little unsure what was next. What was next was the outer glass pane. As soon as I “broke thru”, the glass shattered. Damn. Just, damn.

All I could think of was 20 hours work down the proverbial drain. I was very careful to keep away from the glass during the entire process. As you’re drilling these things out, you can see how things are put together. In order, form inside to out, inner frame, Glass, other side of inner frame, butyl seal, outer frame, glass, other side of outer frame. You do this 7 or 8 times and you get a feel for the amount of abuse the thing will take. What a bummer.

I was going to take the broken window out last night, but Susan wouldn’t let me. She had a Girl Scout adult leader meeting and that would leave me at home alone with lots of sharp objects in the form of a broken window. “This Airstream has already sent you the doctor twice, whadayawanna do? Accidentally slit your wrist with nobody here to cart you off to the Doc again”? She’s always right (well, almost always). I’m going to try and take another run at it tonight.

Jim
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Old 09-06-2007, 05:58 PM   #449
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Been trying to find time to update this window thing. Here's a couple of pics of the window finally out just before i got it cleaned up. By the way, the reason that I couldn't get the thing to come out was that there were two screws down that hole that I'm pointing at a few posts back. Looks like the boys at the factory broke the first one off and simply pushed it aside and stuck another one in there beside the first. The obvious problem with that is that the first screw is partially drilled into both the inner and the outer frame, can't be seen, and is near imossible to get out.
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Old 09-06-2007, 06:00 PM   #450
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And all cleaned up...
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Old 09-06-2007, 06:02 PM   #451
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have you already replaced the glass?

I know what you mean about the boys in the factory getting a little shoddy with their craps-manship. I swear my 59 must have been made on a friday afternoon! haha!

jp
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Old 09-06-2007, 07:19 PM   #452
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Here's a couple of pics of that outside frame, now out and all of the broken glass removed. You can see how the glass fits inside the frame. There are two screws in the 90 degree corners of the frame that come out so that it comes apart to slide the glass in there.
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Old 09-06-2007, 07:27 PM   #453
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A-Merry-Can
have you already replaced the glass?

I know what you mean about the boys in the factory getting a little shoddy with their craps-manship. I swear my 59 must have been made on a friday afternoon! haha!

jp
Actually, no. I've been searching around down here for Lexan that will do the job. The glass is waayyy too expensive to put back in there, about $350 each. And it comes as a completely new assembly, not just the glass, and it's only a single pane of glass. So you have to drill out all those bucked rivets, then buck in new ones, etc. The way my luck is going, I'll break the new one in the process of bucking back in there.

The problem with the Lexan is that everything I'm finding is much too narrow for the frame. I'll keep looking. SafariTim did this on his Safari, or something like it. I've got to go back to his site and reread how he did it.

Jim
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Old 09-06-2007, 07:29 PM   #454
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Jim, I'm so sorry about the glass incident. Will getting a source for replacement glass be an issue?

*********

Oops, didn't mean to step on your post . . . that answers my question.
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Old 09-06-2007, 07:37 PM   #455
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim & Susan
...So you have to drill out all those bucked rivets, then buck in new ones, etc. The way my luck is going, I'll break the new one in the process of bucking back in there...
good point. bucking rivets puts an unbelievable amount of vibration in the skin. You could always use olympics, if the Lexan doesn't work out.

jp
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Old 09-06-2007, 07:42 PM   #456
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Dacia, Airstream actually makes the replacement part. You can buy it from your freindly local dealer. Just too expensive for me.

Jim
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Old 09-07-2007, 08:03 AM   #457
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim & Susan
Been trying to find time to update this window thing. Here's a couple of pics of the window finally out just before i got it cleaned up. By the way, the reason that I couldn't get the thing to come out was that there were two screws down that hole that I'm pointing at a few posts back. Looks like the boys at the factory broke the first one off and simply pushed it aside and stuck another one in there beside the first. The obvious problem with that is that the first screw is partially drilled into both the inner and the outer frame, can't be seen, and is near imossible to get out.
Jim, you da man! You have saved my life, most likely. I had no idea the frame could be taken apart (I use the concept lightly, here). I was just about to drill out all the driven rivets and remove the whole window assembly. I'm not sure you've saved me any time, judging the comments about the screws, but I'm going to give your method a try. I'm sick and tired of these wing windows filling up with 4" of water and leaving ugly bathtub rings behind.

Zep
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Old 09-07-2007, 08:43 AM   #458
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Thanks Zep. The single most importent thing is to take it slow and easy, not much pressure on the drill and use a small diameter bit (1/8"). That was my downfall. And remember that the screw is usually run right up to the side of the glass, so easy does it on the "glass side" of the screw. Let us know how it turns out and please let me know if you find a better way!

Jim
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Old 09-07-2007, 08:57 AM   #459
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umm

I've read and looked at the photos, so let me see if I understand the assembly-
The inner glass pane is mounted into a frame that is buck rivited into the shell.
The outer pane is mounted in a frame, then placed from the outside into the inner frame and screwed into place with the screws being on the interior.
If that's correct the only thing I haven't figured out is when the screws are removed you can see daylight. From where?

I also assume the reason the panes (pains...) were filling with water is a bad seal between the inner and outer frames
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Old 09-07-2007, 09:09 AM   #460
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Silver, you got it exactly right. You shouldn't be able to see daylight simply by removing the screws. The reason I could was because I drilled all the way thru both frame peices on one screw (the last one that was causing the whole thing to get hung up).

Look back at the pic's in post 434. You can see that the outer frame was NOT sealed at the factory and the water was leaking in around the opening seen in the pic's.


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