#159-1& #159-2, with sealant, with
shipping -- $914
OK, it’s been five months since I cut any big
holes in my van.
Time to cut the biggest ones yet: 44”
x 20” – one on each side.
This would have been one of the very
first steps if I wasn’t using Maxx as my
It was way overdue too.
If you’ve ever driven a cargo van –
and even if you haven’t – they have an
enormous blind spot over on the passenger
large side mirror, especially with the
supplemental convex mirror, gives you what you
need to know about the side and the behind
while you’re rolling straight ahead.
When you find yourself at a 90°
intersection, though, you’re limited to what
you can see through that passenger window. That’s
often sufficient, but when the angle is
sharper than 90, like at a parking lot exit,
or a Y-intersection, where you have to turn
your head and look over your right shoulder,
you are screwed.
That sheet metal door gives up no
And you have to undo your seatbelt and
lean way forward and way right if you want to
even get a glance in that direction.
It is downright harrowing.
Not just harrowing, mind you, but
So, after several months of shrugging and
cringing and hoping nobody was coming, it was
time to put in some more glass and give the
gift of sight.
Motion Windows (motionwindows.com) would be
supplying them … once I sent them $914.
The windows were $397 each (including
sealant), but crating was $40 and shipping via
FedEx Ground was another $80.
They do offer installation for another $125
per window, which would cancel out the crating
Given the hassle that the ladder-side
back window gave me back in April, that seemed
like a bargain.
Especially when you consider the
beating that the sliding door endures.
If you don’t give that sucker a
mighty SLAM into place, you’ll
end up with an annoying “Side Door Open”
message on your display panel.
Judging by numerous YouTube videos, that is
the single most flabbergasting thing about
It’s not just the illuminated message
– that’s really no big deal at all – but, on their
vans, the message was accompanied by a beeeep-beeeeep-beeeep
that just won’t quit.
(Thankfully, I get no such beepage;
the prior owners must have disabled it
But even that is just an annoyance,
albeit a significant one.
If your ProMaster’s computer deems
your door to be insufficiently closed, your
doors will not lock.
That’s right; you can’t lock up your
mean, on any vehicle I ever had, if you pushed
down your little knob and swung the door shut
without enough force, it would click into the
half-set position, but it was still locked
enough that you needed the key to open it back
On PMs – mine anyway – there is a key lock on
the back door and the driver’s door.
Both passenger side doors can be
locked from inside by using the control button
at the driver’s seat, or with the fob, but
there is neither lock button nor keyhole on
the door itself.
If you’re outside and the door isn’t
snuggled tight in its bed having sugarplum
dreams, that sucker ain’t locking.
And if your sensor ever goes bad, you
are stuck with a terminally unlocked vehicle. Pretty
serious design flaw if you ask me (and even if
Before my project is done, I plan on
installing deadbolts on those two doors. If
that sensor does crap out, I can bolt them
from inside and then exit the van from either
of the two key-lockable doors.
But, anyway, the point of all that hoo-ha is
that you have to slam that sliding door good
and hard each and every time.
That means your window is going to
get jarred and jarred and jarred some more, so
it damn well better be installed solidly. Thus,
paying the Motion Windows people to do it
right would definitely be the prudent
is, they were not located in Vancouver,
Washington (just across the Columbia River
from Portland, OR), an aggressive six-day,
3418-mile ride each way.
Investing a fortnight of vacation
time, as well as 300 gallons of gas and all
the other expenses that go with such a trek,
just didn’t make sense, especially since I had
success putting in two of their windows
Don’t get me wrong;
I was eager as hell to take a roadtrip in Blue
Maxx, but not under such circumstances, and
certainly not during the height of this
current pandemic. I
was just going to have to do a good solid
install myself. Pressure
The process was mostly the same as Step 3 had
a hole and plug it with glass.
What could go wrong?
No ladder to work around this time.
The driver side was pretty easy.
The biggest issue was with the
larger the cutout hole, the floppier the sheet
When you have 20” of loose metal
hanging behind your cut zone, that stuff
wobbles, wags, and shakes like all get-out. The
blade bucks and catches, and, mannnn, it gets
One of my blades even snapped in half.
In one YouTube vid, the guy broke his
blade less than halfway through his ceiling
fan cut, then lamented that it was his last
got his handsaw and got back to work.
When the video rejoined him, the hole
was done but the sun angle was waaaay down. So,
I made the mental note:
always have several back-up
Anyway, the hole looked enormous when I stood
back to see what my saw hath wrought.
I prepped the window, laying down the
butyl tape around the window’s rim, and giving
it a light spray with window cleaner to give
it a little fine-tuning room before the
adhesive grabbed for good.
The window’s outer dimensions are just about
46” x 22”, and it weighs, I dunno, maybe 25-30
pounds, so it is can be a tad unwieldy.
I lifted it into place and had a
co-worker hold it in place from the outside
while I secured the first few screws on the
went in pretty easily, so I thanked her for
her help and finished up on my own.
Driver side done!
It was hot, it was midday, and it was summer
in the tropics, so, despite the EZ-Cool
insulation, this big blue box had heated up
I had my MaxxFan running off
the PowerMax DC converter, my electric
desk fan was running on high off the Maxoak’s
AC outlet, and there was a decent breeze
blowing through all the open doors, but it was
still hot enough to warrant a break.
I took a 34° Coke out of my DC-powered
Alpicool fridge and sat down in my desk chair
to wrap my head around the difficulty that the
sliding door would present:
the interior rib.
The other three large window positions –
driver mid-side and back-side, and passenger
back-side – have 2” thick, hollow, metal ribs
that stabilize the sheet metal panel from top
They are engineered in such a way
that you can easily remove them with a hammer,
a chisel, and a putty knife.
The one on my driver-side came out
without a fight and the way was clear for the
The rib on the sliding door is quite
It is slimmer, tighter, and very
The demo video does address this type
of rib, but only for a few seconds, and it
shows the ribs in a Sprinter or Transit. The
video rightly states that you can jigsaw right
through it as you cut the wall.
That is true, I actually forgot all
about it as I was cutting the hole and didn’t
notice any greater resistance.
But the video then shows ol’ George easily
slipping the window’s inside clamp ring
between the cut rib and the wall first, and
installing the window next.
Well, that apparently doesn’t work on the
The clamp ring doesn’t fit into that
slot deep enough.
Not even close, really.
Solution needed, and fast.
I had a gaping hole in my door and no
way to plug it.
I thought about cutting out the leftover ends
of the rib, but I didn’t have a tool that
could do it.
It looked like ol’ George’s angle
cutter would do the trick, but I didn’t feel
like buying one just for this.
So, finally, I took my trusty pliers and just
bent the damn ends as far back and over and I
window fit fine after that, and I screwed in
it extra, extra tight.
The bent-over rib-ends are still
there, but you really can’t see them because
the body of the window frame hides them pretty
So, yay, the coveted windows are in!
And the Blind Spot is gone!
As I sat back on the bed to admire the new
ambience, it occurred to me that the
additional light and ventilation have come
with a cost:
privacy and security.
Gotta get me some curtains, pronto.
There is still a LOT to do – walls, ceiling,
floor, and furniture, for instance – but it’s
good to have this part finished.
If I do decide to put the 73”-long windows in
the back-sides next year, I’m taking the ride