A Cure for the RV Window Blues

windowI 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.

The infamous torque operators.  There's a left and a right side- eyeball your window to see which one you need if you're only doing one.

The infamous torque operators. There’s a left and a right side- eyeball your window to see which one you need if you’re only doing one.

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.

Finished. I didn't bother to paint them.i like that new look ;-)

Reinstalled and all finished. I didn’t bother to paint them. I like that new look ;-)

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.

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    • Campskunk

      dawn: now those i know nothing about – i’m from florida, and nobody has double glazed windows down south. i think the general idea is that you need to take it apart, get the moisture out, and reseal the two panes so no more water gets in, but i don’t have any experience with how exactly to do it.

  1. Tom

    More a question than a comment. Have you run into a problem with the lower part of a rear side window separating from the hinge? Any suggestions?

  2. Penny

    Thank you for the numbers for those parts I ordered one of each!

    I have a 2002 Dodge Roadtrek with two latches on the large back window that allow it to open slightly. One of them will not open at all and I am looking for a replacement for that so I can use the window. do you have any suggestions where I might find this part? I did not find it a glass Pro.
    Thank you!!!

  3. John Hatcher

    Thanks! I’ve been searching for long time for a solution to my CR Laurence window regulator problem. I placed my order today. Keep up the great work!

  4. Lee

    We had problems with one of our side rear windows that was similar on our 190 Popular. Unfortunately, before we got to the stage of repairing the cranks, the rear window fell out and was lost (not sure when or what happened–some friends were using the van). The Roadtrek dealer says we have to replace the whole side rear window–at $2200 plus labor! Has this happened to anyone else? Any ideas for alternatives to such an expensive repair? Thanks for any ideas!


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