3/8 Twist Spring Balances for Non-Tilt single-hung aluminum windows circa 1965

A home owner from Las Cruces, New Mexico says:
Hi. I need to replace balances in a house full of windows, but they are old enough (house built in 1965) so that exact replacements are probably not available. Attached are three pics. I may need the clips, too, and perhaps a twister to charge them once installed. I'm a little worried about the screws that attach the clips to the bottom of the sash, they are odd, with the tips unthreaded plugs, then threads to the head.

The windows have no name, and the sashes cannot be removed (easily), so I don't have the sash weight, but they are single pane and the visible glass is 33" x 16" (all the same size and construction). I think the 18" size is right, and they are 3/8 in diameter. They originally had plastic sheathes around the springs, but those have all deteriorated in the desert sun.

I think you have a discount for ordering a dozen, and that's what I'll order (with clips, if needed) if you have replacements that will work. If there is more than one possibility, I can order one each and see what works best, then return the others.

Am I missing anything?

Thanks in advance, I have already learned a lot from your user friendly site, and as soon as I fix this house, we will move into a house with Alenco double pane windows that are in poorer shape, though circa 1983.

Looking forward to your reply.

Steve D (a slow learner in New Mexico)
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Paul from SWISCO responded:


You are correct, theses balances are no longer made. The correct thickness of the balance tube is 5/8" not 3/8". You need to add the plastic cover for thickness. You can use Series 500 -18" red tip balance with 17-012 bracket. 

These brackets hook on to the balance spiral. To install these balances, you would drop them from the top on the side of the sash. Use a 33-017 screw to attach the balance tubes at the top. Now raise the sash and have someone hold it up while you attach the bottom bracket 17-012 with the self drilling screws you have while the U-shape opening corrals the spiral. With your finger bring up the spiral to the bracket and attach the 75-005 tool and turn the spiral clockwise three turns and hook it to the fork of the bracket. Repeat the other side and try the sash. If sash creeps down, raise and hold up the sash and give the balances another turn or two.

A quick learner from New Mexico says:
Paul (and Thomas, and others at Swisco),

Thanks for your help. It turned out that I needed 17 inch balances because my sashes are not removable, but now I have a house full on working windows in seemingly indestructible aluminum frames. I lost an inch of openability, but that's hardly noticeable: the windows look good and work well. (And thanks for taking back the original shipment.)

Any hints for removing oxidation?

Take care,

Profile picture of Tom
Tom from SWISCO responded:

Hey, Steve. Removing oxidization is going to depend which window parts are oxidized. Which parts are giving you trouble?

Generally, you can rub or soak metals in anti-corrosive lubrication oils. WD-40, PB B'laster, and Loctite Naval Jelly are good choices. I had a stubborn customer insist once that kerosene is ideal. I think motor oil might work, even, in a pinch.

For lighter oils like PB B'laster and WD-40, you can even leave them to soak overnight. Generally, your best bet is to soak a cloth or cotton-ball in oil and wrap the rusty part, so that you maintain constant contact between the rust and oil.

On a larger surface, that's obviously not a good option, unless you want to soak a bath towel in WD-40, or something.  In that case, a thin layer wiped across the metal surface (and left for fifteen minutes to an hour) is better than nothing.

Always follow the directions for any anti-oxidization product you use. Naval Jelly, for example, will corrode metal if applied for longer than 15 minutes.

If you need more specific advice, you might want to update us with a photo of the oxidization you need to treat.

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