This thread is similar to my "Removing vista views", but shows how I dealt with the lack of skin under the frames. But first, the mandatory commentary! I mean, what do you do with those narrow windows placed low behind the couches? They are difficult to curtain, prevent some cool cabinetry installs, collect dust, and if they are double pane, like mine, the sun film evntually crazes and looks bad. So out they go!
As you can see, mine were well into the "craze and look bad" phase. My experience with the Vista Views gave me the courage to tackle their removal, even though my aluminum blanks were cut exactly the same size as the window frames, which doesn't provide any additional margin for edge distance for the rivets.
So I crossed my fingers and removed the curb side window first. Ack! The edge distances around the skin perimeter were bad to terrible. The bottm skin didn't even show a partial drill hole. This is the most crappy and inexcusable workmanship. As it turned out, all three windows had some variation in this problem. One of the street side window skins showed only half-holes along the top and bottom skin edge. Unbelievable! I guess I'm amazed that this construction held together for thousands of miles.
One of the good things about these lower windows is they are flat, so it's quick work to make a patch simply by laying the window on blank sheet aluminum and match drilling the holes and drawing an outline. A metal cutting blade on a small bandsaw makes the shape, which can be cleaned up quickly with an aluminum file.
for one window is something like:
1. Drill out rivets and remove window -- 25 minutes
2. Make cover plate -- 15 minutes
3. Clean previous sealant, inside and out -- at least an hour
4. Make shims, fit them, match drill them -- another 45 minutes
5. Take apart, clean, apply Vulkem, reassemble -- 30 minutes
Note: doing two at a time doesn't speed things up even a picosecond. Each window is at least a half day job.
OK, insufficient skin margin--what to do? I did the curb side window first and decided to place some skin templates inside with shims between the templates and the patch so that the templates would sit flat. This was tedious, but turned out pretty much the way I imagined. But trying to keep everything aligned and not get totally covered by Vulkem was difficult.
On the street side I had a better idea. When I was finishing the inside cover plates for the vista views, I had some small wrinkles/oil cans in the skin. I probably stretched something when the interior skins were hanging loose. To get them flat, I used some 3/4"x3/4" "L" extrusions you can get at Home Depot. I installed them along the bottom edge of the old opening in an area of skin that would be covered by the inside patch. I recessed the drill hole with a microstop countersink bit, used small 3/32 flush rivets and set them using a rivet squeezer (Kip, this is an install where your hammer technique wouldn't work for me!
This is essentially what I did on the two street side windows. An "L" extrusion along the top edge and the existing "Z" along the bottom edge. The "Z" channel was moved slightly to provide adequate grip margin for the existing hole pattern from the window frame.
Final photos after the rivets get bucked later this week.