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Old 05-08-2017, 03:34 PM   #1
3 Rivet Member
 
1971 31' Sovereign
Christine , North Dakota
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 140
Fixing Leaking Windows

When I bought my 71 Sovereign, one of the previous owners had 'sealed' some of the windows with silicone. It didn't work well, it looked horrible, and as we all know isn't the right tool for the job.

I tried looking for other how-to articles of this type and couldn't find exactly what I was looking for, mostly just text of scrape this, apply that. Hopefully somebody finds this useful and it gets them motivated to repair their own.

It took me the better part of a month of scraping and scrubbing to get it all off.

Good, bad, or ugly the only tools I used for cleaning was
a plastic chisel set from Harbor Freight
00 and 0000 Steel wool
Acetone
A dental pick
My fingernails.

Wipe with steel wool and acetone, then scrape with a chisel.


Continue that cycle until you can no longer scrap anything with the chisel.
Then move on to scrubbing with steel wool soaked acetone, and I used my thumbnail to get small spots off.



Eventually it all got cleaned.


If you clean using this method, it will get messy.
I probably should have worn gloves and found something else to use in the tight spaces.


For applying the sealant, the only tools used were
1" painters tape
3/16" pinstripe (gold in color, makes no difference)
Mineral spirits
paper towels
cotton swabs
nitrile gloves
60cc syringes
I preferred the screw on needle type, my wife liked the press on needle type

We applied the sealant on a sunny day, about 73f outside with almost no wind. Working next to the Airstream, I got a nice sunburn... the heat is also why the tape was pulled off quickly. I wish I had a shady spot. But I think under trees would have been a mistake, as when the wind blew the next day I got bugs and debris blown into the Trempro.

I was sure that I was going to make a mess when I applied the Trempro, so I went back and taped off the window frames and used some cheap pin striping from the auto parts store.. I left about a 1/4" gap between the window frame and the tape line.


This is the front window cluster, it has a small dent at the leading edge of the lower window frame, so the tape lines weren't perfect.




This is that same area after applying Trempro and then peeling off the tape, the dent is barely visible.


Other window frames and sealant.

Curbside Vista View Window


The leading edge of the front set of windows from the street side cluster.


Up close, in between the windows.


I may have been able to do this without tape, but the tape was less than $10 and allowed us to be less than perfect and minimized cleanup time. Well worth it to me.

I still have to do the front and rear windows as well as the access door hatches.
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Old 05-08-2017, 03:55 PM   #2
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2008 532 International
New Braunfels , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 64
This is helpful to me. Last June we drove through a monsoon across Texas and Louisiana before stopping in Vidalia for the night. Our back wrap around window leaked horribly on the curbside of the trailer. We made it Atlanta the next day and in a pinch I got silicone at a hardware store and gooped up the frame on a thankfully dry day. It looks like poop, as in your pictures lol, but it worked. Time for me to clean it up and do a better job. It's the only one we've had an issue with so far.

Why the pinstriping? Were you merely laying out a track to apply the good stuff into?

How long did it take to get all of the silicone off?

Thanks again for the advice. I'm going to take it.
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Old 05-08-2017, 04:09 PM   #3
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1971 21' Globetrotter
Arvada , Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,041
I have some good pictures on my thread below the explaines why the window frames leak.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f416...nte-26902.html
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Old 05-09-2017, 08:39 AM   #4
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1971 31' Sovereign
Christine , North Dakota
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by StreamGlider View Post
This is helpful to me. Last June we drove through a monsoon across Texas and Louisiana before stopping in Vidalia for the night. Our back wrap around window leaked horribly on the curbside of the trailer. We made it Atlanta the next day and in a pinch I got silicone at a hardware store and gooped up the frame on a thankfully dry day. It looks like poop, as in your pictures lol, but it worked. Time for me to clean it up and do a better job. It's the only one we've had an issue with so far.
My 'guide' may not be perfect for you, because your AS might still have clearcoat on it and steel wool WILL damage the clear coat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StreamGlider View Post
Why the pinstriping? Were you merely laying out a track to apply the good stuff into?
Yes, the pinstripe was much more pliable which made it easier to follow the corners compared to the painters tape. It didn't wrinkle when bent, and I could get into the area between the windows in the stack easier.
Quote:
Originally Posted by StreamGlider View Post
How long did it take to get all of the silicone off?
On average, 1.5-2.5 HOURS per window, and I only had to do the top ledge and about 4-5inches down the side.

But my silicone was old and brittle. And there was a LOT of it.
I would say that I spent a more than half of my cleaning time trying to get silicone out of the crevices around the rivets; which is where I dug with my finger nails. I tried the dental pick in that area and on the few I attempted; I scratched into the aluminum.
Quote:
Originally Posted by StreamGlider View Post
Thanks again for the advice. I'm going to take it.
Advice is free, physical help will cost extra!
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Old 05-11-2017, 04:22 PM   #5
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1971 31' Sovereign
Christine , North Dakota
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerowood View Post
I have some good pictures on my thread below the explains why the window frames leak.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f416...nte-26902.html
Finally found it..
Quote:
Yesterday I removed the curb side window just because it had so much sealant on it. After removing the window frame I saw the main reason that they leaked (see 2nd picture). The windows are installed with a foam gasket. When shooting rivets through a material softer then the rivets, the rivet will swell in that material. The foam gasket then starts to deteriorate and the swelled up shank of the rivet acts as a spacer between the frame and the outside skin, thus allowing water to flow right in. Almost all of the rivets were like this.


When I was cleaning the silicone off my first Vista View Window, I dug in the crevice with a metal dental pick and snagged some of that gasket material.
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:36 PM   #6
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1971 21' Globetrotter
Arvada , Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
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The white stuff is the foam gasket. I started like you with scrapping but finally said the heck with it and started removing windows. It was easier for me to just pull the window frames clean seal and reinstall.
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:57 PM   #7
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1971 31' Sovereign
Christine , North Dakota
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 140
I was checking prices today on air hammers and Olympic rivet shavers.
Sooner or later I have to remove the rear access door to replace the piece of aluminum below it. And when that happens I have no choice but to chose one or the other.

Luckily on that particular door I have easy access to both sides so I can use normal bucked riverts. And maybe I will eventually regret not doing it "right" the first time; or maybe I will be ok with the way it is. Only time will tell.

I do need to go revisit your build thread to get the name/number of that stripper that you used, I think it could have saved some time. And I still have more caulking to remove.
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Old 05-16-2017, 09:24 PM   #8
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Lewistown , Alaska
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 1
Thank you for this tutorial, I too have a hideous silicone job to remove and this is working far better than what I was trying. That being said I cannot find a plastic chisel anywhere, I looked at harbor freight website but the search for chisel or plastic chisel or plastic scraper does not turn up this handy tool I see in your pic. Can you tell me a different name I should be searching for? Thanks
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Old 05-16-2017, 09:38 PM   #9
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1971 31' Sovereign
Christine , North Dakota
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 140
https://m.harborfreight.com/4-piece-...set-95832.html
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