Introduction: Passanger Sun Screen

Here is how I made custom full size sun screens for the passenger doors on my '08 Honda Pilot.

Some back story. I have seen screens that stretch to maybe the size of my windows, but they had mixed reviews and my wife didn't like the way they looked. I found a shop out of the UK that makes full size screens for a hand full of makes and models that look nice but they didn't make them for the Pilot and were not interested in making me a one off set. They are the inspiration for my project.

Maybe this can be an inspiration for you. Please take all safety precautions while making the screens and the long term safety in your vehicle.

Step 1: Parts and Tools

For the frame I first looked at carbon fiber rods but settled for 1/8" steel rods (image #1).

I am working with four corners with near 90 degree angles and straight sides so I don't need to worry about strange curves or triangles. In my meanderings in the hardware isle I decided to use 3/16" brass round tube to make elbows for my corners (image #2). The steel rods slide right in with some wiggle room. I found the tubes in one of the Hobby & Project drawers in the hardware isle (image #3). I guess I could have just soldered the steel rods but then I would have had to work out all the angles just right. It would have been nice to have a 3D printer for this but maybe next time.

The best screen that I could find at the time was labeled as Ultra Sun Block (image #4).

You will see later that I use needle and thread to fix the screen to the frame. No image here for those. You will have to use your imagination.

Mounting the assembled screen to the vehicle door needs to be done with some consideration. You don't want it to rattle when you are driving down the highway but you also don't want it to be too cumbersome to remove in the case of an emergency. I modified 1"x1" mounting bases (image #5) for use in my scenario without the use of zip ties.

Parts list for both passenger doors:
6x 1/8"x3' Steel rods (the ones painted blue on the end)
3X 3/16"x6" Brass Round Tube
1x 36"x84" Sun Guard 90 screen
4x 1"x1" Mounting Bases

Eye and Ear protection
Measuring tape
Carpenters square
Dremel with metal cutting dics
Utility Knife
Needle Nose pliers
Needle and thick black thread

Step 2: Frame Part One

The first screen I made had more haphazard elbows but this is what I did on the second one and I think it worked out better.

I took the 6" brass round tube and cut it into three 2" pieces. I marked the length with a utility knife and then finished with the pipe cutter. (image 1)

I then slowly flattened the middle of the tubes with the needle nose pliers so they wouldn't break when I bent them. (image 2)

I bent them over the back of the needle nose pliers. (image 3) I didn't worry about getting the angle right. There is room for tweaking until step 4.

Step 3: Frame Part Two

Steel Rods

With the elbows all made, I marked them for the corners that I was going to use them in. I put arrows on the ends that will point down or up.

To cut the right lengths of of the steel rods I put one of the elbows (top right one) on the end of the uncut rod and put it up to the door with the opposite elbow (bottom right one) and eye-balled where I needed to cut. Make sure is it a little long and you can go back a trim it after the first cut. Just make it a snug fit.

Once all of the rods are cut you can "dry fit" it on the door. At this point you can make any of your last trims as needed. You can also get a better idea of how you will mount it in step 5.

After I was happy with the fit, I used a crimper to keep everything together.

Step 4: Attach Screen

Now we are ready for the sun blocking screen to the frame.

I made sure there was extra screen all the way around to fold over the frame. (image 1)

I tried to line up the mesh with the bottom edge of the screen and folded in the corners as well so there wouldn't be any loose edges to fray. (image 2)

I cut off the corners after I knew where the fold would be. (image 3)

Now for the longest part of the project. Sewing.

Important! As you finish each side of the screen make sure that you measure and adjust the clamps for square (not really square but it should match your window)

Measure from the top left corner to the bottom right corner (and visa versa) of the area where the screen will be mounted and make sure the screen is the same.

For the screens that I made it was 35 3/8" from the front of the vehicle top corner to the back bottom corner and 34 5/8" from the front of the vehicle bottom corner to the back top corner.

I took a good length of thick tread and doubled it on a needle. I did three to four feet of thread at a time.

I put the knot in the end of the thread under the fold and wrapped the thread over the outside of the frame and screen. Over and over and over again. (image 4)

Step 5: Mount to Door

There is a nice window sill on the doors of the Pilot so there is a place for the screen to sit but I wanted to secure the top of the screen.

I used the mounting bases, but the sill is not a whole inch wide so I cut the sides off. So it would holed the rods better, I cut out notches.

Both mounting bases are attached to the top window sill. (image 3)

I installed the screen by inserting the top edge of the screen into the notches in the mounting bases and then squeezing bottom in where the door panel naturally slopes toward the window. I did not use zip ties because I didn't want it to get in the way in an emergency.

They give me a good tight fit but I have not tried driving down the freeway with the windows down.

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