Windshield Replacement WARNING

seans

Member
I arranged to have my cracked windshield removed today, and a new one installed tomorrow, so I could clean out any rust and treat scratches left by the installer to avoid the rust horror stories found in this forum. :thumbup:

Well, the installer used what basically is a Sawzall with a putty knife attached, from inside the van, to cut the urethane seal. And when he was through, he had left scratches through the paint all around the windshield cutout, AND through the body paint above the windshield where the knife slid well past the windshield.

dash-dash.jpg top-scratch.jpg side-scratch.jpg

Here is the kind of tool he used. If you see an installer about to use one of these on your car, YOU MIGHT WANT TO STOP HIM IMMEDIATELY.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhzFlMsWQmg (use starts ~ 2:45).

Someone who is trying to save a few minutes will NOT use the tool as shown but will instead plunge through the seal until the tool is stopped by the window frame and can go no further. This will also trash the moulding (though arguably it should be replaced anyhow.)

When queried about the damage, the answer was "I paint it with primer before I install the glass." About the damage above the window? "I can put primer there too, but I only have black" (this is a white van.)

:bash:

No wonder Sprinters with windshield replacements are prone to rusting badly.

I spent *hours* cleaning out the channel, rubbing it out with rubbing compound, prepping rusty areas with naval jelly, cleaning again with alcohol, masking it off, priming with etching primer, laying down white primer, and finally laying down paint, all the while keeping the engine running and the windshield area under a tarp to keep the metal temperature up.

I found today that there is a special knife with handles designed for windshield removal (not the piano-wire type tool) and it costs less than $30. If I had known about this beforehand, I would have pulled out the windshield myself.
 
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cahaak

New member
I've had my Sprinter windshield replaced and also just had my minivan windshield replaced. I hung out with the tech and watched him do the whole thing (correctly).

The removal tool that he used was hand held and we discussed it. Echoing what you said, he said if you ever see someone using a power tool for removal, you should stop them. Not quicker and not necessary and will damage the surrounding area.

The tool he used consisted of a small blade, like maybe 1 1/4 inches long and pointed at one end and the other end attaches to a handle which is perpendicular to the direction of the blade. The handle has a ball type handle on the end and the whole thing swivels. Attached to the handle is a wire with another handle on it for actually pulling the blade through the adhesive.

The approach is as follow (all done from outside the vehicle). Remove the molding. Insert the blade in the gap between the glass and the frame. Rotate the blade under the glass into the adhesive. Grab the secondary handle (attached to the tool with a wire) and proceed to pull the blade through the adhesive cutting it. Work your way around the entire windshield and remove glass. Carefully trim away the excess adhesive from the frame. They guy I talked with does many large semis and trucks and they are all cut out manually with a hand tool. He said it is just as quick as a power tool and much safer and will not get into the paint.

Here is kind of what the tool looks like.
top
O
l---handle (secondary one)
l
L blade is here

crude drawing I know. - Chris
 
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JD822

New member
Harbor Freight sells this tool. The blade included is very weak (bends back easily), but the handle is the same as the "professional" models you pay allot more for (although a professional will argue with you). The blades are easy to find and buy and cost about $30/piece from a local auto glass company (although they are less online, just do a search). But complete I believe they are around $100-$150 for the handle and blade. I bought this handle then bought the stronger blade from a local window installer. Works great! Here is the link to the tool: http://www.harborfreight.com/windshield-removing-tool-99892.html :thumbup:
 

HMR TYM

New member
I have 2 vans, one needed a new windshield, i had it replaced by a 'reputable' glass installer, he was the lower cost of the 2 i called, i didn't watch his work, now that van has horrible rust around the windshield just below the wipers :( the other one does not. Live and learn. Now i have to have that area fixed by a body shop before it gets worse. No money saved here.
 

hkpierce

'02 140 Hi BlueBlk Pass
Seems to be a lot of ways to remove windshields:

The hooked knife method:
WS 1.JPG

The wire cut method - this is the simple tool - there are some really expensive and fancy ones out there with multiple vacumn cups and ratchets.
WS 3.JPG

Here is a knife -
wdknife.JPG


The most expensive seems to be this magnetic induction system that heats the metal under the glass and glue - and seems to have the least potential for damaging the paint provided the metal does not get too hot:
WS 2.JPG
http://www.autotronheater.com/default.asp?ID=10
 
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hayduke

2005/2006 leisure travel
"I spent *hours* cleaning out the channel, rubbing it out with rubbing compound, prepping rusty areas with naval jelly, cleaning again with alcohol, masking it off, priming with etching primer, laying down white primer, and finally laying down paint, all the while keeping the engine running and the windshield area under a tarp to keep the metal temperature up.'

Even hours may not be enough once there is rust. I have gone thru this many times with a Toyota over a period of years, and it eventually comes back at an edge. It is like cancer
 

dodger413

Member
i had my windshield replaced once so far (it has a large rock ding in this one, only took 7 months before it got cracked this time).

a national chain (J N Philips) came to the house in the dead of winter to replace the ws. he asked if we could pull it in the garage to get it out of the cold. it's a 170 hi top. duh!! it does't fit. i offered to put a torpedo kerosene heater in it to blow heat. he declined the offer.

anyway he replaced it, says his shop has done dozens of sprinters. it leaked so bad the next day that i put a pan to catch the water. leaked right above the rearview mirror.

he came back out and added caulk in a half ass attempt to seal the leak and left. it leaked just as bad. They wanted to try replacing seal and windshield at their shop. warmer they said. i brought it, left it for the day. took it home and it leaked just as bad the next day. brought it back to shop again, left it for the day. picked it up, everything seemed pretty good. during hurricane gloria, it leaked, but in everyday use it hasn't.

i need a new windshield now, but fear having it replaced again. definitely will not use J N Philips !! maybe those safelight guys i see on the commercials.

it seems that huge windshield is a magnet for stones and i will be replacing my windshield every year. hope my insurance company keeps paying for em !!
 

KMDE

Animal Transportation
Thanks for the post. We have had the windshield replaced twice. Thankfully safelite and the second company both did it right. I recommened safelite to anyone needing a new one.
The guy saved me 20 bucks by re using the seal. I would have not questioned him if he replaced it so that was nice. I called many shops and the only cheaper ones were by $20 or so with a no name company.
 
just got a 2002 158 and the windshield is leaking from the top in a few spots. right above the rear view is pretty bad. Is there a diy way to fix this without removing the windshield or does the glass have to come out and get reseated by a professional shop? there are no chips, dings, or cracks.
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
I would first double check that it isn't your antenna that is leaking and the water is finding its way out where you see it. There have been a few members who have reported antenna leaks.

If it is not the antenna why not try to seal it yourself? If you clean up the top seam well and are careful applying sealant it should look OK from the ground and you may stop the leak. I don't think the sealant is any problem for the installer if re-installation is still needed afterward? Good luck. vic

just got a 2002 158 and the windshield is leaking from the top in a few spots. right above the rear view is pretty bad. Is there a diy way to fix this without removing the windshield or does the glass have to come out and get reseated by a professional shop? there are no chips, dings, or cracks.
 
i took the headliner out and the drip is coming right from the window seam in a few spots. middle is the worst. the antenna is cracked but not leaking. planning to seal that up before it starts leaking.

this is the expeditor package and the previous owner broke off the tv antenna but filled it with caulk. i dont even see where that enters the roof for a possible leak though. its positioned before the first rib but there is no hole for a wire to come in. havent taken down the insulation in the cabin yet but its not wet.

should i contact an installer for the actual window sealant or would some bathroom silicone style caulk from home depot work?
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
...
or would some bathroom silicone style caulk from home depot work?
Personally I wouldn't use a silicone style caulk because it may interfere with the typical windshield sealant should it ever be replaced. The silicone residue leaches out and can stop proper adhesion of many sealants.

Asking a windshield installer for a recommendation isn't a bad idea. That said, don't be surprised if their answer is that the only real cure is to remove and reseal the windshield. As professionals they can't try external sealing and have it fail soon after. That doesn't apply to DIY.

Maybe try a Sikaflex product or a marine grade (boat) sealant? Sealants have been discussed at length on this forum. A search from the blue bar above should give you plenty of hits. Good luck. vic
 

aspen

Member
I had a mobile guy take the windshield out and come back in a few days to put a new one in. Meanwhile, I worked on rust. It was a year ago, in Sept. - still warm, can`t imagine doing it in the winter outside.
 

seans

Member
More info on the windshield replacement. To prep the windshield gutter, I cleaned the gutter thoroughly with rubbing compound and alcohol after I had applied naval jelly to the scratched areas for good measure. I should have sanded it very lightly with very fine sandpaper for better adhesion, though. I masked everything but the areas immediately around the scratches.

masking.jpg

I used Dupli-Color Self-Etching Primer (DAP 1690) for the first few coats, and then switched to white Dupli-Color Sandable Primer (DAP 1689) for the next few, each coat within a few minutes of the other. I should have sanded before I finally topcoated with Dupli-Color Perfect Match (BCC0362 Bright White). Dupli-color was selected for no better reason than it was what was available at the local auto parts store.

This post led me to the Dupli-Color Bright White. It is a pretty close match, and I have tweaked the photos below to make the match look worse than it is. Rather than attempt to overspray, I decided to live with a mask line, which is apparent when looking straight on (mask lines highlighted in red):

mask-line-1.jpg

But when viewed from a normal viewing angle, it is not apparent, and better than the alternative of the originally suggested black primer or leaving the scratches in place:

mask-line-pre.jpg
mask-line-2.jpg

I found that when removing the masking tape, the top coat delaminated in a few small places from the undercoat, so sanding would have helped increase adhesion to the drier primer coats.

One thing that became apparent is that spray cans are a poor substitute for a real paint job. Even with multiple coats it was clear how thin the paint was, especially when the paint had dried. Also, the boiling temperature of the paint is particularly low, so you don't want to spray on areas that have been heated by a running engine (done to keep the workplace temperature from getting too cold when it was cold outside; unfortunately this led to metal near the engine compartment getting hotter than in other areas.) Years from now when I eventually get this van professionally painted, the windshield will come out so that it can be prepped thoroughly.

After peeling off the masking and noting how thin the paint was, I pulled out my touch-up paint and touched up the scratches to hopefully give them a little more protection.

When the company came to lay down the new glass, they used a utility knife with a long handle to remove more of the original urethane from the frame. I admonished them to be careful not the scratch the paint but this was a very difficult request and it did get scratched in a few more places. After they laid down the adhesive bead, I applied touch-up paint to the few places where they had nicked the paint. At that point they laid the windshield in place.

They installed a new aftermarket moulding / gasket around the glass before setting the glass in. After it was in, I realized that the windshield stuck out from the van noticeably at the top. Indeed, the installers pressed on the glass and it moved closer to the van but went back out when they released pressure.

Right after the installers left, I confirmed that the bead was adhering to the glass all around the windshield, and that the aftermarket moulding stood the windshield higher off the frame than the original. I figure this is probably because many installers will not completely remove the original urethane so a greater space between window and frame is desirable.

I was uncomfortable with the fact I could press on the glass and make it sit closer to the frame. I taped wood blocks on different parts of the windshield and used long posts as levers (with the help of my roof rack and duct tape) to apply gentle pressure like the installers had done by hand to get the windshield to sit closer to the frame. This compressed the urethane bead and moulding more uniformly than the installers could accomplish by hand, and the windshield now sits only about 1/16 - 1/8" higher off the frame than the original did.

pressure.jpg

If I had to do this again, I would consider doing the entire job myself, using the window remover tool that has the small curved knife blade shown above. If needed, I'd do the same paint prep on any places scratched to the metal, although I'd lightly sand before the first coat and between coats that had been allowed to dry, and try to keep the temperature uniform and near 70 degrees.

At a minimum, there is merit to having one installer come out to remove the glass with the proper hand tool, and a second to do the installation later after you have cleaned up the gutter. Being there during installation and having touch-up paint handy to fix scratches made during installation would also be a good idea. I had a collapsible ladder nearby to reach all areas of the windshield and let the installers use it to help them do a better job.
 

seans

Member
Thanks for posting this!

Seems to be a lot of ways to remove windshields:

The hooked knife method:
View attachment 37721
I think this would be the optimal tool to use for removal. The guy who returned for the install used a razor blade at the end of a handle about a foot long to get enough leverage to cut away some of the old urethane seal. He was careful to cut as much seal as he could but left a little so as not to scratch the metal beneath it.

The most expensive seems to be this magnetic induction system that heats the metal under the glass and glue - and seems to have the least potential for damaging the paint provided the metal does not get too hot:
View attachment 37723
http://www.autotronheater.com/default.asp?ID=10
I'm not sure this would work for the urethane seal the Sprinter users. However, while in the parts store, I saw an alternative seal which was a sticky bead of goo wrapped in a long skinny roll of wax paper. Its packaging said not to use it with the urethane-sealed windshields, so it would not be for a Sprinter. But I wonder if the induction system would be the only way to get this off easily for the vehicles that use it. I can see the goo re-adhering as soon as the knife passes it.
 

seans

Member
Personally I wouldn't use a silicone style caulk because it may interfere with the typical windshield sealant should it ever be replaced. The silicone residue leaches out and can stop proper adhesion of many sealants.

Asking a windshield installer for a recommendation isn't a bad idea. That said, don't be surprised if their answer is that the only real cure is to remove and reseal the windshield. As professionals they can't try external sealing and have it fail soon after. That doesn't apply to DIY.

Maybe try a Sikaflex product or a marine grade (boat) sealant? Sealants have been discussed at length on this forum. A search from the blue bar above should give you plenty of hits. Good luck. vic
Vinyl Addict, +1 with Vic on not using the silicone caulk. I used it for a roof fix and watched rust continue underneath it. I think it outgasses acetic acid.

If you do decided to shoot some sealant in there, I found real windshield sealant in Advance Auto Parts, the kind used to create the sealing bead between the glass and the frame, so it should be possible to find it in other parts stores. It did cost $25 a tube, though, and requires a caulk gun to dispense it. (If you were using it to install a windshield, I think you'd need at least two tubes.)

Maybe with the headliner out you can clean out the space between the frame and windshield and lay a new bead. You do run the risk of creating a place where water pools up. It is a MESS to work with and cleans up with alcohol while still wet but the alcohol smears it so you need a lot of alcohol and a lot of paper towels. At some point you may be impelled to cram it in with your fingers, so you probably want to have a box of rubber gloves and wear them double.

Perhaps the problem is that the bead touches the glass moulding but not the glass, and water is being forced in between the glass and the moulding.

I was quoted $50 an hour for labor while researching windshields. With the right tools and care they can probably remove the windshield without breaking it. But that's a big "probably" with a new windshield at the other side and you will probably need a new moulding. Let us know what you do and how it turns out...
 
i went to a glass guy dr a recommended. he told me the previous replacement company used cheap chinese glass and didnt clean the seating surface properly which is why it leaks. I pulled up the edge seal a little and it does look like the top drivers corner isnt really attached all that well. The adhesive lifts up slightly at the edges. The frame around it is filthy and would require quite a bit of cleaning for anything to stick to it.

He quoted me $300 for a brand new ppg glass windshield, new outer trim molding (which looks pretty beat up) and he would sand down any rust and prime it as well including the 3 spots under the windshield that are starting to bubble. Might be good to start fresh instead of dropping $25-50 on sealant and still having it leak anyway.
 

surlyoldbill

New member
Had my windshield replaced a couple years ago after a brick finally cracked it from edge to edge (I live in Richmond CA, bricks and rocks at cars is a common pastime near overpasses). I called around and asked for best price, one place said $169. Bingo. Removal was by hand, as was installation, but they got too much goop on and it started to set before window was in, so there are a few visible bulges of black goop on the inside. Small leak on top (fixed) and no other problems, except maybe that they put one of my wiper arms on just a little off.
 

seans

Member
i went to a glass guy dr a recommended. he told me the previous replacement company used cheap chinese glass and didnt clean the seating surface properly which is why it leaks...
...and guess what. The guys who installed my new windshield did exactly what yours did: they failed to clean the glass and did not apply any chemical preparation to the windshield. And, from the time they laid the bead until the time they put in the windshield, several minutes passed (enough time for me to inspect and touch up scratches they left on the pinch weld when cutting out the old urethane). In that time the adhesive may have skinned slightly.

I did not catch this at the time even though I was watching closely because I did not know any better!

And so it rained today, and as I got into the car after a 20 minute stop, I heard a gurgling sound on the driver's side at the base of the windshield. On close inspection (yanking the side pillar trim and jamming fingers into the cracks) I discovered water wicking through a number of gaps between the windshield and the urethane seal. It is only between the glass and the urethane that I'm finding leaks, not between the urethane and the pinch weld (frame.) I have no idea where the gurgling came from.

I probably made the gaps wider (and even so, you really can't see them) by using my lever contraption to bring the windshield closer to the van. It is likely that when the levers were removed, the windshield tried to return to an unloaded position, and this probably increased the gap where there was a lack of adhesion.

I'm not kicking myself for doing this, though, because I would not have noticed a slower leak - none of this was visible unless you really got in there and looked for it - and I may have wound up with worse long-term damage from slow seepage.

Might be good to start fresh instead of dropping $25-50 on sealant and still having it leak anyway.
Agreed. Now that I have my very own copy of your windshield installation, I think you would have a very hard time prepping the area enough to completely stop seepage. I can see slight a thin line of water between the seal and the glass in many places. When I press the glass the glistening changes, a sign that a gap is present.

I suspect that my installers would attempt to fix this by applying more adhesive from inside, as was done in this tale of woe (he went from a Fuyao windshield - the same kind my installers put in - to a PPG windshield installed by Safelite.)

Key points in that thread:"Windshield installers are a lot like painters, the individual is critical to getting a good job, not so much the shop" and "I would try to find an old-timer".

Thus, I am inclined to figure out a way to seal this temporarily, and then drive out to Pittsburgh to visit Dr A's glass guy, maybe after locating the heated windshield that I'd really like to install.

I found this link for windshield replacement instructions provided by Carlite to be an interesting read. I think some of the key points are understated, however (such as skinning - I can't see how that is preventable without a power caulk gun, for example.)
 
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In my experience Safelite is no better. They use the sawzall method too. First glass they put in leaked (house brand). Second go was a PPG glass which seemed to match the body curve better. This was last year. With all the rain in the north east this summer I now have a small leak somewhere on the pass side.
They keep their sealant in a hot box.
One problem with the window sealant is that it oxidizes and will chalk black if exposed as I found from trying to reseal an after market side window.
Bob
 

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