What Ever Happened To Rear Windows In Motor Homes?

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July 2, 2009

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Looking at class “A” coaches over the past 20 years has to beg the question “What ever happened to the back window?”  Twenty years ago the majority of coaches had back windows.  Over the years they have disappeared on almost all diesel pushers and on many higher line gas designs.  Today nearly all diesel pushers and most gas A class coaches are without rear window.

Perhaps it was faded out as it offered very little to the coach.  So let’s look at what advantages the rear window actually offered.

  • Provides extra light into the rear or bedroom area.  The difference a rear window makes to extra light can not be over stated.  It can turn that hazy dark room into a bright cheerful space.  All of this with a blind to select dark when needed.  
  • Provides an inside visual when backing for a spotter.  Ever had to back into a site in heavy rain?  It’s either wet spotter or no spotter.  With a rear window, your spotter can stay in the comfort of the rig and observe the area you are backing into and use verbal warnings, if required.
  • It can provide scenic views in back-in sites that are not normally visible.  Most parks are built with the electrical box and services on a given side.  This side dictates which way you can park on the site. Many times the view, a lake for instance, is behind on a back-in space.  These differences are a result of lots that have been designed for either a motor home or a travel trailer.
  • It can increase the viewing angles from within your coach for security concerns.  If you have any issues regarding something behind your coach, such as your towed vehicle, you can observe it.  This eliminates the need, or added risk, of having to physically go out to check it. 

So, why with all these seemly great features, would the manufacturer designers eliminate it?  Could it be only to reduce costs?  No, I’m sure not.  Even though, obviously its elimination does reduce costs in both material and labor.  But, I believe that it was floor plan design changes that probably played the major part in this event.  Locating wall space for cupboards, closets and like storage is a challenge when designing an RV.  Many rear bedroom coaches now are designed with the bed cross ways.  This leaves the rear wall completely vacant.  Some, or most, of this area will be required for storage as the position of the bed now allows no wardrobe and very little cupboard space on the walls at the head and foot of the bed.  Full width storage is the only right solution here.

Through the years too, there may have been negative feelings towards the rear window by some potential buyers.  These people saw no windows in the larger, up and coming diesel pusher lines and wanted that look.  To them, it represented a newer look, a more expensive appearance.

There were, and are, benefits derived from the window’s removal.  The ability to better control and maintain the temperature in the rear of the coach on hot sunny days was one.  Additionally, the huge storage that can be gained by using the entire rear width of the coach can not be understated.

ambassador40plqStill, after all is said, there are buyers out there that still want the added light and brightness that the rear window provides.  This is even more important if the floor plan incorporates an office area within the bedroom.  Fortunately, there are makes and models that are still available.  One of the choices which actually has two models is Monaco’s Holiday Rambler.  Their model 40 PAQ, a 40 footer and their 42 PLQ, a 42 foot coach, are both rear office/bedroom floor plans with the rear window.  If you have never been in one, it may be hard to imagine, but the rear window really opens up the room.  It not only brightens the room up, but it feels so much more spacious. 

Well, who knows, perhaps we will see the rear window returning to coaches in the future.  The demand for variations in floor plans may very well be the driving force.      

 

With A Non-Transparent View   –   Lug_Nut    –    Peter Mercer

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27 comments

  1. Dave Beach

    many good points here. Thanks. I for one would definitely like the window in rear of my diesel pusher…1994 Monaco. Actually, it appears that I coiuld add one in, but would take some cabinetry work to bridge the gap between the inside bedroom wall and the outside fibreglass cap…

  2. Dave Beach, Glad you found the article of interest. I would think it would cost a fair amount to add one in a after market fashion. It is, however certainly a viable option. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for your input.

  3. Casey Donovan

    Here’s another advantage of a rear window, if it’s visible in the coach’s inside rear view mirror: with an inexpensive plastic Fresnel lens installed, it gives an excellent wide angle view of the area behind the coach. This can include the road lane to ones right, especially valuable when passing another vehicle. When you see him in your mirror, you’re clear of him — maybe not very far, since it’s a wide angle view, but he’s definitely behind you.

  4. Casey Donovan, Excellent point. These are most commonly seen on C class motor homes. Thanks for the great additional use and your input.

  5. Ed Hagan

    Rear windows are available on several Gulf Stream Class A Models with the FRED engine. We have a SunVoyager #8388 with the rear window and shaded skylights over the dining area. Really a nice innovative touch rarely seen elsewhere. Now if Gulf Stream could just improve their service support!

  6. We went from having one to not having one recenly when we traed in and I was very concerned about driving vision. My backup camera does a much better job and I would have one even if our next coach has a rear window. I will never forget my wife waking me up in Amish country in the middle of the night tellng me how beautiful it was outside behind our coach. Seeing the huge tidal difference in Maine out the back window is missed also.

  7. Darthvagrant

    Let me mention one advantage of NOT having a rear window: If your coach is built by Coachmen or any of their many “other brands”; One less window to leak.

  8. Darthvagrant

    A ‘P.S’. to the last: I’ll agree with the above contributor: My rear vision camera is many times more valuable when on the move. I do have a rear view mirror which gives a pretty much worthless limited rear view through the rear window.

  9. Ed Hagan, Yes the front engine seem to have more available than the pushers, however even the pullers seem to be lacking this on many today. Gulf Stream makes a nice coach. Thank you for your participation on this topic.

  10. Lindsay, Yes, the added view point in a scenic area is a great advantage. Interesting how much you miss it, having had both. Thank you for your input.

  11. Darthvagrant, Sorry to hear of your issue regarding window leaks. Generally this type of non-opening window yeilds little problems. Thank you for sharing your experience with us and for your input.

  12. 1. The windows always needed washing to look out of.
    2. Privacy in the bedroom was sacrificed if curtains not kept closed.
    3. The allowed temperatures to ride or temperatures to drop due to no insulation.
    4. Rear cameras do better than a spotter looking out a dirty window.
    5. Windows limited the variety of possible floor plans and extra storage
    in the rear area of a coach.
    6. Rear window required a ladder to wash.
    7. Murals are prettier than windows.
    8. The back end of the coach and be parked facing the wind without
    worry of receiving broken window from flying debri.
    9. The rear of the coach can be parked so the morning or evening sun does not shine directly into the bedroom.
    10. One less item to leak.

  13. Doggy Daddy, I’m guessing you are not a rear window supporter. Your points are all valid and certainly woth the consideration. Number eight may not really be applicable however. Thank you for taking the time to post these negatives to having a rear window. Thank you also for your input on this topic.

  14. Manuel Enos

    On the rear window deal. Most large coaches and many small coaches have a rear view camera that gives you quite a view. Most have night time lens and you can turn it on without the coach running to see what is going on in the back. That rear view window is a real heat soaker if you have one. Our previous class C had one and now that we have a class A with a camera I do not miss it at all. I guess to each his own..

  15. Patrick W. Tribbey

    There are both good points and bad points to having the rear window! I have never owned a motorhome—‘pop-top’, couple of ‘tag-alongs’. Some of the newer 5th wheels DO have a H U M O N G U S window in the rear, somewhat mimmicking the class “A’s”. All I know, is that there are definite advantages to having the rear window. Just think from the safety standpoint: If the coach, (regardless of type), is on fire, and the rear is the only way out, would you break the window to save your life and those with you??? I sure would in a heartbeat!!! May have to pay for it out of my own pocket, but I’d sure still be alive—-scared to death—–but alive! Our current TT does NOT have any window whatsoever….. Bummer! 🙁 Please remember that safety is paramouont in A L L circumstances! ! ! Rather be a live coward than a dead hero……. BTW, most of the glass I’ve seen in the newer ‘5ers’ are fairly well dark tinted. That would help with some of the heat. Some reflective film on the inside, (use a portable setup for the high heat months), could also help in the late spring, summertime, early fall——————depending upon where you’re located. I somewhat envy the class A folks, but, will stick with the TT until I just happen to win the lottery! 🙂 [Slim to none chance of that 🙁 ] Just my 2 cents worth!

  16. Manuel Enos, Yes the heat issue is certainly a concern. Most cameras only turn on with the ignition key in the on position and you need to go to the front of the coach to observe. I have two rear cameras, one of which is remotely controlled for any angle needed. I have never used it for a security concern. You have had both, with and without, so your opinion is interesting. Thank you for sharing your thought with us and for your input.

  17. Patrick W. Tribbey, Great points, however most, if not all, class A’s have an emergency side window in the rear which opens and drops the window in seconds. Thank you for your great input.

  18. Some One

    Patrick W – Have you ever trird to break a tempered glass window? That’s why the swing-out escape windows are required by law.

  19. John

    Hi Lug_Nut,
    A lot of good points raised about the rear window. It comes down to personal preference. As a former professional driver I feel no need for the window. It is hard to see out the back if it’s 40 + feet from the driver’s seat even with a convex lens. Your attention is required in front, the back will look after itself. Cameras can do a better job of spotting and keeping an eye on the tow vehicle.
    Also, if travelling in rainy or snowy weather, the window will get full of road dirt from all the rear turbulents.
    Frame structure under the rear cap may be somewhat compromised. I find when driving at night that there is less chance of headlight glare shining through to distract you. And finally, as a concern to humankind, I wouldn’t want to subject others looking from outside to a tattered physique that may cause them serious adverse reactions (haha).

    Some folks like to use the rear window to see when they’ve passed another vehicle……I think that owners should use their mirrors more than they do. Your eyes will be focused more to the front where they are needed and not out the rear window. It may take some getting used to but you’ll see the benefit in safety after some practice.

    Cheers,
    John

  20. Patrick W, Yes all motor homes have windows designed to swing out or drop out that is operated from inside only with the pull of one handle. All members of families and friends that travel in a motor home should be familiar with where they are and how to open them. Thanks for the comment.

  21. John, Good comments. I agree with the length of the RV being less handy for a rear window. Probably much over 30′ would kind of reduce any practical applications for using the rear window while driving. Thanks for inputting all the great points. Your participation is always appreciated.

  22. Roadrunner

    I surmise that one big issue is the slide outs being in the way of seeing out as you travel. I stayed away from slide outs for several reason and this being one of them. I found it virtually impossible to see out the rear window with slide outs that we looked at. Installing the rear view camera has sure made the rear window less of a issue but we still like it and it does provide easy exit in case of fire.

  23. Roadrunner, That is an interesting point. You must be talking about a very deep slide, say 3′ or bigger. I can not imagine a lesser slide obstructing the view. Perhaps other will chime in on this issue. Thank you for bring up an interesting issue and for your great input.

  24. Sue

    I have a rear window in my class A coach and it opens for fire safety. I use it also for ventilation. When the breeze is from that direction, I prop it open with an expandable Shelf retainer bar.

  25. Sue, That is a bonus having the rear window as an emergency exit. There were only few that were made with that option available. Thank you for your comment.

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  27. Anonymous

    With no rear window, and back-in sites more prevalent than not, you’re forced to leave the comforts of your motorhome to enjoy the serenity, beauty and light of a lake or ocean-front site. For those who share the same values, a trailer is your only option, with rear windows a dime a dozen. In a nut shell, you either travel by motorhome, in luxury and comfort and back-in to a view-less site or you have the hassles of towing a trailer with the reward of bringing the outdoors in. Of course, if money is no object, then you can have your cake and eat it too.