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Making Mid-Year Windows New Again

Roadster Regulator Rebuilding

Andy Bolig Nov 1, 2002

Step By Step

The only way to get a quality rebuild of ANY system is to do a complete rebuild. Often, the difference between a quality professional restoration and the rest is that the professionals will take the time, have the knowledge, are not afraid to tear the parts down to their most basic elements, and make sure that each part is reassembled just the way it was at the factory. Here, Dewey is installing the glass-setting tape that holds the glass into the filler bar. Do you have to replace the glass setting tape? No; but if done properly, it will ensure that the quality of the job will be consistent from beginning to end.

The glass cannot be secured entirely because it needs to slide so the windows can open. Since this is the case, one of the major concerns is preventing the glass from rattling in the channels from excessive play. We replaced all the felts and liners using Keen Products and, while we were at it, we took a few extra steps to ensure there wouldn’t be any problems down the road. Dewey uses spray adhesive to hold the felt for the channels. Make sure the felt is down completely in the channel and that it isn’t bunched up anyplace. If you don’t do this, it will cause annoyance later when the window doesn’t operate smoothly. Also, on the end of the channel, Dewey likes to fold over the end of the felt on the end so it won’t mar anything as the window moves up and down in the channel.

Likewise, the front channel needs to be relined. While we were at it, we installed a new seal for the vent window.

Once we totally disassembled the front channel and vent assembly, we pried out the old seal. Be careful when prying, because these clips have probably been there for a long time. Some of them may be loose already but if they’re tight and set in place, work them around a little. Don’t use the “large hammer” mentality. “Finesse” is the key word here.

When installing the new vent-glass seal, make sure it seats fully into the channel and that the clips firmly slide into place. You want the glass to close firmly against the seal, but the mechanisms for the vents can wear out prematurely if there’s too much pressure for them to overcome when opening and closing the vent completely.

We then proceeded to reassemble the front window channel and vent. Dewey prefers to put the entire assembly in a vise so he can have both hands free to work.

Dewey uses the factory-style rivets to hold the channel liner in the front channel. To do the job properly, he made this tool to peen over the rivet. You could do this with a hammer, but it would be difficult.

A little trick Dewey has learned that differs from an NCRS restoration is to drill the top of the channel and liner to put a small screw to help hold the liner in place. He uses a screw with a small enough head that it is virtually undetectable. He camouflages it further by painting it black. It won’t get you any NCRS points if they see it, but it does the job and keeps the lining from becoming a nuisance.

Before installing the assemblies into the doors, make sure they operate properly. Many restorations have been second best because the person doing the work didn’t notice a glitch until the part was assembled and didn’t take the time to remove the part again to correct the problem. Don’t let this happen to you.

Before installing the window-regulator assembly, check all the rollers. Make sure they aren’t excessively loose, cracked, or deteriorated. Take time to clean off all the old grease and check the gears. If the regulators are totally shot, this would be the time to change them. If only the gears on the regulators are bad, they can be replaced.

Before installing the glass, make sure to install the new outer window seal and molding because you can’t get to the screws to install it once the glass is in place.

Now you can install the glass onto the regulator assembly and then install the front channel and vent assembly. Take the time to adjust the window and channels so they operate smoothly. As mentioned earlier, excessive drag wears the regulators sooner and they can be expensive to replace. You’d also have to tear the door apart again. Why not take the time now and have some insurance?

When adjusting the windows and vent assemblies, keep in mind that they have to align with the roof and windshield. Our car is getting the entire treatment, so we do not have the roof bows or chrome around the windshield. We could get a close approximation, though. The key is to keep things even. Any varying gaps where the vent meets the windshield will be a problem for sure, and the window glass should slide all the way up level. There is some room for adjustment but if it’s too far out, you won’t only have water leaks, but wind noise as well. Either problem could render your pride and joy less fun to drive, and that’s why you have it, right? To drive it?

When rebuilding a Corvette, there are certain steps and procedures that can either make or break the success of the project. That’s why we go into the trenches, to those who have been there, done that. We go to shops like Dewey’s Just Vettes in Longwood, Florida, where they know how to make things work correctly while still keeping the NCRS judges happy. Dewey showed us the high points in making the windows operate correctly on the ’66 Corvette he was renewing.


Dewey’s Just Vettes
Longwood, FL 32750
Keen Parts Inc.
Cleves, OH 45002

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