Replacing Jalousie Window Glass Holders

Replacing Jalousie Window Glass Holders

Jalousie windows are louvered windows. They, along with awning style windows, are the two most common styles of windows found on vintage trailers. Jalousies (pronounced with the accent on the first syllable) were made by a number of different companies and used across most brands of trailers starting in the mid-50s. Hehr and Phillips were the two major brands. The Hehr 1600 series is the earliest and most prevalent.

After half a century or more, you may find you need to do some maintenance to the aluminum glass holders on the ends of each slat.  The glass holders vary based on the brand and model of window.  Here we describe how to remove the glass holders from a Hehr 1600 window. Construction is similar on other models, although parts may look different.

The first step in working with jalousie windows is to remove the glass and set it aside safely. This normally does not require tools, other than perhaps gently prying the end of the clip open just enough to remove the rubber pad (these can be replaced with new UV-proof silicone pads later).

Next, disengage and remove the window crank operator. Our clutch head bits, item VTS-578, may greatly assist with this step.

With glass slats and operator removed, you can see that each aluminum glass holder has two rivets. One is attached as the fixed pivot point to the window frame, and the other is attached to a long flat vertical link bar that moves up and down along the window's side to keep all the glass slats operating simultaneously and in parallel.

The next step will be to remove the glass holders from the window as a group. In other words, if you have 5 slats, all 5 glass holders on one side will come out together. You won't separate them from the long flat link. You'll detach them from the window frame.

Look at the picture below: the five rusty rivets along the exterior window frame must be drilled out. Using a ⅛” drill bit, drill just enough to sever the rolled end of the rivet and push the rest of the rivet through. This is the best way to prevent damage to the window frame.

The rivets are steel and so they rust and cause corrosion issues for the adjacent aluminum. Aluminum rivets were typically not used because these rivets are required to move and aluminum would wear too quickly. We highly recommend replacing these rivets with stainless steel rivets.

The type of rivet used is a specialized one called a semi-tubular rivet. Semi-tubular rivets are a one-piece solid rivet rather than a more common pop rivet. The rivets have a solid slightly domed truss head on one side and a hollow tail that is squeezed or hammered using a die that neatly finishes the back end by curling it outward. Installing a tubular rivet requires a few specialized tools and a specification of both the diameter and the precise length of riveted needed.

We recommend drilling out the old steel rivets from the tail end if possible. The tail offers an indentation to center your drill bit. If you need to go from the head side, just be sure to use a split point drill bit and be very careful not to oval the hole. Remember, the new rivet needs to pivot in that hole.

With the long link and the glass holders released as a group from the window frame, you can move to a bench for the rest of the job.  Here you can finish removing rivets so you can clean, straighten or replace the glass holders.

When finished, everything goes back together in reverse order.

Tubular rivets and tools recommeneded for this job:

  • tubular rivets
  • squeeze tool
  • dies
  • hand clincher
  • clutch head bits

While you are at it, we suggest examining and/or replacing these items:

  • Jalousie Glass Retainer Discs, item VTS-171
  • Jalousie Glass Holders, item VTS-389
  • Jalousie Window Top and Bottom Seal, item VTS-239
  • Pile Weatherstrip for Jalousie Windows, item VTS-333