Has anyone put in a 12" porthole window on a Chevy Express? Will it sit flat?

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  #1  
Old 06-23-13, 01:31 PM
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Has anyone put in a 12" porthole window on a Chevy Express? Will it sit flat?

I'm looking to put a 12" CR Lawrence porthole window on the drivers side behind the drivers door. I'm not too concerned about safely cutting it in but I am concerned the sheet metal has too much curvature to it for the window to contour too. The window definitely has a slight bit of flex to it but ti's going to have to flex a good bit to sit flat in there.

Anyone here put one in? it's got to sit flat and look as pro as an aftermarket window is going to look.
 
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Old 06-23-13, 01:48 PM
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Any "window" you buy will either have to follow the contours or sit flat on the metal. There won't be any middle ground. Does it clamshell from inside to outside? How is it weather stripped?
 
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Old 06-23-13, 02:05 PM
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yes it clamshells - it's a 2003 by the way. calls for standard automotive glass sealant between the external ring and the body.

I do not expect I'll find anyone that's put it exactly where I want to on the van. But putting them on the side in the back is really common around here for NY Parkway rules. Contour of the side is basically the same the whole back, so I figured if I found someone that successfully got this to clamp tight in the back then I'd be OK doing it further up.

11035S - CRL 12" Round Porthole Window Tinted Tempered Glass for 1/8" or 1-1/2" Wall

My other thought is to find a decent custom van forum. I'm sure someone there would have first hand experience or have an alternative option.
 
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Old 06-23-13, 08:53 PM
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I've put a lot of sunroofs and power vents in curved roofs.

Take a flat stick, like a 12" wooden ruler, and place it where you want to put the window. If you hold the bottom edge tight to the van how much is the top part away from the van ?

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Old 06-24-13, 04:27 AM
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I was thinking of more of a drastic body deviation, rather than a small curve.

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Old 06-24-13, 05:07 AM
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Side panels on an Express are pretty flat; I can't imagine there would be enough curvature to be a problem. PJ's test should give you a good measure.
 
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Old 06-24-13, 08:04 AM
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OK I'll get a helper and get an actual measurement on it. Looking at it again yesterday I would say the one difference between where I want to put it compared to the way back is that structural ribs are very close together up front. A couple inches on either side of the window, as opposed to a wide open panel in the rear. So less movement of metal possible.

No - sorry no major body deviation, just a curve. I was even trying to think of a way to give a slight bend to the window frame before putting it in but figured I'd screw that up big time. The gasket that holds the window to the frame has a good bit of give to it. So if I could get a slight bow on the frame I'm sure we'd be golden.

For actual install my plan was to use my circle cutter on the rotozip with a metal bit. Should make a nice clean cutout.

Just in case anyone cares the back story here is this my work van, but last year we welded in a nice bench seat and built out a custom divider so the work van can double duty as our family camping hauler. It's a cargo van but it was bought new and optioned to the max including full time AWD so it really makes a great camping mule. The biggest downside has been my daughter feels boxed in with no window on her side to stare at the countryside as we roll down the highway - hence the need for a window - but a window that will still look professional when I roll up to high end clients homes on Monday morning.
 
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Old 06-24-13, 10:41 AM
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For actual install my plan was to use my circle cutter on the rotozip with a metal bit. Should make a nice clean cutout.
I don't think so. I think the bit would just chatter in the metal. I think it spins too fast for your application.

I've used air shears, sabre saws and nibbling tools to cut holes in metal.

The easiest for you to use would be a sabre saw with a metal blade. You'd need to tape around the hole so that the saw didn't scratch the paint.

.....And don't try to bend the window.....it won't.
 
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Old 06-24-13, 04:52 PM
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The rotozip idea wasn't mine - it was in a review for that window somewhere and the guy said it worked well. I know what you are saying though. My concern with the saw was that if the blade would grab it can kink metal in a hurry.

I won't bend the frame!
 
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Old 06-24-13, 10:58 PM
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Use a fine blade and it wont catch.

Let me re-phrase that......the blade won't catch the skin but you need to be mindful of a second piece of metal inside the wall.

My Ford van has the skin and then a second metal lining inside about an inch away.
 
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Old 06-25-13, 08:19 AM
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No it's just straight sheet metal. Going to see if a friend can come down today to give me a hand to try and get it in today. If it doesn't happen today then there's no point worrying about it for another month or so.
 
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Old 06-25-13, 09:14 AM
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I just measured. Across a 12" straight edge I get anywhere from 3/16" to 5/16". The larger gap being if I get too far towards the top of the panel or the bottom of the panel where the curvature is greater. The outer edge of the exterior frame is about 11 3/4". Seems to me that 3/16" is probably the manageable limit and even that may have some slight gap top and bottom.

Final thoughts?
 
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Old 06-26-13, 08:17 AM
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3/16" should be manageable and there may not even be any gap. The sheet metal will stay flat to the back of the window.
 
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