Repairing broken, leaking and water/condensation filled wing windows on the 1970's era trailers is a fairly popular topic with multiple threads, and an equal number of fixes.
I had a leaking window frame with some old water lines in between the panes on my 1972 Tradewind. Searching the Forum found most of the repairs seemed to involve a style of window that I didn't have. From what I've been able to find on-line, and inspecting rigs at Rallys, is that there appear to be two or three types of wing windows of two distinctive styles.
The most common style has 2 panes of glass mounted in a single frame that needs to be removed from the shell to service.
The other has one frame holding the inner window riveted to the shell, with an outer frame and glass that is secured to the inner frame with screws and sealer. In theory it would only be necessary to drill out the rivets if you needed to remove the frame to replace the inner glass.
You can identify this type of window by looking for an overlapping of the two frames.
Browsing the Service Manual would seem to indicate that its a simple matter to just unscrew the outer frame from the inner and gently pry apart the two halves. After 40+ years nothing is as simple as it seems.
First thing to do is to remove the inner plastic surround. Remove the front screen and drill out the pop rivets holding it in place. Careful. Its probably somewhat brittle.
I needed to remove the inner frame due to water leaks caused by failed explosive rivets from an old front segment repair. If you need to go that route there are lots of threads on sealing and riveting so I won't dwell on that here.
Now the fun begins. There are screws around the edge of the frame that secure the two halves. The screws on the bottom are probably rusted. It is very important that you do not break off any of the heads of the screws, as you will see later. I found most of the upper screws came out OK. Don't force any that are tight! I would recommend spraying a lot of good penetrating oil like PB Blaster or AeroKroil into any open screw holes to help free up the seized ones. Be patient and let the stuff work for a while.
By now you've gotten all the screws out intact. And are ready to separate the frames. Broken screw heads? We'll deal with that later.
Stripped out heads? You either need to try twisting them off with a Vise-Grip, drill them off like a pop rivet or grind them off with a Dremel Tool. No matter what method you use the screws and/or the heads need to be off.
Now to separate the frames. Try to slip thin X-Acto blades, putty knifes or sheet metal strips between the edge of the outer and inner frames. There will be any number of kinds of old sealer to cut through holding things together . If you have any broken screws start from the opposite side and work around as far as you can without forcing things. Apply even pressure with a couple of putty knifes, chisels, screwdrivers or anything that won't damage the lip of the frame, around and between the frames.
Either the halves will separate OK and you can clean and reseal the glass. If things are stuck you will begin to make a big mess in between the panes of glass. If you're not comfortable with the way things are going stop and put everything back together and consider your other options.
If you can loosen the frames apart a bit you can start spraying in more Blaster to soften the white butyrate factory sealer between the glass. I had 5 broken screws along the side and bottom. I cut a couple of strips of 0.032 aluminum sheet and slowly worked the strips through the white sealer between the frames and panes of glass using a sawing motion and used wood shims to keep the frames spread. I was able to work around the broken screws and finally got the frames apart.
The reason I had so much trouble getting the window apart was due to two screws on bottom being wedged between the frames and not simply holding one to the other. It wasn't until I was able to get the top edges to clear each other that I could work the bottom edges of the frames past the screws.
Now that the frames are apart you can remove the broken screws or drill new holes to install the new screws. The old screws were plated steel. I installed new stainless steel ones.
If you need to replace a broken piece of glass there are two screws securing the straight edge of the frame to the formed piece. I didn't have to replace any glass but I would expect that removing the screws and separating the frame would be easier if the glass was broken out and you could soak the screws.
One word of caution. When I tried to drill new holes to replace the broken screws at the bottom of the frame I felt the drill bit hit glass. Good thing I was going slowly by hand and not on the drill press. I don't know if that's why the factory set the lower screws between the two frames, or, if the weight of the glass caused it to settle into the soft sealer into the bottom of the frame over the years. I decided I really didn't need those screws after all. If you need to drill new screw holes drill as close to the outer edge of the frame. Start with a 1/16th drill go slow.
I was able to clean out all the old sealers using a combination of Xylene, Brake Cleaner and various X-Acto blades to dig out all the old junk between the frame and glass on both the inner and outer frames. All the joints were filled with Tempro ----(Vulkem), smoothed down and dressed up to a even bead. I set them aside for a few days to cure while I repaired the leaking shell.
After riveting the inner frame to the shell I began to think about what type of sealer to use between the panes of glass and the two frames. I had planned on using some butyl tape I had from Vintage Trailer Supply to seal the frames. Butyl RV Putty Tape
I still needed something to fit between the glass to create the dead air space in order to provide what little insulation value the original double pane window design was supposed to provide.
I didn't want to use a a caulk type product in case the frames ever had to be separated again. I decided to use closed cell foam tape. I found the gap between the panes was about 0.050 of an inch, Figuring in the compression of the butyl tape I guessed a piece of 3/32th thick piece of foam would work OK. I couldn't find any closed cell tape close to what I needed in the correct width. I made a jig and ripped some Ĺ inch foam on the band-saw. This was applied to the inner frame already mounted in the shell.
Next the butyl tape was set on the edge of the outer frame and pressed into the inner frame. New stainless steel screws were used to hold the two halves together and were tightened just enough to begin to compress the butyl. It was hot the next few days so I periodically pushed the outer frame into the inner and kept snugging down the screws until they wouldn't tighten any more.
All that was left to do was to score the squeezed out butyl from around the outer frame and peel it away from the inner. Some brake cleaner and a paper towel cleaned off the remaining residue.
I left off the inner surround over the winter to make certain I'd fixed all the leaks. Previously I had stuffed paper towels between the shell and frame to soak up any water. Usually after a good rain or winter freeze/thaw cycle I would have to change out the towels. They were dry all winter.
If you have to endure this repair I hope this helps you out. If you have any questions or better ideas on how to accomplish one of the steps, post them here or send me a PM.
I have a 2007 Airstream Interstate (2006 Dodge Sprinter)
with a broken side vent window on the drivers side. There are two tinted black vent windows in the frame with inner screen.
How do I replace one broken pane of glass? Do I have to remove the entire frame to replace the glass?
Thanks again and again I don't have words to express you have made my day I am glad I bought airstream. Before I was just reading what others were talking about now I am feeling that there still are people out there that care to help others.
Hi all. Bob here...long time lurker, first time poster. Building out a '72 29' Land Yacht and spent yesterday removing the double pane wing windows to reseal them (and fix decades' worth of band-aid patches). My question: Does anyone have any excess glazing for the double pane windows they're willing to sell me? I've found a roll of 100' for about $55 but since I only need 15', this seems kinda wasteful. I'm happy to Paypal anyone for about 15' of this + shipping. Thanks!
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