Bus Build: Buying RV Windows for our Bus Conversion – S03E23

Our original plan for our conversion was to only replace 3 of the bus windows with RV windows, allowing us to open these windows for airflow, and take out a couple more windows and fill the wall in with sheet metal.  We were planning on ordering custom made windows from Motion Windows by Peninsula Glass Company, however when it came down to ordering we realized once we added the cost of shipping (doubling the price) this was taking us out of budget. For only 3 double pane windows it was going to cost $4000. We were also realizing that it would be much wiser to replace more of the buses single pane windows and better insulate our walls. 

Unfortunately this did mean that many of the walls we already cut out and painted would need to be replaced to fit around whatever new windows we find.  While going back and redoing projects can be frustrating and waste money, in the long run we feel these choices are necessary to make ourselves a comfortable home.

We looked up standard RV window sizes and came up with a new design to remove 4 windows on the passenger side, reskin those areas with sheet metal and install double pane RV windows with slides and screens still allowing this entire side of the bus to have great views. On the drivers side, we planned to remove all the windows, reskin with sheet metal and install RV windows in the front with slides and screens (to help with airflow), with only a small window in the kitchen area and the bedroom area. This was our ideal plan, now we just had to find affordable windows.

Our friends, Ivan and Sylvie, recommended we head up to the Elkhart area along the border of Indiana and Michigan where there are many RV Surplus stores. Elkhart is known as the RV Capital of the World, so it made sense that this would be where we would find the best deals.  We headed out to Johnson’s Surplus Store where they have salvaged windows ranging from $25-50. Many windows were broken or had smoke damage from fires, however Don was determined and we spent 5 hours in their junk yard searching through 100’s of windows and found almost all the windows we desired.  We were lucky to find matching windows, only one odd one that is close enough to the design of the others to work. 

These windows will need a thorough cleaning and some touch ups to some of the frames but overall we are very pleased with what we found and only ended up spending $33 per window. Of course these savings are only worth it if you have the time to spend on finding, cleaning and fixing these windows.  We have the time, so we feel good about this choice and reusing materials rather than buying new. Our hours of labor for this project has definitely increased though and now we need to research how to best install these windows!


Up Next
We paint our galvanized stock tank bathtub and bathroom sink with a white rubberized coating.

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Motion Windows by Peninsula Glass Company
The quality of a Motion Windows product surpasses any other window on the market. Frames are made with a hard-coat anodized aluminum, which reduces maintenance and corrosion. Their energy saving construction saves on air conditioning and heating costs. Road noise is also greatly reduced with our insulated windows. An attractive charcoal gray aluminum screen is custom built to fit every sliding window. Our screens slide and are removable for easy cleaning.

Johnson’s Surplus 
Michigan's largest Trailer and RV parts yard, bringing you new and used products at unbeatable prices! Established in 2003, we are proud to be family owned and operated Brick and Mortar Store. Our inventory is constantly growing and changing. 


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By Mela & Don

Mela and Don are sharing their journey as they make conscious decisions to live a more healthy, environmentally friendly life together.

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