I love the windows in my 2003 Chevy Roadtrek, but they sure don’t love me. The windows in the front, side, and rear doors are what came from Chevrolet, but the side rear windows are bought by Roadtrek and other RV upfitters and installed as part of the conversion process. It’s a wonderful design – a louver on the bottom which allows you to get air circulation in a downpour. But, like any mechanical device, sooner or later it will start to wear and cause you headaches.
The Chevy windows are made by C R Laurence. The part that wears out is called the torque operator – a little gearbox that converts the rotary motion of the knob on the inside to angular movement of an arm that moves the louver. The one on the Chevy does this by turning a rod with an attached arm – the one on the Sprinter models, made by another manufacturer – Hehr – includes the arms as part of the torque operator.
C R Laurence can’t be bothered to supply repair parts for us struggling Chevy Roadtrek owners. That’s OK, they’re a big company. I don’t really know who makes the reproduction ones available online, but the quantity varies widely, and some may be rebuilt, judging by some of the horror stories I have heard. When I went looking, I settled on an online retailer, GlassWarePro, who sells Primeline replacement parts. The Primeline numbers are R7022 and R7023 – I think those are the CR Laurence numbers as well. They’re nuisance money – $8 or so – so I ordered two of each, and started trying to figure out how to disassemble my windows to install them while I waited for them to arrive.
Here’s a set of photos to walk you through the process. Click on each photo to read the caption which will tell you what’s going on. In 190 and 170 (sheet metal side) Roadtreks, the process is relatively simple. The 200s and 210 fiberglass side Roadtreks will have a different procedure. There are a bunch of screws holding the window in, and the most important job is the catcher – the person outside the van who grabs the window as it comes loose and prevents it from crashing to the ground. Put your franchise player on this assignment- all the person inside the van has to know is how to run a screwdriver. Make sure you tighten the screws evenly as you reinstall the windows – as an artistic medium, tempered glass is as unforgiving as marble.
My RV window cranks are doing fine two years later, and it has given me confidence to know that there’s not really much of anything you can’t fix on a Roadtrek given enough parts sleuthing and common sense. And patience – lots of patience. And good hands.
For the Sprinter owners, your Hehr windows have a similar solution – read this post on the Sprinter forum which gives you the tricks on how to install it. The part is $24, of course, not $8, since it’s going on a Mercedes ;-) Here is where to buy it. You don’t have to take the window out, though, which is definitely worth the difference in cost. No mad window catching skills are necessary. If I had a Sprinter, I’d order one of these now and carry it with me, because when these break the glass is completely unattached at the bottom, and flaps in the wind as you drive. Given the glass replacement problems on the CR Laurence windows (it’s basically impossible), my guess is the Hehr glass is similarly unobtainable, so you don’t want to subject your glass to this kind of treatment for long.