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Old 10-03-2020, 07:17 PM   #1
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Conversion Over Windows

What should I know about converting the interior over the windows of a Ford E-350 EB passenger van? Are there recommended materials/layers to cover the windows? Are there moisture concerns that are unique to the windows versus the metal skin of the van? I plan to insulate with thinsulate or wool and then build the walls over most of the window area. Would I build over the window area the same as the metal area of the walls? Thanks.

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Old 10-03-2020, 07:38 PM   #2
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I’d be concerned about replacing the windows if they get broken. I believe you’ll need access to the inside to replace the glass, so whatever you build should be easily removable.
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Old 10-06-2020, 07:02 AM   #3
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I did what I think you're asking about with my '05 E350 EB that was formerly a wheelchair lift equipped Club Wagon configuration. I had greatly considered replacing all body side glass (except doors) with custom-made aluminum panels but formalizing my design or concepts left me frustrated for a million reasons, the main one being I'm so super anal it would have been difficult to do it to my satisfaction. Enough of my problems though........

Factory installed glass in that body configuration definitely requires access from the interior to remove/replace it. When you cover over the glass (as I did) you force yourself into removing whatever interior you've installed should any lite be broken. That might be something to consider before proceeding as it might affect your build out.

As my van is now the dark tinted factory glass is still in place but my build completely covers them with rigid foam insulation glued in place behind 0.090" commercial grade PVC panel sheeting covering that, affixed top and bottom to wood strips acting as firring material.

This works for me because is a work van full of tools so security is a concern---if they can't see it they might not think anything is inside--hopefully? I also wanted every square inch of vertical and horizontal space be useful so "eliminating" all those interior glass surfaces became practical as well.

Do keep in mind my job is installing auto/truck glass.
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Old 10-08-2020, 07:35 AM   #4
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I have a similar plan as JWA for my van - leave the tinted windows in place and cover them from the inside. I'll probably do some sort of layered panel with black duck cloth on the window side, which I'm hoping will make the window appear black.

While stealth won't be the #1 part of my build criteria, the more I can do to keep the van looking like any other run of the mill conversion van will be a good thing and not make it quite so obvious the gear I plan to have inside.
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Old 10-08-2020, 09:44 AM   #5
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I did similar to what others have suggested - i actually painted the inside of the window black. It took a few coats to get total coverage (glass is a super smooth surface to get paint to adhere to) and then covered the window with rigid insulation and 1/4" wood over that to hold the insulation in place and give the interior a nice finished look. From the outside, the window just looks completely black - you can't tell that it's painted and you also can't see in to see that there is insulation covering it. The paint should also be easy to remove with a razor blade, should I or any future owner want to use the window.
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Old 10-08-2020, 05:28 PM   #6
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On my extended van I covered the small rear and half of the large windows. Iíve used polyiso (sp?) with the aluminized side facing out, 1x2 wood bolted to the inside of the van support tongue and groove cedar board. The gap is filled with as much rigid foam as I can fit.

Recently broke the large window and had to remove all to get the new glass.
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Old 10-09-2020, 11:08 AM   #7
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Any reason why you wouldn't just sell your current van and get a cargo van for your buildout?
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Old 10-10-2020, 07:35 PM   #8
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I spraypainted the windows a few coats and then just covered over them. It's been 2 years, and no issues.
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Old 10-11-2020, 08:18 AM   #9
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I have the rear driver's side glass that I built a cabinet in front of.....

The windows were factory tinted...I applied dark limo tint over all the back windows when I first got the van......then subsequently added perforated black vinyl over the tint before building the cabinet.....and the back of the cabinet is covered in charcoal colored fuzzy trunk liner/subwoofer box covering.
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Old 10-12-2020, 06:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by mikracer View Post
Any reason why you wouldn't just sell your current van and get a cargo van for your buildout?
Personally, I would have preferred a cargo van, but I looked for my van for literally over 20 years before finding one in decent condition for a price I could afford. In a perfect world, I'd find a parts van and cut the sheet metal out and weld it in, but I don't have room for one van to tear apart, much less two.
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