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Old 11-24-2013, 11:43 AM   #1
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Windows: Sizes, numbers, location, type, etc…?

Most of us would agree that RV windows are an important part of a Class B van. They can add natural ventilation, lighting, and improve visibility; which can also make a small RV seem bigger. On the other hand they can also reduce privacy, security, storage space, and add significantly to HVAC loads. Like most things it seems a designer has to compromise.

So, assuming one is doing a custom RV design and doesn’t have to follow a script, what are your general thoughts on windows for a Class B camper? I know a camper’s specific size and layout will drive window options and also limit choices, but in general what do you recommend a designer consider in this area.

For instance, do you prefer many small windows or a few large ones? How about total window area; do you prefer a lot or very little? Also, what about type and location? Single or double pane? Vertical or horizontal opening? Or maybe swing out? In searching previous related topics I found some specific discussions but very little on a broader basis.

Your thoughts and ideas on this subject are appreciated.
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Old 11-24-2013, 12:43 PM   #2
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Re: Windows: Sizes, numbers, location, type, etc…?

I think that first you have to design the interior. You can't have a window where you have built-ins on the inside. Windows get what's left over after the inside's built.

For windows in general, I'd say the bigger the better. Heat gain/loss can be controlled with shades, curtains and Reflectix.
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Old 11-24-2013, 12:53 PM   #3
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Re: Windows: Sizes, numbers, location, type, etc…?

If passengers will be riding in the back, more/bigger is better, otherwise plan on scavenging barf bags the next time you fly (or do they charge for those now too?)
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Old 11-24-2013, 02:10 PM   #4
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Re: Windows: Sizes, numbers, location, type, etc…?

Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb
If passengers will be riding in the back, more/bigger is better, otherwise plan on scavenging barf bags the next time you fly (or do they charge for those now too?)
Great point, thanks. Hadn't thought of motion sickness. That's important with my daughter. She doesn't do well in the back seat of most cars.
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Old 11-24-2013, 02:13 PM   #5
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Re: Windows: Sizes, numbers, location, type, etc…?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viejo
I think that first you have to design the interior. You can't have a window where you have built-ins on the inside. Windows get what's left over after the inside's built.

For windows in general, I'd say the bigger the better. Heat gain/loss can be controlled with shades, curtains and Reflectix.
Viejo, with due respect, doesn't that sound a little like reducing windows to an afterthought? I want to take a more comprehensive approach to design.
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Old 11-24-2013, 04:41 PM   #6
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Re: Windows: Sizes, numbers, location, type, etc…?

Depends on the vehicle and what kind of layout you want. I wanted a E-350 EB-50 layout as my van. So I was very limited to where the windows were to be placed. One thing I don't like about my passenger side window is I can't reach the control from the side door. I'm always having to climb back in to close the window. You shouldn't leave a fold out window open while traveling on a 4x4 trail. I prefer fold out windows because they can be left open in most rainy type conditions.
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:17 AM   #7
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Re: Windows: Sizes, numbers, location, type, etc…?

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Depends on the vehicle and what kind of layout you want. I wanted a E-350 EB-50 layout as my van. So I was very limited to where the windows were to be placed. One thing I don't like about my passenger side window is I can't reach the control from the side door. I'm always having to climb back in to close the window. You shouldn't leave a fold out window open while traveling on a 4x4 trail. I prefer fold out windows because they can be left open in most rainy type conditions.
Dave, does the entire window glass swing out or just a part of it? And can they be left open for ventilation if driving down the highway at say 70 MPH? I like that they could be open for ventilation when parked with light rain. Some of the newer models I saw in e-catalogs seem to open the entire window which then act almost like a small awning. I think they were popular in Europe -- not sure though.

By the way, the comment about location hit home. With uni-body vans like ProMaster I'm thinking that it limits the size and location of windows significantly. The custom layout I'm working towards with a dinette behind the driver is a good example. There is a main structural body rib (or whatever they are called) approximately 4 feet behind driver/passenger doors. It's at the rear of the side doors. Cutting through that is not an option.

If I install a large window in door panel then the person riding in dinette facing forward would be quite a bit behind window. And if I move the dinette back a couple of feet like I want it makes it worse still. So I'd have to end up with two windows for the dinette -- one for each person. And that's just so different than the typical large window at center of dinettes over table in the middle.

You can see large vertial rib in this picture:

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Old 11-25-2013, 12:31 PM   #8
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Re: Windows: Sizes, numbers, location, type, etc…?

They are able to open 1/2 the way. At home I stick one of these in the frame to keep the heat down during summer (my van sits in direct sun when parked):


I leave the windows open on paved roads all the time. I still wish I would have had SMB put in a little slide style window above my sink. Sure wet weather would require it to be closed but it would allow a bit more air especially if I shoved a fan in it. On my van there is no way to have a window in the back but I've seen those large windows on other vans and to me I feel more closed-in sleeping on the lower bed than up top in the PH because of the lack of side windows below. I realize privacy is needed at times but a nice breeze is worth its weight in gold when you can have it. The Fords just are limited with the addition of cabinets and having ladders on both sides doesn't help either.
Just a thought...maybe stupid but if you worried about cabinets, space and windows, if the cabinets can be made to pivot or slide there might be something there. At night when you need the most room, it might be possible for the cabinet to slide or swing forward to create more space for the bed...etc along with a bed side window. At any one time one or the other window would be covered.
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Old 11-25-2013, 12:32 PM   #9
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Re: Windows: Sizes, numbers, location, type, etc…?

When designing our van, we placed the windows for ventilation while sleeping and for giving the back seat passengers "some" outside view. We also put a window in the side of the high top to see out while at the stove and to let light in. The side door windows serve as our "picture window". We didn't put a window behind the galley area because we felt it would be too hard to keep clean and no place to store the curtains.

But overall I agree that it is more important to design the areas that DON'T or can't have windows - where cabinets and appliances go.
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Old 11-26-2013, 09:17 AM   #10
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Re: Windows: Sizes, numbers, location, type, etc…?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhally
When designing our van, we placed the windows for ventilation while sleeping and for giving the back seat passengers "some" outside view. We also put a window in the side of the high top to see out while at the stove and to let light in. The side door windows serve as our "picture window". We didn't put a window behind the galley area because we felt it would be too hard to keep clean and no place to store the curtains.

But overall I agree that it is more important to design the areas that DON'T or can't have windows - where cabinets and appliances go.
One of the issues I have problems with on vans is the elevation of windows. If low enough to see out while seated a person would be looking at ground while standing (unless person is on short side). And even with tall vans like Sprinter and PrroMaster windows can't be placed high enough to see out while standing. Not only would they interfere with upper cabinets but there are also some van structural members running horizontally near roof.

On larger campers with higher headroom upper cabinets are higher so windows close to 18 to 24 inches tall can be used. Only then can a person see out same window whether seated or standing.

Any ideas on how you guys have worked around this?
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