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2019 Ford Transit 250 High Roof
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

Researching window covers for insulation, live in Phoenix and need the best possible reflection and R-value. Narrowed down to 2 options, VanMadeGear and Stelletek. Both have the reflective front shades, VanMadeGear has no insulation specs and Stelletek offers Polartek Powerful 200 insulation. VanMadeGear a little more within $100.

Greatly appreciate all advice! I was ready to pull trigger with VanMadeGear then found something with potentially more insulation.

Thanks all, Nate
 

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This may not be of interest to you, since it's not one of your two options, but may be to a future searcher. Or perhaps to you if you if there is a delay in getting your "real" ones (it's already dang hot).

I've found that friction fit pieces of Reflectix work amazingly well in the desert. I had always kind of poo-pooed Reflectix because of the many campers, etc. that are (commercially) made with it and they claim something like R-15; but when you read the Reflectix documents you see that is impossible without air spaces that those RV's don't even begin to have.

But as interior window covers against the hot sun they work great. Lightweight, easy to make, cheap, stowable. I don't use them for "curtains" (I have other curtains on all windows); but I have one piece that I can put in either of my side windows (whichever side is facing the sun), plus a set of three for the cab.

OTOH, those fabricated window covers you are talking about look really slick.
 

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As it just so happens, we are going to start working on a sun shield using a refectix like insulation today. But it is going on the outside of window, What we have is foam, not bubbles with a reflective cover. The plan is to attach it using suction cups to the windshield. We did a crude test last summer and an external shield was much more effective. For one thing it is stopping the heat before it get in. For another we can cover the entire windshield, whereas from the inside you can't. We already have a Heather's heatshield for the inside and will still use that.

We spend a lot of time in the desert too and don't have air conditioning so this should help.
 

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@Boondox
Absolutely agree on outside cover(s) working better than inside ones. I do have an outside cover that fits over the outside of my cab and its three windows.

However, I find that I don't tend to use it very often because of wind, I may want to head out without fussing, wind, laziness, it's raining or dusty and I don't want to have to clean it before I put it away, I've just stopped someplace for a couple of hours (or.... wind 😂). But it does work great when I do use it.

You mention a non-bubble material. I've thought about trying something like EZ Cool/Low E instead of Reflectix. But the Reflectix works well enough that it hasn't bubbled up to the top of my list (however if making from scratch now....).
 

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@Boondox
Absolutely agree on outside cover(s) working better than inside ones. I do have an outside cover that fits over the outside of my cab and its three windows.

However, I find that I don't tend to use it very often because of wind, I may want to head out without fussing, wind, laziness, it's raining or dusty and I don't want to have to clean it before I put it away, I've just stopped someplace for a couple of hours (or.... wind 😂). But it does work great when I do use it.

You mention a non-bubble material. I've thought about trying something like EZ Cool/Low E instead of Reflectix. But the Reflectix works well enough that it hasn't bubbled up to the top of my list (however if making from scratch now....).
Did you make or buy your three window cover? Inquiring minds want to know.

For short stops we won't bother either. But if we are stopping for the night before 4 pm then we will.
 

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The physics of the whole thing say that exterior reflectors will work much better. The real world of the whole thing includes wind, UV degradation, bird poop, theft and vandalism, etc.

If it's at home or a safe location like camping in the desert, I'd do an external cover if possible. Fabric edges with neodymium magnets every 8-12" would keep the things on fer sure.
Internal mounted ones should be in contact with the glass, or create the smallest gap possible. Otherwise that area between the reflective material and the glass inside turns into a greenhouse and amplifies the radiated heat.

Some front covers have flaps that get shut in the door, helping with kepping it safe from loss due to wind or people. Maybe copy that design and make one for th van. Side windows are another issue.
Automotive parking light Hood Automotive lighting Product Tire
 

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2019 Ford Transit 250 High Roof
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I didn't consider an external shade until now, thanks for the suggestions! I can see that being very useful for planned stops and uncovered parking at home. The two manufactured covers have an option for reflectix which was a requirement for me. I am curious, can you describe or show how the friction fit works? I currently have shaped cut-outs that I keep in place with one magnet on top, it's crude but works for now. Thanks again, Nate
 

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We spend most of our adventuring time in the desert SW and use a combination of 3M's IR blocking window film (easily one of the best decisions I ever made for our van) and insulated silver mylar backed internal shades for when we are parked.
My wife made some no-see-um screens for the windows that attach with magnets so we can roll the windows down 2-3" and get a good amount of airflow even with the screens in place.
 

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I didn't consider an external shade until now, thanks for the suggestions! I can see that being very useful for planned stops and uncovered parking at home. The two manufactured covers have an option for reflectix which was a requirement for me. I am curious, can you describe or show how the friction fit works? I currently have shaped cut-outs that I keep in place with one magnet on top, it's crude but works for now. Thanks again, Nate
The Heather's heatshield we use on the inside is well enough cut that the windshields stays in place OK with the sun screens pulled down to hold it. The side windows use a suction cup.
 
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Hey all,

Researching window covers for insulation, live in Phoenix and need the best possible reflection and R-value. Narrowed down to 2 options, VanMadeGear and Stelletek. Both have the reflective front shades, VanMadeGear has no insulation specs and Stelletek offers Polartek Powerful 200 insulation. VanMadeGear a little more within $100.

Greatly appreciate all advice! I was ready to pull trigger with VanMadeGear then found something with potentially more insulation.

Thanks all, Nate
I've been using a very low cost one for two years now and my only complaint is the cutout for legacy rear view cameras. If it didn't have that, I'd probably just keep using it indefinitely. The shade is otherwise the right size and does a good job, although I wouldn't really notice if it wasn't the very best since I have a/c.

I've had 3M IR tinting (windshield) on my list for a while now. Passed on it when I did the side windows because I was worried about obscuring the nice view while driving, but plenty of owners have said that's not an issue, so I'll likely do it at some point. I do see occasional reports of users (probably with bad installs) saying at low sun angles it gets cloudy, and it may get worse (like all tinting) in years 5-10.

Cheers.
 

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2021 350 HR AWD 148" WB
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I use silver mylar sheet on Outside of windshield -
mylar being on Outside stops glass from heating up -
windshield went from being hottest part of van to Coolest -
^^ This. I use reflectix on the inside for all the reasons mentioned in the thread. However, during the extra hot months, and when I'm parked for a while, I throw something over the outside of windshield and hold it in place with magnets. Without an exterior shade the glass can get extremely hot with the reflectix on the inside. This is a tangible temperature difference with and without the external shade.
 

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A couple of people asked about details on my covers. I have to insert the caveat that they are not fancy (except one "store bought" one). Also, I currently have an E-350. However that said, I have also used the same type of Reflectix window covers in my non-Ford car, so they are somewhat universal in how they work.

So, for the Reflectix ( let's call it R.) ones, I start out with R. that is "tall enough" to cover the height of the window. For my cab side windows (and car side windows), 24" R. works fine. For the windshield I had to get a piece of the 48" wide R.

Then I make a pattern. I use heavy clear plastic and basically push it into the creases around the edge of the window with a Sharpie tip and then make a line there. Then cut that out and lay it on the R. and cut that maybe 1/8" larger. (Or for smaller pieces I have just pushed the R. directly in and then cut on the crease I made).

Once you have a piece that fits snugly, then if you go around the edge with a "banding" of some sort of tape, it kind of neatens up the edge plus gives a little something to catch around the window (no actual physical hardware type catch, but just ameliorates the friction fit). You can also make the tape band stick out a little further if you cut anything a little short.

For the side doors, that's it. For the windshield I cut a slit leading to a small hole to go around the rear-view mirror stalk (but my windshield is different than a Transit, at least for now...) Then I put the sunvisors down over it. What I like about my homemade R. inside windshield cover is that it's 100% coverage whereas the fan fold ones you buy always leave gaps.

Cover #2 I actually never use, but some people might. They are made for Class C's but of course the cab is identical whether a van or RV. Its' basically one piece that wraps around the windshield and cab windows. It goes under the wiper blades, then has little cutouts (with velcro closures) for the side mirror stalks. There is an elastic band across the top rear corner that hooks over the rear top corner of the driver/passenger door, and then a sew in (fabric covered) magnet for the lower rear corners. Mine is made of Phifertex type mesh (you can see out but it shades some), but many are made of solid naugahyde type fabric. Basically I'm too lazy to use this one. Also, in the rig I have now, the cab is not part of the living area when parked; if it were I'd probably be more motivated to use it.

Cover #3 I hesitate to even describe. It's pretty lowbrow. It's just a large/soft blanket that I had on hand and discovered* I could tie off on the two front corners of my roof rack, run it down so it covers the entire "forehead," and the windshield, and then put it under my wipers and tie the bottom corners around the side mirror bases. It partially covers the cab door windows, and I can close a bit of it in the doors if it's slightly windy. But really this doesn't work if there's wind coming from astern (or you want to look good 😂 ). It does a great job of keeping the sun/heat out though - especially since it covers the forehead too.

*Discovered as a hail storm was coming in and I frantically looked around for something I could protect the cab with.
 

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Here is what we got done today. Well, aside from a crapton (metric) of gardening.
Wheel Tire Car Land vehicle Vehicle



Wood Grey Asphalt Road surface Siding

Water Mesh Wood Composite material Flooring


The shield is held down with suction cups. Took a bit of brass tube that was the right size and and sharpened it a little and used it to cut hole for the suction cups. The cups are held in place with zip ties that also serve as the handle to pull them off. We have it all out in the sun and breeze and so far it is holding well. Makes a huge difference and much better than the internal heat shields.

@Vanaroo I like the low tech, on the spot type of lash ups! Who cares about looking good if you are cool. :cool:
 

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That looks really good, @Boondox. The suction cups are a good idea. You've inspired me to add Method #4 (aka the Boondox outside windshield cover)(y)

What is that material? Is it the low-E/EZ cool? Or?
 

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That looks really good, @Boondox. The suction cups are a good idea. You've inspired me to add Method #4 (aka the Boondox outside windshield cover)(y)

What is that material? Is it the low-E/EZ cool? Or?
This stuff.

Just went out and checked and the windshield is cool as a cucumber in the full sun.
 

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Your cover looked so good that I went right into research/shopping more. Had just put a 48" x 10" roll of that exact stuff in my cart and came back to find this. Nice to know it's the same stuff. Next for some suction cups :)
 

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I use covers by a company called Straw Foot Handmade. I've tried them all - including hand making my own - NOTHING comes close to these. Beautifully made, fit perfectly, protect against heat and cold, install in seconds . Not the normal silver foam and plastic material that throws off VOCs and toxic gases and is pain to fold and store - hate those - plus they suck in cold weather. These shades are 100% organic material with insulation, nicely pleated and they fold up / store elegantly. The only caveat - they are expensive and they take time to get - but they truly work and look amazing. Highly finished, they add to the aesthetics of the van, and don't blind everyone walking, driving (or flying) by. Steathy and secure. Best of all - no condensation and no cracked glass.

100% recommend - 100% made in USA.

 
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