Most enthusiasts consider glass replacement better left to the professionals. The chances of breaking a perfectly good piece of melted sand are high and glass is not cheap. Glass replacement is not for the timid, and only seasoned pros should attempt it, right? In reality, replacing glass is not as hard as it looks, provided you have the right parts and knowledge to get it done, without breaking anything.
Removing glass can be dangerous, so it is important to wear gloves. Old, hardened weatherstripping usually has to be cut and chipped off. If you are trying to save the original glass and simply replace the weatherstripping, then extreme caution needs to be taken in order to do so. However if the glass is cracked or otherwise no good, let ‘er rip.
Our 1951 Ford Shoebox was in desperate need of new windshield weatherstripping. The glass was in good shape, thankfully because the curved back glass is not cheap, so it was reused. If you need new glass, there are several ways to go about it. Flat glass is the easiest to replace. Most glass replacement shops can use the original glass or create a pattern to cut a new piece. If you desire the correct tempered double-pane glass like the factory installed, then Vintage Auto Glass at restoglass.com has what you need. Vintage Auto Glass uses National Auto Glass Specifications (NAGS) OEM patterns from the 1920s to the 1960s to recreate authentic restoration-quality glass for most vintage vehicles. You can even order your glass in clear, green, grey or bronze tinted versions. The green matches the original green tint found in many vehicles. When it comes to the actual weatherstrip, we chose Dennis Carpenter. The perfect restoration quality rubber fits like it is supposed to and retains all of the original attachment points.
Installing the glass was a challenge, not in terms of complexity, but installing the rubber onto the glass itself was not easy, far from it. Much patience was needed to keep from hurling the glass across the room. The weatherstripping by design has to fit tight around the glass or it will leak. This makes sliding the rubber over the glass very tough. A nylon trim tool makes the job much easier. The inside of the rubber needs to be laced with adhesive. For this, we used 3M’s Black Weatherstrip Adhesive, which is designed specifically for glass to rubber seal. Since the adhesive must go on before the glass goes in, the next step can get a little sticky.
Once the glass is on the rubber, a cord is inserted in the perimeter of the rubber in the channel that sandwiches the window opening. This cord is used to pull the edge of the rubber up and over the window frame. Moving the glass from the workbench to the car is the trickiest part of the whole project. One false move and the glass can end up on the floor, this is really a 2 person task. If you do not have a second hand, then there is a way to make it happen. Suction cups with handles or pump-action suction handles make it easy for a single person to place the glass. We used a set of pump-action suction handle with an aluminum bar bolted in place. Once in place, the job goes pretty smooth.
With the glass in place and new weatherstip installed, the Shoebox is starting to look like a car again. With just a few basic tools, some gloves and the right parts, you can replace your leaky weatherstipping and scratched and yellow glass to see the road ahead. So get crackin’ (pun intended).
Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts
Vintage Auto Glass