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Replacing Motorhome Windows

Posted by on December 14, 2010

Our motorhome windows were in a bad way. There were so many rust holes in the window frames that I was surprised that the old girl was not whistling like a kettle as I was driving up the road. As for the window seals, they were definitely well past their use by date. They were still holding the windows in. But they were letting in the rain also.

Drying The Old Girl Out

To continue with the renovations on our motorhome I was going to have to come up with a solution to stop the water getting in through the leaky window seals and rust holes. I could not install any of the replacement furniture until the interior of our motorhome was watertight. Some research came up with  a supplier of replacement window seal to suit but at $25 per metre and three metres per window it was going to cost around $1000 before I even took the cost of all the rust repairs into account.The other alternative was to remove the old bus style windows and modify the openings to fit new motorhome windows or caravan windows depending on what was available. This was the approach that I decided to take.

The first step in the process was to run my ideas past an automotive engineer to make sure that I was not going to  be breaking any safety standards . After getting the all clear I took a window out to determine how bad the rust was underneath the surface so that I could work out how much of the wall framing would need to be rebuilt I was pleasantly surprised to find that the rust was only in the outer layer and there was a good strong surface to weld to underneath. The job was looking a lot easier than I had first thought. All I had to do was:

  • Remove the old windows
  • Cut out the rusted sections where the new window frames were to be welded in
  • Find some motorhome windows to fit
  • Weld up new window frames to fit the windows out of box section
  • Cut out any window pillars that are in the way
  • Weld the new frames into the bus
  • Neutralise the remaining rust
  • Sheet over the new frames and old window openings
  • Cut the holes and install the new windows

The search  to find some suitable windows that would fit the window opening height and wall thickness of  50mm. eventually led me to Aussie Traveller who carry a range of caravan windows that suited what I was going to do. I placed an order for the windows and three weeks later after a change of window sizes due a mix up at there end I had my new windows.

Jumping forward a month. After four continually wet weeks I have completed most of the work on the windows . Here is a video to show you how it all turned out.

YouTube Preview Image

That brings us up to date with where the work is up to at the moment. In the next post I will cover any progress of the motorhome windows and what I am doing to revamp the electrical systems.



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15 Responses to Replacing Motorhome Windows

  1. Neville Hayes

    Hi ya Dave great web-site pal and i do appreciate the work your doing and will champion with you towards that great day when you release the hand-brake and get on down the road.,Nev

    • Dave

      Hi Nev,
      Thanks for your kind words. I am looking forward to the day that we head down the road. Hopefully we will catch up someware along the track.

      If anyone else is interested in converting a bus onto a motorhome Nev is putting a do it yourself series onto YouTube. Here is Nev’s channel if you would like to subscribe

  2. Rita

    Hi David
    Looks like its coming along nicely, these jobs always end up being more than we think its going to be.

  3. John Davis

    Hi Dave,
    Agree with Rita it is difficult to estimate the time these jobs can take. Appears you are doing a top reconstruction.


  4. Harry Lynn

    G’day Dave and Lisa,
    Good to hear of and see your progress. Good to hear you are not just ” BOGGING ” up the rust, but doing it properly. I’m sure you’ll be glad you did.

    Thermo fans on Ebay which may interest you – especially the 2nd one

    Happy Motoring [ and welding / wiring / worrying ]
    Harry Lynn recently posted..How To Play A Piano

    • Dave

      Hi Harry,
      Bogging up the rust was not an option as far as I was concerned. If I was going to repair the windows to their origonal condition I would have cut out the rusted sections and welded new ones in to replace them. All that work and the cost of the rubber were two of the deciding factors in building new window frames and nutralising the remainder of the rust. I will also be adding electronic rust protection to back it up.
      Thank’s for the links I will have a good look at them.


  5. Dave

    Hi Rita and John,
    One trick that I was taught as an apprentice was to allow double the time that you think that it will take and add 10% to the amount of material. On jobs like this where there might be a few nasty surprises (and there were ) I tend to stick to these rules and it usualy turns out ok.
    The repairs are coming on nicely and I hope to have a good deal of the interior done over Christmas. I will keep you posted.

  6. Terry Paris

    Hi Dave
    I’m impressed with your persistance and attention to detail.
    I can only encourage you to keep focussed on the goal, enjoying the freedom of travelling with the family to experience the variety this country has to offer.
    Terry Paris recently posted..Scuba Diving Insurance – Is Your Life Worth The Cost

  7. Dave

    Hi Terry,
    Thanks for the encouragement. We are looking forward to traveling and can’t wait to get on the road.

  8. Cade

    Hi David and Lisa,
    I’m very impressed mate.

    I can tell that you are a great tradesman David, by the fact that you are doing the job properly and paying attention to detail. Gluing in the sheet-metal was definitely a good move, as it will stop your rivets shearing off.

    One thing I would recommend is putting some insulation between the outer sheet-metal skin and the inner wall, as it will help take some of the vibration and road noise out of the outer sheet-metal skin as you are driving, especially if you happen to drive on gravel roads. It will also keep a more even temperature inside.

    This is what I did when I build my slide on camper, all I did was glue some 12mm Polystyrene sheet to the sheet-metal from memory, and it worked a treat.

    Anyways, great to see the job is coming along nicely.


    P.s. Great Video!
    Cade recently posted..Learn How To Blog – “Sneak Peak” Review

  9. Dave

    Hi Cade,
    Thanks for the complement.
    Bonding the skin on is the best way to go. Some of the adheasives available today are that good that they completly eliminate the need for any other fasteners. The product that I used (Simson 70-03 a polymer adhesive) will hold the sheeting on just as well as the rivets, so I should not have any problems. Without the adheasive I would have had loose and broken rivets in no time.
    Great advice also. I have been looking at my options for insulating the walls. There is fire retardent foam insulation which I can get cut to whatever thickness I want. Or there is standard insulation bats that will also fit into the 50mm wall cavity. The insulation that was put in when the bus was first converted was the insulation bats and they appear to have held up well after years of vibration. I will have to compare cost and the rating of both before I decide which way to go.

  10. greg

    Wow. I dont have experience working with a motorhome but from the looks of it, it seems that it requires the same amount of work, budget, and thought (even more), as improving a regular home. Keep it up and looking forward to see more postcards from your family.
    greg recently posted..Window Contractors DC

  11. ralph anderson

    could you help me with windows i wish to put in a hino motor home house frame windows with toughened glass would this work ok.

    • Dave

      Hi Ralph,
      I know someone who did use house windows with toughened glass. You might need engineering advice and certification to get it approved though depending on the age of your bus and state. Advice from a Automotive engineer who can do compliance certificates in your area would be the best place to start.


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