The Good, The Bad…the Ugly! It may not be the most glamorous topic for discussion, but keeping you and your family healthy has a direct correlation to continued enjoyment of the RV travel hobby.
The UGLY! Cross contamination of the fresh water spigot tap can cause serious illness—and contamination of your entire fresh water system! It can happen very easily, without your knowledge or even innocently on your part and it DOES happen!
Here are just a few possible CAUSES OF CONTAMINATION to your fresh water tank:
HOW DOES CONTAMINATION OF FRESH WATER HAPPEN?
Campground issues…..these are out of your control!
Campgrounds are not regularly testing their potable water supply (yes, it happens*)
Local municipal contamination, causing an emergency “boil water” advisory- especially prevalent after major storms.
Fresh water pipes could be broken underground before they get to spigot.
Improper placement of fresh water spigots by campground ownership
AND THE BIGGEST/MOST COMMON REASON?? Fresh water spigot tap contamination from a previous camper!
What YOU and OTHER CAMPERS do DOES makes a difference!
Lack of proper procedures during their black water tank flush process
Improper series/order of steps when hooking up or breaking down camp- we have seen people cleaning/rinsing their septic hose by turning on the fresh water spigot and rinsing under the water flow. Do you have any idea how much bacteria is splashing back up on to that faucet outlet??
Improper storage of your fresh water and sewer hoses
Broken, cracked, frayed hoses or couplers on hoses
There are countless conversations on facebook, YouTube and other blogs about first hand witnessing of unsanitary (for you and them) practices or lack thereof. This is serious business, ecoli infections can kill someone!
TIPS TO BE MORE SAFE WHEN USING CAMPGROUND DUMP STATIONS AND FULL HOOK UP SITES:
Always wear clean disposable gloves when doing your sewer dumping and DO NOT leave those gloves anywhere but in your own trash bag!
Put a small spray bottle of H2O with a mild bleach solution in your outside fresh water compartment. I bought a 4 inch travel size one with spritzer nozzle at Wally World for a couple of $.
Spray your bleach water solution EACH and every time you hook upand break down! Spray it on…both ends of your fresh water hose, the spigot at the campground pedestal/faucet before you hook up your hose. Spray the ends of your fresh water filter(s) too. When spraying spray around the outside and into the openings of hoses, filters, and spigot.
NEVER set the open ends of your fresh water hoses or filter ends on the ground!! NEVER NEVER! Have a helper hold them. If you must set stuff down because you are alone, then take a clean new plastic kitchen garbage bag and put that on the ground near the water spigot and lay your items on it like a carpet. Throw bag away after use.
DO NOT store your water filters in your basement storage areas. (may be ok for modern campers with large storage areas where you can have lidded plastic totes) Way too much dirt, germs and debris can find their way into them. We store ours in a clean dish pan in our shower floor or kitchen sink.
If the weather has been wet, use a paper towel or sponge to slide down the length of the fresh water hose before storing to take off mud, dirt, bugs, etc. Be sure you get all or 99% of the water out of your hoses before storing.
Always screw the two ends of your fresh water hose together so nothing can get in there while not in use. Would not hurt to again spray with the water/bleach solution before storing.
Using your water/bleach spritzer spray off your dump valves regularly. Keep them properly greased/lubed up as directed by manufacturers recommendations. Keep your storage bays as clean as possible.
Store your “stinky slinky”, septic hose in a separate area from your fresh water hose and equipment.
Have a box of gloves, a bucket of clorox wipes and paper towels always handy in that basement bay or next one over.
Consider always carrying a gerry jug (we have two 6 gals) with you filled with fresh water you know you can trust. Just in case the water from your campsite smells a little off, has high iron or sulfur content even though it may be potable. Your AM coffee will thank you!
Install an under counter fresh water filter below your faucet. There are many types from electronic to flow through traditional. We have one on our dedicated drinking water faucet. It is so good it even removed the pink dye color from the winter antifreeze!
Consider buying a Berkey Water Filtration system that sits on your counter. Found on Amazon or their dedicated Berkey site. Not cheap but great peace of mind.
Dump the black water tank first….then the grey water!
Put at least 4-6 or so gallons of water (depends on size of your tank or how long you will be not camping) back into your toilet and add your black tank digester. We prefer Happy Camper or Unique brands.
You do not need to use RV toilet paper….any Septic Safe labeled T-paper is fine as long as you use sufficient water each time you flush. What I tell my grandsons is if you do #2…then hold the pedal down for as long as it takes you to slowly count to at least 6.
*I recall reading numerous reviews about a campground in south western Arizona that had multiple complaints and even was shut down by their local health department due to fouled fresh water being run through pipes to their campsites. It pays to read campground reviews before you park! (NOTE: we always have at least 4-6 filled milk jugs of our own home water with us on any given trip. If anything, we use them to “flush” when boondocking or using our toilet at a rest area.
WHY? People have had the windows on their Avions blow open and get broken off of the rig when a gust of wind hit their rig while going down the road or in a bad wind storm. Don’t let this happen to you!
When we owned our 1973 Avion, 28′ LaGrande Model we noticed that one of the three prior owners had put on some “make do” hardware that held the windows more solidly closed while rolling down the road or during winter or very bad weather (rain or wind). Below is one of those “make do” clips but overtime it was only functional with our little slip of a wood shim in it! So the time to find a new “fix” was due!
CAUTION! These old Hehr windows especially the “awning type” which are the one piece large windows that crank open from the bottom out…CAN AND DO have the potential to catch a wind and fly open when rolling down the road at 50+ MPH. In case you do unfortunately lose a window or purchase a reno project Avion, Hehr does still make awning style (and Jalousie) windows and some online companies also carry a limited amount of dimensions. NO ONE in our research makes the rounded front curved windows that flank your center front window so please baby those fixed windows- we also have them in the rear bedroom of our ’87!
*note, since purchasing our 1987 32S Avion (jalousie window style) we do not have this issue with rattling or fly open accidently windows but we still make double-triple sure they are fully secured before we begin towing because if open even a little bit the wind could catch the smaller pane of a jalousie and pull it open to and strip your window crank system in the process. It seems the issues of rattling windows is more prevalent with the awning style windows found on pre mid 80’s models.
Additionally, some of our window torque operators (those little metal boxes that your crank handle fits into to raise the window out) were less than perfect, wear out quickly due to soft metal gears inside and did not always “snuggly” hold our window shut.
WHAT TO DO TO PREVENT WINDOWS HAVING A MIND OF THEIR OWN??
They are cheap, come in boxes of multiples and made for a decently attractive but functional solution to ensuring our windows were all securely closed to prevent accidental opening during trailering.
We put a stainless steel screw into the pre-drilled hole and the “pin” which is intended to fit into a round hold in a bookshelf wall is actually what holds the window closed. (sorry evidently did not take a photo of this before we sold our 73 Avion!)
Part of our routine before we got underway for a trip and then when we arrive to set up at our campsite was simply to take a cordless power drill and unscrew the stainless screw to be able to rotate the clip away from the window frame to allow the window to open. We did not remove the clip entirely, merely rotated out of the way so it was ready to be deployed again to do its job once we were packing up and making ready to leave our campsite.
Last but not least….we cannot stress enough the importance of a “WALK AROUND” safety check BEFORE you tow your RV 2 feet! The walk about is Luisa’s job so there is a second pair of eyes on the hitch area and all its hook ups, etc. This Walk-Around will be where you check to see that all of your windows are secured down, if using clips like we outline above, they are engaged and tightened, awnings latched/locked in place. I will be posting a complete other “walk around” post to go into more details on this very important safety standard of practice.
We have completed our walk through video of our BIG Avion trailer mid bath expansion project!
As loyal subscribers to our blog YOU GET TO SEE IT FIRST!
If you LIKE this video please give it a “thumbs UP”, if you disliked…a thumbs down.
If you have not checked out the many videos we have made over our Avion ownership, or trusted other bloggers videos we have in our YouTube library now is a great time to explore. Happy travels in 2021!
I thought I might give you a list of 5 “problem solving” tips, items or techniques that we have learned in our years of RV camping.
Enjoy and please let us know what other “problem solvers” you have discovered! Please leave comments in the “leave a reply” field!
RUN AWAY PAPER TOWELS!
PROBLEM SOLVER #1: VIVA BRAND PAPER TOWELS
If you have had the problem of entering your RV after a trip and finding that as you “rolled down the road…so did your paper towels and they have literally unrolled themselves from one end of your RV kitchen to the other….VIVA brand solves your problem!
Viva brand do not unroll with road vibration and movement. In fact, they actually stick to the roll and require you to “peel” a towel off. They are admittedly a little more pricey but they have an excellent absorbency rate as well as they stay put! Worth it in our mind for sure!
MY CHAIR MAKES HOLES IN MY PATIO RUG!
PROBLEM SOLVER #2: FURNITURE GLIDES
Many of our RV park or boondock sites we have found have very soft or sandy surfaces where we put our patio carpet out on. We have a large 6 x 20 carpet we use, purchased from Camping World it is the plastic weave type which is great for durability (we still have a smaller one that is 6 yrs old and fine) and dries well without molding.
BUT, because of the “weave” we found that the leg ends of our camp chairs would penetrate through and cause a lot of stress on the plastic fibers.
We had some heavy furniture glide discs (hard plastic on one side, foam on other side) that can be bought at any hardware or big box store.
We store the discs in one of the side pockets in our chairs so they are always handy and have found they do the trick to prevent any potential ruining of our patio carpet. We have not found we need them on our little table simply because there is never enough weight on the table to cause the legs to poke through the carpet.
RUN AWAY MATTRESSES!
PROBLEM SOLVER # 3: ANTI-SKID RUG MAT
In our Class A motorhome and in our 1973 Avion we were constantly finding that our mattress would slide off the bed board and be askew when we were finished traveling for the day.
We purchased a package of the anti-skid area carpet pad at Lowes and cut it to fit just about 1 inch in from the perimeter of our mattress. There are different grades/qualities and we found this one did the best. Problem solved, the mattresses no longer move and this also provides a buffer zone of a waffle of air between your bed board foundation and your mattress which prolongs the life of the mattress and helps prevent mold and condensation on the bottom of the mattress.
REMOVING STICKERS, BUGS, TAR AND MARS ON THE ALUMINUM SKIN
PROBLEM SOLVER #4: THE BONE TOOL
We learned about this invaluable tool from fellow RV (Airstream) long time travelers. The bone tool is versatile, affordable and takes up no storage room. Especially on the aluminum skin, owners of Avions and Airstreams have to be very careful not to mar the skin by using anything that will scratch, discolor or eat away at the aluminum. We have found we use the bone tool to help get the rubber window glaze bead into place, scrape off old unwanted stickers from the aluminum and fend off extra stuck bugs and even tar from our rig. We have this tool linked to our shared Avion Amazon list on our blog under our LINKs page.
GOSH MY MESH FAN SCREENS ARE FILTHY!
PROBLEM SOLVER #5: PET HAIR ROLLER
We found on our 1973 Avion that a simple sticky tape pet hair/lint roller did a fabulous, quick (and no water necessary) job of cleaning off dust, grime, and dirt from our vent screens. No need to even take down the screen if in a pinch for time, or on a trip. BTW if your screen looks dingy we repainted ours with an ivory colored spray paint that said it was ok for fabrics. It worked great!
Well that is our 5 tips for this time! Hope you found one or more of them helpful!
Be well, Be Healthy…..Enjoy your travels!
Please visit our online shop at www.MyAvionMarketplace.com for our uniquely designed, fun and useful Avion and AS themed clothing, gifts, trailer and household items. Lot of items are on amazing sales right now for the holidays!
Let’s get it right out on the table now….we do NOT have a microwave in our Avion trailer. We did not have one in our prior Avion trailer. We DID have one in a 32 foot class A we owned for 5 years...it was a great breadbox!
To Microwave or no Microwave…that is the question!
Our ’73 Avion was not made with a microwave in it. We did not want to destroy the pristine original cabinetry either. So we did a critical review of how we (I) cook, what we cook, space considerations. Before we tore into those pretty real wood cabinets, we would camp in her at least 1 season first before installing a microwave to do a real eval of if it was needed. That summer, due to our house being on the market (yes, it had a microwave on the counter!) we LIVED full time in our 28 foot, 1973 Avion travel trailer for 3 months. NOT ONCE did i miss my microwave. Decision made….we do not need a microwave as long as we practiced a little ingenuity along the way for reheating items normally “zapped”.
This same trend continued when we bought our 1987, 32 foot, S model Avion just as the Covid-19 pandemic was hitting in March 2020. She was delivered to us in April, by June the original huge, heavy clunker microwave was on the trash heap. The cabinet that once held it now has been usefully repurposed to hold kitchen contraptions I DO USE…my Instapot, my small sized air fryer, my mini Belgian waffle maker…and then a felt bin that holds batteries, quick little tool box and my sewing box. It will probably hold my portable sewing machine for the first few years of our full timing…cause I just wont be able to part with it yet! LOL
Our new cupboard also sports a hinged lift up magnetic blackboard purchased on Amazon that fit perfectly and was already wood framed and i just added a bit darker stain to match our cabinet colors. We installed two Earth Magnets on the ceiling which hold the door open by clamping onto the metal pull. See photos below
BEFORE….check out the size of those 1987 buttons! The thing weighed 47 pounds!
SO HOW DO I REHEAT RESTAURANT LEFT OVERS? OR THE MID MORNING COFFEE??
When we carefully analyzed what we normally eat, drink and reheat it was apparent that the 2 fry pans, 1 lid and 2 pots are all I need in my kitchen arsenal to do all my cooking (we also cook on grill or fire pit outside a lot too!). When “living small” (we are in less than 200 sq. feet) the name of the game is to strive for everything you have can be used for at least 2 or more purposes.
So for an example….recently we treated ourselves to a big lunch out at the Vermont Country Store restaurant in Weston, VT. The portion of “Northerner” Mac n Cheese I got was heaped with BBQ pulled pork and delicious but enough for two meals.
How to reheat leftovers with pans you routinely use:
To reheat this type of meal so that I could keep in the moisture (like a microwave does esp. if you use one of those plastic plate covers) I did this…
(1) Put a piece of aluminum tin foil a little larger than my small fry pan into the fry pan. Shiny side facing up towards you!
(2) Put my leftovers in center on the foil, create a loosely folded packet
(3) Place large fry pan on the burner, place smaller fry pan with foil leftover packet inside on top of it.
(4) Now pour enough water into the LARGE fry pan to come up to about a half inch from lip of smaller fry pan. Place large metal fry pan lid cover over top (yes, handle of smaller fry pan makes it so it cannot close completely. If you do not have a lid, lay another piece of foil tightly over the top and tuck under
Tip: If you have a smaller round cake pan to fit inside large fry pan that works best. I do not carry cake pans in my trailer…I bake in my instapot or air fryer if the mood hits me.
(5) Turn on the burner- I used medium heat initially then turned it down to low once water boiled, allow the water to boil in the large fry pan, heating the inner one. Keep an eye and replenish water as needed so you do not burn it dry and ruin your pans.
Essentially I have created a moist heat, buffered by two layers of metal so the leftovers do not burn– a Double Boiler of sorts. The steam also created under the lid heated the foil and created a perfect environment for luscious, reheated and a very yummy moist 2nd Mac N Cheese dinner!
Left over coffee….use a saucepan!
Potatoes? par boil, wrap in aluminum foil and grill over fire or on LP portable grill
Aluminum foil packets can be used for tons of packet cooking options. Load in veggies, like potatoes, onions, squash, tomatoes, some spices, olive oil or other marinating type of fused cooking oil and put on the grill above the fire, or you can even bury the packets somewhat into the coals themselves.
Reheating steak and other meats- TIP– I learned from a chef long ago to put a lettuce leaf on the top to exude moisture but no flavor into the meat when reheating. Use the same two fry pan method I show above!
WHAT IDEAS AND TRICKS DO YOU HAVE? I would love to hear from you!
If we can prevent just ONE more Avion travel trailer door from being turned into a pretzel because it flew open while tooling down the highway we will be happy!
Not a year goes by that some poor soul posts a picture of their mangled Avion trailer door where the original Bargman lock did not hold, or even worse, a ill-suited or perhaps not well seated deadbolt failed to do the trick to hold the door locked.
In truth, and in our opinion, the failure truly is in the original design fact that the hinges for these doors are “downwind” of the air flow (doors swing out and to the left) as you glide down the road. Yes, the fact the door swings out towards the back end of the trailer was no doubt to ensure that you did not impede on the view from the window in your front living room, kitchen, etc. depending on floor plan makes sense. BUT think about it…if the door swung open to the right, those hinges and the door would have the added benefit of wind sheer working to keep them closed, rather than working to rip them open.
WHY DO THESE DOORS BLOW OPEN? Fact is, our trailers are beautifully made, but they also are not living, breathing things. They are metal, they are layers of various materials and as they roll down the road, go over bumps, stop and go, they tork, they shift, the metal bends and flexes. The Bargman locks are notorious for not having a huge long throw bolt and can very easily tork and come lose enough to allow the door to pop open. Over years of use their internal latching mechanisms become worn out, stripped or even inoperable. Couple that with the wind helping to get into that slight opening and boom…you have catastrophe!
TO REPLACE, OR REPAIR A WRECKED VINTAGE AVION DOOR CAN COST $1,000.00’s of dollars! Sometimes they can be bent back into shape, other times they re a loss.
WHAT STEPS CAN YOU TAKE TO PREVENT A MANGLED AVION DOOR?
Routinely check your door hinges. These aircraft hinges need tightening and realigning now and then to ensure the door seats into the door frame properly
When possible, have a working Bargman lock (we consider ours a back up to the deadbolt, not the other way around). Reconditioned or new (old stock) Bargman 300L and 400L series locks do come onto Ebay now and then. Plan to pay between $350-$900 for the lock with key. Note– our ’73 and our ’87 both have the 400L series. NO…these Bargman’s are NOT made anymore! Not sure which Bargman you have? Open it up and you should find part #s. Keep your Bargman maintained, check the latching mechanism, we have had to do adjustments now and then on ours.
Install a HIGH QUALITY deadbolt lock keyed lock. Turn knob is on interior.
Lock, check, double check again that your deadbolt is completely turned, fully engaged and seated in its receiver. Check it again!
BELOW IS THE DEADBOLT WE JUST INSTALLED (July 2020) TO REPLACE A WORN OUT KWIKSET DEADBOLT ON OUR ’87.
NOTE: I chose to rotate the faceplate putting the rounded ends on the side. On company website it will show the faceplate with rounded sides on the top and bottom. I like the rounded to the sides (1) because it does not hide the reminder sticker -original- to “lock deadbolt in transit” and (2) the rounded sides remind me of the design of the Avion itself, rounded front and rear.
Schlage Commercial 12633626 B600 Series Square Corner Deadbolt with 5″ backset and 1 1/8″ Face Satin Chrome Finish. CAMELOT STYLE Packing Slip says: Item # B60CAM619
IMPORTANT: we had to especially request and order the 5″ backset (throw bolt i call it) because of the length of our distance to really seat that bolt inside our door jam well. We suspect most Avion owners will need to also use the 5″ backset length as well. A too short backset (bolt) risks it not holding during those torks, flexes and bends that the trailer does while being towed.
Default Image may not reflect chosen options.
B60CAM619 / +Part # 12633626 Schlage B60 Camelot Style Single Cylinder Deadbolt Finish: Satin Nickel Backset: 5 Inch Backset – $13.43 Door Thickness: Standard 1 3/8 – 2 Inch
Inside of our trailer with new Schlage deadbolt. We had to put the faceplate as they show to line up the screws and to have it fit in space we had.
Position of the deadbolt varies. Rule of thumb….Go with where the current hole is from an old deadbolt if already there. If not and you have to make the hole, we have seen installations where the lock is on the door and throws into the door frame jam (our 87 is that) and also where the deadbolt lock is in the body of the Avion and throws into the door (our 73 had that and Cayo’s garage in Watervliet MI installed that in the 80’s if that tells you anything — as we had the original receipt from a previous owner.) There maybe rationale for preference one way or the other and we would love to see that in comments/discussion on this blog post!
Samples of installations on other Avions we have seen posted or in person:
Mark O’s deadbolt extended
Mark O’s side view
INSTALLATION OF OUR NEW SCHLAGE DEADBOLT, JULY 2020:
Kevin did have to do a small clean up of the hole in the strike place removing just a little bit of the foam insulation so that the bolt could fully engage. Be careful not to open up too much, you want it snug. We also did not use the round collar on the circle of the lock and against the faceplate on the exterior because the size of our already cut hole was slightly too small. If you want to, you can recut your hole opening to adjust to fit the collar and faceplate.
We did use our Avion since this installation on a trip from NY to IN over 1600 miles with no issues at all. That being said, after speaking with so many about the door issues, we did do an extra bungy cord wrap of our door to door handle just for some added piece of mind since our Bargman lock is not working at all anymore. (thats another day’s project! VBG)
Here is the end result of our new Schlage Deadbolt install onto our 1987, 32S Avion. We hope this blog post has helped you. Let us know how your project goes in the comments box below!
With the exception of TIRES….the project that seems to get the most play on any of the Avion Forums, Facebook pages and Instant messaging is “what and how do I fix my windows that look like this??
We have had countless requests to create this comprehensive project blog post so here it goes. Included is step by step “how-to’s”, where to buy materials, videos, tips and tricks!
By no means are we professionals at this-we just love our Avion and want to make her whole. We make mistakes, we try to help others to not make those same mistakes if we can avoid it…but there are some folks on the Avion facebook pages and forums that have done 2, 3, 4. 6 makeovers of Avion windows who should and could be tapped for their expertise too!
(BELOW IS WHAT OUR 1987 32S LOOKED LIKE WHEN WE BOUGHT IT IN MARCH 2020)
This is what our windows looked like AFTER we finished (or nearly finished) our project
First...assemble the tools we suggest you have handy:
Heat gun (a hand held hair blow drier will work in a pinch)
Heavy duty scissors, or kitchen shears
Needle nose pliers
Set of picks (blue handles) (can be found at big box hardware stores)
also, not pictured but needed…..
Tape measure (we have found best to have a cloth measuring tape AND a regular metal measuring tape
Phillips screwdriver (in case, like with ours, the screw cover had been screwed down to hold in place after shrinkage from age had started to pull away corners)
Can of Pam cooking spray, to help lubricate the tracks before inserting new trim
Rages, shop cloths or disposable wipes & cleaner (we use GoJo Brand Workshop/Garage Hand wipes. They have a ruff side but it does not hurt aluminum skin or window tracks, but really removes grease, grime and goo from window tracks.
NOTE: For the purpose of this blog post I am going to refer to the window glass bead as “trim” and the trim that goes around the outside of later model Avions like ours (87) as the “screw cover”. The Glass Bead is what term to look for on the sites linked below that sell the right stuff. The glass bead is the rubber trim that pushes into place that sits and hugs the glass of your window. Don’t ask me why they call is a bead…it is far from that in my book…it is trim. but using the right terms, Glass Bead and Screw Cover will keep you out of trouble, especially when trying to locate the stuff online or speaking with someone at these companies.
IMPORTANT TIPS- SOME OF THESE WE LEARNED THE HARD WAY!
(Don’t skip this part please!)
Do this project when weather is warm so old trim and new is as pliable as possible.
Take your cloth measuring tape, and measure each window around the metal trims- both the bead trim and the screw cover if applicable. Using a cloth measuring tape makes it easier to loosely measure window curved corners. Get that total for each project and ADD 10-15 feet for safe measure.
Pro Tip (ha ha) make a schematic of your trailer NOW and write down each glass bead trim track and if you have them, screw cover track length for each window. This will help in installation steps to follow. ADD 2-3 INCHES TO EACH OVERALL LENGTH!
Always order at least 10-15 extra feet over what you think you need. You are going to screw up your measurements or the 45 degree corner angles , etc. on occasion.
Do NOT take any old trim off until you are ready to tackle that particular window. This we found was especially critical with the curved front and back windows. We did not know this, removed all trim and over a few weeks of very hot 90 degree summer weather, the curved/bent glass pieces shifted down. We had to manual slide them back into place and shim them to be able to get new trim into the tracks again.
We do not recommend microwaving (some do!) or laying out your new trim in the sun unless the temps outside are cold and you need to warm up the rubber to get it pliable. The concern with heating new trim up too much is you do NOT want to stretch the trim as you are putting it in because once it cools it will shrink back to its normal length causing you problems in corners and seam areas.
We do recommend using the 3M trim adhesive we will show in our steps. We used this in all radius corners (rounded corners) as well as wherever seams butted up against each other (both under the trim as well as over top the seams). This product is linked in our Amazon product list on our Resource/Links page. We used just over (1) 5 oz tube for our ’32 foot trailer. We did end up buying that second tube for like the last window, but this stuff will come in handy down the road for sure!
This project requires strong finger strength. There is no way around it. Kevin was the only one with the finger strength to get especially the glass bead (the trim that sits against the windows) to seat in properly. I had no problem putting in the screw cover which is in the outside track. Be ready for finger cramping at night!
Use continuous lengths of trim for each window. Do not piece together unless you absolutely have to. The more seams you introduce the more likely you will have failures and leaks. Some of the curved windows will required a straight side piece and then one continuous piece for the rest-for example the curved front and, if you have them the rear side windows. On our 32S we also had the small little windows underneath our picture window in salon.
When you receive your ordered new trim, dry fit a small piece in each window track to be sure you have ordered the right stuff. We found out the hard way (too!) that our front and rear large windows with curved side glass pieces had a very slightly different trim profile than ALL of the other windows.
We highly recommend using the fill-able syringe we have on our Resource Page to put the 3M Black Adhesive into so you can create a small exact bead of goo to put into track corners and at butted seams. I snip off the first 1/8″ to use with Parbond and with this 3M material otherwise the tip as it is made is so tiny, its really tough to push this thick material through.
STEP # 1: ORDERING THE RIGHT TRIM FOR YOUR TRAILER WINDOWS
Decide what trim, for your model year Avion (or other vintage trailer for that matter) you are going to need. Here is what we ordered and from whom for our 1987 Avion 32S window project. (Caution! this may or may not be what you need depending on year!) You can use the resources we have listed below to take a bit of your old trim you have cut off to measure and try to match up with the product #s online. For best search…you may want to actually SEND the company a sample and let their in house folks match you up with the right stuff you need.
Interstate and Pelland are the two we have dealt with the most. They have very good customer service, thank goodness because their websites are really pretty bad!
(at the very end of this post we will show you specific links to the product #s and sources that we used on our ’73 28 Foot LaGrande Model and our ’87 32S model)
STEP 2: REMOVE OLD TRIM OFF A WINDOW AND PREP IT FOR NEW TRIM
Like with many or all projects, good surface preparation is key to a good finished product that will last.
We found removing the Rock Guard really makes working on the front window much easier, but the rock guard can be left on if needed. To remove your rock guard, check for any set screws in the upper track used to prevent guard from sliding out inadvertently. To remove guard really is best done with 2 people on step stools. Lift guard open up to an angle where the person (normally on the left) can begin to slide the guard out to the left along that upper track. Keep sliding, the person on the right may have to help it over the bend of the guard on the end a little by flexing it out if possible or giving it a nudge, its going to be tight getting it past that point. Continue to slide guard off which ever end of the track it feels most wanting to slide to. We have found the person who helped on the right, needs to run around with their step stool to join the person on the left to guide it off due to overall length. You do NOT want to bend this guard out of shape nor have it snap or crack. They are nearly impossible to find original replacements for !
(1) Remove old trim from the window you plan to work on today. You may need a screw driver or needle nose pliers to pry it out and away from window track. Do not bend metal track! We highly suggest KEEP all the old Trim…at least for now! See photo capture to learn why!
(2) Use cloths, scrubbies and a cleaner to get out all gunk, goo, bugs, etc from metal track. Again, we use GoJo Brand Shop Wipes which are pre-moistened with a cleaner designed to remove grease, grime but are made for hands-so no harsh chemicals.
(3) Remove any unnecessary screws (in the case of the screw cover, remove any exterior screws that were put in to hold old trim stuff on. You will NOT be putting screws into the new trim.
(4) Fill any unneeded “screw holes” made from old screws with Parbond or similar. If there is obvious gaps in where the metal tracking butts up against each end, you can fill that slightly too. The premise is we want to close up any unnecessary holes that can allow water into the trailer walls.
(5) CHECK YOUR WEEP HOLES! This is a great time to check your weeping holes on most windows. They will typically appear as 2 small holes or square slots at bottom of the window on the tracks. These allow any water that does get in to “weep” out of the holes rather than “seep” into your Avion wall! I take a small pick or a screwdriver or large pipe cleaner and stick it in each weep hole to clean out grime, bugs and debris. This cleaning of weep holes can become part of annual (spring and fall) or monthly maintenance routine depending on where you are camping!
(6) Now is the time to do any black paint touch ups on the metal track that may have been chipped off or clean up any rust and repaint. We used basic Semi-gloss Black Rustoleum brush on paint and a small brush.
STEP 3: READY TO APPLY THE WINDOW GLASS BEAD (Sore Finger alert!)
(1) Take your cloth measuring tape again if you had not written down how many inches the tracks are for each window. Get your complete measurement of the bead track. Add at least 2-3 inches to that measurement. Yes, there may be some waste but if you cut to short trust me you will have FAR more waste in the end.
(2) Start at either one of the bottom corners OR the center, depending on how the original one was done. For all corners you will be doing a 45 degree “picture frame” fit. I cut it by eye but if you are a stickler for precision, I guess you can find some angle tool to help you measure it. (I do the angle cutting, Kevin would need the angle tool!) You can try to push the rubber glass bead in without using Pam spray first. If it goes in, it will require a bit of pushing with strong fingers and putting it in on a slight angle into the track first then laying it flat to the window. You may need to use the Bone Tool or a pick to get it in to some places. Here is a video we shot doing our 1973 Avion which really shows the technique that works best to get the trim in and snug to the window glass itself.
(3) The whole KEY to doing this right is to push back on the material as you push it in. This is to ensure the material will sustain its integrity and length for as long as possible once exposed to heat, sun, wind and weather changes. You do NOT want to stretch it, you want it to be in there really tight and seated into the corners, bends and butted seams. At the seams, we apply a little 3M underneath the two ends and really back off that finishing end so that the butting is very very tight. In the corners, the same thing. Cutting each end on that 45, cut it a little long and use the pick tool to force those pointed ends down inside the metal track corners too.
(4) Use the 3M Adhesive (or we used clear Parbond on the ’73) to seal those seamed joints well.
(5) Step back and take a look. If you see some areas bulging a little, go back over them with your fingers, or the Bone Tool to get them to lay flat. The bead should lay very tightly on the window glass if installed properly. (Annually check those butted seams and corners and fill with e.g. that black 3M as needed.
STEP # 4: INSTALLING THE SCREW COVER TRIM- EASY PEASY!!
Now for the far easier part! The screw cover really goes in quite easily. This is where we did use Pam spray to lube the track on some windows, while others seemed not to need it at all.
Again, the use of the screw covers on the Hehr windows was not in play until we believe the 1980’s. We also cannot vouge for fact that all screw cover product #’s are the same, so again, look at a piece of your original, measure the profile end and look at the vendors to get the right stuff. Be sure it is rubber…NOT vinyl! Although our Ebay Source (below) advertises the product we ordered as “vinyl” it is clearly a rubber product. Both are sold as screw cover, but vinyl is really sold more for boating and will not be able to bend around your radius curves. Screw cover trim is far easier to find as it is in regular use today on boats, cargo trailers, etc.
(1) Using your window measurement of that outside track with that added “fudge length” adding 2-3 inches. Cut your rubber screw cover.
(2) if you have not already prepped, cleaned, touch up painted your screw cover metal track do that now. Fill in any holes from removed exterior screws with Parbond or similar. Sand off rust, carefully repaint with black Rustoleum paint
(3) We found all screw covers on our 87 started at center bottom with a straight butted two ends together seam.
(4) To start, we put a small bit of 3M adhesive on the side we started with, then “clicked/pushed” the screw cover into place going around radius corners. We put a bead (using the syringe) around EACH CORNER RADIUS bend too! These corners are where you will see pop out first from age/sun shrinkage. Having an adhesive in there should help prolong life.
(5) Kevin found the Bone Tool very helpful by flattening out the screw cover rubber and really forcing those little hooked ends into the metal track to grip well. (see video below)
ANOTHER TIP TO SHARE: When applying the glass bead AND the screw cover it really helps to have a second person who can keep the remaining trim above or at least level with the shoulder of the person applying the trim into the windows. This prevents the drag of gravity trying to pull down on the excess material and helps the install. If you don’t have a second person, then at least lay the excess over your shoulders to lessen the gravity drag downward and fighting against you trying to install “upwards” which you have to do to do this project right!
(5) Again, just like with the glass bead, you want to NOT stretch this screw cover. During the install keep pushing it back slightly upon itself, especially around the radius corners so you are getting as much trim in as the track can hold.
(6) Butting the ends together, cut long and trim slightly as needed but to ensure a really tightly butted seam. We lay some 3M adhesive on the final few inches of the trim before we do the final cut and butting of the raw edges. Make sure those edges are straight for the neatest look.
(7) Apply a thin bead of 3M black adhesive over top of this seam as well.
This new glass bead if installed correctly should last in normal conditions at least 8-15 years or more. Of course, if you are in hot weather states in the summer and your trailer is outdoors, the longevity may be less. We know that the glass bead on ours was at least 20 years or more old and may have even been original. Our trailer was bought new in FL, lived in FL till 2012 then sold and moved to PA. Was stored outdoors.
WHAT SPECIFIC PRODUCTS WE ORDERED FOR OUR 1973 AND OUR 1987 AVIONS AND WHO WE ORDERED FROM! This may or may not be what you need! Do your research, purchase sample kits or ask them to send you a sample or buy a foot of what you think you need FIRST!
Special note-JULY 2020: We have yet to find the correct new replacement glass bead for our curved front and rear windows. We are sending a sample to a Pelland and Interstate to get them to ID and select correct one. When we get it, we will update this post with that info! All other materials that have worked for us are listed below with links to products and their distributors.
Search for: BLACK RV Trailer Thick Vinyl 3/4″ Insert Trim Mold Flexible Screw Cover 100 Ft.
July 2020 Selling for 100 feet @ $72.95 with FREE shipping!
She does sell it in various precut length hanks. Buy what you need, and then some!
NOTE: Be sure to order the correct ” Thick Vinyl 3/4 inch”. She has a lot of various similar trims in her Ebay Store. We did not order the thick stuff the first time and it was way to thin and would not have held up in the track for long and would have fallen out on the road.
So that’s it. This is hopefully a very helpful post to all who need repairs or total replacements of their window trims. The project is worth taking on. Window and seams areas are the leading source of water damage to vintage trailers.
We hope we have helped you on your journey! We love feedback so please leave a comment!
Safe travels! Hope to meet you on the road or at a rally someday!
Today in 90 degrees and 64% humidity…..we (well, ok Kevin did all the work, I did my typical go-fer job and took photos) installed 4 new tires and a spare onto our 1987 Avion 32S.
The tires that came on our 87 Avion were a mixed batch with DOT codes ranging from 2015 to 2018 (the spare). 3 were Load Star brand and 2 were Power King Tow Max STR. We were not real comfortable with the miss match and ages. So The Pewter Palace needed new shoes!
After much research Kevin made the decision to go with new 16 Inch aluminum rims and 16 inch radial tires. This effectively raised the trailer a 1/2 inch overall. Not a lot, but since these Avion’s are notoriously low to the ground, anything helps.
There is a huge debate and preferences of radials to bias ply tires. To each his own. Our feeling is we are going to be doing a lot of long distance multi day travels on highways especially as full timers. Radials can handle that 6-8 hour day of driving in high heat conditions better than bias. But this is our opinion from research and we believe everyone had their preferences and their reasons and we do not plan to get into a debate over it. If it works for you….then that is great.
Here is what we bought to complete this project:
LT225/75R16 Michelin Agilis CrossClimate M3JH02CX2220(July 2020 price in NY@ our local tire store, Warren Tire, Queensbury NY, $240.95 per)
METAL VALVE STEMS: (we strongly urge metal valve stems, why? rubber breaks down over time due to exposure to sun, etc. Also if you have tire pressure monitoring devices on the stems, they add weight and over time the rubber will flex enough that they will crack and you lose air out of the valve stem….been there…done that!)
High pressure, Bolt in Metal Valve Stems (0-131 PSI) ($3.99 each)
Wheel Bearing Check and Brake Checks will be done before our trip to the Silver Avion Fellowship Rally hopefully (leaving in 8 days), if not this will be done upon our return. We had been told by previous owner bearing and brakes are good….appear so, but we always like to create our own “new benchmark” on our trailers for our own piece of mind.
Happy and safe travels….hope this post has helped you! We LOVE COMMENTS!
Be safe, hope to meet you on the road or at a campground or rally someday!
I have put this photo specifically in below to show how we use a thin bead of Parbond along the top and 1/2 to 3/4 the way down each side of ANY light, or any fixed object, plate, etc. that must be installed on the exterior of the Avion. This protects those vulnerable areas (now that have screws or rivets through the skin) from water penetration.
Kevin used 5/32 Olympic Rivets to secure the fixture in place.
So very often, as was the case with our ’73 Avion and now in our ’87, because of a lack of Parbond or similar sealant above the light fixtures, water gets in there, rusts the bulb clips and in some cases aids to corrode the wiring junctions. A few seconds of Parbond application (see our other posts or our FB page about the fill-able syringes we use to feed a nice thin bead-rather than straight from the tube!) solves water penetration issues. Parbond sets up firm, but not permanent and can be removed. We use the aluminum color on this type of project, and clear Parbond on our black rubber window trims. Clear could certainly be used on the light fixture project too. Any other things you may have to afix to the side, e.g. an aluminum patch, etc. we recommend using the aluminum colored Parbond if the area will be eye level or lower. This is what Chuck Cayo used when repositioning our awning brackets when we changed from an original Carefree system on our ’73 to a new Zipdee system in 2018. So if its good for Avion-Guru, Cayo…it works for us too!!
Last step on this project….
These marker lights come with incandescent, typical automotive bulbs. Fine enough and what is shown in the lit up photo above. However, we plan to change out EACH of these lights with LED bulbs to save energy, burn cooler and even brighter, and above all…so we get far longer life out of each bulb and should not need to do much maintenance at all with them.
We have worked with M4Products.com customer service AND the makers of the light fixtures to verify that the following small style LED bulb replacement will work in these new marker light fixtures.
What are you doing at 7 PM (EST) on Tuesday nights?
Join us for a live, virtual chat ZOOM meeting with fellow Avioner’s from all over the USA (and the world)!
If it is one thing that this Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic has taught me, it is how to connect virtually with people in meaningful ways despite not being with them in person.
For my work, I have become very proficient at hosting live ZOOM meetings (you can start a basic Zoom account for free!) and have found that these LIVE virtual in-person meetings have enabled my colleagues, friends and family members to share stories, tips, timely topics and even share documents, photos, etc. in a meaningful easy way. SO WHY NOT DO IT WITH AVION OWNERS? LET’S GET TOGETHER TO “TALK AVION!”
SO…..Kevin and I are launching “Avion Tuesday Talks” –weekly topic — live chats via ZOOM at 7 PM (EST). Each week, we will have one manageable topic and hope to attract long time Avion owners to brand new owners….and everyone in between. Even members of any of the Avion Facebook groups who are still “in the market to buy their first Avion” are welcomed.
Suggestions for future topic talks are always welcomed by shooting us an email, posting a suggestion on our facebook page or posting a comment on this blog anytime!
NOTE: These meetings are best joined by you using a laptop with built in camera and speakers. PC’s with audio and video are fine too. Cell phones are ok but a little clunky to get the best experience.
My Pewter Palace Zoom account can handle up to 95 attendees. Right now, I am also doing just the free subscription so our chat can only be 35 minutes (yup, i know i will have to put the timer on!). If this catches on, we will explore upgrading to the paid service where longer 1 hr chats can be done. But lets crawl….before we walk and see if the interest among Avioners is there first!
HOPE YOU WILL JOIN US AND HELP SPREAD THE WORD! You can find the events listed by date on ourPewter Palace facebook page under the “events” tab. This is where the topic of the week will be listed as well as the direct link info to log in and then join us at 7 PM.
Not familiar with Zoom?? It is super easy to learn and use! Here is a terrific tutorial to view before your first live Zoom meeting! Watch now!
Adventures with a Vintage Avion Luxury Coach Camper