This thread is similar to my “Removing vista views”, but shows how I dealt with the lack of skin under the frames. But first, the mandatory commentary! I mean, what do you do with those narrow windows placed low behind the couches? They are difficult to curtain, prevent some cool cabinetry installs, collect dust, and if they are double pane, like mine, the sun film evntually crazes and looks bad. So out they go!
As you can see, mine were well into the “craze and look bad” phase. My experience with the Vista Views gave me the courage to tackle their removal, even though my aluminum blanks were cut exactly the same size as the window frames, which doesn’t provide any additional margin for edge distance for the rivets.
So I crossed my fingers and removed the curb side window first. Ack! The edge distances around the skin perimeter were bad to terrible. The bottm skin didn’t even show a partial drill hole. This is the most crappy and inexcusable workmanship. As it turned out, all three windows had some variation in this problem. One of the street side window skins showed only half-holes along the top and bottom skin edge. Unbelievable! I guess I’m amazed that this construction held together for thousands of miles.
One of the good things about these lower windows is they are flat, so it’s quick work to make a patch simply by laying the window on blank sheet aluminum and match drilling the holes and drawing an outline. A metal cutting blade on a small bandsaw makes the shape, which can be cleaned up quickly with an aluminum file.
The timeline for one window is something like:
1. Drill out rivets and remove window — 25 minutes
2. Make cover plate — 15 minutes
3. Clean previous sealant, inside and out — at least an hour
4. Make shims, fit them, match drill them — another 45 minutes
5. Take apart, clean, apply Vulkem, reassemble — 30 minutes
Note: doing two at a time doesn’t speed things up even a picosecond. Each window is at least a half day job.
OK, insufficient skin margin–what to do? I did the curb side window first and decided to place some skin templates inside with shims between the templates and the patch so that the templates would sit flat. This was tedious, but turned out pretty much the way I imagined. But trying to keep everything aligned and not get totally covered by Vulkem was difficult.
On the street side I had a better idea. When I was finishing the inside cover plates for the vista views, I had some small wrinkles/oil cans in the skin. I probably stretched something when the interior skins were hanging loose. To get them flat, I used some 3/4″x3/4″ “L” extrusions you can get at Home Depot. I installed them along the bottom edge of the old opening in an area of skin that would be covered by the inside patch. I recessed the drill hole with a microstop countersink bit, used small 3/32 flush rivets and set them using a rivet squeezer (Kip, this is an install where your hammer technique wouldn’t work for me!).
This is essentially what I did on the two street side windows. An “L” extrusion along the top edge and the existing “Z” along the bottom edge. The “Z” channel was moved slightly to provide adequate grip margin for the existing hole pattern from the window frame.
Windows are done. Here’s how the Sovereign looks without the upper and lower small windows.
and the view from inside.
I’m very satisfied with the outside top patches. The lower ones don’t look quite as appealing. Maybe that will improve once I get the time to do some polishing.
I wanted to keep the interior all Zolatone, but I did’t have any spare skin. The sliding Vista View covers were used to cover their respective openings, but I had to use shiny aluminum on the lower street side windows. On the curb side, the panel below the window can be moved up by cutting away the area with the window hole, then patching below with shiny sheet. Eventually, this won’t be visible due to plans to install a bench seat along that side.
I do have a question. The eyebrow cabinet space above the front window has two puffed out wings. I would have guessed they were for the front speakers, but as you can see, the speakers in this Sovereign were installed in the wall below. Is this another ad hoc (and less than spiffy) move by the assemblers back then? Is there some use for these wings than anyone else has thought of? I’m going to put a wooden cabinet in the eyebrow space, like the one in my Caravel, so maybe there is some way to curve that around and take advantage of all the overhead space up front.