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Old 05-25-2017, 09:22 AM   #1
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Question Installing Windows - Clamp Ring Sizes

Hi everyone!

I'm installing windows in my '95 Dodge Ram van and would love some input on clamp ring sizes.

I feel confident about the installation process and the general steps and materials. The best set of instructions I've found used a large clamp ring whose inner lip would rest on the inside of the interior wall which means I'd need a clamp ring size of >2".

Problem: CR Laurence sells very few contoured windows with that large of a clamp ring, most are 1/8".

Has anyone used the 1/8" clamp ring and secured the window to just the wall of the van and perhaps a very thin wood frame? I've seen people do it, but they usually have more structural support in their van walls (possibly built for after market windows?). My walls are basically a series of vertical ribs and flat wall panels. (Check out attached picture. Pardon the fiberglass remnants, scraping them off is coming along! )

Because none of the windows with larger clamp rings fit the specs I need, I was thinking of using the 1/8" clamp ring and then building a window box around them to connect the thin wood frame under the clamp ring to the interior wall of the van, creating window ledges.
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Old 05-25-2017, 10:34 AM   #2
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Where are you measuring these dimensions? Do you have a link to the CRL window you want to use?

Where are you finding images of a post showing a clamp ring of +/- 2"?
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Old 05-25-2017, 11:48 AM   #3
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Thanks so much for taking a look. A majority of window installation threads/videos I've seen are installing directly onto the van wall and therefore do not need a larger clamp ring, but most of those vans have more structural supports on the walls of their vans. I am worried about doing that on my van, where it would only be the van wall supporting the window. It may very well be structurally sound to do that, but I a just looking for a bit more input before doing so. The only build I've seen of a cargo van with walls like mine built a spacer frame to add around the hole cut for the window and the clamp ring was installed over the spacer frame. The depth of spacer frame matched the depth of the future insulation and walls so the back of the clamp ring ended up flush with interior walls.

Initially I was looking at T-sliders, the majority of which have a 1/8" clamp ring. Once I realized I had a seam in my van body limiting the size of the hole I could cut, I started looking at horizontal sliders. I think with the size I'm working with a vertical or horizontal slider would work (conventional not "all glass look").

I'm getting dimensions of windows and clamp rings from CRL site and DK hardware. CRL definitely makes larger clamp rings but still not sure if it's necessary to use that approach and DK hardware doesn't sells everything they make.

Thanks again! Let me know if I answered your questions.
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Old 05-25-2017, 11:51 AM   #4
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Installation guide I found very helpful:

Our ProMaster DIY Camper Van Conversion — Adding Windows – Build A Green RV

They built the frame to use larger clamp ring, but even they did not have van walls without the additional structural support like mine.
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Old 05-25-2017, 01:02 PM   #5
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Your approached as you describe is good----do be advised there should be NO removal or cutting into the vertical supports of your van. Find and install windows that fit between those supports and you'll not lose any roof and side wall support---vitally important in a side impact or roll-over collision.

Once you know which depth clamp rings are available for any of your chosen windows you'll pretty much have to build your spacer ring to fit your application. The depth of your vertical supports will dictate that unless you build outward from the existing inside surfaces of those supports. Think of using furring strips for example (but in your case probably not really worth doing.

BTW for insulation a high R-value plank foam fitted against the sheet metal van wall would be the most efficient.

You are correct that most DIY window additions are done directly to the van body, the interior openings not nearly as substantial as the linked tutorial shows. I do like how they'll be capturing their interior paneling via the wider clamp ring---that should not only be pleasing to the eye but allow window frame removal should that ever be necessary. (Broken pieces etc.)

I hope this helps a bit but if not PM me or reply here--always glad to help. I would recommend looking back through this sub-forum for others who've DIY'd their own windows-----could be very helpful or give you other ideas.

Anyway----------lemme know!
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Old 05-25-2017, 01:44 PM   #6
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Thanks so much! I have been through many of the window threads here, and even have a little notebook with notes from your responses to other people's questions! So helpful to have reassurance along the way especially in the stage where I have more questions than answers and I just want to get building.

Final clarifying question for now: I have yet to find a window that fits my needs with anything other then 1/8" clamp ring. Would installing directly on the van wall be a bad idea considering the type of van wall I have? I think you're saying you don't see a problem with it, but just making sure.
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Old 05-25-2017, 03:25 PM   #7
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Been there, done that on more questions than answers! For myself seeing how others have tackled certain things either led me directly to a solution or gave me ideas how to do it suitably for my van. Do keep in mind I don't have a Sportsmoble-like conversion, just a work-only cargo van but many things here have been extremely helpful none the less. For what we're doing this is one of the best sites I could imagine. Kudos to all who've helped in one way or another. So then........

If there's a "disadvantage" to the direct-on-body window install then building the spacer ring followed by the wall covering it would be IF the window needs replaced its a lot of work undoing all your improvements for that relatively small operation. Other than that consideration there's no real huge advantage one way or the other.

Another thing to consider is testing for water leaks through the outside window flange but two things can help reduce that situation. Instead of using the butyl tape use a high grade silicone sealant/adhesive between the window flange and body sheet metal; it doesn't degrade over time like butyl can/does.

Once the window is installed but before anything else is done inside the van water test the bejesus out of it. This does NOT mean with a high pressure sprayer, simply a garden hose running on the installed window for quite a long while. (Just a standard hose nozzle squiring a stream with no more than city water pressure is fine.) Once this test is done leave the van sit over night and do it all once again the next day. Assuming you're leak free (and using silicone sealer/adhesive) you should be good for the life of your van and build.

So YES I am saying using the typical 1/8" clamp ring will be okay. I will PM my phone number in case you need a quicker answer to something.

Good luck!


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