What we did:
- Tinted all the windows with a 20% ceramic tint. The windshield is 70% and greatly reduces the amount of heat we feel while driving. Definitely worth doing!
- Applied an 8 mil security film to the front windows and the middle slider windows.
- Fabricated steel brackets with security fasteners to mount two 3/16” aluminum flat bars across all the slider windows and the back window.
- Installed metal brackets for the front windows for bars that we will put up when we are not with the van.
- Removable blackout curtains installed on all windows behind the front seats.
- Moveable blackout divider curtain installed to separate front seats and the rear of the van.
Why and how we did it:
This is our home for the next 18 months and we want to protect it, especially while we are not with the van. As much as we’d like to think car theft is not a problem, we have to be prepared and expect that it will happen.
Lucia tinted all the slider windows in the back and we hired Santa Rosa Tint to tint the windshield and front windows as well as install the security film. They did a great job! We used a 20% ceramic film by Global Window Films because we thought it would be dark enough. In hindsight, we would have gone with a slightly darker or mirrored tint. We bought our tint from Windowtintpro.com because they sell the Global Window Tint in partial rolls. Tinting windows is hard to do and takes a lot of practice and even more prep work to get it done right; especially for odd shaped windows and slider windows.
For the rear windows Lucia cut and bent ⅛” mild steel into 4 brackets for each window. She had nuts welded onto the brackets and then had the brackets welded onto the body of the van around the windows. She cut and drilled all the aluminum flat bar to fit each window dimension. The final touch was painting them black so they are more visible from the outside. The result is that each window will have two 1 ½” bars about 6” apart that are removable if we ever need to do so. We can still open and close the sliders for ventilation if we need to without having to remove the bars. Even if someone does break a window to get in, they will need to have the correct tamper proof bit to remove the fasteners holding the bars in place.
For the front windows, Lucia cut 5/16″ stainless steel rod to weld at two points on the front window column and at one point on the column under the seat belt attachment point. The rod pieces have holes drilled in the end to accommodate a padlock so these bars can be put in place when we leave the van for long durations. The window bars have holes drilled so they can slide over the steel rod and be locked in place. Pictures coming soon!
The blackout curtains are double layered with mosquito netting so we can roll up the blackout if we want to let daylight in, but not the bugs. The curtains are attached to the car wall with stainless snap rivet fasteners and the curtain stays in place when down with neodymium magnets sewn into the bottom and side hems. Pictures of the curtains coming soon!