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Clear Vision: How to Install Front and Rear Glass and Weatherstripping

 

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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).

1.Removing the old weather stripping is not an easy task, especially if you plan on keeping the original glass. Since the glass on our ’51 Ford is flat, it is a little easier. A screwdriver or metal scraper makes quick work of the rotted rubber. A razor knife also helps.

1. Removing the old weather stripping is not an easy task, especially if you plan on keeping the original glass. Since the glass on our ’51 Ford is flat, it is a little easier. A screwdriver or metal scraper makes quick work of the rotted rubber. A razor knife also helps.

2.Then the glass pops out. We put the glass in a safe place while the car was out for bodywork and paint. There are a few small bubbles on the edges, but it is still good.

2. Then the glass pops out. We put the glass in a safe place while the car was out for bodywork and paint. There are a few small bubbles on the edges, but it is still good.

3.  The first step in prepping the glass for the rubber was to clean off the old adhesive and rubber. A few sprays of paint prep soften the old rubber and adhesive making it easier to scrape it off.

3. The first step in prepping the glass for the rubber was to clean off the old adhesive and rubber. A few sprays of paint prep soften the old rubber and adhesive making it easier to scrape it off.

4.A razor blade was used to clean the glass. The gloves must be on, the edges are sharp and if a piece breaks, it could really hurt.

4. A razor blade was used to clean the glass. The gloves must be on, the edges are sharp and if a piece breaks, it could really hurt.

5.The windshield halves were laid out with the rubber. Make sure the rubber is the right side out and the halves are aligned properly. The bottom of the glass curves, these need to match.

5. The windshield halves were laid out with the rubber. Make sure the rubber is the right side out and the halves are aligned properly. The bottom of the glass curves, these need to match.

6.The adhesive was laid in the groove. Not too much, you don’t want it to squeeze out.

6. The adhesive was laid in the groove. Not too much, you don’t want it to squeeze out.

7.The lower inside corner was slid in place first. This is the best place to start.

7. The lower inside corner was slid in place first. This is the best place to start.

8.Then the rubber was worked around the glass until the upper inside corner. Here the rubber needed to be stretched a little to fit. A nylon trim tool might help get the edges over the glass.

8. Then the rubber was worked around the glass until the upper inside corner. Here the rubber needed to be stretched a little to fit. A nylon trim tool might help get the edges over the glass.

9.There may be a slight gap between the glass and rubber on the bench. This should pop in place when the glass is placed in the car. Note the nylon trim tool pointing to the gap.

9. There may be a slight gap between the glass and rubber on the bench. This should pop in place when the glass is placed in the car. Note the nylon trim tool pointing to the gap.

10.Again using the trim tool, the bungee cord was slipped under the flap in the rubber.

10. Again using the trim tool, the bungee cord was slipped under the flap in the rubber.

11.On the windshield, there should be a loop at the bridge on one side and 2 overlapping pieces on the opposite side.

11. On the windshield, there should be a loop at the bridge on one side and 2 overlapping pieces on the opposite side.

12.Here the pump action handles and the aluminum beam was used to place the window on the car. Doing this by yourself is not advised, it can get hairy real quick.

12. Here the pump action handles and the aluminum beam was used to place the window on the car. Doing this by yourself is not advised, it can get hairy real quick.

13.We went the extra step and placed a little adhesive on the car to ensure a long lasting seal.

13. We went the extra step and placed a little adhesive on the car to ensure a long lasting seal.

14.The rubber was sprayed with a little soapy water. This breaks the friction between the metal and the rubber, allowing the seal to slide into place.

14. The rubber was sprayed with a little soapy water. This breaks the friction between the metal and the rubber, allowing the seal to slide into place.

15.Once in the car, the cord was pulled, popping the rubber lip over the frame. A second hand is really helpful here to push on the outside of the seal, pushing it in place while the other pulls the cord.

15. Once in the car, the cord was pulled, popping the rubber lip over the frame. A second hand is really helpful here to push on the outside of the seal, pushing it in place while the other pulls the cord.

16. If the rubber doesn’t quite make it, then the trim tool can be used to pop the rubber over the frame.

16. If the rubber doesn’t quite make it, then the trim tool can be used to pop the rubber over the frame.

17.Once fully installed, we used a mallet to gently tap the rubber in place. BE CAREFUL! One slip and bye-bye window.

17. Once fully installed, we used a mallet to gently tap the rubber in place. BE CAREFUL! One slip and bye-bye window.

18.The fresh rubber looks good in the car. Now the rear glass is ready to go in.

18. The fresh rubber looks good in the car. Now the rear glass is ready to go in.

19.The back glass is curved, this creates a problem. Going around the perimeter allows the rubber to pop off much easier. By installing the rubber around the corners first, some tension is put on the rubber, helping keep it in place.

19. The back glass is curved, this creates a problem. Going around the perimeter allows the rubber to pop off much easier. By installing the rubber around the corners first, some tension is put on the rubber, helping keep it in place.

20.The same cord was used to install the back glass, except the 2 ends just need to overlap, no need for the loop.

20. The same cord was used to install the back glass, except the 2 ends just need to overlap, no need for the loop.

21.The back glass is easier to place by one person. We wetted the frame and the rubber to make it slide in place easier.

21. The back glass is easier to place by one person. We wetted the frame and the rubber to make it slide in place easier.

22.The cord trick was used and the glass was installed. You can use your hands to pop the glass in place as well. The back glass took about 30 minutes (screaming fits of rage during the rubber to glass installation not withstanding), while the front glass took about an hour and a half.

22. The cord trick was used and the glass was installed. You can use your hands to pop the glass in place as well. The back glass took about 30 minutes (screaming fits of rage during the rubber to glass installation not withstanding), while the front glass took about an hour and a half.

 

Sources:

Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts

http://dennis-carpenter.com/

Vintage Auto Glass

http://www.restoglass.com/

 

About Jefferson Bryant (201 Articles)
A life-long gearhead, Street Tech Magazine founder and editor Jefferson Bryant spends more time in the shop than anywhere else. His career began in the car audio industry as a shop manager, eventually working his way into a position at Rockford Fosgate as a product designer. In 2003, he began writing tech articles for magazines, and has been working as an automotive journalist ever since. His work has been featured in Car Craft, Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, Truckin’, Mopar Muscle, and many more. Jefferson has also written 5 books and produced countless videos. Jefferson operates Red Dirt Rodz, his personal garage studio, where all of his magazine articles and tech videos are produced. You can follow Jefferson on Facebook (Jefferson Bryant), Twitter (71Buickfreak), and YouTube (RedDirtRodz).

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