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Windshield Covers - Keeping The Heat Out

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I am looking to purchase a windshield cover to help reduce the heat in the front of our rig. We own a Newmar Essex that has rather tall front windows and they do a great job of heating up the interior. I considered interior sun reflectors but have also read that covering the outside will keep the glass from heating, which seems to make sense. Any comments will be appreciated.

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Guest Wayne77590

I know of the "Prompt Sunscreen," but I also am interested in this thread for answers or recommendations.

Thanks.

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We have had the exterior sun screens on both our motor homes. I consider them essential. The sun screens block the sunlight and infrared radiation (heat) before it enters the motor home. Our first set was white, the set we have now is black. Given my preference, I think the black screens are slightly more effective. The screens were the first accessory we purchased for our motor home when we bought it. We had them installed before we left the rally where we purchased the motor home.

The screens we have are from Motor Coach Designs, 800-804-1757, www.MotorCoachDesigns.com The advantage of their product is the overall quality and the technique they use for attaching the sun screens. There are snaps on the motor home at each corner and additional as needed along the top or unusual shaped sides. The snaps at the lower corners have Velcro tabs which hold the Velcro on the corresponding corners of the sun screen. Attaching the screens requires putting the screens on the top snap so a ladder is necessary. The lower corners are attached by pulling the screens tight and then attaching them to the Velcro tabs. If/when the screens sag, simply pull them snug and reattach to the Velcro tabs. Our first set of sun screens were stretched out and sagged. There was nothing I could do to make them look better. When I saw the MCD design I was sold.

Motor Coach Designs produces a quality product and their price is among the more expensive screens. I have had several repairs made, always at no charge. Recently I mentioned that I needed several replacement tabs to replace some that had the Velcro pulling loose from the tab. They sent me a complete set of new tabs. That is the kind of customer support I always hope for when I buy a product.

I have seen screens that can be applied entirely from the ground, no climbing required. I don't know how well they work. The one that I saw was for the windshield only. We purchased sun screens for all our windows, a full set of four for the front and a set of four for one side of the coach and a set of five for the other side. They were custom made, I supplied window measurements and MCD installed them for us at the Monaco Pre-Rally in 2004 before the FMCA Convention in Redmond, OR. We use them all winter long in south Texas and the wind has only pulled a corner loose a hand full of times in five years.

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My 2003 coach has the black external sun block sheet which is great to reduce heat, and mainly provide privacy in the daytime, so I can keep the drapes open (during the day) if I want. You do need to use a ladder, or get on your stomach on top to snap the top snaps - not too handy, but does not sag or flap in wind. Here in Oregon it is sufficient to keep heat down, and comfortable during the day, but when it gets HOT, like 90-95, I drag out a sheet of that silver bubble wrap stuff I bought at Camping World and cut to fit the front window. I put it inside the window, behind the drapes to keep it in place. An engineer friend mentioned it would be more effective on the outside of the window, under the black snap on shade, but that is a little too much trouble for me, and would not be as handy to take down if I wanted to. If I summered in Arizona or Texas, I would do that. It works very well, easily reducing solar heating 20 degrees in the summer sun.

I believe the black external shade is original equipment, from 2003, and I have used it six of the 14 months I have owned it - I have no idea how much (or if) the original owners used it - still looks new. Pretty stiff material, rolls to a 3" roll that fits under the edge of a slide in the basement bay. The bubble wrap stuff is a little more bulky, but is worth the trouble when you need it.

I also have a vent fan in the front overhead cabinet that has all of my entertainment electronics. Even with the electronics off, the sun really heats that area. Luckily it has fiberglass batting which helps, and when i remember the fan, I turn that on. I know of some coaches that have no insulation in that area. I think the fan will be a handy feature this winter to warm the coach, and if i was not so lazy, I would turn the coach 180 degrees so heat would have less window area to work on now. Only about three weeks to go before it starts working in my favor. This summer we have run the airconditioner only about six or eight days, and no nights - pretty incredible for this Texas boy.

That bubble wrap works great, is inexpensive and easy to use. Cuts with ordinary sissors.

Hope this helps.

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dilpitt.....I recently purchased and had installed a 4 piece set of black exterior shades by MCD. So far I am very pleased with them. They help with the heat build-up from the front windshield and they look good when installed. I have now ordered the wheel covers from MCD. I should receive them in a couple of weeks. Good luck on your decision.

Road Dog

post-2879-1253462194_thumb.jpg

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100_0678web.jpg

I would like to add some comments regarding the exterior and interior covers. A couple of months ago I purchased a full set of MCD Duo's for the coach along with the wheel covers. They are a nice addition, well made, look good, easy to operate and expensive. I also spent almost 2 weeks at MCD parked directly facing the Southern sun in 110 degree + weather and as I was bored to death most of the time so decided to take heat measurements to test each of these setups during the day.

My wife hated the pleated shades which most folks don't like and wanted the upgrade because of looks and reduction in heat intrusion into the occupied space. I have over 25 years in the A/C trades so I knew a bit about the subject and tried to explain that there are 3 forms of heat. Radiant, conductive and convection and the interior shades would do nothing more than reduce the radiant heat waves. The interior shades will actually heat up from convection (hot air currents circulating between the hot windshield and the shade itself) and will give this heat off to the interior of the coach. This was proved by taking temperature readings as there was a reduction in heat but not great.

While waiting for our shades to be made I asked MCD to loan us an exterior shade which we installed across the windshield. The temperature on the inside of the glass was approximately 10 degrees warmer than the room temperature within apprximately 1 foot from the windshield. As the temperature drift was up to almost 90 degrees by late afternoon it placed the temp in the cockpit area over 100 degree. The glass was hot enough to fry an egg on, the reason for this is conductive heat from the exterior screen itself. The screen lays directly on top of the glass and transfers this heat to the glass. Without an air space betweenthe two the heat has no place to go but to the glass and into the coach. The radiant heat though does not make it through the screen for the most part.

As far as which is better for heat reduction, I would say they are a toss up, they both reduce radiant heat, one conducts heat through conduction (exterior) and the other conducts heat through convection (interior.) Of course the MCD's are nicer.

I linked a couple of pictures of an Airstream TT and I took notice of the shades on it manufactured by Airstream. You will notice that there is an airgap between the shade and the front window. THIS WILL DO THE BEST JOB. If someone can figure out an easy way to keep the exterior shade off the window (so there is an air gap) they would then have the best heat reduction method of all.

airstreamweb.jpg

sideweb.jpg

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Guest Wayne77590

That very front window on the Airstream is an addition, typically by the owner. It serves as a dual purpose and is usually made of Plexiglas. It protects the window from kick-up rocks and dirt balls as a primary function. Secondly, it swivels from the bottom out so that in the heat of the day it becomes a UV Awning. Great little design and made for the Airstream.

Edited: I would think that one could adapt this for different windows on the MH if they wanted to.

Here is a Video on the airstream install. (Not for the faint of heart of mechanical challenged, and would be quite a feat for a full MH.

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I would point out that the heat of the sun screens themselves had another course to disperse heat energy than directly into the windshield and that is into the ambient air around the sun screens. They will radiate and convect the heat of the shades directly into the surrounding air as easily or more easily than conducting it into the windshield. The heat measured from the windshield is not only from the shades but from the energy that passes through them. If you put aluminum foil on the outside of the windshield, that would reflect all energy from the sun but of course you wouldn't be able to see through it. The external solar screens are a compromise between totally blocking the suns radiation and being able to see through the windshield.

Most engineered designs are a compromise. Usually there are opposing gains from one interest and another. Engineering is a process of balancing opposing benefits to maximize the value of the final product. You can design a motor home that has much better fuel mileage but is totally unlivable (think a Volkswagen bug). You can design a motor home that has terrible fuel mileage but is very livable (think - I won't name one but there are many). Engineering is to design the best mileage for this or that design. Various compromises will appeal to a variety of people. Business managers and consumer demand will shape how many bus conversions and how many class B or C motor homes there are.

The Airstream awning for the front window would be ideal as an awning blocks all incoming radiation while eliminating all conducted heat. As Wayne points out, this would be a challenging application for a motor home. Even if you could design one for a motor home, it would almost certainly negatively affect the fuel mileage because of the aerodynamics (not to mention the aesthetics) involved in putting something on the front of a vehicle that would cover the windshield.

I love trees as long as they are nowhere near my motor home. Trees provide the ideal shade from the sun in hot weather and drop their leaves in cold weather. But trees drop sap, leaves, seeds, pollen, insects and everything else on my motor home. Trees block my satellite signal to my television. Thus, my ideal shade is something which blocks all solar radiation in hot weather and lets it through when cold and of course allows signals from satellites in space to penetrate to stimulate my dish receiver so I can see Craig Ferguson on late night TV. Now, engineers in the audience, design that! Meanwhile I'll park in the sun, using the awnings I have and put on my MCD sun screens to take care of the rest.

Stay cool!

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I would point out that the heat of the sun screens themselves had another course to disperse heat energy than directly into the windshield and that is into the ambient air around the sun screens. They will radiate and convect the heat of the shades directly into the surrounding air as easily or more easily than conducting it into the windshield. The heat measured from the windshield is not only from the shades but from the energy that passes through them. If you put aluminum foil on the outside of the windshield, that would reflect all energy from the sun but of course you wouldn't be able to see through it. The external solar screens are a compromise between totally blocking the suns radiation and being able to see through the windshield.

Exterior screens will disperse heat to the ambient air. But I respectfully disagree with your statement that they will disperse to the surrounding air more easily. If the outdoor temp. is 110 degrees and the cover is 130 some heat will be transmitted BUT heat travels to cold and glass is not an insulator, air though is an insulator and if the temperature outside is hotter than the temperature inside where does the heat go? Inside! Check out the R values in your Trane manual. The heat will pass through the windshield faster (and quicker) especially if the coach is colder than to the surrounding air outside. It is all a function of temperature difference and insulating ® value. In your brick and mortar home you may have had lined insulated drapes (similar to the shades) on your windows for the winter BUT the heat will go through the windows and escape and through the walls also. If it didn't happen the stupid furnace would not be burning up our hard earned dollars. The other windows in the coach (depending on the make) are dual pane with a dry air space between. Because of the insulating quality of the air it helps reduce window loss (although not that much, but my toungue won't stick to the window at least <smile>.) Some better windows use a vacuum and some other gases (argon I think but my memory is having a brain f--t as I write this so it slips me at present.)

This whole discussion is kind of like what the guy said when I took a tour of Fleetwood. I asked what is the difference between these coaches (Fleetwood Diesels) on this line and the (American Coaches) on this line as I stood in the middle of both. His response ........... $200,000 how much would you like to pay? For all you American Coach guys reading this I know that there is more to them than that, it was HIS statement not mine.

Same is for the interior and exterior shades they both limit some heat transfer .............. how much do you want to pay? I .......excuse me, my wife paid (I am not going to take credit) a lot of money for the MCD's and she could have received the same benefit from the exteriors. Again the MCD's are very nice and a nice addition.

The bottom line of my post was not start a comprehensive review on the subject but to advise folks that NONE of the methods do a really great job because of what they have to deal with! Or at least they should not spend a lot of money and expect a MAJOR difference. Awnings are really the best defense against the sun for radiant heat but the glass will still conduct the outdoor ambient temp to the inside of the coach, you only have to feel the windows to get the idea on a hot day.

I am going back to sleep now!

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We bought brand new Prompts for the front windshield and both of the front side windows. The one's on the side windows SAGGED because the front required a rubber cord UNDER the side windows, and Prompt offered no alternative solution. You still had to have a ladder to install the three window covers, and they just flat looked tacky and a "quick" solution for something we should have thought about.

We GAVE those Prompts away free, and bought some black Sunguards that utilize stainless steel snaps, and have been very pleased for the past 3 years. I can install these faster than I can with the Prompts, and they look nice and tight, and the material is much thicker and is 94% UV protected vs the 80% the Prompts were. :rolleyes:

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I’m going to weigh into this despite having absolutely no real expertise in the finer points of the thread discussions. Therefore any comment I make is subject to rejection with the exception that no one can argue that my solution actually works!

I have a rig that has huge amounts of glass window surface. Despite being darkly tinted, they allow lots of heat inside the rig. The summer months in my part of Texas are at least 100. I’ve tried several made-for-RV products that are nice, but didn’t give me the results I was looking for. What I did find extremely effective is the use of a metalized aluminum radiant barrier. It’s a product similar to the silver car window screen, but is thicker with an air barrier built into it between the two sides. It comes in rolls of varying width and length. Cut it to size for a particular window, attach it with a couple of suction cups, and it lowers the inside temps by at least 20 degrees. That gives my A/C unit a chance to work efficiently.

It is not visible behind tinted windows. But when mounted inside of the front windshield, it does somewhat present the spacecraft look. But who the heck cares when it works well? I’m only using it for 2-3 hours during a direct sunlight period and it rolls back up for easy storage. I also cut some pieces to fit in the overhead vent and skylight openings.

When one is paying for their own electricity, like I do, functionality outweighs aesthetics.

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This post has been helpful for me, though I came to the prom party a little bit late, but hoping someone could reply with my questions about rv shades.

It sounds like the MCD shades are best, aesthetically speaking. But it also sounds like the interior type shades work just as well. So my specific question are two fold:

First, I would like to look out the windshield and still see the nice view of whatever it is that's out there. Can I do this with the MCD shade? With respect to the interior type shade, manufactureres claim that you can see outside, but no one can see in. Is this true? Additionally, the interior shade manufactureres market their product by noting what percentage of sun shade you prefer; 85, 88 and some claim 94% of blocking light. Is this true?

Second part of the question is we are a young family (6 and 3 year old kids). The 3 year old boy loves to climb on top of our 2010 Damon Class A dash and enjoys looking out the window (not while driving of course!). Given that the windshield can get mighty hot, which would be safer and better for my specific situation; MCD or the interior style shade? And for the record, when we traveled last year, from MA to FL and back, with several stops along the way, the windshield did get mighty hot, and we really had to watch both kids very carefully so that neither child got hurt by the sun beating down on the windshield. Since last year was our first year in using the rig, I didn't know about the windshield getting hot, so I never bothered to look into how to keep the sun out. And when the sun did come in and realized that it was mucho caliente (very hot!) in the rig, I used the factory equipped pleated curtain to help keep the heat out, and some cool A/C air in the rig.

Thanks and hoping to hear from some folks!

Rob

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Guest BillAdams

The windshield will remain substantially cooler with exterior mounted sun screens only. There are many companies that custom make them for your specific coach and MCD makes sets which are made for anyone specific brand coach. These are similar to the custom make and use some velcro in the corners to allow for adjustments. We used a company in Tucson called Big Daddy Cool Shades. There were at the Beaudry RV park before it closed and they now are at the Voyager RV park just East of there.

It is true that there screens that block more sun than others so you have to check as some custom companies will charge the same or slightly less but provide a substantially lower quality material which blocks less light (UV?).

As to being able to see out but no one seeing in, this is true during the day and exactly the opposite at night. If it's lighter outside than inside you will not be able to see in. However, when it gets dark outside and you turn your lights on inside, everyone outside will be able to see in and you will not be able to see out (of course, it's dark so you didn't need to see out anyway!). The evening time is when you will draw your inside curtains for privacy.

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Guest Wayne77590

Since I orignially posted, and this topic has resurfaced I'll ad my next 2 cents worth.

I looked around and looked around, and did some research. Outside screens will provide better heat reduction than inside shades - bottom line.

Now what type of mounting system do I want? I did not want to drill holes, put snaps, or place bars on the outside.

So I purchased Magne Shade sunscreens. Since my purchase then have come out with some very nice designer screens. However, the black sunscreen will provide better protection than other colors.

Magna shades use powerfull magnets, about 3/4" in diameter, placed on the inside of the window along the periphery and the shade have pockets with similar magnets iniside. These shades can be install from the ground. No need for a ladder. It takes me approximatley 30 seconds to put my front sunscreen on. Less for the side windows.

Roger Hunkler is out at Quartzite, so if you look for the Magne Shade vendor and find him, say hi and thanks from me. It is really a great product.

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Guest BillAdams

The only problem with the Magna Shades is the wind. If you get a good wind from the side of the coach it will lift the shades off the windshield.

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It sounds like I'll go with shades that you can attach from the outside. I'll look into the Magna Shades and MCD. I briefly - and I mean really briefly - visited both both Magna Shade and MCD websites. But again, because my due diligence was not sufficient, I did not see language on either website that stated that I will be able to look out once any one of these shades are attached.

Wayne, what say you? Can you see out your front windshield when you have your Magna Shade up?

Bill, I think you answered the question, but not sure. Does it sound that with either shade, I'll still be able to look out?

Thanks fellas,

Rob

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Guest BillAdams

Yes, all of this type of shade is designed to see out during the day. Everyone will be able to see in at night. The material used will vary how well you can see and how much light it blocks to be sure you get a look at a setup on a coach before you make a choice.

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Guest Wayne77590

Rob,

Yes, with Magne Shade you can see out. You can see in at night if lights are on. So you could sit there in the dark and watch Bill. When I purchased mine they only had two shades of color, I think I remember correctly. The theory is that Black provides a better protection from heat and UV. Magne Shade states 90% protection and from what I have experienced, that is most likely a correct figure. Check there web site for specifics and talk to Roger. He has never given me information that was incorrect. (I think he is stll at Quartzite)

As for wind, I do not have a problem.

On edit: In Quartzite, Roger, Magne Shade, is at Tyson Wells, site Y24. If you want a demonstration or answers look him up.

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We first got the Prompt sunscreen last year because of the advertised ability to put up without a ladder. The demo video looked easy-yeah :blink: .

I provided lots of campground entertainment trying to put that thing up. When I finally did get it up it would sag. It did a fair job at what it was supposed to do but I didn't like the PIA factor and the look of the sag. Already have enough of that. So broke out the wallet and purchased snap on for windshield and all windows. Wallet went flat but the mh stayed much cooler. (We were in Las Vegas in summer). I also had awnings installed over most windows which probably made the most difference.

I find it takes me about 1/2 hour to install all shades (I'm getting pretty slow) and the only real downside is that it considerably darkens the inside. You have to go out to make sure it isn't going to rain! As others have said, you can see out (reasonably) during the day and others can see in (well) during the night if you have lights on.

Would I do it again? In a heart beat!

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Guest Wayne77590

It takes me about 30 seconds to put the front Magna Shade on, and about 15 seconds per side window

What would my next set of shade be? Magna Shade, for sure.

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I have Magna Shades for the front, driver's, passenger's and door windows. Just ordered one for some very large side windows. The magnets for the front are on the inside, all others are on the outside.

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