I put side windows in the GFC for extra air flow while semi-stealth camping, 4 person sleeping, and driving with wet gear in the back and I love it. Would be great for those with doggos or those who like the finished look of a side window too. Let me know what you think ! and drop my Instagram a follow! @Andrew_Pitney
Total cost of the DIY was about $300 for both side windows (2x Windows, butyl strip, Thick-Metal jigsaw blades, plywood). Cost does not include jigsaw, drill/bit, or goggles that seal to your face.
Understand the risks - You’ll be voiding GFC warranty on any panels you modify, using power tools on aluminum, creating new sources for leaks, and adding weight to your side struts. Don’t blame me if you fuck up a panel or make a leaky mess, not my problem. Not scared? Cool, keep reading.
Get a window - Find a window that fits the support struts dimensions on the inside of the truck. The window should also be compatible with appropriate wall thickness (3/4" is good). My Tacoma long beds barely fits a 21”x14” window between the side struts, I also used a window that included a trim kit to fit 3/4” total wall thickness. Short beds might need to get creative with their window supplier or look at ports made for sailboats.
Cut a plywood ring - Cut a ply ring with a jigsaw that a)fits around the inner edge of the window b)fits within the side struts of the GFC with some but not much clearance and c)fits your total wall thickness when added to the GFC walls. For me it was 3/4” Window specs Minus GFC wall thickness = Plywood thickness.
Waterproof the ply- Seal your plywood with something, I did coats of penetrating epoxy and spar urethane, sanding between coats
Trace - Get in your truck bed, place the wood ring along the closed/latched GFC walls while in-between struts with some clearance. You can taped your plywood ring down and use a contrasting permanent marker to trace along the inside of the wood ring on the GFC wall panel.
Cut the GFC panel - Put on your goggles, open the panel you just traced and stand underneath. Drill a pilot hole within the boundary you just traced. Start your jigsaw in the pilot hole and work your way toward and around the line you made. Go slow, I burnt 4x thick-metal blades on the corners. Hot metal shavings will rain down on you with this method, so consider just removing and reinstalling the panel for this step.
Protect the exposed metal - I cleaned the edge of the aluminum with paint carefully to prevent any oxidation. It’s aluminum but why not keep things protected
Make your Sandwich - The sandwich will go Window, Butyl tape, GFC wall, Plywood, inner window trip, screws. Start by closing/latching your GFC walls. Apply butyl tape to the lip of your window that touches the GFC and place this in the hole you cut. Add the remaining pieces of the sandwich and adjust for any crookedness before completely tightening the screws
Trim any butyl that expands out after a few days (warm days are better for this) and carefully tighten the inner wood-trim screws.
Best of luck! Post some photos.
Sexy! I saw this as you passed me up near Kremmling and I drooled!
Thank you so much for posting! There’s a large group of us that have been wanting to do this, but no one wanted to be first, ha. This is now reason 762 that I wish I had a long bed…it seems on the short bed a port would have to sit fairly low and I worry it will look funky. Appreciate your write up and will start investigating sailboat ports to make sure I’ve covered all options.
I would think with how dark some of the tints are on the sailboat ports that it would blend in better than we think and not look so funky
Thanks for the write up.
- Can you share some photos of the install steps (if you took them) and if not, just of the inside of the finished product? Particularly interested in how the space feels with the glass inside.
- Does the hole create any strange flex or feel on the aluminum panel?
These are just little sliders you used, correct? Do they come with screens? I am still 1000% stumped how to vent the camper for my dogs and every single option involves cutting holes in the doors. I am shocked by this but I have long come to terms that I will not have a warrantable part on this thing when it finally suits my needs
I’m interested in creating a pass thru to the doublecab in my truck. It doesn’t matter if its very big. I could do a sliding window like this one and make an accordian to bridge the gap to the cab letting in hot air from a diesel heater or vice versa heat from the cab to drift back into the camper space.
Be mindful that a gasket for the pass-through can rub the paint off the cab and can create a devastating rust hole around the window frame before you notice.
ANNNDD… it squeaks like a motherf**ker…
I reinstalled the GFC a little too close to the truck and the GFC gasket and cab touched for 2 days before I moved it back. It was horrible!
Here’s a couple photos of the plywood rings, tracing the cut, and the inside of the truck on the inside. The panels don’t feel any more flimsy than they used to, but you’re going to want to keep the plywood ring as thick as possible for added strength on the inside, I tried to keep it at 2.5" wide with some exceptions around the inner supports.
It adds some thickness to the wall panels, but it makes the bed feel a lot more open! I have a sleeper/kitchen box in the bed in these photos.
The windows are really cool - both the window panels and screens slide open, so I can quick toss stuff in the bed through the window, or leave things screened if its buggy.
Thanks for the photos and the info.
Has anyone out there found a window option for a Tacoma with a 5’ bed? I’ve started to search but haven’t found anything yet that fit between the inner supports.
My dog needs to stick his head out the window when we’re on the road. The lack of the windows was, literally, the only thing that made me hesitate to buy a GFC but I bought one anyway. Now I just need to solve the window issue!
I’ve been looking all over…. It seems like the answer to this is to not look at RV windows but rather sailboat port windows… found a few that are extremely close but none to my satisfaction yet
What are the short bed wall dimensions like? Any chance a 19x11 would work mounted sideways or something? Arctic Tern Double-Pane RV Window (500x300mm) – Campervan HQ
I want to do this but am also just puckering in all the wrong places thinking about cutting these holes. I will hold off for now, but please if others are doing this - let’s get more photos and tips/tricks for reference.
Saw a Winnebago Revel with a small side window that was the perfect size for the shortness…. something like 10x14 but it was very thick and designed for the kickout panels for those vans so would be way too thick to Mount …… so close! Dammit!
The Arctic tern windows are really nice (put them in my trailer build), but I would think you’d want a slider style so you could have it open when driving.