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Old 12-25-2009, 05:16 PM   #1
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Default Installing a CR Laurence window in the sliding door

One of the first things I planned for our camper conversion was the installation of side windows. I initially considered having OE glass fitted, but ran into several roadblocks, from sourcing parts to installation. Like many others, I eventually settled on the vented windows from CR Laurence. Like most, I was attracted to the OE appearance, as well as the T-vent functionality.

I ordered the windows in July, just as they went on backorder at the manufacturer. My first windows arrived in October, and the slider window demonstrated the same alignment issues that others have seen between the two lower glass lites. Thankfully, I ordered from a local dealer who was extremely helpful in facilitating an exchange with CRL. After a few more weeks, I finally got a window without the alignment issues.

Cutting into a vehicle is scary for alot of us. Something about the combination of shiny new paint, beautiful factory stampings, and the finality of it all makes us fearful. Due to the QC issues with the windows, I had plenty of time to prep and consider how this would be done. I also have a lot of experience with fabrication, be it metal or wood, so I had the confidence that I could execute this project well.

I knew that I wanted to make the cuts with a jigsaw, and this dictated from which side I would cut. Because of the foot on the jigsaw, the only practical way to cut is from the outside. Since the 'cut to' line is the interior factory stamping, I had to transfer this line from inside to out. The first thing I did was drill a line of small holes from the inside, following the factory stamping.

DSC06491.JPG

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From the outside, the shape of the opening begins to appear. Note the big difference between the opening size and the edge of the exterior stamped profile, especially at the bottom. The lower glass lites have to hang down quite a bit to conform to the factory lines. I believe this is at least part of the challenge that CRL has in making the glass components align.

DSC06496.JPG

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Once I had the overall opening size transferred to the exterior, I used a straightedge and marker to establish the cut lines at the top, bottom, and both sides.

DSC06497.JPG

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As you can see, there is a good bit of the opening perimeter that is not truly straight. I eventually drilled more holes from the inside for a more precise transfer of the curves.

DSC06500.JPG

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More to follow...
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Old 12-25-2009, 05:32 PM   #2
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Default Installing a CR Laurence window in the sliding door (continued)

With the cut lines established, I taped off the foot of the jigsaw and taped along the outside of the future opening. I drilled a large pilot hole and proceeded with the first cut. I started with the bottom edge, along the straight portion of the opening. I did this because I thought it would be the best way to get a feel for technique, where I was standing firmly on the ground and with a good view of the cut.

DSC06503.JPG

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After completing the bottom cut, I worked my way around the perimeter. I went slow, and stopped occasionally to check the foot of the jigsaw for metal debris. I retaped several times along the length of each cut.

DSC06506.JPG

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Once the straight cuts were complete, I moved into the corners. As mentioned earlier, I decided to drill more holes along the curves in order to more accurately describe the line to which I would cut. With the variable speed jigsaw, set to zero thrust cutting, I was able to negotiate the tightest corners. The most difficult part was supporting the metal cut-out once a few of the corners were free. In hindsight, I should have cut the bottom corners first, which would have allowed the cut-out piece to hang within the opening, rather than flopping over.

DSC06509.JPG

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The completed cut, awaiting clean-up, primer, and paint.

DSC06511.JPG

DSC06515.JPG

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More to follow...
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Old 12-25-2009, 05:47 PM   #3
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Default Installing a CR Laurence window in the sliding door (continued)

This is a close-up shot of the finished cut, showing the interior factory stamping (sheet metal layer to the right) and my new cut (skin layer to the left). You can see the small scallops that remain from my original pattern drilling. I cleaned these up, along with the rest of the perimeter cut, with a random orbit sander (vacuum attached). I cleaned out all of the shavings, filings, and metal dust with compressed air and vacuum.

DSC06534.JPG

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I carefully primed all of the cut edges with auto primer. Then I applied a layer of touch-up paint for added protection. Finally, I filled the gap between the two panel skins with body seam sealant. I wanted to prevent any rattles that might originate here, as well as eliminate any potential for residual moisture to collect in this gap. With curing time taken up between each step, day had turned to night...

DSC06543.JPG

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Finally, with a second set of hands to help, I managed to get the window fitted, shimmed, and secured. It took some trial and error to get the gaps between the glass and body metal set correctly. Again, the key for me was to go slow, checking and rechecking, until I was satisfied with the fit.

DSC06545.JPG

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All in all, I'm very happy with the results. The most pleasant surprise is the total lack of any rattles or squeaks when going down the road. While I'm not thrilled with the fit and finish on the interior of the windows, the overall installation appears premium.
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Old 12-25-2009, 05:49 PM   #4
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Default Re: Installing a CR Laurence window in the sliding door

very nice work.

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Old 12-25-2009, 06:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: Installing a CR Laurence window in the sliding door

Great detail on the installation. Do you have any pics of the part your not thrilled with (inside fit). I'm going to do this install on mine but I'm not sure I will be going with the CRL window due to the problems everyone has talked about.

Dan
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Old 12-26-2009, 01:01 AM   #6
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Default Re: Installing a CR Laurence window in the sliding door

Quote:
Originally Posted by teamtexas View Post
Do you have any pics of the part your not thrilled with (inside fit). I'm going to do this install on mine but I'm not sure I will be going with the CRL window due to the problems everyone has talked about.
Dan,

I'll shoot and upload some photos in a day or two. I'm least impressed with the fit and finish on the interior extrusions and some miscellaneous rubber and plastic trims. Luckily, everything is black so you have to look close to see the foibles.

On the one hand, I'm impressed with how nicely the CRL window integrates into the factory profiles, especially for what must be a relatively low volume item. On the other hand, I wish a few of the details were engineered/executed with a bit more care.

Nathan
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Old 01-02-2010, 06:20 AM   #7
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Default Re: Installing a CR Laurence window in the sliding door

Nathan,


Nice job, didn't think about cutting from the outside instead of the inside. Glad it worked out for you. I actually got a replacement window for the slider that which has only about half the issue the original did. The shipper keeps calling this week wanting to pick the old one up so we are going to swap it out this weekend.

It will be a good exercise to see how the cuts are doing with all the sorry weather we have been having.
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:11 AM   #8
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Default Re: Installing a CR Laurence window in the sliding door

what other options are there besides the CR Laurence and OE windows if one is planning on doing 3 windows on each side?

p.s. KILLER post!
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Old 01-09-2010, 05:04 AM   #9
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Default Re: Installing a CR Laurence window in the sliding door

Very helpful Mini.
Well thought out procedure.
Do you also have some pics of placing the window in the opening?

Thanks,
Mrdi
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Old 01-11-2010, 01:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: Installing a CR Laurence window in the sliding door

Quote:
Originally Posted by kraze View Post
what other options are there besides the CR Laurence and OE windows if one is planning on doing 3 windows on each side?
As far as I know, if you're looking for glass that neatly fills the factory body stampings, CRL and OE are the only options out there. Atwood/Creation used to make a window similar to the CRL, but it disappeared when the Atwood company was sold (and most would argue that the Atwood was the better window). I believe that CR Laurence bought Atwood (or at least the windows portion of the company), so the Atwood design may be gone forever.

All that said, I believe the CRL window is a good product. As long as you aren't expecting Mercedes quality in all aspects, it should satisfy most people looking for a vented (or aftermarket) window.

As promised earlier, I'll shoot some interior photos the next time I have some daylight to work with.
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