Motorhome Install: Sun Shade Solutions

An aluminum wand is used to place the Magne Shade on the windshield — without a ladder.
An aluminum wand is used to place the Magne Shade on the windshield — without a ladder.
Photos by Owen Mitchell

Magne Shade creates an easy way to reduce solar heat

Ever since shade cloth appeared in the 1990s, it has found an ever-increasing market, including motorhomes. During warm or hot weather, the sun streaming through a motorhome windshield can dramatically raise interior temperature even when interior curtains are closed. The result can be discomfort and/or more power devoted to operate the air conditioners.

Shade cloth (mesh) is an effective remedy, blocking much of the heat while admitting some light and allowing limited see-through. However, conventional methods of attaching and removing the mesh during trips have been a challenge. Installation and removal usually require the use of a ladder to reach swivel fasteners or snaps used to hold the cover in place, and the ladder often has to be strapped to the rear of the motorhome for travel — somewhat unsightly, not to mention the safety risk of fiddling with swivels/snaps while perched high on a ladder.

[1-3] The shade is held in place while magnets are positioned on inside surface of windshield.
[1-3] The shade is held in place while magnets are positioned on inside surface of windshield.
Roger and Clare Hunckler of Magne Shade came up with a better way: temporarily securing the shades to the windshield with strong rare-earth magnets strategically located in pairs around the circumference of the shade. The outside magnets are sewn into pockets
in the shade, and the opposing inside magnets are attached to the inside surface of the windshield with double-sided adhesive discs.

A telescoping 6-foot wand (40 inches collapsed) is used to lift the cover to the windshield so the matching outside/inside magnets can attract each other. No more swivels or snaps, and no more ladder. And the shade can be removed easily.

Inside magnets create a strong magnetic field with outside magnets sewn into strategically placed pockets in the shade.
Inside magnets create a strong magnetic field with outside magnets sewn into strategically placed pockets in the shade.

While the most popular shade colors are brown and black, the Huncklers decided to add more style by offering the option of hundreds of choices of digital photo­graphic images for the shades — anything from scenic mountains, lakes, streams and sunsets to the customer’s favorite libation.

For our installation on an Itasca motorhome, we chose a scenic mountain lake image, and supplied several windshield measurements to ensure precise fit.

Magne Shade provides detailed instructions as well as videos on the company website, which describe the ordering and installation process. Our installation went as described with the rather surprising exception of accidentally allowing a couple of the inside magnets to get too close together, which the instructions caution against. They jumped together with surprising magnetic force.

After a bit of wrestling, we got them separated and carefully laid them out — several inches from each other — on the underside of a steel cookie sheet, per instructions. The instructions specifically caution that the magnets can jump, can be dangerous to customers who are fitted with cardiac pacemakers, and should be kept away from sensitive electronics.

The installation process begins with a “dry fit” by two people to position the inside magnets opposite the outside magnets without removing the film from the adhesive on the inside magnets — thus, no stick-down at this point. This allows adjustment of their position for later permanent placement.

Magnets can be spaced out on a steel cookie sheet to keep them from “jumping.”
Magnets can be spaced out on a steel cookie sheet to keep them from “jumping.”

Using a ladder, one installer holds the shade in place at the center of the windshield at the top, which places two outside magnets in position, while the other person places two center magnets on the inside of the windshield. Immediately the two magnets attract each other through the glass and hold the center portion of the shade securely in place, allowing the same procedure with the remaining eight magnets.

This serves as a temporary test fit prior to removing the adhesive backing and sticking all 10 in place on the windshield. During the test fit we marked the position of each inside magnet with a non-permanent marker pen to ensure correct placement.

After the magnets were in place and the shade was wrinkle-free, we peeled the backing off the adhesive on each magnet and stuck them securely to the inside of the windshield, one at a time for the final fit.

Magne Shade EZ Fold tire covers leave wheel visible; when not in use they can be folded for compact storage.
Magne Shade EZ Fold tire covers leave wheel visible; when not in use they can be folded for compact storage.

After allowing the adhesive to set for several hours, we could remove the shade by gently pulling it away from the inside magnets. For reinstallation, the wand is fitted into slots at the top of the shade, allowing it to be lifted into place and into the magnetic field of the inside magnets.

The windshield wiper covers also are made of the digitally printed shade cloth and they completed an attractive and attention-getting package. Heat-wise, the payoff was immediate when compared with closing interior curtains: more light and appreciably less heat. Magne Shade states that the shade cloth will block 90 percent of the sun. Using an infrared thermometer, we measured 88 degrees Fahrenheit on the beige vinyl dash behind the shade and 105 degrees with the sun directly on the dash.

Magne Shade also markets EZ Fold tire shades that we found convenient to install or remove. They are made of black polyester, designed for total sun block to prolong the life of tires. The shades are made with spring steel wire around their circumference and are easy to collapse and store by twisting them in opposite directions so they fold into layers. In our case, the shades were made for 22.5-inch tires and they folded for storage to a circumference of 14 inches with thickness of about 2 inches. A convenient storage bag is provided.

Pricing for a standard solid-color windshield shade is $549 for windshield heights less than 56 inches, or $599 for higher windshields; the optional digital printed shade is an additional $395. Tire shades are $57 each. The company also markets NanoShades for side windows, in varying sizes. All products are made in the USA.

Magne Shade | 336 753-0905 | www.magneshade.com


 

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