This is a long overdue post on some of the updates Greg has made to the van, and it’s one of many. I am still very much a van widow, but now that I’ve gotten to reap the benefits (a la deluxe accommodations at Wildflower), I truly believe it was all worth it.
The van has been all over California and it proves to be as solid as Greg hoped it would be. Even when it’s sitting in the driveway, it isn’t sitting idle. Greg has made a lot of progress on the interior. It was in Long Beach for a couple of months while Fiberine was fitting it for the custom topper — sleeping quarters!
Before Greg drove the van to Long Beach, the new windows arrived and we installed them. He did most of the work, but needed an extra set of hands for a few things. Using power tools? Showing my awesome strength? I was happy to oblige. Actually, I mostly just documented the event…
Here are a couple of shots of the van before the new windows, just for reference:
The process was relatively simple. It went like this:
1) Remove existing windows. This required cutting the bonding compound between the window and the van. This was difficult and Greg employed a lot of trial and error (heating the compound with a heating gun and using a utility knife, sheer force from pulling).
2) In some cases, the new windows were larger than the existing, so he had to use the sawzall to remove some metal and then sand it down so the new windows would fit.
3) Once the size of the hole was correct, he painted the bare metal edges to seal it. He used metal primer and spray paint for this.
4) Then a rubber flange goes in to seal the window before it is installed.
4) Finally, window installation! This was a two-person job. I held the windows in place while Greg screwed the trim ring in.
Behind the driver’s seat, there were no existing windows to replace. However, there was was a stamp in the metal indicating where a window could/would go. Greg used this as a guideline to cut his own window hole with the jigsaw. Beyond that, the process was the same.
Reasons he changed the windows:
- The existing windows did not open. The new ones open, allowing air flow and a place for the dog (originally Argus, now Miles) to stick his head out and sniff.
- Aesthetics. These just look better.
- It was a relatively straightforward project that didn’t pull a lot of surprises. Start to finish, the project took one full weekend (Friday night – Sunday night).
Here’s how it looks now:
In the back, he painted a “bandit mask” between the two windows. I think it makes it look a little like a paddy wagon… He’s still not sure if he’ll keep it.
More updates to come! You can read all about the van project in the Freewheeling category. Feel free to ask questions! Greg loves to talk about the van!