If you want to talk about a time-consuming job, lets talk about windows. Lets talk about rusted, tight, welded screws, which hold the plexiglass in its place. Lets talk about the gunky, dried up gaskets that took forever to peel, pry, push, and scrape off. Enough of the venting about the chore of the windows. Lets talk about the process.
I (Zach), was naturally chosen to tackle the chore of removing and replacing seals on the windows. Which didn’t seem all that bad.. Until I started on the first one. Colleen had seen where one couple used Goo Gone and razor blades to get their seals off. I started using the same method along with a metal putty knife. And I’m glad I got the metal knife. Because in my opinion, that helped give me more leverage to push and scrape than a razor blade would have. The Goo Gone worked decent. I also used Goof Off at the same time. I learned that letting the Goo Gone sit for about 10-15 minutes did wonders. Who knew reading the instructions from the bottle would lead to great wisdom.. But still, I was searching for something else that would do the trick easier. After posting a pic on Instagram, Colleen was told to try a number of crazy things. Brake cleaner. MEK(methyl ethyl ketone). And the most surprising one- gasoline. This seemed very odd, but yet had my attention. Continuing on with the ever fun project I finally decided to try gasoline. I found an old empty spray bottle (Tilex) and poured some into it. Sure I was feeling a tad loopy from all the chemicals I had floating around me, but I was desperate to try anything. And at this point gasoline and a lighter didn’t sound half bad. I now knew why someone mentioned gasoline. Because while doing this task you would have gotten so fed up with the windows you wouldn’t mind setting fire to them all… Well maybe not exactly because they are a pretty penny to replace. But it felt like the window seal restoration project was never going to end. So I just kept on chugging along. Spraying Goo Gone and then Gasoline. Spraying Goo Gone and then Gasoline. Letting sit for about 10 minutes each time. Some windows were easier than the other. And some had an excess amount of glue. After saying this, I can say Goo Gone and gasoline did help in taking off the glue and old seals. But the best thing you can have is patience. And maybe good elbow grease and a metal scraping putty knife.
Our plexiglass in our windows were tinted… And after many years the tint had faded to purple and needed to be thrown in the trash. I figured we would just replace with new plexiglass and tint. But Colleen had other plans. Just ditch the plexiglass all together. I am still unsure about this as we have 2 little heathen boys. I pray nothing gets thrown or a fight doesn’t ensue near a window. That would be a terrible day. Some time was spent taking the plexiglass out- mainly because the screws holding the frame around the plexiglass were rusted tight or had been stripped. Just another wonderful job that I was given.. A little WD-40 and surely that would have them. But I was wrong on a few. It took about 3 rounds of WD-40 to get some more out. Others still wouldn’t budge. My next thought was to go buy a screw extractor bit. I have seen these things used in person and they work extremely well. After removing the first 2 screws I had only like 7 to go. But that’s when my luck ended. The bits would no longer drill into the screws nor would they grab to extract the screw. So if you’re wondering what my next idea is, it might possibly involve gasoline and a lighter. Or maybe a chisel and a hammer. Because I was out of options at this point.
The chisel and hammer were chosen as the last result to remove the last 2 remaining screws. We knew going into it that this method had consequences. HUGE consequences. COSTLY consequences. And the worst could have happened. While almost getting one screw head off I heard cracking.. Not a good sound when working on windows. That sound meant we would need to find a new window. We knew these windows were expensive. So immediately I began searching on my usual go-to Airstream websites- odmrv.com (Out-of-Doors Mart), vintagetrailersupply.com and airstreamsupply.com. I even emailed an RV salvage yard and called a few RV glass websites. No luck.. Then as a last resort I turned to eBay for a look. Luckily there was a few on eBay. The websites I mentioned above did not have windows in stock and they were more than we paid for our eBay window. Of course this window was used, but it looks just as good if not better as our originals. And it also came with the frame that rivets to the shell. So it was definitely a win.
But the seal and plexiglass removal was not all that needed to be removed. The original safety film on our glass was peeling and needed some tending to. So I had to scrape this off on each window with a razor blade. That was pretty tough on the hands and fingers and joints. Installing the new security film was not hard at all. I have done some window tinting before so this helped. This task is not for an expert at all. Beginners can easily install. The film we ordered came with detailed instructions, a razor cutter, and a squeegee. All I had to find was a squirt bottle and some soap. Not the same squirt bottle with the Tilex lol. The only advice I will give for installing is to cut the film at the exact length you need. The instructions say leave 1 inch around. This was difficult for the first window because of the curves in the corners and the frame around the window. And if you want to make sure you don't cut too short just leave an 1/8" gap all the way around. After installing the new film I feel very happy we chose to do this and to not worry about it. In no time I had all 6 side windows re-filmed.
I hope you have better luck than I had at the windows. If you are reading this and want to stop your project all together because of some silly windows- DON’T. Because a little hard work is good for the soul. So think about those nights out glamping in a remote desert or a mountain range and how you wanted to give up but didn’t give in. Then you will be happy with yourself. I'm sure I will be happy also.