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© 1998-2008 Joe Weaver

 

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Doors &

Windows

Part 4

Refurbishing the Side Window Glass & Frames

Quite often the frames of the side windows are dull, scratched, and in generally bad shape. In order to restore these pieces the glass must be removed from the frames and the frame pieces separated from each other so they can be individually restored to like-new or perhaps better-than-new condition. The glass pieces themselves are also usually scratched and/or pitted and can be polished to look new.

(Note: I had intended to cover removing the rear roll-up windows in this edition. However, as I reviewed the video, I noted that the similarity of the rear roll-up windows to the front roll-up windows would make an edition on the rear windows redundant. Therefore, I chose to move on to the windows themselves.)

The Rear Roll-up Windows

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The left photo shows the frame still assembled after it has been removed from the car. The view is looking at the "outside" of the driver's side window. The bottom and front of this frame assembly is chromed pot metal. The top, curving back and down with the glass is a stainless steel channel which the glass fits up into. There is a rubber "U" channel gasket that fits all the way around the edges of the glass and acts as a seal between the glass and the frames. The black strip on the front of the assembly is the weather strip piece that seals between this rear roll-up window and the roll-up window in the driver's door. This weather strip must be removed. The right photo shows the top of the frame where a screw has been removed (note the poor condition of the weather strip at the top).

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This weather strip piece is very stiff and bends as it is pried off the frame. Note in the left photo that two screws are now exposed which are shown in greater detail below.

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The top stainless frame is attached to the bottom frame with four screws. The left photo shows two screws at the top of the assembly that were hidden by the weather stripping. The right photo shows the frames apart after the screws and glass have been removed.

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The left photo shows two screws at the lower rear of the frame. The right photo shows the frames apart after the screws and glass have been removed.

The next steps can be very difficult and require a great deal of patience. On my windows, the rubber gasket between the glass and the frame was old, stiff, and stuck very well to both the glass and the metal frames. Getting it unstuck and removing the upper frame was a challenge. The upper stainless frame is somewhat fragile and can be easily bent with rough handling. You need to avoid pulling hard on the stainless frame, because if it does come loose of the gasket in the area you are pulling on but it doesn't come loose on the other end, you will bend the frame piece and most likely ruin it. I used a single edge razor blade and carefully slid it between the glass and the rubber gasket to try and loosen it--which did help but only to a degree. I ended up using a combination of the razor blade, prying gently with a small screwdriver, pulling, prying with the screw driver, loosening more with the razor blade, prying with the screwdriver, pulling gently, loosening more with the razor blade, etc. It took me close to an hour to get this top frame off. (You will have similar problems removing the front roll-up glass from its frame, and removing the vent window from its stainless frame).

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The left picture is the rear frame and glass apart. The right Shows the rear glass with the gasket removed.

The Front Roll-up Windows

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This is the easiest window frame to disassemble. However, there still was great difficulty separating the glass from the rubber gasket and frame without damaging the frame. I left the bottom frame attached to the window. It was still in sound condition with no visible signs of corrosion. And since it is not seen it requires no cosmetic restoration. The rubber gasket was in fair condition. The right photo shows a close-up of the upper rear corner of the rubber gasket. Note that it is stiff, cracked, and deteriorated in the 90 degree bend. I have not found a source for these gaskets new or reproduced. You must choose whether to reuse the old gasket, or find some new material to replace the gasket with. I will reuse this particular gasket. But, as seen in the vent window section below, some gaskets are too deteriorated to be reused.

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The material I chose to replace the rubber gaskets that were too far deteriorated to reuse is called "Tuff Pack" tape. It is a rubbery material on a roll and is available at most automotive glass places. It is not quite thick enough to replace the gasket material with one layer (one and a half or two thicknesses are needed), and I doubt it would provide as good a rain-tight seal as the original gaskets (see next paragraph).To use it, fold it over the glass and gently push the frame onto the glass. Then cut the excess off just below the frame with a razor blade. It needs to be noted that this material is needed more for a tight fit between the frame and the glass, than for sealing purposes.

To provide a rain-tight seal, whether using the original gasket or the Tuff Pack tape, apply a small bead of black RTV silicon sealer between the frame and the glass. Wearing a latex glove, wet one finger and carefully remove excess sealant while making an attractive fillet between the glass and the frame. This combination should serve as well as, if not better than, the original rubber gaskets. It would be possible to simply use black RTV silicon in place of any rubber gasket material, but it would be nearly impossible to ever get the glass separated from the frame again without damaging the frame and/or the glass if that ever became a necessity in the future.

The Vent Window Stainless Steel Frame

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The left photo shows the vent window assembly together after being removed from the vent frame. The right photo shows the assembly apart. Again, it was very difficult to get the vent glass separated from the frame without distorting the fragile stainless frame (almost an hour for each vent window). Note in the right photo that the gasket has deteriorated to the point of being unable to be reused. The threaded shaft on the bottom of the stainless frame inserts into the large pot metal vent frame and attaches with a spring and a nut, with the spring between the frame and the nut. The tightness of this nut compressing the spring is what determines the force needed to open and close the vent window. Too tight and the window is difficult to open and close, too loose and it will not stay open in the wind as the car is driving. Note above the stainless frame in the right photo is the upper hinge piece. To remove the vent window assembly from the large frame, remove the nut and spring from the bottom, then remove the hinge from the top of the stainless frame by removing the two screws. Then tilt the window away from the large frame. The stainless frame in the photo on the right has been buffed & polished. The hinge piece has been re-chromed. The left photo shows the vent window handle--I bought new ones to install on the finished assemblies. I chose to replace these handles rather than re-chroming the old ones because they had worn some and were a bit loose.

The Vent Frame Assembly

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This is the complete vent frame after disassembly.

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The large section of this assembly is chromed pot metal (what is being pointed to in the left photo). The piece being pointed to in the right photo is stainless steel and makes up the back edge of the frame for the vent window to seal against and provides an attractive cover to the rigid window run. It is riveted to the pot metal frame on the bottom, and screwed to the top with the screw that holds on the rubber bumper which acts as the front window up stop.

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The left photo shows the location where the stainless piece is riveted to the pot metal frame. Although the contrast prohibits seeing the actual rivets, the right photo shows the exact location as viewed through the rigid window glass run (just to the right of the hole). These rivets must be drilled out so the stainless piece can be separated from the pot metal frame, so each can be restored in the way each needs to be (i.e. the pot metal re-chromed, and the stainless buffed & polished). When reassembling the frame, these will need to be pop-riveted back together, as screws would protrude too far into the glass run. Note in the left photo above, the difference in color of the metal below the hand as opposed to above it. The reason is because these are two different pieces. What is seen below the hand is the rigid window run channel. The rigid glass run fits inside the stainless piece, and runs from the top of the vent frame down inside and nearly to the bottom of the door (as seen in Part 1 of this section). Inside the channel is felt which keeps the glass from rattling while driving. The rigid glass run is not riveted to the frame, but is held in place by friction of the stainless piece--it takes some effort to pry the old channel out, and some pressure to install the new one.

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This is a view of the rivet holes in the stainless back edge piece. The two at the very bottom are where it rivets to the pot metal frame. The rest of the holes are where the weather stripping is riveted to the stainless back edge piece. Again, these rivets need to be drilled out, and the new weather stripping will need to be pop-riveted back in.

The Rigid Window Run

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This shows the old rigid window run channel on the right, and the new piece on the left. In the catalog where I bought them, it stated that some modification is necessary. Note that the new one will need to be cut to proper length.

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Riveted to the bottom of the old piece (top channel in photo) is a bracket for the adjusting bolt (as seen in part 1 of this section). These rivets will need to be drilled out and the bracket installed on the new channel by drilling new holes and pop riveting it in place.

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The tip of the new channel needs to have a slot cut in it to match the old one (top channel in photo). This allows for the rubber bumper piece to fit in at the top of the vent frame.

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This hole in the old channel (top channel in photo) will need to be reproduced in the new channel. It is where the rivets for stainless back piece (mentioned above) go. While the channel is not riveted to the frame, the hole allows the channel to fit snug into the stainless back piece rather than being held out by the thickness of the heads of the rivets. This can be done by drilling several close holes the same size as the width of the hole in the old channel and then cleaning up with a file, Dremel tool, or something similar.

While the extent of these modifications may tend to induce one to think seriously about not replacing this piece, if you are restoring the car, replacing this piece will be well worth the time. One of the ways many people describe an old car is by saying that it has "drafty, rattly windows". This piece is the main window run in the doors and unless they have been replaced recently it is almost certain that the felt has deteriorated to the point that it will not hold the window tightly, and will let wind pass the seal, crating drafts and wind noise as the car is driven. If you want a quiet, well sealed car to be proud of, replace these pieces. Note also that at the time of writing this edition, these were the only rigid glass run sections I could locate (from one of our Falcon vendors). Since then, reproduction manufacturers may have reproduced this run exactly as original, so be sure to look around.

Polishing the Glass

Although I have never done this and as such have no photos of this process, several companies provide automotive glass polishing kits. Generally, the kits consists of one or two buffing wheels that fit in a drill, and one or two (or more) compounds that are applied to the wheel and then, using the drill, the window is buffed and polished to original shine. These products can also remove small scratches and small pits from the windshield, such as those caused by a defective windshield wiper. The kits do this by using the coarser polishing compound first (like sanding out a small dent in wood), followed by the finer one(s) that give the glass its final shine.

 

Note, however, that removing scratches and/or pits from glass is done by removing some of the glass in the polishing process. However deep the scratch is is how much glass needs to be removed on each side of the scratch. Even though, when finished, the glass will be shinny as new, wherever more glass was removed to get out deeper scratches you will see distortion when looking through the glass in that area. If you could place a huge piece of graph paper or a similar grid on one side of the glass and then look through the other side of the glass at the grid it would be easy to see the distortion, and where the distortion was the worst--which would be where the worst scratches or pits were. I suppose it is possible to try and polish the entire surface evenly attempting to remove the same amount of glass uniformly across the entire window surface, but be aware that you could make your current windows less desirable than they are now. I would recommend getting an old window or two (or three) from a junk yard and practice on them before trying this on your current windows. You may also check on simply purchasing new glass for the car.  On the other hand, if your windows are in very good condition and you just want the shinny new look, a light polishing effort might just do the trick. One final word, a flat side window would be far easier to polish evenly than would a curved window such as a windshield.

This is the end of the Doors & Windows Edition

Part 4

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Feel free to save this page to your computer for your personal use and future reference--no other use is authorized without prior written permission from me. All illustrations from the 1964 or 1965 Falcon Shop Manuals used pursuant to permission granted by Ford Motor Company. Disclaimer: This site is not intended to instruct or teach anyone in proper or safe methods of working on or maintaining any type of vehicle or use of any tool and the author takes no responsibility for the use of the information contained herein.

If you have comments or suggestions, email me at joe@joesfalcon.com

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