If you are not so worried about sacrificing a little bit of the stealth camper aspect of your van and you want to cosy it up a little, then you are going to want to add a window to your build. For our conversion we wanted to have a window on the driver’s side above the kitchen counter, which would give plenty of ventilation while cooking and provide that little extra light. We also considered adding a large tinted window in the sliding door, but after taking the costs and work into consideration we put this on hiatus for now.
When seeking out a window we had two primary requisites:
- Built in blind and fly screen
- Sliding, not hinged
Whilst hinged windows do allow for a larger opening and therefore more airflow while stationary, it is not recommended to have them open while driving, which for us was a big drawback. We want to be able to have the window open whilst driving to get some good airflow into the living area. The dominant player in the RV window market is Dometic, and since they are tried and tested in the van conversion community and provide various types of windows we ended up settling with the Dometic S4 700 x 300
Much like the fan installation, the first step was the build the window frame. Using the same 45 x 45mm “Kortregel”, we planed, cut and glued together a 790 x 390 x 30mm frame. Whilst a frame is not absolutely necessary it is a good addition to the window installation, since it provides somewhere to secure your wall in when you build around the window.
After checking the frame was a good fit around the window it was time to put them both up against the inside of the van and figure out exactly where we wanted the window to go. Now this is where we came close to screwing up badly! Not wanting to put in a wonky window we used a spirit level on top of the window frame whilst holding it against the chassis and used a marker to trace the outer corners. Well, you can probably see where this is going… we were not parked on flat ground, which is kinda necessary. After standing back and taking a look at our markings we were a little puzzled to see it was not straight. At all. It took a moment for us to realise our fail, after which we scrubbed off the older markings, retraced and pretended like it never happened.
With the cut traced out in red marker we placed masking tape over the cut area and gaffer tape on all sides, which helps with the vibration and keeps the piece from falling out awkwardly at the end of the cut. Next up we drilled the pilot holes in each corner (one probably would have sufficed), and from there we performed the complete cut using the Jigsaw and with a Bosch T118A blade. The overall cut went well and was quite clean, although there were a few jagged fragments here and there, especially where the pilot holes had been drilled. These were filed down using a circular filer until it was nice and smooth and the window had a nice snug hole to hit in.
The next step was to paint the edge to give it a little protection, for which we use the same paint that we used on the floor and rust; silver Hammerite Direct to Rust Metal Paint. This took about thirty minutes to dry in about 5 degrees and direct sunlight.
The Dometic windows come in two parts; the inner piece and the outer piece. The outer piece goes on first, followed by our wooden frame on the inside and finally the inner window piece over the top of the frame. We secured the wooden frame to the inside of the chassis using Sikaflex 512 and screw the inner piece into the outer piece using the supplied screws. We then ran a bead (way too generous) of Sikaflex along the outside edge of the outer piece.
And with that we were done, window installed! Tom wants to re-do the Sikaflex around the outer piece to clean it up a little, but for now he is just happy there is no leak 😉