Window Installation

Probably the scariest part of building out your van, Cutting a window in your sprinter van.

Cutting a massive hole in the side of a brand new van isn’t as scar as you might think. When planning out the build on my van I had to decide where I wanted to have windows in the van. I was lucky that may van already came with the 2 windows already installed in the back doors and that just left me having to install one window myself. After looking over the design that I had come up with in my van it made the most sense for me to install my window on the drivers side middle section of the vehicle. Overall I am very happy with the decision and it was left me with the flexibility that I can still install a window in the sliding door at some point in time if I so desire.

DifficultyIntermediate Duration½ Day

Materials Used

For the window installation the main manufacturer of aftermarket windows for the sprinter vans is CR Lawrence. You can find these windows on Amazon and have them delivered. The kit from CR Laurence comes with everything you need to install the window, the kit includes the window, interior mounting bracket and the necessary mounting hardware.

After you have cut out the wall panel where your window will go you are going to want to paint all of the cut edges to avoid any rust from forming on the exposed metal edges. For this I had some leftover paint from another project that worked for this.

When mapping out where the window cut lines will be I masked off the area with green painters tape to avoid scratching the surface of the van when cutting with the jig saw.

Tools Required

Install Process

The first thing you are going to want to do is ensure that you have ordered the correct window and all pieces required for the install were shipped in the box you received.

Next step is the first hard part….drilling holes into the outside of the van. Don’t worry after you do one it gets much easier. I started by drilling out holes in all four corners on the interior of the van, each corner got two holes on each side of the radius so I could move to the outside of the van and connect all of the holes using a straight edge so I had the cut line I needed to follow on the van.

A quick note when drilling the holes is that you should always start with a small drill bit and keep increasing the size slowly till the hole is a large enough to fit the jig saw blade.

When cutting out the Van window out you need to follow the double wall thickness as close as possible because the window dimensions from CR Laurence are a perfect fit. I found it helpful when cutting the window from the outside to have my Dad on the inside of the van making sure I was right on the line.

Once the cut lines were mapped on the outside of the vehicle and the surface was tapped off it’s time to start cutting out the sheet metal where the window will sit.

When cutting the metal out take your time and focus on making the largest cuts first so the sheet metal still has some rigidity and doesn’t vibrate too much causing unwanted warping and bending of the remaining sheet metal on the van.

Once you are finished cutting all the way around the window opening its time to grab the window and see if it fits properly in the opening. This step along with everything else in the window installation is much easier with a second set of hands. When I cut the window opening I was scared about taking out too much material and this caused the window not fit properly the first few tries until we removed all the material down the double wall area of the cut out.

Now that I knew the window properly fit in the opening I removed the window and used a Tremclad metal paint to cover the bare metal edges before permanently installing the window.

After you have let the paint dry it’s time to install the window for good. The window kit comes with an easy to install mounting bracket that is installed from the inside that sandwiches the window in place, all you need is a screwdriver or drill and someone standing on the outside holding the window in place while you fasten it in place.

One thing to note is that periodically you might have to check these screws, after about 5 months in the van a few of the screws had loosened off from the jarring and bouncing around of the van and eventually caused the window to leak a bit…. It wasn’t a huge deal as all I had to do was tighten up the screws again to fix the problem but if it happens again I might consider using some LocTite on the screw to stop it from happening a third time.

Pro Tips

Window Fits Perfectly

The biggest concern I had when cutting out the window is out precise the cut needed to be for the window to fit. These windows are made exact and you just need to follow that interior double walled edge and it will fit like a glove.

Doesn’t Sit Perfectly Flush

After the window is installed you will probably think that the window looks like it’s not sitting flush to the vehicle. Well you are correct as these windows are designed to be installed all the way around the vehicle in which case all the seams would line up. Trust me when I tell that this is something you quickly forget about.

Trace the interior wall

Take the opportunity once the window is cut out to trace out the opening for the wall panelling from the outside of the vehicle otherwise it will be really difficult to map out and get the wall panelling to perfectly outline the window. So once the sheet metal was removed I tacked the wall panel in place on the interior and then went outside the vehicle and traced a cutline onto the panel.

Middle Windows

The windows in the middle do not open on the 170 so when mapping out the window placement on your van keeping in mind the middle window option on the 170 van currently doesn’t have a model with any openings. So if you want to have an opening window in the rear of the vehicle on the drivers side it will need to be in the rear or forward position in the back of the vehicle. For my van in the future I have considered putting in a sliding door window as they make that model with an option that opens for better airflow.