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.