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It’s no secret that we love our RV’s double-pane acrylic windows. They’re WAY better than glass for both sound and heat insulation, they’re lighter, and you can lock them in a ventilated position. But the ones in our Winnebago EKKO had one fatal flaw: They would sometimes stick in an open position. Not anymore! Check out this video!
If you have the acrylic, dual-pane windows in your RV, they either already have struts that work with a thumbscrew, or they’re the ratcheting type shown in the video. If you have the ratcheting type, and they haven’t gotten stuck on you… yet, consider yourself lucky. It was my experience that no matter how well I cared for them (frequent compressed-air-cleaning, occasional dry lubricant), they would sometimes stick – and NEVER at a convenient time. After being stuck in a mosquitonado one too many times (really, once is enough), I decided to figure out a way to ditch the ridiculous and stupid mechanism once and for all. We had an acrylic RV window in Lance, and over all the years we had him, the window never failed once. That’s because it was a thumbscrew-type window. Once I remembered that, the path forward was simple.
Please don’t be put off by the need to acquire 3D printed parts. It’s not hard at all. Our local library, and even some of the public schools, have 3D printers, and people who know how to use them. And if you want to pick 3D printing up yourself, it’s not that hard. The material used to print all twelve of these is less than two meters, so there’s not a lot of cost there. If you absolutely don’t want to learn or figure out how to get them printed, there are online services (Treatstock is one friends have used) that will source out the printing and have them shipped right to your door. Again, the amount of printing is very minor, and the model is beginner-level with rafts and supports not needed.
A couple caveats. I have tested this with the PolyPlastic windows found in our EKKO. I have not tested this with any other brand or model of window, so it may or may not work on your windows (but you could probably modify the idea a little to get it to work). And obviously, if you already have windows struts that close with a thumbscrew (instead of the silly ratcheting mechanism), then this procedure is redundant.
And now, for the links.
I promise a bunch of links for the things you’ll need to pull this off, so let’s get those out of the way.
- The .stl file to 3-D print the parts is available on thingiverse, totally free, here: Acrylic RV Window Strut Fix
- The blue thumbscrews I used in the video are these from Amazon: DTGN M3x16mm(DXL) Knurled Thumb Screws – 10Pack
- This is the Bosch tap I used: BOSCH BPT3M50 3mm – .50 High-Carbon Steel Metric Plug Tap
- And here’s a tap handle if you don’t have one: BOSCH BTH014#0-1/4 In. T-Handle Tap Wrench
- Here’s a nail set: Suiwotin 4pcs Nail Setter Punch
- You should definitely get a center punch anyway if you don’t already have one (whether you do this mod or not): NEIKO 02639A 6-Inch Automatic Center Hole Punch with Adjustable One-Handed Spring Impact
- This is my most favorite screwdriver ever: PB Swiss 8190/2-100 Screwdrivers for 2 Phillips Screws
- Here’s a beater screwdriver if you don’t have one: Stanley 60-005 Standard Fluted Cabinet Slotted Tip Screwdriver, 3/16 Inch X 6 Inch
- You’ll also need a Torx T-25 screwdriver: Craftsman 9-41476 T-25 x 3″ Torx Screwdriver
- I assume you have a drill, but you’ll need a 1/8″ drill bit: BOSCH CO2135B 1/8 In. x 2-3/4 In. Cobalt M42 Drill Bit
- OK. If you want the drill I have (which I also love), it’s this one: Milwaukee M12 12V 3/8-Inch Drill Driver
- Beater hammer: Lightweight Reusable Plastic handle Claw hammer
Beyond that list of tools and materials, I think I do a pretty thorough job of explaining and demonstrating in the video. But if there’s something you need help with, sound off in the comments below and I’ll try to help out!