Re­place win­dows

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A car­a­van win­dow is not cheap: save money and re­place it your­self

Just like you (or your el­dest) have to mow the lawn or fix a leak­ing tap from time to time, it’s some­times nec­es­sary to do a bit of main­te­nance on your car­a­van. Some campers have no qualms about ser­vic­ing their own wheel bear­ings or even the cou­pling, but cer­tain tasks are even eas­ier than that – like re­plac­ing a cracked or bro­ken win­dow.

A car­a­van’s Per­spex win­dows can start to crack due to age or wear and tear, es­pe­cially around the latches screwed to them.

Here’s a step-by-step method to re­place them. It’s so easy, any­one that can han­dle a power drill and a screw­driver can do it.

STEP 1 Take it off

The win­dows of your car­a­van that can open and close have hinges at­tached to two alu­minium strips that run at the top of the win­dow. One strip is at­tached to the car­a­van, the other to the win­dow.

The win­dow slides into the strip at­tached to the car­a­van, al­most like your side tent slides into those grooves on the edges of the car­a­van’s hull, but with enough play that it will move when you open the win­dow.

To make sure the win­dow don’t move around on it’s own ac­cord, there’s a rivet on both sides of the strip. 1 Re­move the rivet on the side you want to re­move the win­dow. 2 Un­screw the gas struts (the ones sup­port­ing the win­dow when you open it) and lift the win­dow as far as you can. 3 Slide the win­dow out while you hold it up, in the di­rec­tion where you just re­moved the rivet.

STEP 2 A fi­nal push

1 Put the win­dow on a flat sur­face, prefer­ably cov­ered in some­thing soft so that you don’t scratch it while work­ing on it. 2 Re­move the screws of the old win­dow latches. You’ll see a spot on each side of the win­dow where the screw goes through the latch and the win­dow, as well as a rub­ber seal on both sides. If they’re dam­aged, get re­place­ments at any de­cent camp­ing store.

STEP 3 De­cide how

The new win­dow won’t have holes for the latches, so you’ll have to mark the win­dows where you want to drill the holes for them. There are two ways: You can put the old win­dow on the new one and mark the spots

where the holes were on the old one, or you can hang the new win­dow in place on the alu­minium strip first. Then you can mark the places to drill ac­cord­ing to where the latches are (the lat­ter method is more ac­cu­rate.)

1 Slide the new win­dow into the groove. If it’s a bit tight, use a lu­bri­cant like Q20.

2 Lower the win­dow and make sure the out­side edge fits snugly over the win­dow’s rub­ber seal in the car­a­van’s hull be­hind it. Now ask some­one to get in­side and hold the in­side of the latches in place, as if they’re closed. 3 Mark the spots with a felt pen on the win­dow from the out­side.

STEP 4 Care­ful now

1 Put the marked win­dow back on your work sur­face to drill the holes. Use a 6.5mm drill bit, but set the drill to ro­tate an­ti­clock­wise. Your aim is more to melt than drill your way through the glass (if you set the drill to turn clockwise, there’s a good chance that it will bite into the Per­spex and dam­age or even crack it, es­pe­cially if the drill bit is very sharp.)

2 Put the bit on the mark and start drilling. Don’t press down; the weight of the drill is suf­fi­cient. Be pa­tient, don’t stop be­fore the hole is drilled all the way through. If you stop half­way, the hole will be un­even in­side, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to drill when you start again.

STEP 5 Put ev­ery­thing back

1 Put the screws back into the latches. Re­mem­ber to re­turn the rub­ber seals as well.

STEP 6 Fin­ish up

1 Slide the win­dow back into place in the alu­minium strip.

2 Screw the gas struts back into place.

3 Put a new rivet in.

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