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Old 02-06-2017, 07:25 AM   #1
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C900 windshield and hatch glass removal/install

I'm going to start a new thread on this because I imagine it might be best as a separate topic from my build thread.

My OCD is running rampant and this project that was supposed to be a quick paint job before summer has now turned into full on restoration. It is bugging my conscience that I will not be able to paint underneath the windshield and hatch glass and fear the future issues associated with masking around them.

After a bit of googling, I found some limited info regarding the replacement of the windshield in these cars. Evidently they are not glued in and replacement is quite simple? From what I can find, the following steps are required for removal and installation:

-Remove metal angles at corners of windshield and remove metal strips that are inset in the seal.

-using a non-sharp screwdriver or wedge, run it around the perimeter (between glass and rubber seal) to loosen up the seal around the glass. Then add some soap into that gap and run the tool around the perimeter again.

-Have someone on the outside to make sure that the windshield doesn't pop loose and fall out, push (very gently) from the inside at the top edge somewhat near the corners until the glass becomes dislodged from the rubber seal, then carefully work around the perimeter to free the glass without tearing the seal

-Once glass is completely out, the seal can be easily removed from the metal window frame and saved/reused.

-After painting, the install should be reverse of removal. Install the seal onto the metal frame, lube the seam with soap, set the glass in the seal at the bottom of the windshield frame and carefully work the seal over the glass around the perimeter (evidently this is the hardest part and the seal is most vulnerable to tearing)

-Once the glass is in the seal, gently use your fist to pound (gently!) around the perimeter to relieve any tension between the glass and seal.

-Reinstall the metal strips and corner pieces and clean up.





Is this really all there is to it? I've seen "glued in" windshields being installed and I wouldn't even think for a minute about attempting that. However, this actually seems pretty simple. Has anyone on here actually done this themselves? Is it really that simple? How likely is it that the glass cracks or gets broken? A new windshield is not really in the budget.



Also, is the rear window in the hatch installed in the same way? I looked at mine and the seal looks similar, but not exactly the same as the windshield. Does it R&R the same?


Looking for first hand experiences. Can I really do this myself??
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Old 02-06-2017, 07:40 AM   #2
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This will probably not be too helpful, but I have a bit of experience with this on another car.

Working on my dads mg midget, the windshield is framed in aluminum with nothing but a rubber gasket. When painting the car, we removed the assembly, and tried to replace the aging rubber seal. The new seal was either too large, or too stiff? Or perhaps we couldn't do it right, but we ended up breaking the windshield upon re assembly. Dad bought a new windshield, and took it to an installer who promptly discarded the rubber weather strip and just glued it into the frame. No issue since.

Be carefull about the force you use to put a new windshield in. If in doubt, it may be best to glue it back in. I bet the adhesives used today are a lot better than what was available in 1974 (the year the midget was made). With its summer car status, I bet that the adhesive will outlast the car.
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Old 02-06-2017, 07:42 AM   #3
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I worked at an aerospace lighting company and can tell you we glue in almost 100% of the lens assemblies we make. We use rubber bands to set the lens in with the right spacing, then after the first round of glue is cured and the glass is set, remove the bands and put the second round in. You could do something similar if the rubber gasket is not going back together.
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Old 02-06-2017, 08:22 AM   #4
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Thanks TBoy, My rubber gaskets seem to be in incredibly good shape and I plan to reuse them if possible. This exercise would be for painting purposes only. I know most modern cars use bonded glass, but I've also had a bad experience where a gasketed windshield was replaced with a "better" glue in option which caused a major rust issue (My 1985 Chevy G20 van being the vehicle in question). After the frame is repaired, I'll be going back to a gasketed windshield.
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Old 02-06-2017, 12:29 PM   #5
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I've watched/helped remove a windshield in a C900 before, it basically follows the procedure you outlined in your OP.

I've never tried to re-install one, though, and that's the part I would think is harder to get right.
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Old 02-06-2017, 02:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 9Kwrecker View Post
I've watched/helped remove a windshield in a C900 before, it basically follows the procedure you outlined in your OP.
I've never tried to re-install one, though, and that's the part I would think is harder to get right.
Same here. I've removed a few (usually without cracking) but never installed one. The steps you've outlined seem correct.

A couple notes:
- the trim inset in the seal is brittle plastic and often breaks. The corners are very soft metal.
- I recall that, along the inside bottom edge of the seal, there is one or more flaps held by fasteners behind the dash.

I can't see how there could be a 'glued' alternative in this case. The windshield sets in the gasket/seal which extends both inside and outside the frame/lip on the body.

I think the rear hatch glass is similar, but have never removed one. Always pulled the hatch whole.
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Old 02-07-2017, 04:47 AM   #7
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Thanks for the input. I got a closer look last night and removing the glass from the hatch seems fairly simple and straight forward, as does the windshield.

The only thing I couldn't tell by looking is what if any fasteners hold the seal behind the dash. I really don't want to remove the whole dash if I don't have to. Guess I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.
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Old 02-07-2017, 09:42 PM   #8
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Think about this trick painters use before going ahead and removing and likely damaging the glass.

Get some wire (14 gauge stranded with insulation) and shove it under the rubber seal all the way around the glass lifting the rubber away from the paint. You can then mask the rubber and you will be able to get paint under the rubber. Once the paint is dry unmask, pull the wire out and the rubber will fall back in place without a tape line. The rubber along the bottom of the windshield is the hardest to do.

Worked for me.

PS: I'm happy to see you're saving this car. I've always liked it and it has nice history.

Steve

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Old 02-08-2017, 05:25 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the input. I was able to remove both the windshield and rear glass last night.

The rear window was very simple. make sure to remove the wires to the defroster. I started by removing the small metal tab at the bottom center of the window (careful because this is very flimsy metal), Then using one of those bone tools I removed the plastic perimeter strip from the seal. Then with a friend standing outside of the car I shut myself inside and using the bone tool, I worked the interior of the seal up and over the metal lip of the hatch starting at the top and working around to the bottom of the sides. I didn't have to do the bottom edge as the glass simply pulled up and out of the hatch at that point with the seal still attached.

Glass-less hatch.



I'm glad I decided to remove the back window because there was some surface rust forming on the window frame under the seal.




The windshield was a bit harder, but followed similar procedure. Remove the metal corner pieces (very flimsy metal), and the plastic perimeter strips. Then using a small dull pick and the bone tool, we went around the perimeter between the glass and the rubber on the exterior and loosened up the seal. This was the most time consuming part as we had to go around the window several times due to some adhesive between the seal and glass (more on that later). Anyways, eventually we were able to loosen to the seal enough. Then I got inside and firmly started pushing the glass outward at the top edge. A friend used the bone tool to free the glass from the seal along the top edge. Once the top edge was free it was fairly easy to pull the windshield out of the rest of the seal. Unlike the hatch, the windshield removes and the seal stays in the car.

As for removing the seal, I was worried because I had read that there was something retaining the seal behind the dash that required the dash to be removed in order to fully free the seal. Upon further inspection, there are 2 metal tabs, 1 on each side that hold the seal at the bottom. Thankfully though, these tabs can be removed by 1 screw which is accessible after removing the speaker covers and speakers in the dash. No need to remove the complete dash.

Sorry, I don't have a good picture of the windshield as I forgot to take one.. But the process was straight forward enough.

Now on my car, I believe that the windshield has been replaced before at some point because there was a gooey black adhesive around the perimeter of the seal between the metal and the seal, as well as between the seal and the glass. From what I have read, there is not supposed to be any adhesive, this is why I believe it has been changed before.



There is no rust under the windshield, so evidently it wasn't hurting anything. I will remove any sealer from the metal so I can paint it, but not going to bother digging it out of the seal. It is still soft and pliable so maybe it will help seal.. Who knows. Either way it's out. Hopefully this can help someone in the future.
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Old 02-09-2017, 09:08 AM   #10
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Glad to see you got both windshield and hatch glass out ok. Bonus that you were able to free the bottom of the windshield seal through the speaker holes. I couldn't remember where or how many fasteners were holding it in behind there.

I think the sealant you found is common if not original. I'd be inclined to use some to help get a good seal, especially around the corners where the seal sometimes doesn't lay flat/tight.
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