Airstream Vistaview Window "De-Fogging"
(Last Update: 14 August, 2005)
Sometime in the late 60's, Airstream introduced the "Vistaview" window. This was a rectangular window with rounded corners. They were positioned above and below a "regular" window, I assume to allow more light into the trailer.
Some of the Vistaview windows had a single pane of glass, but others, like the ones in my trailer, were sealed double pane. The exterior piece of class had a silver reflective film applied to it's inside surface. I assume the film was for privacy, so people outside couldn't easily see inside.
Unfortunately, the sealed windows have a tendency to become "un-sealed", allowing moisture to condense between the two panes of glass. This, in turn, cause the reflective film to fog, and sometimes actually detach from the glass.
Repairing this either requires that you replace the Vistaview window with a new one (they are single pane only now, I guess Airstream learned something :-). But this is a costly and labor intensive procedure. You can also repair the problem by removing the interior piece of glass. This isn't too difficult in earlier versions of the Vistaview, as it is possible to disassemble the window's frame from inside the trailer. However, Airstream, in it's infinite wisdom, decided to start using a solid frame window. You can not disassemble this version. I believe this version of the window started in 1976 or 1977.
In researching this problem (My 1977 31' Sovereign had six fogged Vistaviews), I ran across several articles in the Vintage Airstream Archive. One article referred to a web site that discusses the replacement process. Unfortunately, that web page is no longer accessible The bottom line is that, for the newer versions of the windows, the only solution is to break out the inner pane of glass, clean the remaining piece of glass, and re-seal it.
Well.... I took the plunge and did it myself. This site documents the process I used.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read, re-read and read this again before attempting this yourself. It is entirely possible to totally destroy your Vistaview window using this process, so the utmost care and caution must be used.
In addition, you MUST wear protective leather work gloves and adequate eye protection. You WILL have broken pieces of glass flying around, so dress appropriately.
This process worked for me. It may not work for you. If it doesn't, then I am not responsible.
Questions, comments, and suggestions are gladly accepted. Please feel free to contact me