DIY Gullwing Windows + Parts List (1 Viewer)

Joined
Mar 13, 2017
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66
Location
Easton, PA
Here’s a DIY for those of you who want gullwing windows on your 80 but either can’t afford the $1k-$2.5k price tag for a set or have struggled with the scarcity of availability of those options (Out of Stock, long shipping delays from AU or SA, or, *ahem*, vendors refusing to answer and ignoring your inquiries for months on end as to when their product may be back in stock)


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Materials:

Aluminum sheet- 1/8” (4’ x 3’) 5052 or 6061. I would argue that 6061 would be preferable as it is slightly stiffer. Steer clear from 3003, which may be more readily available and slightly cheaper, but will bend and deform more easily. Go to your local metal/steel supply place. If they don’t have it, they’ll know where you can get it. Note: This is enough for BOTH sides.

Hinges – (2) Leer PN #71541 A ‘commonly’ used hinge is this Leer truck cap hinge. I’ve only found it on truckoutfittersplus.com. Your local truck cap vendor who sells Leer camper shells will probably be able to order it as a replacement part. Caution: this part has (2) threaded holes to secure to the window. Commonly available ones that you may see with a google search only have (1) threaded hole and a locater pin. Make sure you order the right one.

Alternate: Be creative. These are hardly the only hinges out there that will work. Aluminum or Steel hinges will work just as well. There is nothing special about these hinges that make them the only option.

Screws – (2) ¼”-20 x 3/4” long Allen button head bolt. This will replace the #10-24 captured bolt that comes with the hinges. This is used to attach the hinge to the window frame on the cruiser.

Latches – (2) “Amazon Special” Compression Latch. These latches are flush, locking, and barely discernible from the more expensive Southco latches that they are direct copies of. If you order 2 sets (4 latches) at the same time you might get lucky enough for them to be from the same lot and keyed alike, like I did. Link: Compression Latches

Alternate: Southco C5-31-35 for those who want the $$$ option.

Cruiser window rubber trim – 10’ Trimlok 3/32” edge x 3/8” inside. McMasterCarr PN# 24175K13. Cut to fit. This rubber trim fit nice and snug around the exposed sheet metal standing seam on the cruiser. This product wasn’t as ‘deep’ as I’d like, at 3/8” so I will order a different version somewhere around 5/8” deep. I'll update this post when I do.

Gullwing window bulb trim – 10’ Trimlok 1/8” edge with ¾” bulb on one side. McMasterCarr PN# 1120A573. Cut to fit.

Optional – The ‘accepted’ method of attaching the hinge to the truck body involves tapping a 1/4” hole in the body and screwing the allen head bolt into it. The material here is only a single thickness of body sheet metal. What, 18g? That is MAYBE a single thread engagement. Entirely unacceptable to me, but I guess acceptable to some. This is actually worse than using sheet metal screws, as they at least use a wider thread to spread the load out a LITTLE bit more. “Well no one has complained about them pulling through so far.” That’s a bull**** excuse for design. Now since I already had my headliner down (maybe an extra 1/2hr of work) I decided to drill some ¾” holes to access the ¼” bolts and add a washer and a nylock nut to each.



Cost:

Aluminum Sheet - $120 ($60 for each side)
Hinges - $80
Latches - $42
Screws - pennies
Window trim - $27
Gullwing trim - $11
Shipping ~$20

Total per side - $240.pennies



Steps -
I'm not going to get too in depth here as there already exists some information on either Youtube or vendor sites. I won't link them here, but if you'd like to, you're more than welcome to link them in the comments below to help others.

1. Remove the rear sliding window assembly. Go buy the trim removal kit from harbor freight for like $6. Work on the inner lip of the rubber from inside the car. Work your way around, pushing the rubber out. The window will pop out easily once you get about 1/4 of the way.
2. Clean all the dirt and crap that's accumulated, and admire the shiny new un-sun-faded color that your cruiser used to be.
3. Trace the outside window opening onto some cardboard. This will take several tries of getting the right size, tracing/trimming/trying again. Patience, young grasshopper. Step #6 is coming.
4. Draw a line inside the outline of the template about 3/8" from the edge. This will give room for the edging and gap/tolerance. (Basically reduce the size of your template by 3/8" all around. At this time I transferred my template to some 1/8" particle board I had laying around. I then installed the edging with side tube. I test fit again until I was satisfied with the size. Note: the top and bottom are perfectly straight, although I did not check if they were parallel. The sides are curved.

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5. Skip to step #6.
6. Have a beer.
7. Install edging onto the cruiser window opening.
8. Modify the hinges. The hinges I called out on the materials list only open about 60deg. We need this to be like 120deg. There is a stop molded into the geometry of the part. just sand off this excess until it is rounded and the hinge opens all the way.
From this:

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To this:

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9. Mock up the hinge location. Where they lie side to side is arbitrary, but I put mine about 7 inches in from the sides. To locate the hinge in comparison to the edge, just butt up the hinge when it is 90deg closed and pull it down until it stops. Now trace the hinge on the template. Measure the location of the holes and drill/install hinges.

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Cont'd
 
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Joined
Mar 13, 2017
Messages
66
Location
Easton, PA
10. Watch Youtube video on how to locate hinge-to-window opening holes and drill/tap. If you can't find the video, it shouldn't be hard to figure out. Just drill/tap hole so that the gullwing window sits about flush to the body. The 3/4" tubing allows for lots of squish and forgiveness of hole placement.

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11.Now that you have the mock up window installed, take the latches inside the cruiser and mark out on the window where they should go. Again, side to side measurements don't matter. Should be simple. Cut the holes for the latches and test fit everything. Note: jigsaw with metal blade is your friend for this entire project.

7.jpg

12. Have a beer.
13. Once you are satisfied with the fit, transfer your template to aluminum. Test fit everything. You can always remove more material to adjust the fit at this point.
14.Sand the flats with something like 220 and then prime/paint with your favorite color. I'd suggest you go HAM and Bob Ross the hell out of it.

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14. Now is the time to trace your finished window onto the remaining aluminum sheet for the other side. Cut and repeat for other side.

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15. Pocket all the cash you just saved and then buy some more beer.

Picture for the Optional Step:

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I would show you the finished painted product but it's under about a foot of snow. The first picture should give you the idea. Next is adding a gas strut. I'll post that in a few days when I find one suitable for the job.

Note: This post sponsored by your local craft brewery. Give em some love.
 
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Joined
Apr 15, 2018
Messages
110
Location
Hope, maine
on my list of things to do, I was going to go more the YodaTEQ method I got an old frame and started the proses but now I think I will be switching gears . thanks for the information.
 

TomH

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Joined
May 14, 2003
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1,109
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Seattle
Nice. You going to work on the tailgate storage next? Should be the same parts/materials/tools/skillset.
 
Joined
Mar 13, 2017
Messages
66
Location
Easton, PA
@TomH I had already gotten the Huracan Fab tailgate storage when it was on sale, sub-$300 including shipping. Didn't quite seem worth it at the time to fab my own. They actually use the same compression latches as the gullwings. Now that I think about it, I might just check and see if they're keyed alike! Note: The only thing I would do differently for that tailgate storage would be to leave the crossmember in place that bisects the tailgate. As per install instructions, you cut it out. You lose a good amount of strength there and even though this unit holds my weight, it sure flexes a good amount. It should have been made of slightly thicker gauge. Still a great unit for the price, especially compared to competitors. I will burn in a piece of square tubing where the old one was at some point, to give it back some strength. When I get back around to it. HA!


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Joined
Nov 25, 2018
Messages
46
Location
Aurora, CO
Absolutely badass!
Screenshot the whole thing and 100% building this. Thanks for those instructions man!
 

Honger

Joel, TLCA #21509
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Joined
Aug 11, 2005
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2,417
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Peoria, AZ
This is a fantastically helpful thread. I'm getting ready to do a DIY set for my Troopy... and the hinges in particular were something I was having problems sourcing.
 

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