When restoring or preserving a car, the condition of its glass, weather stripping and rubber surrounds is very important. The rubber provides more than aesthetic value it protects the glass If the car has a fresh build, new or polished OEM glass with fresh rubber really sets off the restoration. This might be a personal thing, but for me, well-preserved original glass on a survivor looks nice with a few bubbles and a little amber discoloring. It adds to the patina and the character of the car. One thing that most of us agree on, is that the condition of the cars glass does matter, and is important to the appearance of the car.
We have a 1954 Cadillac Coupe deVille that has been restored and preserved to its original condition. During the restoration, we had some work to do on the passenger door that resulted in the removal of its weather stripping. We bought some new from Steele Rubber (800-650-4457), then set it aside to put on later. You guessed it! It didn't get done, because there was always another project that was more urgent. And yes, the glass cracked one day while we were closing the door. Our '54 is painted Azure Blue (a factory color) and has its factory E-Z Eye blue glass. Blue glass was very popular in the 1950's, but in 2010 it is almost impossible to find. But we found a supplier that had some, which would be cut to size and sand-etched with our correct date code. Great! We ordered two pieces, thinking that since it was so hard to find, we would have a spare. When it came, we held it up to the car and were pleased to see that the color matched, then put it back into the box until the current project, a '41 Packard LeBaron Sport Brougham, was finished. We also bought glass setting tape for mounting the glass into the chrome frame (its a hard top). When the Cadillacs time came, we removed the old door glass and laid it on the work table, then put the new glass on top of it to check for exact sizing. Again, you guessed it the new glass was cut wrong. About 3/4" too wide. At least it was too long and not too short! We called our buddy Pat at 2-A Auto Glass (706-861-3286) here locally, and he said no problem, he would grind it rather than cut it because cutting it might break the glass. I also wanted him to mount it into the chrome frame and the window assembly-to-regulator channel at the bottom of the window.
There are two ways to mount the glass: 1. Old School using glass setting tape, a rubber tape that comes in various thickness and is wiped with gasoline to make it sticky just before wrapping it around the edge of the glass before going into the channel or frame. The glass is tapped into place using a rubber mallet, so there is a little tension while youre hitting rare glass with a hammer. When it is set, the excess is trimmed off, leaving about 1/32 all the way around it in the frame. 2. Some shops use another mounting method called Adhesive Mounting An epoxy adhesive is applied, usually with a caulk gun to the glass s edge, then the glass is fit into its frame, with the excess being trimmed away with a razor blade after its dry. It eliminates the worry of the setting tape method, but the adhesive is permanent, so if the glass has to be removed, it has to be broken out. This makes it imperative to be sure you have your glass positioned in the frame correctly before the adhesive dries!
We mark our frames inside,front,rear,etc., and we also put a piece of tape on the glass, marking it inside,top,front,etc, so when it is put back together, there is no question about its position. Were staying Old School, but will do some deep breathing before mounting the glass!
While the glass was out, it was a good time to clean down inside the door, check the window motor (regulator) wiring, tracks and sweepers, check for loose screws and lightly grease all appropriate parts. We also checked the drain holes in the bottom of the door to make sure they were opened, and put in some new weather stripping around the door. From this car forward, we will always trace each window onto white paper, label and file it in that cars project folder as the car is being disassembled. When glass is ordered, we can send our own template to make sure the glass is cut correctly. TO REMOVE DOOR GLASS:
1. We removed window roller and handle using a tool for GM lock springs. The tool is for 1935-1960 GM cars, and the lock springs fit 1954-1960 GM cars (these are available from vendors). We unplugged the power window switch and removed the door panel, then we removed the front and back access covers, then lowered the door glass until the window assembly screws were visible through the front and back access panels.
2. We disconnected the battery (for cars with power windows) to prevent accidental operation of the window. Our windows work with the ignition switch on or off.
3. The Cadillac manual recommends removing the vent window and frame, but we found that to be unnecessary. It is necessary, however, to remove the belt finish molding. This is the metal strip at the top of the door that the window stop adjustment screws are mounted in (under the door panel cap).
4. Then we removed the four screws, securing the window assembly to the regulator (motor) cam.
5. Separate the window assembly from the regulator cam by hand, raising the glass to the almost-closed position, then tilted the window inward and remove it from the door. On power window cars, do not operate the window motor with the window assembly out. It will damage the window motor due to no load.
6. Install the glass in reverse of the above, and put the door panel back on. When putting the window roller and handle on, check the other side to make sure they are in the correct positioning.
TO ADJUST DOOR GLASS MISALIGNMENT:
1. To adjust the upward limit of the glass travel (with the door panel removed and the belt finishing molding in place) loosen the lock nut and turn screw Cup or down as required to make window stop in correct position. This moves rubber-bumpered stop screw up or down to push against tab on window assembly, stopping upward window travel. After setting is achieved, re-tighten lock nut.
2. To adjust door glass in or out or to align door glass run channel with door glass, loosen glass run channel attaching screws D at the door lock pillar (Fig. B), loosen adjusting stud nut and turn adjusting stud E and position glass run channel at door lock pillar as required for window to travel freely. Re-tighten screws and nuts.
3. If the door glass is cocked in the glass run channels, loosen stationary screw F and raise or lower rear end of cam as needed, then re-tighten screw.
4. Hook up battery, then operate door glass up and down to re-check.
These basic principles apply to most old car applications. A little adjustment and rubber replacement at the first sign of trouble may save time and money later on. Spring is almost here! Enjoy your cars, and keep 'em driving!