Category Archives: Avion Windows

Rock Guard Rescue- Avion Trailer, Part II

Spoiler alert—be sure to visit our Rock Guard Rescue Part I before jumping in here!

In this part II blog post I am going to review how we made measurements and decisions on how to best do the “THREE R’S” (rescue, repair and re-invigorate) our classic original Avion rock guard.  As mentioned in our previous blog this was a junk yard find and it is NOT one of the knock off reproduction ones currently being made out of fiberglass (see photo at end of this post for sample) or other such materials.

(Photo below: our junk yard find on ground in front of our Avion)

2018-07-22 10.43.45

I will put some links to how to video’s and sources for rock guards at end of this post for those who are not as lucky as we have been to find an original for sale.

So once we had our junkyard find home, it was time to decide the best course of action for restoring it to its former glory and functionality.  But wait….could we do more??  Could we jazz her up a bit with some subtle “bling” and wow factor??  YES!

But how? without going too far and destroying the classic Avion look and we did not want to offend those traditionalists and preservationists who would not want to see too much altered–ours is a classic after all.

First Step:

First step was to put our new-to-us rock guard on two saw horses to support the hard plastic form and to prevent any torquing/flexion which could cause some unwanted cracks.  It is best to have two people handling these rock guards.  This was done in preparation for a good, gentle cleaning.

2018-08-23-07.58.58.jpg

Cleaning:

After removing cobwebs from the hardware on the back,

we gave it a good washing with just clear warm water to start to get the surface all wet.  We then decided to use the same purple colored HD Simple Green brand cleaner (purchased at Home Depot).  It is very important and is highly recommended to ONLY USE THE HD PURPLE type of Simple Green on Avion’s for all the washing of the trailer’s aluminum bodies.  Since this is the recommended cleaner for the bodies themselves, we felt that we were also safe to use it on the rock guard.  We also employed the recommendation to not do this washing in the sunshine, so we picked a cloudy day to do our rock guard washing too–just to be safe.  Perhaps not as necessary as it is critical when washing the aluminum bodies (so detergent does not have a chance to dry on metal and the metal is not warm/hot from the sun–which causes cloudy streaks) but why not right?? We diluted it following the instructions on the container and used a regular boat washing hand brush with medium bristles and then soft terry towels. (yes, we baby our Avion!)

Taking Measurements:

We decided to take measurements of the existing original Avion logo stencil so that we had them for future use to make a stencil ourselves for other possible purposes.  Also so that we would have photo references to show for before and after looks, etc. or to assist anyone who  is looking to replicate the logo because they have a knock off repro, etc.

You can see by the large photo above that our logo had been touched up by hand by some former owner.  Honestly they did a decent job but this was no where near the quality look that we wanted.  Also note the bottom right photo where you can see the nicks and missing paint off of the round edge.

From the facebook Avion Owner’s site managed by Mark Obinterio here from their files are PDFs of both the older avions (pre 80’s and the newer Avions) in case you want to download, print and use.

Downloadable Avion Logos: (many thanks to those generous folks who have posted them on the Avion Owners facebook page files)

avion_logo_old-from Avion Owners fB files     

Avion Rockguard Decal_pdf on Avion Owners FB file page

avion_logo_new

Design Decisions:

We  knew we wanted our rock guard to be somewhat of a “Rock Star” when it was finished.  The rock guard is a very prominent feature of this trailer and what people see first when you are coming into a campground or rally.  It is also your “front door” so to speak about what kind of rig this is and when down is your hallmark.  At least this is the way we view it.  We are very proud of our Avion and wanted her to have her best foot forward–quite literally all the time.

So after much consideration, and review of sample sheets of aluminum being put on the rock guard (Chuck Cayo had given us these actual samples of aluminum that he uses for his body restorations on Avions) we decided on a “grey” that would best compliment our aluminum trailer body and be just slightly different so it did not look like we were trying to match the aluminum…rather we were trying to compliment it.

Below you can see where I went to Lowes and picked up a variety of paint chip samples in grey’s and also the red we ultimately chose for the lettering accent color.

 

2018-08-23-08.04.26.jpg

It was not easy to decide on what level of darkness of grey we would go with.  We did use the center aluminum piece as our guide and ultimately chose the one that I have encircled with blue pen.  We did this paint swatch so that we could see what it looked like in daylight, dusk, and with our porch light on so we could really make the best all around decision.  The rock guard is a large piece and it would be a large and highly visible swath of grey.  We felt the one we chose would look rich and classy and if/when it faded would still have the contrast to the aluminum Avion body we wanted.

Below is a closer look at the red sample chosen.  It is not a true red, it is more of a dark red which again, we feel is more classy and rich looking.  You can see the two colors together now.  Each have similar intensity and color value. (yes, I was an art major in HS!)

2018-08-23 08.09.37

2018-08-23 08.02.22

2018-08-23 07.58.37

You will notice the final paint chip above is a Dover White.  We had the brainstorm to have our auto body fellow also paint the underside of the rock guard in this white in a high gloss finish.  This way when the rock guard is closed due to windy days (yes, please keep your rock guard latched and locked down in wind…they will flex, crack and or could even get ripped from the hinge on windy days-it does not take much- these are like big hard rigid sails on a ship!) the high gloss will actually help to reflect BACK into the trailer your lights you have on inside on the dinette table, reading lamps or ceiling fixtures.  As of this post we have not tested our theory but are convinced this will be the case.  How we know is that currently when our rock guard is closed, it really creates a dark grey cave-like feel.  So looking out the front window and seeing white will help a lot!  When I posted this idea on the Avion Owners Facebook page, one of the long time owners said …wow…what a great idea! Guess we were the first to try this experiment in 46 years??!!

Off to the Spa for a FACELIFT!

So at this point, our rock guard is clean, prepped and ready to take to our local and highly regarded auto body painter/detailer shop.  It is only about 2 miles from our house and the business is called “Mac The Knife, Designer Autocrafts, LLC” and is located at 310 Quaker Road in Queensbury NY.  Phone is  518-798-0872 (tell them Kevin & Luisa Sherman sent you! – no we do not get anything  from a referral but a smile!)

(Mac is also the one who redid our original spare tire cover of the same material as the rock guard (that’s another blog post coming!) installed our DECKED system and front grill brush guard, and did the paint job on our front receiver hitch on our truck)

Sources:

  • A very frequently referenced blog post that was originally posted on the AS forums.  This project really was quite well done and could be replicated for an Avion no doubt.

YouTube Videos how to make your own rock guard.

This is a photo (at right) of a circa ’80’s Avion with what appears to us to be one of thefiberglass, cayo repro avion rock guards reproduction/replacement fiberglass rock guards available from Cayo.  See our resource page for their contact info.

Stay tuned, the repair shop process and final reveal will be in blog post Part III

BE SURE TO SUBSCRIBE TO OUR BLOG SO YOU DO NOT MISS A POST!

(keep coming back!…  some decorating ideas using any RV rock guard and front window/tongue area will be put into another future blog post!)

One life….Live It Riveted!

Kevin & Luisa Sherman

K-L-PP-copyrightedfooter

 

 

Replacing the Front Window Gasket (Glaze Bead)

Not the most “romantic” or instant joy repair….but a necessity for sure!

Our Avion had its rear side, kitchen and bath window’s re-glazed last June when at Fletcher’s RV Service in the Finger Lakes but they had forgotten to do the front when the rock guard was down.  UGH.  Similarly and much to our chagrin, when we were picking up our Avion at Cayo in MI  THIS June he told us he did not do it either because he did not have a source for the glaze bead.  (Had he told us that prior to us picking up our Avion assuming all of the punch list was done correctly—-and asked, we DID know the source, since we had ordered it for Fletch to install) DOUBLE UGH!

So anyway, long story short…our Pewter Palace still needed its front windows redone with new rubber window glaze bead.    And we decided after two failed attempts getting someone else to do it, we better just start learning to do way more for ourselves when it comes to working on this trailer.  Once we go full time, we are going to have to be far more self-reliant anyway.  This way we also only have ourselves to blame when “repairs” are not done correctly or fail shortly thereafter.

Back in early 2017—After conferring with multiple fellow Avion owners online we had found a reliable source in Interstate RV Metal Supply.  (they also sell other Hehr window parts, replacements, etc. and are very friendly and accommodating on the phone. ).  I will have other potential resource sites linked at end of this blog post in case you have a different style bead or different brand of vintage trailer.

www.InterstateMetalRVandsupply.com

Catalog # 009-344     1/8″ Glaze Bead.   PH 1-800-587-3463 or 503-786-8860

** they do not have a very online user-friendly site.  You do have to call them to order this product, but gladly, their customer service folks are wonderful.

This glaze bead comes in two colors–white and black.  We strongly recommend the BLACK because as you will see from our photos, once installed gives a nice finished look, will not get dirty looking and simply visually recesses and matches the windows rather than the white which we feel would stick out like a sore thumb against the aluminum skin of the trailers.

(left photo below is with old bead removed, right photo is after new bead put in)

So over Labor Day weekend, 2018…we labored!  And Bingo!….we managed to get all three of the front windows cleaned out of the old glaze bead (45 years later) removed.  It had to be done because it had shrunk considerably and the 45 degree angle cut corners had over 1 inch gaps between them where silicone had been slathed in to prevent water from seeping in and underneath.  The aluminum tracks had to be cleaned out of an over zealous black butyl tape that had been applied when the windows had been set in.  Major goo had oozed into the outside of the window edges and was underneath the window glaze.  The weather was warm, about 84 degrees with some humidity and this project DOES need to be done in warm weather so that the rubber glaze bead (both the existing you have to remove, and the new that needs to be installed) stays pliable and warm to make it easier to get in.

TIPS:

  • Use a cloth tape measure and generously measure your total lengths needed for each window.  Then at at least a foot for each window to ensure you have plenty!
  • Only do the install in warm weather and preferably with sun out and place the rubber glaze bead in the sun, on an asphalt drive if possible so it really warms up.
  • Remove the rock guard lock pin plates off front of window mullions first.  You may need a power drill with correct bit to get these off.
  • We suggest NOT using your old bead for measuring the length of your new bead.  The old bead may have shrunk and is not accurate measurement.
  • Apply the new bead in one length from your stock (in other words…do not precut what you think is your exact length needed for that window) and when getting close to your seam cut, cut it longer by at least 2 inches, then start trimming in until you have a really tight, snug fit.  Back it off a bit so the rubber is really tightly butting together.  This will reduce gaps in seams after a time where it is exposed to elements and starts to shrink from sunlight, etc.
  • Be sure to clean out the tracks really well once you remove the old bead.  Remove any dirt, bits of glue, Butyl tape ooze, silicone or anything that may impede the new bead being installed.  Use your toothbrush, plastic putty knife, plastic bone tool and scrubbies for this part of the job.

You may want to have the following pieces of equipment handy to help remove and to install the bead.

  1. Needle nose and flat nose pliers
  2. Sturdy scissors (for cutting the bead at 45 degree angle for any 90 degree window corners.
  3. Screw driver
  4. Old toothbrush (or the one you got from a hotel when you forgot yours!)
  5. Some plastic paint/putty knives, or better yet, a “bone tool” which is a hard plastic scraper type gizmo that is great for getting off the silicone or any other crud that may be on your aluminum skin.  The plastic bone tool will not scrape or mar your skin.  You can find a great bone tool on the amazon page of one of our favorite bloggers—Long Long Honeymoon (they have a vintage airstream)
  6. Set of Pick tools, (see photo of kit with blue handles, found at Home Depot, Lowes)
  7. Rags, scrubbies/we used Kevin’s GoJo brand cleaning wipes

Cleaning/Polishing the Front Windows—Plexiglas caution!!

We also took this opportunity to polish the front windows since they are Plexiglas and after 45 years have had their share of scratches, dirt and grime. BE CAREFUL WITH PLEXIGLAS!!!  you cannot use regular Windex or window cleaners on them!  Using the wrong stuff will result in a fogging and haze on the plastic window.  Yes, a former owner of our trailer neglected to remember this and our front left curved plexi window has that “fog” permanently and we will replace it at some point with new Lexan.  Just water is fine, but we have been using a cleaner especially formulated for Plexiglas that is available most anywhere other cleaners are found.  Ours is pink so you can really tell it is different than the traditional blue stuff that normally has ammonia or vinegar in it.

2018-09-02 12.58.44We used this plexiglas polish to do our windows.  We only used the foam pad, but the kit comes with various grits of sandpaper circles to use if you wish.  We did not attempt this because we were afraid of doing more damage to the hazy window and without having a replacement ready- we could not take the chance, two weeks from our Tin Can Tourist Rally trip.  But the polish paste worked well and did make a difference for sure so we are happy for now with the results.  We used a rechargable power drill and it worked great.

 

 

After the cleaning and polishing of the windows, here is the actual application of the rubber glaze bead.  Looks easy in video but takes a bit to get the “knack”.

 

The video’s kind of make this look easier than it is.  Just take your time, you will need strong, nimble fingers to do this.  I did not have enough strength in my fingers–but Kevin did!  Nice thing is that until you finish the corners or seams with a bit of Parbond sealant you can take it out and re position as needed till you get it right.

Be sure when you are putting it in that when in correctly it will be very snug and hold tight to the window itself.  If you see any bulge or gap, then it is not in properly so take back out that section and try again.

Seams: 

2018-09-02 15.32.39if you are doing your front windows your seams will be in the top and bottom of the vertical inside edges.  Whenever you have 90 degree corners you will need to cut your glaze bead at 45 degrees like a picture frame.   This is our first corner and before Parbond sealant is put in.  The rippling in corner is because Kevin was sure to really stuff as much of the rubber in as possible to avoid shrinkage issues later.

 

IF you are doing your side windows then it is recommended that you place your seam at the center bottom with a straight cut- butting the two ends together really tightly and firmly. Positioning your bead around rounded corners is not a problem but be sure you are not stretching it at all to get it in there, Kevin recommends pushing it back a bit even to ensure that there is no tension on the rubber glaze bead so that it does not want to pop out of the corners. (this was our first corner, not bad but we got better!)  This is before Parbond sealant was applied.

Some sites we saw did recommend putting a little silicone on the starting points and also on the corners.  We did not.  It might be something we regret, but as Kevin noted, he did really push back on the rubber as it was installed to be sure that there was no tension on the corners, etc.  We have seen where on other rigs that corners pull out when the shrinkage starts.  We do plan to apply some conditioner to this each year to keep it more pliable and soft and hopefully this will also reduce shrinkage.  We noticed that the glaze seams from where Fletch did the windows just over a year ago have already pulled apart perhaps an 1/8th inch.  We will place some more clear Parbond in those to reseal again.

FINAL STEPS IN THIS PROJECT:

2018-09-02 17.21.24 Sealing the seams of glaze bead:  After you have the bead in place and are pleased with the snug fit then put a bead of clear Parbond sealant over that seam.  We have not found Parbond in black which would have been our preference, but the clear basically works fine and the black glaze bead makes the clear look black anyway.  We purchase our Parbond from http://www.VintageTrailerSupply.com    We also use the hypodermic tube injectors that they sell on the same page since that does allow for better control of flow than direct from the tube of Parbond.  Parbond is great stuff to have around and is used many places on a trailer to prevent leaks, seal joints, etc.  It comes in clear and aluminum.  Cayo used aluminum stuff to block holes caused when we switched out our Carefree awning with our Zipdee.

Other possible sources for Avion Window supplies:

Replacement of some of these torque operators for our windows will be done in a future blog so keep and eye out for that soon!

 

 

 

So that is all for this project!  Hope your window re-glazing is successful!  Let us know!

2018-09-02 15.32.31-1
Picture of front window unit.  At this point, just the left curved window had been done and the old glaze bead removed from the center and right window and polishing had been done of the windows.