No matter the degree of professionalism, friends helping friends can end up working in less-than-professional environments. Employed as a fabricator for a big ‘n’ busy rod shop, our friend Eric Preuss is anything but a backyard guy. On his own time, however, he does enjoy working at home in the great outdoors. From time to time friends get involved, and here we are in Preuss’ backyard where we’ll assist with the installation of a new windshield and sliding backglass for his personal pickup project—a 1968 Chevy C10.
We could just call an automotive glass shop; the mobile glaziers that we know are not spoiled. They’re well accustomed to working outdoors—and sometimes in the dirt. Truth be told, our backyard setting is the very same dirt on which the subject truck was successfully painted just a month or so prior. The house-calling painter was Preuss’ coworker, Andy Meeh. Meeh’s no backyard guy either, but his generous exception makes him another good example of friends helping friends.
When Preuss asked yours truly to lend a hand with glass-installation chores, I had to confess that I love the sound it makes—when it breaks. On that note, Preuss opted to recruit the talents of yet another friend. Like Preuss and Meeh, Jimmy Benitez is not a backyard guy. Well versed in all phases of professional rod building, Benitez knows his way around the collision repair business as well. Benitez is not a bona fide glazier, but at his current day job, this fairly straightforward glass installation would be all in a day’s work.
So, given the choice, would we rather hire the local glazier who’ll make this job look easy as quoted for $250 or would we rather watch a ragtag group of Eric’s friends do it in the dirt for free? If we choose the latter, there’ll be no trade secrets withheld as we openly divulge all of what little we know. The backglass is an aluminum-framed slider. We wouldn’t likely break that on our worst day. “I bought the windshield for $90,” Preuss says. “If we break two, I’m still ahead.” On that note, we’ll be in the backyard.
1. So, we’re on our way to install parts from three different sources. Before we begin, let’s try to anticipate what we’ll need: gloves, masking tape, paper towels, water-diluted dish soap, clothesline rope, and assorted glazier-style hook tools for starters. Also, come to think of it, a full box of bandages might be nice.
2. Just prior to our arrival, Eric Preuss made a run to Harbor Freight for this handy five-piece tool set. The windshield sealant will be used later on as a final step.
3. From Brothers Truck Parts, this OEM-quality rubber seal came rolled in its packaging. Preuss put it in position ahead of time so it could assume a proper set. With the windshield leveled on this portable work stand, Jimmy Benitez uses maskin’ tape, a plumb bob, and a dull Sharpie to locate and mark the windshield’s center.
4. To this point the rubber seal is dry, which helps it stay put on the edges of the glass. For the same reason, the OEM reveal moldings are inserted dry as well. These stainless steel moldings have an L-shaped hook, which must be guided deep into the L-shaped groove of the seal for a proper appearance and secure hold. Note that there were two different windshield trim kits used on the 1967-72 trucks. Be sure to use the corresponding seal that matches your trim.
5. The moldings’ center clip fills the gap at the bottom. With the lower end hooked, it’s rotated upward by thumb until it snaps into place for keeps. The upper-corner slide-clips are a little trickier. For those joints, the clips are slid over the top edges of the vertical moldings and snapped in place over the edges of the upper, horizontal molding.
6. As previously anticipated, we will indeed be using clothesline rope for these installations. Some glaziers like to pull from bottom-to-top. Others prefer top-to-bottom. For a glass of this weight, bottom-to-top works best for us. Here while the rubber is still dry, Benitez pushes one end into the lower-center of the groove—stopping here for now.
7. Then water-diluted dish soap is sprayed, all the way around the rubber seal and into the groove.
8. Next, the clothesline rope is inserted into the soapy seal, all the way around and as deep as it will go. At this point our windshield is ready for installation, but first, let’s have a look at our target.
9-10. Before we take aim, let’s measure. The opening’s center will be located and marked, just as we’ve seen done on the windshield. This is not a common practice amongst the glaziers we know, but for us it helps to ensure that the moldings’ center and corner-clips will end up uniformly positioned.
11. With upper and lower centers now marked, we can align the seal, lay it to rest on the pinch weld and begin our installation. Now I ain’t no expert, but wouldn’t this work better if the rope’s ends were dangling inside the cab? Let’s lift this back out and try again.
12. So, now the windshield and soaped up seal are pretty much in position—with the rope’s ends on the inside of the cab. After this bit of initial wigglin’, jigglin’, and so on, Benitez and Preuss will show us the ropes.
13. Through the soapy residue we see the first pull. We’ll apply some downward palm pressure to the outside of the glass as he goes, but Benitez won’t pull too much rope at one time. He knows from previous experience that the settling seal will need a little help from hook tools—especially later around its innermost lip.
14. So far the rope pulling is going pretty easily as Benitez and Preuss gang up on the installation. While they’re working, I believe I’ll hang through the backglass hole, take pictures, and offer up unwanted advice.
15-16. By this time there’s been a bunch of downward hand-slapping on the glass and the rope is now pulled free all the way around. The innermost lip of the new rubber seal still needs relief in places. For the purpose of persuasion, these basic glazier-style tools help to complete the windshield’s installation.
17-18. Next up is this sliding backglass assembly. Granted, it ain’t much to look at, but it is a nice option for in-cab wind control. This specific-purpose rubber seal came from the slider’s manufacturer. Its attitude is different from that of Brothers’ OEM-quality front seal, so Jimmy employs masking tape before the usual soap and rope.
19. Since the backglass installation will not involve reveal moldings, the procedure should be simpler. Due to the assembly’s flatness, however, it’ll have to be held in place from the outside as we go.
20-21. Let’s not be frightened by the man outside the window. That’s only Preuss, holding things in place and applying a bit of downward pressure as Benitez begins to pull the rope. At first we’d thought that the seal was a sloppy fit on the slider’s aluminum edges, but now at this stage it’s all but installing itself.
22. Once again this little hook tool comes into play for minor seal adjustments. This easy installation calls for celebration.
23. From here we’ll let Preuss clean up his own soap scum. When things are clean enough, he’ll stop and allow a few days of dry-up time before he lifts the seal’s outside lip to squeeze in a small bead of sealant.