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Old 07-23-2017, 09:16 AM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Where the road takes me
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466e
Tint the windows?

I'm considering keeping a few windows but they absolutely must be tinted. Is it cheaper to tint yourselves or just but some used tinted bus windows and see if they fit? If you did tint yourselves, how did it turn out and what did you use?

I'll either tint, or if I can just lift the roof I'll just remove all the windows and replace with RV windows. I really like the open feel of the windows but the heat they let through is god awful, I wonder if tinting them with some kind of 5% limo tint would make a difference?
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Old 07-23-2017, 09:31 AM   #2
Skoolie
 
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Thomas Saf-T-Liner
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Tinting yourself is probably the cheapest. As with anything prep work is super important. The window must be clean or all dirt and dust for a good end result. Clean the windows with an ammonia free solution, I just use water in a spray bottle with a couple drops of Walmart brand baby shampoo, the mixture should feel a little slippery. This will also be used later on. When the window is clean spray some of the water shampoo mix on the window and place a piece of tint on it and squeegee it down to hold it in place, now cut around the frame of your window to get an exact fit (stainless steel blades are best). Remove the tint piece, clean the window once more, now remove the release liner on the tint and spray both the window and tint film with the water shampoo mixture, this will allow you to slide it around and remove any bubbles. Place the wet film on the window and squeegee out the liquid starting in the middle. Once you do a couple windows you'll get the hang of it. Bus windows are relatively easy as they are all flat.

As far as film and tools I would look at expresswindowfilms.com. they will have everything you need. I would buy a roll of film, a knife and some extra blades, a rubber squeegee and a gold hard card to get yourself started as well as a spray bottle and shampoo from Walmart. Get the spray bottle that has the pump on top, I think they are in the garden center area. Avoid using the Walmart/AutoZone/ebay tint, it isn't very easy to work with and will discolor really quick, just cheaply made film. It's probably more expensive too if you're doing several windows.

On my bus I went with the all metal 20% (over the factory tint) which brought me down to around 5%. The all metal tint has a higher heat rejection but can affect phone signals etc. On my cars I like to use the classic black 1.2 series. I've used the 5%, 20%, and 35% been happy with all of them. If you want to splash out the ceramic tint is the best film you can buy but really expensive, I've never bought the stuff as for me using it on my personal stuff it's just too expensive. Either way I'm sure you'd be happy with any of the films from the company. Good luck

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Old 07-23-2017, 12:27 PM   #3
Skoolie
 
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466e
Edit: btw thank you for that amazing info!

Do u think it would be better to find a pre tinted window of better quality? My bus is a 97 and the windows are a tad thin
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Old 07-23-2017, 12:49 PM   #4
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I'm using Gila brand 5% VLT heat reflective film (bought at Summit Racing). So far, one upper pane of one window done. It's about as hot as an oven in the bus so I'm taking a break and doing it one at a time.
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Old 07-23-2017, 12:53 PM   #5
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Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
is tint hard to install? I want to tint out the windows of my DEV bus.. ive never installed a single piece of tint film in my life but have built a lot of other stuff..

-Christopher
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Old 07-23-2017, 12:54 PM   #6
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Thomas Saf-T-Liner
Engine: Cat 3116
You'd probably get better performance from aftermarket tint then factory tint. I'm not an expert but I think the factory glass is just colored, doesn't have the same UV and heat rejection capabilities.

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Old 07-23-2017, 12:57 PM   #7
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Tint isn't too hard to install, a bus is as easy as it gets. There's no shrinking or anything involved in flat glass. I'm not a professional installer but have done several of my cars over the years and cars of family members. It's really just practice. Car back windows are the hardest as they have that big curve to them which requires you to shrink the film. First time you try that it'll probably take a you a couple tries to understand how the film shrinks and reacts to the heat gun.

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Old 07-23-2017, 12:58 PM   #8
Skoolie
 
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I started off using the precut tint kits you can buy on eBay. Knowing what I know now I would just by the better quality tint by the roll as it's far easier to work with. And in the long run cheaper.

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Old 07-23-2017, 01:02 PM   #9
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good deal... we have jegs and summit right here in Ohio.. and I go right by the summit where brad got his in georgia on my trips.. i never thiought about it but yeah all my windows are flat as a pancake..

if i buy the film as a roll, what other product do i need to get as far as prep chemicals, tools ,etc?
-Christopher
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Old 07-23-2017, 01:04 PM   #10
Skoolie
 
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This is 20% all metal over the factory 20 ish% giving me around 4%. It definitely makes it harder to see in .

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Old 07-23-2017, 01:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
good deal... we have jegs and summit right here in Ohio.. and I go right by the summit where brad got his in georgia on my trips.. i never thiought about it but yeah all my windows are flat as a pancake..

if i buy the film as a roll, what other product do i need to get as far as prep chemicals, tools ,etc?
-Christopher
Just a spray bottle, a knife with a stainless steel blade (reduces the chances of scratching the glass), some baby shampoo, a rubber squeegee, and some sort of hard card (even an old credit card would work). That should get you going. If you later want to try a car, a heat gun is a must for shrinking.

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Old 07-23-2017, 01:58 PM   #12
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List of things I used:

1. Window film (5 rolls at 24" x 6.5')
2. Spray bottle with wet stuff in it (as described by others here)
3. Paper towels
4. Sharp Razor (utility knife, in my case)
5. Window scraper (not necessarily required but I needed to scrape stuff off my windows)
6. Tape Measure
7. Yardstick (for measuring as well as straight cuts, use what you have available)
8. Large clean, flat work/cutting surface (not required but very helpful)
9. (As recommended by tint maker) Tape (Used to help peel backing from tint. I simply used the label that was on the roll)
10. An old credit card. I cut about 1/4" from one end to get square corners.

I sort of learned as I went. I opened and unrolled the tint, and quickly realized how helpful the table would be. I have a pair of 6' folding tables so I brought one in the bus and opened it. I still have the seats in my bus, so I simply put the table on the seat tops (I did not unfold the legs). I measured the windows at 24 1/2" x 10 1/2" per pane (and two windows at 30 1/2" x 10 1/2" per pane). The handy door and back windows were under 24" tall, so I didn't worry about those for length yet.

I cut a 24.5" length of film then cut 10.5" width from it. I cleaned the glass then sprayed it a bit more, removed the backing from the tint and carefully put it in place. It took a little adjustment but soon was lined up. I used the credit card to carefully squeegee out as much of the water and air bubbles as I could. The more you get out, the better your installation will be. Take care not to crease, wrinkle, or stretch the film; it will show in the end result.





I didn't do the greatest job on this first pane but it was my first one. Practice makes perfect.
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Old 07-23-2017, 02:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iheartbus View Post
Is it cheaper to tint yourselves or just but some used tinted bus windows and see if they fit? If you did tint yourselves, how did it turn out and what did you use?
Doing it yourself is pretty inexpensive and easy. I did my entire coach and it is good enough (some mistakes but nobody sees them). That required nearly all of a 40" x 100' roll of 2 ply 5% film from Lexen. If you have a helper it can make a huge difference - at least if dealing with large windows. Buying one of the $15 'installation kits' can be useful if you don't have the tools already.

Good luck!!

Edit: Forgot the result... The difference in radiated heat is significant (with the 5% tint). This was noted during installation as it took me about two weeks to do all the windows. A neat feature, in my opinion, is that it is nearly impossible to see into the coach (from the outside) during the daytime.
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Old 07-23-2017, 10:33 PM   #14
Skoolie
 
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Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466e
I'm very torn. I want to raise the roof but until then I know I will have heat issues with these terrible windows. I hung thermal curtains all around and it helps TREMENDOUSLY but some heat still gets through. I often wonder if it is worth the wait to raise the roof, sheet over the windows and insulate like crazy, or cut costs and tint and just deal with the glass.
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Old 07-24-2017, 07:54 AM   #15
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I'm afraid I don't have the answer but two things to consider.

One - depending on your location.. the worst of the heat is nearly over for this year.

Two - an awning of some sort to shade the windows might be a possible solution that helps short and long term.
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Old 07-24-2017, 08:33 AM   #16
Bus Geek
 
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roof raise vs not is a question of height not so much insulation..
its also possibly to raise your roof below the window line.. insulate like crazy, tint the windows and keep them.. or as many of them as you want..

while RV windows offer better sealment and double pane more insulation, there are plenty of conversions done that use the skoolie windows..

-Christopher
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Old 07-24-2017, 08:15 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iheartbus View Post
I'm very torn. I want to raise the roof but until then I know I will have heat issues with these terrible windows. I hung thermal curtains all around and it helps TREMENDOUSLY but some heat still gets through. I often wonder if it is worth the wait to raise the roof, sheet over the windows and insulate like crazy, or cut costs and tint and just deal with the glass.
Out of curiosity... Why not remove the school bus windows, skin the sides and install RV windows without raising the roof?

I only ask because my plan is to do just that. The roof raise seems like too many things could go wrong (at least for this amateur). I really like how much light the school bus windows let in and how open most of the buses that I have seen with school bus windows feel but I really want a well insulated and efficient bus in the end.
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Old 07-24-2017, 10:54 PM   #18
Skoolie
 
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Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466e
My bus only has what seems to be 5'11 height, I'd say 6 feet but it's pretty short.
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Old 07-25-2017, 08:39 AM   #19
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Ruestoleum has a spray on frosting that works very well if you need privacy and it does block out the sun quite a bit.
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Old 07-25-2017, 09:02 AM   #20
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One more option...

install Solar Screens. Reduces heat by a big factor plus keeps bugs out with the windows down.
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