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Old 02-11-2018, 11:01 AM   #1
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Rear window metal replacement rack

This idea has been noodling around in my brain for years.. I never open the shades in the rear windows, so why do I even have the windows? Why not utilize the window space for storage?

I started searching for solid doors at junkyards here and there over the last couple years, but the very few I could find (almost all have windows) were beat to shit.

So plan B.. replace the glass with metal, and go from there. I contacted OptOverland as supposedly they make sheet metal replacement windows, but only for the side ones. Apparently, it was up to me.

Brought a glass spare window over to one of my local sheet metal places, and they roughly formed the window out of 1/8 Aluminum. I cleaned it up, drilled holes, and had it powdercoated.

I also added aluminum unistrut in two horizontal bars to carry the load, so the aluminum 'window' is not carrying the load.



I added more holes top and bottom to make sure aluminum sealed, as it's not as stiff as glass. Used extra stock window bolts for these, sourced at a junkyard.

The unistrut is held with 1/4-20 SS bolts.

Then I could add the exterior accessories:



Aluminess 'Expedition Kit' with shovel and axe..



and Power Tank aluminum 2.5 gallon propane bottle holder.



And on the inside, I mounted my Eccotemp hot shower, so (once I plumb it in) I can just open the rear door and have a nice hot shower!

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Old 02-11-2018, 11:32 AM   #2
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Looks great. I took out my replacement plywood window because the A/C unit failed after the second use. Aparently it wasn't rated for offroad use. Interestingly, I had set the wood in silicone seal, and I had a hell of a time getting it out. I bent the pinch weld in several places trying to pry it out, but it finally gave up. After straighting out the metal, and spending over an hour cleaning it up, I replaced the original window VERY carefully and set it in Butyl this time, so when I replace the A/C, the window should come out much easier. The plywood worked ok, but aluminum should be better. Did the sheet metal shop roll in the curve to match the door, or did you form it by bolting it in? I had to cut a series of slots in the wood to get it to bend. Did you make more of these? Great, I'll take one for each side, Thanks.................
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Old 02-11-2018, 11:33 AM   #3
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That's pretty sweet. The van I just bought my girl has a broken Mark III style side window that's a non-standard size. I've searched everywhere trying to find a replacement with no luck. Aluminum sheet like this would be perfect. Nice job.
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Old 02-11-2018, 11:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctictraveller View Post
Looks great. I took out my replacement plywood window because the A/C unit failed after the second use. Aparently it wasn't rated for offroad use. Interestingly, I had set the wood in silicone seal, and I had a hell of a time getting it out. I bent the pinch weld in several places trying to pry it out, but it finally gave up. After straighting out the metal, and spending over an hour cleaning it up, I replaced the original window VERY carefully and set it in Butyl this time, so when I replace the A/C, the window should come out much easier. The plywood worked ok, but aluminum should be better. Did the sheet metal shop roll in the curve to match the door, or did you form it by bolting it in? I had to cut a series of slots in the wood to get it to bend. Did you make more of these? Great, I'll take one for each side, Thanks.................
Sheet metal shop rolled it to window curve.

I could make more, but it's be a lot cheaper for you to visit a sheet metal shop near you..
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Old 02-11-2018, 12:32 PM   #5
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Nice job Robb!!! Great concept and execution
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Old 02-11-2018, 01:15 PM   #6
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Looks good Rob. I thought of that a couple times before and had plans to do it to my Vanagon big rear window and mount the spare there. The depth on the inside is pretty helpful too. i chose to just put some 1/4" wood and make a pocket on mine. I think the Transit is a good bit deeper than the E-series though.

Untitled by 86scotty, on Flickr

Untitled by 86scotty, on Flickr
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Old 02-11-2018, 01:22 PM   #7
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Well done. I love the ingenuity. I'm planning to get the side panels from Opt Overland. I think they may be doing rear windows now (or soon). When I contacted Dai recently to order, he asked if I needed the rear door panels too. I passed for now since I just purchased a set of pop-out glass for the back doors.
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Old 02-11-2018, 01:59 PM   #8
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Very inventive - this is the kind of stuff that inspires the rest of us to think out-of-the-box. Like it a lot !
If you had to make an educated guess, would you say your application could hold about 65lbs ? Thinking of possibly mounting 4 of the 2 gal Rotopax RX-2D Diesel Fuel Containers - from the looks of what you already have mounted, 25-30lbs is no issue.
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Old 02-11-2018, 02:27 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Twoxentrix View Post
Very inventive - this is the kind of stuff that inspires the rest of us to think out-of-the-box. Like it a lot !
If you had to make an educated guess, would you say your application could hold about 65lbs ? Thinking of possibly mounting 4 of the 2 gal Rotopax RX-2D Diesel Fuel Containers - from the looks of what you already have mounted, 25-30lbs is no issue.
The only concern I have on weight is the stock ford hinges.. the unistrut will hold plenty. But plenty of people (including SMBs) have been running around for years with the spare mounted to the door, so I figure the door can handle some weight.

I'm considering doing the other side to carry extra water.. Either in a single 5 gallon Scepter can or several smaller rotopax.. I'll mull that over for the next year or two.
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Old 02-11-2018, 02:41 PM   #10
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Great Idea, When you staring to take orders?
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