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Windshield Installation - Glass Act
It's Fairly Easy To Replace Your Damaged Windows And Install Them As The Factory Did.
Jun 1, 2010
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Windshield Installation - Glass Act
We used butyl (sounds similar to "view tool") tape to install the glass like the factory did on first- and second-gen Camaros. It is essentially a long roll of rope-like, round tar (aka ribbon seal or windshield sealer). It's very sticky and pliable, especially when it's warm. The factory used butyl. If the butyl is warm it will be ultra-sticky, so if it's cooler it will be much easier to work with. It takes a light touch to work with so it doesn't stick to your hands. Even though it can get messy, it sticks to gloves more than skin so we use gloves to clean up, but not to install.
New windows are glued in with polyurethane adhesive that bonds to the frit baked into the perimeter of the glass.
We started with new OER windshield and rear window from Classic Industries. They came in a huge box and were packed with some serious care. New butyl tape and a wiper arm tool were ordered with the glass.
One of the things we hate about this job can be simplified with the correct tool. Forget the days of prying the arms off and chipping the paint off the cowl panel. Using a wiper arm removal tool, we put a little tape on the arm to protect the finish then hooked on the end of the arm. With a little pivot, the arms pull off.
Next, we opened the hood and removed the cowl panel. There should be body shims under one or more screws on the cowl panel. Keep them in order so you can reinstall the panel correctly.
Ten 5/16-inch hex-headed screws hold the trim over the base of the windshield, two of which attach the trim to the side of the cowl and are accessible through the doorjamb.
In order to release the clips you must pivot the tool and use the channel for leverage, which usually causes the paint to chip in the channel so, before you reattach the trim, make sure to cover any exposed metal or primer with a rust preventative coating.
Once the trim is removed, it's time to protect the paint. We prefer to use Scotch-Blue Painters Tape. If your paint wasn't prepped well, the tape may pull your paint up when removing it. Luckily, the tape didn't lift our old, cheap stuff.
In order to get a wire between the glass and the window channel we started by poking a hole in the adhesive or butyl. We used our handy cotter pin puller to start our hole.
We fed the wire through the hole and used 0.032-inch stainless safety wire to cut the seal. Use a seesaw method of alternately pulling on the wire to cut. We used our index finger to keep the wire from damaging the paint on the dash.
The butyl is a tar-like rope and leaves a sticky mess behind. We first scraped the channel with a plastic windshield stick from Kent and cleaned with Kent Acrysol. Lucky for us, we had repaired dash rust five years ago with KBS products. Typically you'll find at least a little surface rust to address.
Camaros tend to rust in the front and rear window channels. Rust breeds at the base of the rear window because the design allows water to pool and mix with dirt and leaves under the trim, which allows the area to stay damp for extended periods of time. Be sure to repair any rust before reinstalling the window.
Once the windshield is out you may see some very small pinholes in the dash panel. Rust like this is sort of like an iceberg. You only see about 10 percent of it on the surface.
This mess started with a couple of pinholes. These small holes can be repaired in your garage with KBS rust repair coatings and NuMetal two-part epoxy, or if you're skilled at metal fabrication you can trim out the rusty parts and weld in a couple of small patch panels, or even replace the whole top panel.
If your car is missing the glass supports or the rubber coating is gone, you can get new OER replacements. These are critical for aligning the windshield glass.
Before final install we test-fit the window. We put a couple of small rags between the glass and channel for protection. Once it was centered, we adjusted the height with the glass supports.
It's very important to clean the glass with a solvent that won't leave a residue, so we used some Kent Acrysol. Some solvents damage plastics, so we kept it away from the edges of the windshield. We supported the ends of the glass with rolls of paper towels to keep it from breaking when it's laid upside down.
With our plastic windshield stick we coerced the window 1/8 inch to the driver side by carefully wedging it between the glass and the channel. You can crack the glass doing this, so be gentle. Once the glass is pressed into the butyl, you can't budge it.
The butyl turns a darker color where it's compressed by the window. The tiny bit of extra butyl can be seen on the bottom side at the cowl seam (make arrow here). We reinstalled all of the parts on the car in the order we removed them. We can now enjoy a clear view of the world from the driver seat.
We drew guidelines around the perimeter of the glass with a Sharpie so we know where to layout the butyl tape. We also put some tape on the window in a few spots and drew arrows on them for centering the glass during installation.
We had a second person help install the glass so we could get it as close to centered as possible the first time. Setting it on the cowl and tipping it back doesn't work. We laid it on parallel to the sealer. If our glass was off more than 1/8-inch we'd have to pull the windshield and butyl and start over.
With the windshield centered, we gently pressed the windshield into the butyl. Always press evenly with two hands at least 12 inches apart, this way you don't put too much pressure on the edge by the A-pillar and crack the glass. Also be sure not to reach into the cowl and pinch the glass to the cowl or you'll break it.
Here we softly laid the butyl sealer starting at the bottom center. We made sure not to stretch it. We then cut the end with a razor blade. There are small dips at the lower corners so we added tiny pieces under the sealer. Make sure the butyl is straight since you can still see the butyl after the exterior trim is installed.
We heated up the butyl and glass by using a hair dryer (you can also put the area in direct sunlight) so the butyl will be more pliable and compress easier.
The major difference in installing back glass is the lack of supports to adjust the height of the glass, so we cut the rubber block (included with our butyl) into two correctly sized blocks and put them in the window channel to support the glass.
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