We finally made a start on converting our Ford Transit Custom into a camper van. The first step was quite a brave one – fitting an opening privacy glass window in the sliding door. This is not something we had any experience of, but there are plenty of YouTube videos showing how others have done it, so how hard could it be……..
It turns out not that hard, but fairly time consuming as we measured, re-measured twice, made a cardboard template, measured again and then finally committed to making the first hole in a pristine panel. Once we’d made the first hole, and a bit of a mess, it was much easier to keep going. In all I think it took us around three and a half hours from start to finish.
We bought this window and a fitting kit from the same company and bought a reciprocating saw, which was recommended by many as the best tool for the job (and was something Mr W was considering purchasing anyway). By the August bank holiday weekend in the UK we had everything required, so we took a collective deep breath and had a go!
When we took the ply panel off the inside of the door, we were not expecting to find a stiffening pillar right across the centre of where the window hole needed to go, but having consulted trusty YouTube again, it seems the saw should cut through both layers without too much issue.
The first hole was made with a 10mm drill bit and then followed by a step drill to enlarge it to fit the saw blade through, then off we went. It was very noisy – sorry neighbours, but having the right tool for the job made fairly easy to cut a relative straight line. We cut round about half way and then started a couple of new holes around the perimeter to be left with 3 small joins to reduce the vibration and ‘wanging about’ (technical term) of the loose panel as it became increasingly detached from the van.
Once it was removed, and we had one huge hole, any sharp edges were tidied up with a file and the rubber edging provided in the kit was fitted to the edge of the inner wall with a small rubber hammer. This is the edge that would have been exposed from the inside, so needed to be finished safely and neatly. After cleaning and priming the area to be bonded (both the metal and glass), we had to extrude the adhesive, which looks a lot like black silicone sealant, but we hoped was something a bit more robust (as I type, the window hasn’t fallen out yet…….).
Then all that was left to do was offer up the window in a not-too-wonky fashion (more technical jargon) and once aligned, press it onto the adhesive. The adhesive takes 2hrs to go off, but we didn’t drive it for a couple of days, so left the supporting tape on for that time. When we did drive it 2 days later it poured with rain, so we tested the sealing and draining too, which all worked fine.
As with most things in life (investing included), by far the hardest part was having the courage to take the first step.