Taylor and I recently bought a 2015 Mercedes 170” Cargo Sprinter Van, with plans to convert it into a home on wheels. Our goal is to take this van all over North America eventually reaching Alaska.
To help inspire others, we are documenting our journey and each step of our van build, creating video tutorials on youtube along the way.
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Since we have a cargo van we did not have any windows in the van other than the driver’s side, passenger side, and windshield (obviously) so we needed to cut out the metal skin of the van to install our windows.
We originally thought we were going to get them professionally done but then we decided to save money and do it ourselves. Below is a step by step tutorial on how to install a CRL sliding door t-vent window on a Mercedes Sprinter van. We documented our other window installations including:
- How to install back door windows on a Mercedes Sprinter van
- How to install side panel bunk windows on a Mercedes Sprinter van
If you’re interested, consider subscribing to our Youtube Channel for more van build episodes and tutorials!
Tools Needed To Install Side Panel Bunk Windows
We purchased the CRL sliding door t-vent window through Amazon and absolutely love it! The window comes with a screen over the t-vent to allow ventilation into the van without worrying about any bugs flying into your van. This is critical for nights when it’s when we’re cooking or when it’s really hot outside and we need good airflow.
Before we get into each step of the side panel bunk window installation, below are tools used.
- CRL Sliding Door T-Vent Window: https://amzn.to/2naoiNc
- Rust-Oleum Paint: https://amzn.to/31AX94K
- Bosch Jigsaw Used: https://amzn.to/2N7QHOE
- Bosch Thin Metal Jigsaw Blades: https://amzn.to/2z390MF
- Metal Filer: https://amzn.to/2NHDtbT
- Window Glass Suction Holders (We got our at Harbor Freight but these should do the trick): https://amzn.to/2Hb7tZo
- Painter’s Tape: https://amzn.to/2HbIk0W
- Grinder: https://amzn.to/2ZGOM6w
Step by Step Guide
If you enjoy watching videos rather than reading, check out our video tutorial showcasing step by step on how to install a sliding door t-vent window by CRL.
Step 1: Create the outline of the window
The beauty of this window is that it’s a perfect fit for the window frame of the van. Mercedes makes the process pretty easy to determine where exactly you want to make your cut.
If you’re using a jigsaw to cut the window, (which we highly recommend) you are going to need to cut the window from the outside. In order to determine where to make your cut, you need to use a hammer and a screwdriver (or something similar) to make the outline. I saw other videos on youtube where folks, drilled several holes into the van along the window frame so you can choose which approach you want to take.
Step 2: Trace the outline of the window imprint and apply masking/painters tape
Once you created your outline with the small dents in the door, use a dry erase marker and trace the outline of the window from the outside.
We used masking/painters tape to tape around the window before we made our cut. This ensured we will not scratch the paint from the jigsaw when cutting through the door. For extra precaution, tape the jigsaw as well to provide an additional layer of protection.
Step 3: Drill a hole into the door
Before you make your cut you need to drill a hole into the door of your van with a hole large enough to fit a jigsaw blade through it. You can see in the picture above, I drilled the hole in the bottom of the trace so I can insert the jigsaw blade and start cutting!
Step 4: Cut out the traced outline of the window in the door
Once your hole is drilled it’s time to make your cut! We use the Bosch Thin Metal Jigsaw Blades to make our cut, which worked great!
Make sure to have a protective barrier on the inside of the van to catch the metal shavings and protect your vehicle from rust!
When you’re cut is almost finished, use masking tape to tape the cutout to the door to prevent it from falling and scratching the door.
Step 5: File down the raw metal and smooth out the edges
After you’ve made your cut, the edges will be sharp and jagged, take a metal filer or a grinding bit to smooth out the edges.
Step 6: Paint the raw metal
Once the metal is filed down, you want to prevent rust and protect your vehicle. To do this, paint the raw metal with oil-based paint. We used rust-oleum paint which works great!
Wait an hour or so to let the paint dry.
Step 7: Insert the window into the cutout
After the paint dries, you’re ready to insert the CRL t-vent sliding door window into the window frame. If it doesn’t line up properly fine tun the edges with your jigsaw or grinder. You can line up your window before you paint it if you want to check that it fits first, completely up to you!
Also, we used suction cups to help us carry the window and secure it in the right place, these were extremely helpful.
Surprisingly enough, you do not need butyl tape or and window weld for this project, the CRL t-vent sliding door window has a weather gasket that lines the window and is completely water tight.
Step 8: Secure the window using the backing plate
The last step of the installation of the sliding t-vent window is securing it in place by screwing in the backing plate. CRL provides the screws needed to secure the window in place, but you will need to try your best not to strip them!
A good tip when tightening the screws, have someone from the outside push against the window then tighten the screw. This technique helped me us out big time!
Summary – How to Install CRL Sliding Door T-Vent Window
Out of the 3 window installations, this window is by far the easiest and quickest! That might be due to the fact that it was the last one we installed, and my confidence grew substantially.
If you’re interested in other van build posts, check out the following:
- How To Install Windows:
- Roof Installations:
Before we decided to buy our own van we rented one to test the waters! This helped us realize it’s something we really want to do since buying a van and converting it is a lot of money and a lot of effort! We rented a van in Portugal and absolutely fell in love with van life!
A heads up: This blog post is a review of the van we rented, not really a van life video.
If you have any questions about how to install side panel bunk windows to your van, drop a comment below! If you’re interested, please follow our van build series where we will document every step of the build process as well as our youtube channel!
As always, thank you for reading/watching our content!