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!
By our grandson’s “popular demand” we booked another weekend trip to our local (45 min north) Jellystone RV Campground ( formerly known as Paradise Pines Jellystone I think). It had been two years since we had taken them there. This park is located just off RT I-87 in North Hudson, NY. Very easy access. Close enough to visit area attractions of a Buffalo Farm, Lake Placid, The North Pole, Lake George and Fort Ticonderoga on day trips as well as other small lakes and rivers that dot the eastern side of the Adirondacks.
We booked especially to go on their “SPOOK-TACULAR” Halloween themed weekendwhich was awesome to say the least. I did get our site and Avion all decked out and it was a big hit with the grandsons and nearly everyone in the park threw us mega compliments and thumbs up! Right from the entrance point to the park and all over the park they had huge blow up halloween themed decor which was really great. Many of the campers also decorated their campsites and rigs. We all got in the mood!
This campground is a favorite for those with small families, afterall who can shrug a hug from Yogi or Boo Boo right??
The park is a simple 45 minutes north of us into the Adirondack Mountains on Route 87/The Adirondack Northway. Once you exit for North Hudson, the campground is a minute up the road on the left.
We had site # 15 and were very pleased with this site for our rig. It easily accommodated our 32 foot long Avion and had full hook ups. There we are on the right
** We originally booked site 137A online based on the online map. WHOA! do not go by that map and do not book that site or site 137 which everyone will walk through! We did a reconnaissance trip 2 weekends before and 137A is what we would call an “after thought site”. It appears there are a few of them at this campground where they are trying to SQUEEZE every last inch of turf to fit some level of RV into it. Not good. However—The staff was extremely accommodating and very pleasant as we did a drive around the park to view on my phone app to view what was still available. She gladly rebooked us for Site 15 (there were only 3 sites left!) and we were very pleased with this customer service.
This pricing below was reflective of a 2 night stay. Premium Water/Electric/Sewer 1 $206.00
Adults on Site 2 $0.00
Children on Site 2 $0.00 Pet(s) 1 $10.00 (yes, Reddy costs extra, but we love her enough to pay!) VIP Site Lock-in Fee 1 $15.00 (I opted to get locked into our site, no surprises!) BYS Fee 1 $10.00 (this is an extra fee paid to the online booking company) Subtotal $241.00
Deposit Paid $133.90 (required % when booking online)
We actually ended up adding Thursday night (special rate deal only $50, so we could arrive then or earlier than 2 pm check in on Friday) so we ended up having a slightly higher bill in the end. But we love getting in there on Thursday before everything fills up and we can set up and relax before the family comes too!
Very kid friendly park (lots of kids–hey, its a Jellystone so expect that please!)
Our Site 15 had easy access to bath house/showers and in the other direction the game hall, pool and other amentities (though not much doing because of Covid19 restrictions)
Close to home for us- nice for a change!
Their camp store is one of the best we have every seen for not only gifts and food incidentals, but their supply of RV gear, parts, light bulbs, and all sorts of hardware is better than some RV dealerships we have been to. Seriously! they do a great job with that!
5.Decent hook ups, though at this park their sewer runs slow during dumps so be careful!
6.Nice level site, large area in front for kids to ride bikes and play. Our “lane” was a dead end this time which was much better than 2 years ago when we backed up to the playground (nice) but were on the main entry road for all rigs to come and go (not nice)
7. They pick up your trash at your site. Someone is always patrolling and that is a great perk they offer. We love that feature at campgrounds.
8. We totally enjoyed their adult, larger pool again this time. Tip- go early when it opens at 9, stay till about 11 then hightail it back to your campsite before it gets super busy! Evenings it will calm down again too over dinner time and later.
9. If you do not want to cook, the owner does a lot of BBQing of hamburgs, hot dogs, sausages, etc. and I think even breakfast sandwiches at the main store area.
10.Totally AWESOME Haunted Forest Trail!!! We cannot say enough for this themed “spooktacular” weekend. Wow…the trail was long, very high caliber of actor volunteers, scenes and set stages. The kids were petrified (ages 7 & 5) but we adults LOVED IT! It also was no extra charge or tickets required.
Overall, this park is tired. Most of the outbuildings really need repair, roofs cleaned off and a freshening up.
The main bath house and shower pavilion for our whole northern section of the campground is old, still has the same missing formica counter top pieces from 2 years ago and really sorely needs a total upgrade. The shower area is a little better and at least does have private doors to each stall with changing areas, etc. NOTE: there is NO handicap toilet stalls or accessibility features in this bathroom building, perhaps the newer one near the snack bar and main office does have H/C features–so you should check on this if that is a need.
COVID-19 CAUSES LESS ACTIVITIES….Not their fault but many of the activities that our grandsons LOVED last time 2 years ago like the “bubble party”, the Hey Hey Hey rides with Yogi and the bounce pillow and, dance party, etc. were either not happening or were really transformed and toned down due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. The hey rides, little train ride and bounce pillow did not run at all this weekend.
TIRED MINI GOLF….The boys did get in a round of Mini-golf with us. But the mini golf area is also not maintained the way it should be. There was debris and garbage on the ground that clearly had been there for a long time. The boards of the various # holes were moss covered, rotted away in some sections and so slanted now you cannot take a good hit. But it is in the shade and they had fun…so we played along.
LOTS OF STAFF BUT WHAT DO THEY DO? Ironically we saw tons of staff at this park. Not sure why the maintenance seems so lacking. The Activity Director, Meghan was bright, bubbly and did a nice job with the bingo game that Sarah and I treated ourselves to. Not sure why they held it on the front porch instead of the open air rec hall but whatever…I WON coverall and took home $21 so whose complaining right??!!
DEFERRED MAINTENANCE- again, our picnic tables both at the Yurt and at our site had rotten boards, not maintained. Some adjacent sites to ours did have the metal base tables which looked better. Our premium site did come with a raised charcoal grill if you needed it. we used it to set our Weber on!
YURTS ARE NOT UP TO PAR FOR THE COST…Our daughter and her husband rented one of the Yurts just across from our camper. It was small, stuffy and had horrid air fresheners going to mask the musty, closed in smell, 2 sets of bunk beds, a small kitchen kind of set up (no running water) with a microwave, refrigerator (quite big) and a plastic table/chair set. It did have A/C and also did have zip down window curtains with screens. They said the beds were like sleeping on boards. They had deep hard foam mattresses. You have to bring everything else. They determined the Yurt was definitely not worth the money they are charging. Also, they had NO privacy since a tiny tenting site was squished in on the side of their Yurt space and they were not quiet campers. There was no housekeeping done to the Yurt between renters it appears and we felt like we had to do a once over sanitizing. Yurt renters have to walk to the bath house for all their needs, washing dishes, showers, etc. too.
KIDS POOL AND SLIDE AREA VERY HECTIC AND FULL….We did not use the kids pool area. It was WAY over crowded for our personal feelings about Covid protection and need for social distancing. I did hear someone on staff taking names later on in the day while we were at Bingo so it does sound like they were doing what they could to “schedule” folks to use the pool to avoid too much close contact. They did have sanitizer in the pool area with rags asking each person to wipe down any chairs and tables they used when they were leaving (to be honest, we totally did not remember to do that!) Perhaps one of those staffers could have been assigned to do this and monitor behavior in the pool areas too?? The children’s area pool with swirling large tube slide is really way too small for a family/kid oriented themed campground like this. Almost seems like they need to invest in a new large kids pool area, or build another pool ONLY for adult swimmers. A hot tub would be nice too…but only if it is “adult only” restricted. We will often search for parks that have those amenities for adults only (yes, ok, we are getting old and crabby!)
Like I had said from the start, we booked this trip to Jellystone because our grandsons asked for a camping trip here again this summer. Will we go back? Probably not and that was the consensus from my daughter too. If you do go, any of those sites along the side we were on at site 15 are we believe the best sites in the park. There are a lot of other kid-friendly campgrounds that have as much if not more to offer and are better maintained.
Hope this review helps….We appreciate any comments you may have. Safe journeys!
We have had a request to post some photos of the exterior, aftermarket “clips” that were on our original 1973 Avion, 28 foot LaGrande.
Here is one of them below.
A previous owner had put these on because, lets face it, those window crank mechanisms are far from reliable, or sturdy.
Last thing you want is your window to accidentally open enough to catch a gust of wind as you tool down the road and bend the window frame out of alignment or worse, rip it off!
We suspect you can probably find similar clips to the original ones on our Avion in a good hardware store that has screen door replacement parts too.
Along the way, we had to add and also replace some and what we used was actually those small shelf support holders that you see in some bookcases, kitchen cabinets, etc.
SEE BELOW for what we found worked. The rounded pin end was what was against the window frame and held it snugly in place. We reused the original holes from prior “safety clips” that were either lost or lost their ability to hold the window and used these clips below with a small screw in place.
Using these make shift safety clips does help in preventing the inadvertent opening of your window when going down the road at 60-70 MPH (we never go over 60-63 MPH when towing!). Those window cranks are not failsafe and can over time fail to hold your window securely closed. We have read where especially when traveling in high wind areas where windows have opened enough to be sheared off.
Just remember, if you do go the way of installing these or similar types of clips, you will need to bring a portable power drill with Philips head on it to loosen them up once you get to your campsite so you can rotate them out of the way and open your windows. We do not recommend taking them completely out every time (you will lose them and you may prematurely strip the holes)
Hope this short article helps! If it has…let us know with a comment!
Let us know if you have come up with another idea on securing your windows from accidental opening when towing!
We all have issues with “SPACE” in our RVs. Anything I can do to reduce weight in storage AND space in my cabinets I am all over it!
MAJOR KEY to Happy RV-ing (and your significant other not repeatedly telling you to downsize more!)…..is totry to have each item (or most items) you have on board have at LEAST 2-3 various uses.
Multi-purpose items are the name of the game when you are traveling and living in less than 210 square feet like we do.
PS: I have included links to purchase ones I have saved on my Amazon Share list for RVers at the bottom of this post. (no we do not get kickbacks from Amazon on this, just sharing to be helpful!)
THIS IS ONE OF MY BEST SPACE SAVING, MULTI-PURPOSE KITCHEN GADGETS!
A collapsible, fold-able, stainless steel dish drainer which doubles as extended hot pad AND extension of counter space when laid over your sink! Hey that’s a “hat trick!”
I love it so much, the original one I ordered (from Amazon and arrived in winter) never left my apartment kitchen! I use it every day and had to order a second one for our Avion! LOL
Flexible Stainless Dish Drainer! Watch my video to see its many uses!
What is also awesome about this gadget is that you can also cut it to any size that fits your sink(s) best. In our 1987 Avion I happen to have a gorgeous Corian huge, deep sink with a side bar sink. So I have the flexibility of using the drainer exclusively over my bar sink and I have found I can actually stand up my dinner plates as they dry, leaving plenty of space for all the other dishes, cups, etc. to dry at the same time. Simply cut through the outer rubber edges of this gadget to make it custom fit to your needs!
DID I MENTION HOW COMPACT THIS THING IS?
Yeah, they make collapsible dish drainers and small single sink ones specially for RVs (I have tried both) but you still have to either leave them in the sink or find somewhere UNDER your sink in the cabinet to store it….that takes up precious space!
Here is what this dish rack looks like when rolled up! Seriously!! Basically takes up the same size as package of spaghetti out of the box.
MULTI-PURPOSE IS THE NAME OF THE GAME in LIVING SMALL!
How many alternative uses can you find for this great gadget??!!
Oh right….AND it is a great place to dry dishes so they drain into your sink not all over your countertop!
So are you convinced? I was so thrilled with using my first one when it arrived in winter and our Avion was in winter storage, I had to order a second one for our Avion!
Once we go full time in 2022, I will probably trim down the first one, cutting it to exactly fit my side bar sink so i can leave it in place and then roll up and use my larger full sized one when i have more dishes to do, need a counter top extension quick or…cool off that fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies…yum!
Here is the link to our LINKS/RESOURCES page on our blog home page. Look for the Amazon list that I share. You can find this roll up dish drainer there in two different sizes as well as tons of other items we use routinely in our Avion RV Life!
Happy and safe journeys! WE LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS ON THIS BLOG OR ANY OTHERS!
Please subscribe if you are not already a subscriber so you get a direct email when we post a new blog topic!
Best, from Kevin & Luisa Sherman
Don’t forget our AVION TUESDAY TALKS — LIVE ON ZOOM!
Different topics every week (or most weeks that is!).
July 2020: We stayed one night as a stop over enroute from attending our annual Silver Avion Rally in Elkhart, Indiana headed home to upstate NY. We wanted to just pull in, (not unhitch), but enjoy a restful evening…and a dip in the pool after a very hot rally week!
Erie KOA HOLIDAY is a very nice campground, and made a perfect respite stop for us after a 6 hr drive heading East from Indiana.
Reasons to like this campground:
The online reservation system of the KOA franchises is very good. Easy to use and you get instant confirmation online. I booked our Monday night site on Sunday afternoon. 🙂
Beautiful lush plantings, expertly maintained. (check out that front of the main building! By far the nicest landscaping we have seen at a campground around their main buildings.
Sites are well maintained, though they are close together. We were site 42 (yellow right by the office) SITE MAP
They have a small to medium sized in ground pool which was open and the temperature was perfect! It was one of the cleanest pools we have encountered in years!
Very efficient and friendly reservation staff at check in (I believe we had the owner)
They pick up your trash at your site (we love and appreciate that feature!)
They have a beautiful quite large catch and release “Rainbow Lake”…below is the shot I took giving Reddy a walk…..beautiful at sunset!
As mentioned, we chose this campground because it fell right into our plans to go 6 hours and stop for the night. We arrived around 4 PM. Our site was a pull through (#42)with 30 amp, W & S. MAP It was just down from the main check in building and quite tight among the other trailers on either side but since we do not have slides, and Avion’s are narrower than most we were just fine. I do not think I would want a weekend or week in that site due to lack of lawn or privacy for relaxing outside of your rig, but it did have a fire ring, wood picnic table if desired. for our overnight rest stop and pool dip it was perfect. Price for one weeknight in July 2020 was $62.00 inclusive.
We had a short happy hour after getting set up, then headed to the pool for a cool dip. It was luscious! The Covid-19 pandemic has caused some changes in operations and the owner noted when she gave me our instructions that there is a limit of 25 in the entire pool area allowed at a time. They are going on the honor system during the week (this was a Monday evening) as long as they could but staff would enforce if needed. There is a nice covered pavilion area just off the pool area with tables and chairs and I suspect during “normal activity” times this is a popular spot, perhaps a snack bar, etc.appeared to be there too-but not functioning when we were there.
Their camp store in main building was pretty basic. Some nice selection of tee shirts and some kids trinkets, but the rest was a bit scant, certainly very limited if you were looking for any repair items for your RV. You would need to go shopping elsewhere for them. Their map and website says they have a petting zoo area and snack bar. In our brief walk around we did not see these, but according to their map they do have them. (not sure if open due to pandemic issues)
This is a KOA and therefore, they do cater to families with children. There were plenty visible in the pool and playground area, but we managed to only get splashed on by jumping in kiddo’s a couple times. There were no issues with kids making too much noise in the campsite rows that we experienced.
For Kids they have:
giant lawn checkers
rental pedal go carts, hot wheels
mining activity, panning for “gems”
of course…the pool
Rental pedal bikes corral
Would we stay again?? YES! we do plan to make this a regular stop when we are heading to or from our Silver Avion Fellowship Rally in Elkhart, Indiana in July each year!
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