This was supposed to be an easy job. A few hours of pulling off the old crapped out Solardome vent cover, and then applying the new one. This is the very long 26" or so front vetn on mid-60s Airstreams.
It did not go well.
I got the old cover off no problem, then cleaned all the tons of old caulking off the area around the vent.
Next I re-caulked with a grey gutter seal and let it dry overnight. The daily rain cycle we were (and still are) in made the it mandatory to tarp the trailer well. A two foot hole in the roof is just not compatible with inches of daily rain.
Once dry I set out to attach the new cover. The lifters on each end of the lid became a problem. THey did not work well so I soaked them in Blaster overnight and sprayed them again before attempting to attach. Directions with the lid were that I rivet through from the top, and use the rivets supplied.
This is where the fun began. Drilling the rivet holes was nerve racking, but I made two sets of 3, going through from inside to outside. No cracking. Phew that was amazing. I used the drill on slow speed and lubricated with vegetable oil.
To my surprise the rivets were too short to grab the hinge that holds onto the lifters. Now what?
I hit up my supplies for longer rivets and managed to get the lifters on. the lid. Had a few broken rivets in the process, which had to be drilled out. Now this is getting tense.
When I tried to attach the lifters to the hinged bracket was where the fun really began.
No rivets were short enough to go into the very small space between the bracket and lifter. None.
Now what? A trip in the rain (which came in hard and heavy again), to the largest ACE hardware provided the shortest rivets I could find.
Arriving home I waited out the rain overnight then found even the shortest rivet would not go through the hole in the brackets without banging up against the lifter body.
Now I know why many replace these lifters, which still did not work right after 2 hours of soaking in Blaster spray. ARRGGGGGG!
After wrestling the brackets I realized I would have to be creative somehow. Screws would not work so..
Finding some bailing wire in the tool box, I wired the bracket to the lifter, which held it firmly in place but looked kinda crappy. It did work though and with a trip looming in a day or so, I would have to go with it,,, for now. Hope the lid does not find its way loose.
The plan is to go on top after the trip and drill through the vent lid edges into the raised aluminum surround over the roof hole, permanently ( somewhat) attaching the two.
This will prevent the lid from blowing off the roof and make it a skylight which is what it is supposed to be anyway.
The pathetic old lifters will not open, so this is my solution. Can't wait to try it.....
An hour and a half turned into three days.
Gotta love the 50 year old trailers.