How To Replace an RV Window & How It’s Made!

TheRVgeeks Replacement 21 Comments

The most satisfying projects for DIY RVers are often those we have zero experience with. That’s especially true for tasks that appear complicated at first glance.

The only window we’ve ever had to replace was under warranty, so of course we didn’t do the job ourselves. With our RV now over 11 years old, our fogged kitchen window required some thought on how to go about repairing or replacing it.

Making an appointment at an authorized Newmar dealer is always an option. That’s especially true for things that seem as though they might be beyond our abilities. That’s why the very first task us DIY types tackle is figuring out if we can do the job ourselves.

An aversion to repair shops is a pretty standard trait among full-timers. Beyond the substantially higher cost of having someone else do the job (labor usually costs more than parts), we often end up working on our laptops in the customer waiting room or a nearby coffee shop, neither of which are particularly comfortable for us. And don’t even get us started on repair appointments that take more than one day, which can prevent us from sleeping in our own bed for one or more nights.

Luckily, window replacement isn’t the kind of job that takes multiple days. Even so, our mindset with any repair or maintenance task is to first determine if we can do it ourselves.

Fogged OEM Window

Our fogged kitchen window

Since we’d never replaced a window before, we didn’t really know what was involved. A little research led to the realization that this is an amazingly easy job, perfect for DIYers, even if you’ve never done it before. We also learned that there are several options, including repair of the current window, either by a professional or through the use of a do-it-yourself repair kit.

We decided against a repair for several reasons. First, the DIY repair kits we found are surprisingly expensive (typically around $300) and can also require the purchase of a special tool (add about another $100). Depending on size, the available kits generally contain enough supplies to repair several windows. But we only have one that’s a problem (and the first one in nearly 10 years that’s fogged), so we don’t feel the need to stock window repair equipment “just in case” we have a possible future need. And sending it out for professional repair typically requires special packaging and shipping, which not only adds to the cost, but if it breaks in transit due to our non-expert packing job, we’ll have to replace it anyway.

Another reason we didn’t go the repair kit route is because the window has to be removed anyway, so why not just replace it with brand new for approximately the same cost, and less work? Finally, we learned that our window might not be a good candidate for repair anyway, as we’d left it fogged long enough that it now had large water droplets inside, which can cause permanent etching of the glass. So why go to the expense and effort of repairing it ourselves, if the end result would be a window that was still flawed?

Once we decided to go with replacement vs. repair, the next option was to purchase the exact same OEM replacement from Newmar. But the price was even higher, with our small (15″ x 30″) kitchen window coming in at about $425. And while we have had only two windows fail in over 11 years (this one, plus the first one under warranty), we’re aware that the OEM brand doesn’t have the best reputation, with many people commenting about problems in online forums. So we thought we’d take this opportunity to search for a superior replacement… and maybe save some money in the process.

Technomadia's classic GM bus conversion

Chris & Cherie’s classic GM bus with new windows from Peninsula Glass.

By coincidence, our friends Cherie & Chris of Technomadia completed an extensive renovation of their classic GM bus last year, including new windows. With their specialized needs, it’s no surprise that they required custom-made windows, which were made by a company called Peninsula Glass.

Another coincidence is that Peninsula Glass is located in Vancouver, WA, a town we visit often due to two other awesome RV suppliers being located there: Tough Top Awnings and Roadmaster. We were headed to Vancouver to connect with both of them, so we stopped by Peninsula Glass to learn more. It turns out that they can custom make just about any size and shape RV window, and even fill orders for single units.

While we were there, we got a tour of the factory and learned that not all windows are created equal. While the cost of the final custom-made window was about the same as OEM, the list of superior quality features was long. And it was obvious from looking at their finished products that we’d be stepping up to a much higher level of window vs. the “builders grade” that came from the factory. Not that the original windows aren’t okay, but we accept it as a given that mass-produced RVs have to keep prices in check, so they generally don’t use the very finest equipment available.

So we decided to take this opportunity to upgrade from our “Chevy” window to a “Mercedes” level for about the same price. Check out the video for a factory tour, and a detailed step-by-step tutorial on how to replace RV windows.

For complete details on replacement RV windows, visit either RVwindows.com, or Motion Windows (Peninsula’s division that makes RV windows).

Print the Radius Template Tool here:
www.motionwindows.com/radius-template

Print the window worksheet and order form here:
www.motionwindows.com/order-worksheet

Follow tech gurus Chris & Cherie at Technomadia.com.

For towbars, awnings & slide toppers, check out Vancouver’s other great companies: Roadmaster and Tough Top Awnings.


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We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

We sometimes receive products for evaluation at no cost, but our opinions are our own and we only feature products we personally use, love and can recommend to friends with complete confidence. The RVgeeks participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.


Comments 21

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  1. Perfect timing! I have/had three windows that needed re-sealing on my Dutch Star. I was not able to use the double sided tape that you used but I used the butyl tape that was available at my closest RV dealer. Keep up the great work guys.

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  2. awesome video guys… comforting to know that owners of older Class A motorhomes have choices other than the OEM or scrap yard!

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      Thanks, John. We’re really thrilled with our new window… for about the same price as OEM, it’s noticeably higher-quality. It opens and closes so easily that we have to be careful not to slam it too hard and end up needing another replacement. ;)

  3. Love the way you always have a great tip that makes the job SO much easier. In this video it’s using water to allow adjustments before final position. Excellent idea. (Did you learn that tip during the factory tour?)

    Question: using a Dewalt power drill for final tightening seems fraught with danger. Why not use a hand screwdriver so you know you don’t over torque the screw?

    BTW – what is that on-RV printer you use? Nothing listed on the “Our Favorite Gear – Technology” page.

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      Thanks John! We did indeed learn the water trick at the factory. We love tips that seem to defy common sense, but work like a charm. :)

      I’ve been using that cordless drill to torque screws for 15 years, so I’m very good with it, but your point about it being possible to over-tighten that way is well taken, especially for someone less confident or experienced with using them. Thanks for mentioning it. I just couldn’t be bothered tightening that many screws by hand with the DeWalt staring forlornly up at me from the counter. LOL

      That printer is an Epson XP-610. We love it, but it’s a couple of years old already and has been replaced by the XP-630. Here’s a link if you’re interested: http://amzn.to/2aNWYbR and we just added it to our favorite gear page. Thanks!

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  4. Another Great Video!!!!!
    I just got a new window from Motion Window last week and they mentioned the new video so, i waited and I am glad I did. I know Vinyl not Glass! I am now confident on the install!! Thank you!!!
    Vinyl

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      Hey Tyler! After all the great DIY slide topper & awning installation help you’ve provided for us and our viewers, it’s good to hear that we’re able to return the favor. Love that you can just walk over there to get a new window, too. LOL Looking forward to seeing you real soon. Vinyl! :-)

  5. Nice job. You made it look easy…Too easy.

    Thanks for the URLs for MotionWindows.

    Now what about that Coke and fries I just ordered. Can I expect delivery???

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  6. Another outstanding & informative video! I would have never thought about your tip regarding using a spray bottle of water to allow you to make adjustments prior to final installation. What a great tip!!

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      Thanks Jeff! We actually learned that trick from Peninsula Glass when we were there. Nothing better than a tip that goes directly against your instincts, but works like a charm. :)

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  7. How COOL!

    As you know, we love our Peninsula Windows, but had no idea how they were made. When found out the pricing, we were thrilled with how affordable they were (as compared to rebuilding our old ones.) And the upgrade to dual pane has been fabulous.

    And oh how I wish we had seen your video BEFORE measuring – it would have saved us a bunch of hassle. Us amateurs got easily confused by what they were asking (and thankful they caught some of our newbie mistakes and double confirmed things before starting the build).

    Unfortunately, going into a bus conversion that was originally home converted back in the late 80s (read: not uniform cuts) – our install didn’t go anywhere near as smoothly as yours. We’re thankful we weren’t attempting it ourselves and installation was covered as part of our paint job.

    Because whew… we watched all the fuss that went into getting them perfectly placed, including a lot of carpentry re-work on the interior. If we had been doing it, there would have been a lot of shattered glass, I’m sure.

    Well done guys… can’t wait until we’re waving to each other again through our Motion Windows! *hugs*

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      Hi Cherie! Great to hear from you. :D And we know why you’re up so late…. same reason we are… watching the natural fireworks show, yes?! We’re heading back out to see more in a minute, after watching the spectacle earlier and setting up a camera to (hopefully) snag some meteors streaming across the sky, and maybe even a worthwhile time-lapse. Stunning so far.

      Great to hear you love your windows, too. We can only imagine the challenges involved in fitting them into a classic bus conversion, but now that they’re in, it will make it easier for us to see you rolling toward us next time we get together. :)

      Hope you’re having a wonderful time in the NE. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for you out here again. Love to you and Chris.

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