Camper conversion purchase: Windows vs no windows - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-28-2017, 07:52:PM Thread Starter
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Camper conversion purchase: Windows vs no windows

New to the forums, and I couldn't find a good answer after searching.

For those of you who purchased your Transit for a camper conversion, what tipped the scales for you on getting a van with or without factory installed windows. I have noted a lot of conversions seem to be done on passenger models with windows on both sides, which ends up with a bunch of the glass just being blocked by the build out.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-28-2017, 08:03:PM
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a recent thread to help get you started: The Window Question: How Many and Privacy Tint?

2016 transit cargo 250 MR, LWB, 3.5 eco, 3.31 limited slip
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-28-2017, 10:32:PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Michael. Found another good thread after digging the "Anyone Convert a Passenger Wagon" a bit more as well.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-28-2017, 11:11:PM
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I vote for windows.. I've got full-wrap windows. The natural light and views are great -but I live in MT. I made black-out covers of reflectix and black fabric when I don't want the extra light or when I need more insulation. With the Webasto I've been comfortable down to -25.

As far as privacy with the factory privacy tint, I've had people actually walk up to the van to look in while I'm staring at them. Scared the crap out of one old timer who was admiring my rig from point blank range when I opened the slider door on him. He was in van shopping mode and hadn't seen a Transit before. Even at night, it's hard to see inside very clearly while lights are on in the interior, but the homemade panels fix it completely.

The thing I'd mention is the factory pop-outs suck. They open the wrong way -should open from the bottom, instead of the side. Rain can get in. And, a few have had issues with the epoxy coming unglued on the latches. I've had 1 do that on mine. it was replaced under warranty. Maybe they've fixed that issue though.
Aftermarket side windows might be a good route. A pain, but better designed. CR laurence might be making them by now?

Also, the windows look really big from the outside of the van, but the actual cutout in the van sidewall is much smaller so covering/ blocking up the windows with your build-out might not be much of an issue as you think.

I'm just a fan of the open, bright feel, rather than a cave.. but again, I'm not worried about having to have a "stealth" look.. I'd also add, I think people are less likely to bother a van with windows bc they can't approach unseen unless they know it's unoccupied. Also, when I have had my window covers up, I hate the 'blind' feeling I have when people or other vehicles have pulled up close to take a look and I can't see them first..

My .02
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-28-2017, 11:34:PM
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I did full windows with tint and the popouts on HR 148. I did it because I felt the just rear window (and maybe plus just slider window) version was too dark and claustrophobic. If I were to do it again, I would probably do rear windows plus slider window WITHOUT pop outs and then add the driver side front window myself. This would leave rear side windows as steel. One popout window has developed crack in frame, though I never drive with it open. Not failed yet. Main worry is that it is an obvious break in spot for popout and if someone breaks in or hinges fail (cracks), then the entire window panel must be replaced. On the 148 (not extended), I blacked out the rear most panels almost immediately and do not see any reason to leave transparent. Recently blacked out (covered with insulation) aft of the slider. Still not sure I say yes or no to this change. Looking out the windows is nice, but privacy in back is nice too. Hard to choose.

The original reason I did full windows is the open feeling and the fact that I do not block the windows with interior, except in the back 30 inches. Also full windows makes van look like passenger van, just more attractive than cargo look. Except for possible easier break in, you can always insulate some windows to close them in. The windows do allow A LOT of heat into the van.

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-28-2017, 11:42:PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMac77 View Post
As far as privacy with the factory privacy tint, I've had people actually walk up to the van to look in while I'm staring at them. Scared the crap out of one old timer who was admiring my rig from point blank range when I opened the slider door on him. He was in van shopping mode and hadn't seen a Transit before. Even at night, it's hard to see inside very clearly while lights are on in the interior, but the homemade panels fix it completely.
You're not the first person I've seen say this. I'm now wondering if there is some variation in how dark their "privacy tint" gets.

I have privacy tint (at least I'm *supposed* to!) and it's definitely not dark enough to do what you describe, except possibly in certain circumstances. During the day I can stand on one side of the van, look through it, and easily see what's going on on the other side of the van - just a bit darker, like I'm using sunglasses. It's not as easy to see the actual inside of the van, but it'd be no problem to notice someone sitting inside.

At night, if I turn on the interior lights, you can *easily* see the interior. (In a dark location. Maybe not so easy if under street / parking lot lights or something.)

But I'm pretty sure I don't have the basic tint level, I've seen vehicles with that and you can barely tell it's tinted at all. (I thought I was looking at completely untinted until I saw a van with that as well and could then see the difference.)

My windows look black from the outside (really looks nice in contrast with the white paint) just nothing like "limo tint" - or even whatever many manufacturers are putting on their cars. My parents' Nissan Altima has windows so dark I have to roll the window down to see *anything* to the sides at night, and there's absolutely NO seeing inside.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 02:52:AM
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Just to provide an alternate view.
If it is dark out and lights are on in the van, the privacy windows provide no privacy.
Windows let in a lot of heat and cold and prevent you from using that area for a cabinet.
I went with a standard slider window and a smaller window behind the slider and the driver.

Ron
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 10:48:AM
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I have also had the same experience as BigMac77, was quite funny at the RTR in Arizona this year. I cannot see into my van even from a short distance and as others have I have reflectix/black material covers for the night if the are people nearby. For me being able to look out all around is a huge bonus and blind spots virtually non existent.

MM
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 02:55:PM
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We specifically searched for a no-Windows except in the back barn doors.
We wanted the cargo van look. And the privacy, because we will be living in ours full-time.
When we want sunshine or air, we can choose to,open the slider or back doors...

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 06:21:PM
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i am so glad that my van has windows all around. i purchased mine CPO and it was a custom build cargo van with passenger window package. the benefits are light, visibility, and the fact it looks like a passenger van rather than a cargo van - i think this helps with stealth since people are less inclined to call the police when they can see in my van but cant see anything. plus bella member on the forum makes a sweeeeeet window cover kit that I am going to get for the windows. my first row windows have pop outs on driver and passenger side so i can get some airflow too! in fact the draft from the windows with the van is impressive! when we are parked or driving the coast its awesome to see everything around us.
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