Following on from our Window Q&A from earlier in the month, we have put together a window fitting guide.
Fitting a window into a van can be difficult for anyone, especially if you haven’t done it before, so we would advise that if you have never fitted a window before you get a professional to fit it for you. If you have some experience with conversion work and you feel confident enough to fit the window yourself, having an extra pair of hands would help you throughout the process.
The time you will require to fit a window properly with little experience would be around 3 hours to ensure you do the best job.
Please during the process consider all health and safety measures you need to put in place like eyewear, gloves and ear protection for the noise levels.
What you require to fit a window:
A primer, adhesive and knock-on trim.
A window sucker/suction pad.
Good quality tools – jigsaw and a metal drill.
A scotch brite pad.
A rubber mallet.
Polythene paper and masking tape.
1. Ensure you have the correct window for your vehicle.
Before you cut into the side of your van, check you have the right window. To do this you need to do a dry fit by holding the glass up to the van and measure if the corners and lengths of the glass match up to the panel.
2. Prepare your window, van and workspace.
Make sure you thoroughly clean and inspect your window with a glass wipe so it is ready to fit. It’s important to prepare your van so you don’t scratch your paintwork around where you will be cutting. The best way to do this is to secure some polythene paper to the side of your van around where the window will be fitted with some masking tape. Also, ensure you have all your tools and materials organised and nearby so you can access them easily when you need them.
3. Find the cut line and drill holes into the corners.
It is best to do this from the inside of the van, but make sure you are working in a well-lit area so you can see properly. From the inside of the van looking at the side panel, find the inner cutting line and drill 3 holes in each corner that will be big enough for you to fit your cutter through.
4. Mark and cut out the panel.
Even though you have your corners marked, from the outside of your van use a marker pen to outline exactly where you need to cut by joining up the corner holes with a straight edge. Once the area is marked out, you need to cut out the panel using your jigsaw. Before you start cutting place a suction pad on the panel and start cutting the panel out from the bottom. It is best to leave a 10mm gap before each hole in the corners so the panel stays secure whilst you are cutting each side. Then ensure you are holding the suction pad securely when you finish cutting out each corner, so the window doesn’t fall and damage your van.
5. Remove the remaining metal and smooth the edges.
Use your metal shear or jigsaw to go around the opening removing any excess metal and ensuring each side is straight. Then using your scotch brite pad, smooth out the sharp edges so the knock-on trim will sit level.
6. Secure the knock-on trim over the edges of the opening.
Using the knock-on trim you have, start in the middle of the bottom edge of the opening and apply the knock-on trim to the metal skin using a rubber mallet to gently knock the trim securely into place. Cut off any excess trim and make sure the two ends connect.
7. Apply the primer around the opening.
Wipe around the opening and on the paintwork using a degreasing wipe ready for the primer. Using a primer and a dabber, apply the primer around the outside of the opening in one motion to avoid building up layers. Allow the primer to dry for 15-30 minutes depending on the temperature; if it is cold you will need to allow the primer longer to dry.
8. Apply the adhesive to the vehicle.
Starting at the bottom edge of the opening, apply the adhesive (ensuring it is at room temperature) to the van in one continuous string keeping the nozzle against the trim. When you are coming up to where you started at the bottom make sure you overlap the adhesive to ensure it creates a watertight seal.
Top Tip: We always advise starting at the bottom edge when applying the adhesive because if you start at the top and don’t get a good seal then water will enter and run down the window. But if you start at the bottom no water can come up into the van.
9. Secure the window in place on the van.
Using two suction pads, offer the window up to the opening making sure it is in the correct position pressing gently. Once you are happy with the position press the window firmly against the adhesive into place, hold the window in place for about 20 seconds making sure there is a uniform gap around the window. To stop the window from sliding whilst it cures, use your strong, non-stretchy tape and apply a couple of strips to the van above the window and down over the window.
10. Allow for curing time.
We would advise allowing a minimum of 2-4 hours of drive-away time or if you can leave your van overnight to make sure the window is fully bonded.
We hope this guide helps you fit your windows as easy as possible, check out all our side and rear windows and fitting accessories HERE.
*We do still advise that you always seek professional assistance when fitting your van windows. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for damage caused following the tips or guidance in this post.