The Only Camp Lite with a Front Radius Window?

Started by GrampaKilt, October 13, 2019, 07:34:54 PM

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Before purchasing the 14DB CL, I really wanted a Safari Alto F17, an all-aluminum trailer still manufactured in Quebec, and IMO, had/has a look and finish much superior to anything LL produced. In particular, the Alto came with an amazing front window. Since a CL was roughly half the price of an Alto, I choose the 14DB and vowed someday, I’d put in a front radius window. A few years passed since such a window was extremely difficult to source much less having a radius that might match the front of a CL.

Then, in summer 2018, I noticed Little Max Teardrops had front windows (European acrylic, no less) and had a hunch the trailer’s front radius might be close to the CL’s. I did the tangent math, the Max from a side profile pic, and my CL for real; the radii seemed identical! (Once the window arrived, I realized the radius of the Max was about 6 inches less than the CL—learning one should never try to take accurate measurements off an internet picture...Due to bendable acrylic, thick weather-stripping and window levers on the side, the radius difference mattered little.)

How I came to purchase the window is a matter of some intrigue. The players in the drama don’t want me to broadcast it on social media, so I won’t. The window, shade/screen and installation trim/weather-stripping are from the same European source that supplied LL.

The window came with no CAD drawings; I had to figure out the rough opening by comparing with the side windows. I would need to cut through 2 ribs and was concerned they would spring outwards, but nothing budged. For the actual cutting, I used my dremel with a metal cutting disk. (Slow, it was, and many disks used, but I didn’t trust myself with an angle grinder!)

The floating ribs would need to be anchored inside the trailer to the continuous ribs on either side of the window. The lower ribs were secured with a length of 1½” x 1½” x 1/8” alum angle. I hid this angle by adding a convenient 4” shelf on the top flange. I used 1¼” x 1/8” alum tube for the top and hid it all behind a new 3-segment valance, needed for the window anyways.

Speaking of valances, I decided to change out the ugly 70’s fabric on the other valances. What I found was unbelievably poor valance workmanship. Staples into the end of 1/8” MDF (who does that?), obviously water delaminated pieces of OSB, etc. Scott Tuttle, you said other manufacturers don’t want potential buyers to look behind the surface. It’s a fail for CL valances!! I rebuilt them all!

The change this window made to the inside ambience of our trailer was astounding. There’s a vast improvement in natural ventilation, not to mention more light. We can see stars from the bed. This window is hardly the size of Alto’s picture window, but I’ll take it for a win. If I could change one thing, I wish the window was a little higher, that is, the same height of the CL’s side windows. Should there be any other CL owners foolish enough (actually it wasn’t that hard) to tackle this project, you can PM for advice. GK


Impressive work on the front window GK!  You did an amazing job and it looks really good.  You are right about the Safari Condo Alto, they are incredibly high quality travel trailer.  We also wanted one but that price......Anyway, congrats on your new front window!


GK beautiful job. Love the idea of more light. We have a similar issue with our 13 RDB where the front really feels like a bit of a cave. I was thinking to do a side window at some point but it would be a while yet before I could do a big project. Did you have to relocate any electrical lines for the upper clearance lights?





That a really nice looking job putting that window in and the trim work. I like the valance material too. Did you make them frame for the valance out of plywood instead of MDF like original? I took my valances apart and cut them down so they don't stick out from the wall as far. I would like to make some new ones and recover them. Great job on the window project.


Quote from: Fatdog2 on December 12, 2019, 01:03:11 PM
Did you make them frame for the valance out of plywood instead of MDF like original?
Yes, used a combination of 1/2, 1/4 and 1/8 plywood. Also changed the idiotic way the valances were attached to the wall. Valances now sit on 5/8" square wood ledger strips, screwed to them from underneath. GK


How do you deal with bugs and other road carnage?



Quote from: zonzin on July 14, 2020, 12:01:28 PM
How do you deal with bugs and other road carnage?

Thus far, we haven't traveled through bug plagues and no rocks/mud etc. seem to reach up to window level. The window has required no maintenance other than a wash. Other higher end TT's like Little Guy Trailers have front radius windows of the European acrylic kind that were used on CL's. I haven't read any reports of cracked windows or bug cleaning issues. GK


GK, where did you find that window? I've been looking at Dometic windows which are the ones that came with my camper but can't find a curved one.



@GrampaKilt fantastic work!

About the valance...

All of my valances are falling off since the screw holes, holding the L right angle brackets, are stripped and the screws can no longer be tightened. I was toying with the idea of using pop rivets in place of screws but then saw your approach.

I'm trying to visualize how your valance is attached, and was hoping you could describe how the square ledger strips are attached to the wall?

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Thanks! My ledger is screwed (#6-1 1/4" screw) into the vertical aluminum tubing extending upwards on each side of the window. You can see the structure in this video. That said, the screws are meant to hold the ledger in place whilst my favorite construction glue dries--LePage's PL Premium. Drill pilot holes for all screws, not forgetting the underneath ones...Feel free to PM me if more info is needed. Regards, GK


LL is way better than Safari.  I love the Safari concept but way overpriced for a single axle trailer.  Go tandem axle or go home.   

Great job on that window GKilt!!

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RV Squirrel

I made the mistake of going to an RV show with my wife.  She now wants a window in the front of our Camplite 14DBS!  I thought of this project, and showed her your pictures.  Now she may be thinking of leaving our CL so that she can be in yours.

How has it been going?  Any leaks or "road carnage"?  Does the window have a built in shade or screen?  I'm wondering how well the shade/screen mechanism would work over a curved surface.  My wife would be happy to just have light coming in even if she couldn't open the window, but I have to ask anyway. 


RV Squirrel, I'd say the radius front window installation eeks out the kitchen remodel as the most impactful and enjoyable change to our LL. In answer to your questions. Zero leaks and zero carnage. The window is tinted and the shade/screen mechanism is a smooth pull up/down slide in the curved track. The window is from the same european manufacturer of our LL windows. The window is the same size as in the front curve of the Little guy Mini and apparently is custom sized and curved their specs, meaning they have proprietary rights to this window. If interested, contact their parts guy and see if they would part with one. The radius curve of the LL is a little less than the Little guy, but the generous rubber weather stripping absorbs the difference no problem. If needed, I still have lots of the rubber molding/window jamb and plastic spacer insert left over. Free to anyone who needs some apart from shipping which unfortunately would be from Canada. Best wishes. I am available for PMs or even phone calls if deciding to go ahead with this exceptional improvement to the our beloved LL's. GK