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Old 07-12-2014, 11:02 PM   #1
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1968 30' Sovereign
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1968 Sovereign fixed window issues

Hello! We just recently purchased and started working on our 1968 Sovereign. This is our first travel trailer and we are brand new at all of this! Any insight will be deeply appreciated as I cannot seem to find a thread referencing these two issues specifically. If I'm missing some - please point me in the right direction.

Our first project that was tackled this week were the windows. I understand that the 1968 Airstreams are legendary window leakers!! We have replaced all of the gaskets on all of the large crank out windows - but still have some leaks. We have traced the leaks (diligently watching today during a rain storm!) to where the larger crank-out windows fit into the upper aluminum glass bar on this Type 3 window - right below the window hinge. Some of the sealant holding the glass inside that bar is missing / coming out - and I bet all of it is original. My research tells me that Airstream originally recommended a "bedding tape" that is no longer available and that most people use a silicone RTV sealant instead of tape to bed the glass to that upper aluminum bar. My question is can I use - or does anyone know why I shouldn't use a 3/4" Butyl Putty tape as a "bedding tape" to hold and seal the glass in that aluminum bar instead of the silicone RTV sealant? And, what is "silicone RTV sealant"?

2nd question - I am resigned to removing the smaller fixed windows that are directly below the larger crank-out windows on this 1968 Airstream due to shoddy fix-it jobs in the past and leaks in the corners of the fixed windows. Based strictly on examination, I THINK I can remove the fixed glass panes from inside the trailer, scrape all the gunk off, and re-install. Can this be done and when I re-install the fixed pane of glass - can I:
1. again use butyl putty tape to install/bed the glass against the "glass stop" ( ie - exterior 'lip' or 'glass stop', then butyl tape, then piece of glass). If not - can you please give me a recommendation?
2. Is there such a thing as Butyl caulk - or - what would you recommend that I use to run a seal on the exterior perimeter of the fixed window pane once it is re-installed
3. Currently , there is a plastic-type 1/2" molding holding the glass pane in place from the interior (see the attached pics). Is there a replacement for this molding - or if not - would you have a recommendation as to what to use to hold the glass pane in place?

I have provided some pics of that 'plastic-type molding' I referenced in pics #1 & 2. Also, pic#3 shows the bottom corner of one of the crank-out windows. Does that bare corner to the right of the black gasket need to be caulked - or is that a 'solid' window frame in that specific area?

Thank you in advance for any and all suggestions.
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Old 07-13-2014, 06:44 AM   #2
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First, don't use caulk anywhere on an Airstream.
Second, the only place you should use silicone sealant is on the hinges of your windows. It will flex enough to remain sealed when you open it.
Third, probably the best thing to bed the windows with is grey Vulkem. Remove the glass, scrape out the stuff that's there, apply a liberal amount of Vulkem in that trough, shove the glass back in, wipe off the excess, and close the window. Leave it closed for at least a day.
Third, it looks like somebody used aluminum color Parrbond on the seam in photo #3. That is what you are supposed to use there. Simply remove the old Parrbond, clean that area well, and re-apply it. It comes in a tube that looks like an oversized tube of toothpaste.
Fourth, that is a nice looking Sovereign. I really like the front window awning, though I bet it's a challenge to keep in place while towing...
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Old 07-13-2014, 07:25 AM   #3
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You sound well informed on Airstream window design.

Butyl calk is available. Mine is called a gutter seal. It was recommended by Inca Plastics for sealing connections to their plastic molded tanks. I think butyl tape would work as a bedding tape. My 66 has similar windows, but I have not tested them for leaks yet. I did put new weather stripping around them.

I agree that is one nice looking old Airstream.

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Old 07-13-2014, 07:42 AM   #4
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Welcome and thanks for the pictures!
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Old 07-13-2014, 08:29 AM   #5
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The archaic simplicity makes 1968 one of the most rebuildable trailer of all. The windows can be restored to perfection, albeit painstakingly.

No to butyl, no to silicone as window bedding. Scotch 3M outdoor double sided, 1" wide, ten pound mounting tape.

I'm on my way to work this AM, will check this thread later.

original disassembly images...
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Old 07-13-2014, 10:24 AM   #6
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Thank you for the reply and the advice! Would the best way to remove that old Parabond you mention in pic#3 be by using a small cutting disk on a Dremel to get the Parabond out of those joints? Also, does that small opening directly below and to the right of the black rubber gasket (directly above the right corner of the fixed window) need to be sealed with the Parabond - or is that a non-porous area (wishful thinking!)?
Regarding the "awning" - whatever it takes to insure my darling wife's skin doesn't fry to a crisp especially when she's offering to help with the old gasket removal!
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Old 07-13-2014, 10:28 AM   #7
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I WISH I was well informed on the incredible amazing leaking abilities of these windows! We finished replacing all the gaskets on the crank out windows on Thursday. Then the rain came on Friday and we came to the realization that we weren't finished with all the windows - but didn't know how to "fix" what we thought was happening. So - we started reading... and here I am!
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Old 07-13-2014, 10:36 AM   #8
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Thank you! Here are a couple of pics of the interior! Next project is to pull the rear washroom apart and replace that floor! You can see the floor rot in one of the pics below. Thanks to yesterday's 2" of rain - we discovered where and how that back window was still leaking even though we replaced the gasket! Yes - leaking like a sieve right from where the glass is held in that upper glass channel by the hinge!
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Old 07-13-2014, 10:41 AM   #9
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Thank you for the advice and the pictures! I am just enough of a do-it-yourselfer to be dangerous with what I do! You have no idea how much these pictures clarify what needs to be done there! Do you have any ideas or suggestions of how I should "imbed" the bottom fixed windows or how to replace that 1/2" plastic 'gasket' that holds those small windows in place?
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Old 07-13-2014, 10:38 PM   #10
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Nearly fifty years ago Airstream, Philips, and Corning met and conspired this window design. I'm not a forensic Philips-Corning scientist, and there must be greater authority, but as I have observed...



1966 type 1... Very difficult to replace silicone bedded glass, leaked at top horizontal edges.


1967 type 2.. Introduced the clamp-bar and tape bed, leaked at top edges(clamp-bar ends). Easier to replace glass.


1968 type 3... Improved clamp-bar, leaks less, stainless steel glass edging to enable deeper skull gouges and enhance appearance by hiding black window seals. The edging may protect glass from chips and aid in prevention of breakage.



The desperately needed types 4, 5... were never conceived.


All types leak through the long horizontal top hinge in wind-driven rain.


If you leave them open during a wind-storm, they'll blow away.


The foam tape deteriorates and windows fall out if not latched closed.


There is very little concurrence on how to restore these windows. There are pages and pages of posts with varying opinions. Everyone is trying to help.


The grey seals in your “stack” windows shrink with age. In a post somewhere, it is said that similar seals are available at a hardware store. Your stacks appear to be siliconed from the outside, so they probably don't leak. If they are not leaking, “back burner” them and move on to more important areas. Maybe razor trim the outside sealant off the glass for now.


Where the jamb meets the sill, there is sealant. Leaks here won't be known until the floor below rots.


RTV Room Temperature Vulcanizing. Unfriendly to most aluminum. There is an aluminum friendly silicone, but there are very few silicone applications on an Airstream. Clear polyurethane sealant may be superior.

The word "calk" can be used as a verb.

For sealants, everyone has preferences. My choices for sealants are Trempro 635, Acryl-R, and Captain Tolley creeping crack cure. I keep a tube of Parbond on board for emergency leaks, but have had none. Acryl-R in a blunt IV needle syringe kicks ass.



Dig out the old sealant with whatever you have that doesn't scratch the aluminum.



Coming to terms with the balance of cleverness and foolishness you'll find while restoring an Airstream is part of the romance. Keep it fun for you... Every answer is most likely found in previous posts. Google search is superior to Forum search.


http://www.airforums.com/forums/f454...nt-111812.html


1968 is the last year of the “old fashioned” twinkie tailed, narrow body, lightweight, wood interior trailer. They never got better...
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Old 07-14-2014, 08:04 AM   #11
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Cheetah1, you have a lovely old 68 Sovereign with LOTS of windows. It appears the old lady is in very good condition. You have started a thread that is of great interest to me and my 66 Trade Wind window leaker. Keep us posted as you work your window leak issues and other projects on your Airstream. I agree the mid sixties were unique Airstreams that are fun to work on and fun to travel with.

David
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Old 07-14-2014, 11:10 PM   #12
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Thank you David! Maybe it was how the light / sun streamed in that day - but it was the windows and how she looked when we were standing by the rear beds looking forward that made us decide on this one. We still feel that way! I'll post pics as I tackle the bottom fixed windows as well as re-mounting the crank-out windows!
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Old 07-14-2014, 11:12 PM   #13
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Thank you for the reply and the advice! I'm on the search for some Scotch 3M outdoor double sided 1" wide mounting tape and Parbond.

Chester
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:14 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheetah1 View Post
Thank you for the reply and the advice! I'm on the search for some Scotch 3M outdoor double sided 1" wide mounting tape and Parbond.

Chester
Looks like this is the tape to use?
Amazon.com: Scotch Permanent Outdoor Mounting Tape, 1 Inch x 450 Inches (4011-LONG): Office Products
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Old 07-15-2014, 09:12 AM   #15
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This is what I used...

Scotch 1 in. x 60 in. (25,4 mm x 1,52 m) Outdoor Mounting Tape-411/DC at The Home Depot

I'm in the developmental stages of illustrating why I think people have difficulty using a sealant like silicone, vulkem, butyl... instead of the tape in '67,'68 window clamp bars. You shouldn't have to put your windows in upside-down to make them fit. I won't believe that the contour of replacement glass is the same as original until I see it. Heat temper and chemical temper and the difference in thickness has to make a difference. I'm told that the replacement glass fits the frame perfectly, and this makes me suspect, because my original corning window must flex to fit the frame.

No one in the world knows more about glass than Corning. To me, It appears that Corning had something in mind about the flexibility of the glass to make a good seal. It's possible that the reverse engineering of the replacement manufacturer missed the flexibility factor. Maybe I'll never know, but I'm currently suspect.

I used the scotch mounting tape with original Corning glass and my windows fit the seals with no more than .030" deviation from the body contour. Perhaps an anomaly, or Airstream Miracle?
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Old 07-15-2014, 09:56 AM   #16
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I agree with the "flexible" glass concept. My 66 Corning windows seem to flex when I draw them shut. They are only 1/8" thick. I do not know how the glass bar to glass fit is configured...yet.

I clearly understand the 3M tape method with your excellent diagrams. Way to go! I am following this thread with interest.

David
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Old 07-15-2014, 08:24 PM   #17
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Wow, these diagrams really help! It looks like you "cradle" the glass on three sides with the .050 foam tape. Is that a correct understanding - since this is being asked by someone that has just a fraction of your understanding of this? Also - in your original reply, you specified a 10 lb hold tape - not the 5 lb hold tape. Am I correct in making the assumption that your replies and diagrams are based on using the 10 lb maximum hold tape by 3M?
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Old 07-15-2014, 08:31 PM   #18
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Doug - I think this is close - but not "it"! In Aluminuminum's first response, he states using "Scotch 3M outdoor double sided, 1" wide, ten pound mounting tape". Your link to Amazon is fo the correct tape - but for a 5 pound version of it. I also found the 10 pound version of it at Amazon. Bases on his latest response and diagrams, I plan on getting the 10 pound hold variety just in case it has something to do with the thickness of the tape itself. Just a guess, but just in case...

Chester
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Old 07-16-2014, 12:17 AM   #19
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Hi There,


The illustrations are a bit primitive, but show the general idea.


I didn't check, but I think the ten pound tape is outdoor rated and five pound is indoor. They're right next to each other at the store, so you'll see. I recall the release film on the ten pound to be red, and five pound is maybe mostly white.


The ten pound outdoor tape is grey foam with red release film. I think it is important that the glass centers in the channel exactly as corning intended. The rack and pinion winder mechanism appears to stop at a specific point of closure and if the glass is “cocked” in the head-rail channel, it'll be a bit too open or closed more than intended by Corning. This could matter.


The 1966 head-rail is a different animal. It is a single piece extrusion. There is no clamp-bar, just a channel to which the glass is siliconed into. If your '66 windows are original, then I wouldn't attempt to reseal the glass to head-rail unless they have become loose in the channel. I don't think it possible for the window to leak there. Parallel to and above the head-rail, at the hinge, it's known to leak for sure, and water can get in at either end of the head-rail, but in order to leak through the actual glass to aluminum interface, water would have to defy gravity and penetrate an inch of silicone sealant.
Removing unbroken glass from 1966 head-rail channel is a dreadful task. It took me a week of silicone softening and digging with fifteen different bottles, cans and tubes of every toxic solvent, carcinogen, and a few silicone specific “lifters”. I used fine Japanese razors and jeweler's saws and finally got enough softened and removed to slip a violin string at one end and pulled it through to the other. I did this with the window out of the trailer upside-down with the head-rail clamped in a vise. I would never try it while on the trailer. I'd guess that Corning/Philips bedded the glass into the 1966 head-rail just the way they wanted, an it should be left alone.


We don't get hurricanes on The Great Lakes, but my resealed windows have experienced Gale driven rain on a Lake Superior beach. One of the windward side, windows dribbled a about an ounce overnight through the head-rail hinge as you would expect. There is a “shop fix” for this where you squirt tons of silicone or “clear sealant” into the seam while wagging the window up and down so the window hinge doesn't seize as the sealant cures, but I can't imagine the horror if you ever had to remove the head-rail, so I'm not going to do it, I'll just be aware. It doesn't leak in a light rain. The type 4 window would have a gasket in the hinge.


The head-rail dis-assembly images shows where there was a grey an clear sealant at the ends of the clamp-bar. The clear may be a later “shop fix” using silicone. The grey is Parbond or Acryl-R type sealant and appears to be original assembly. Can't say surely, but I question why otherwise use the two different sealants here? I dabbed the ends of my type 3 clamp-bar with silicone and have yet to detect leakage there.


Wm



Images... 1966 head-rail extrusion (it was a rough Winter for my "outdoor" vice)
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Old 07-16-2014, 05:28 AM   #20
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It has been my experience that the top 1" of the gasket is the most important part of the seal. It is very common to see some type of sealer interfering with the gasket to glass contact. I recommend to all my 66-68 customers to replace the window seals every 3-5 years as if it is annual maintenance.

no one picked up on it but the OP said he was removing the par bond with a thin cutting wheel in a dremel. Please do not do that. You are going to scar your skin when you slip and it is not going to get the par bond out. Solvent and a rag work much safer.
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