In this edition of Camaro Restoration, we are going to learn how to Install the Windshield and Backlite on a Classic Camaro. Windshield and backlite replacement has always mystified enthusiasts because it is the wild/weird science of laying laminated and plate glass onto a steel frame hoping it will successfully seal out the weather and look good. For years, windshields and backlites were secured with a continuous rubber seal and black sealant. GM went to glue-in windshields and backlites in the 1960s that not only didn’t leak but also stayed secured to the body in a collision in the interest of safety. Windshields and backlites held in with a rubber gasket. Once in a while they would pop out in collisions, placing occupants in great danger.
When you’re installing glue-in glass, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to a T. 3M makes excellent auto body prep products, such as Summit Racing Equipment. An example is 3M’s Fast Cure Auto Glass Urethane (PN 08690), which is a fast-curing urethane windshield adhesive and sealer designed for use with glue-in windshields and backlites.
I’ve noticed that 3M Fast Cure Auto Glass Urethane is a single-stage moisture curing urethane that gives rapid strength build-up. No need to wait for it to cure because it is a high-strength adhesive designed for use in full cutout installations without damming materials. It has the bonding strength required for the installation of vehicle windshields, backlites, and sidelites. The 3M glass urethane meets the OEM strength requirements specified by Chevrolet once it is fully cured.
Now we’re going to show you the basics of how to install glue-in windshields and backlites on a first-gen Camaro. First, begin by thoroughly cleaning the contact surfaces and removing all of the old adhesive and any glass fragments. The surfaces must then be primed with the appropriate 3M primer compatible with 3M’s Fast Cure Auto Glass Urethane sealer. The primer seals any scratches at the pinch-weld where the glass sits to prevent rust. Make sure the glass contact surfaces are clean after the primer is cured. With good surface prep you’re ready for glass installation. This application must be methodically performed with close attention to detail.
1. After you have cleaned all the windshield contact surfaces to where they are hospital clean,including the glass and pinch weld surfaces,carefully install the windshield molding clips. These were purchased from Classic Headquarters. Make sure to install the clips without scratching the paint. Note where the clip seats against the pinch weld and the tip that secures the stainless trim.
2. All glass must be test fitted before applying the 3M Fast Cure Auto Glass Urethane sealer. Windshield installation can be tricky because GM provides glass supports at the base of the windshield. This approach works best compared to the old rubber seals on classic Chevys. Safety issues became a concern because rubber gasket windshields and backlites could pop out in accidents. Labor time to install on the assembly line was also less.
3. The backlite installs the same way. The supports (arrows) at the base of the glass ensures proper glass placement. Make sure to check the fit before laying down the adhesive. Use masking tape as a good reference line.
4. Use 3M Fast Cure Auto Glass Urethane sealer because it is very forgiving and cures quickly. Follow 3M’s instructions closely.
5. The sealer/adhesive is to be applied in conservative amounts so that the stuff doesn’t ooze out around the perimeter. Next, lay down a 1/4- to 3/8-inch bead. Have someone assist you to lay the glass in. Once that’s done, using the palms of you hands, carefully press the glass into place around the perimeter. Get rid of any excess sealer with a razor blade before the sealer has a chance to completely cure.
6. You can now see the windshield has been carefully pressed into place and is allowed to set up.
7. The new stainless windshield molding was donated by Classic Headquarters, which is protected with a blue film. The blue film will be removed during installation.
8. The backlite has been firmly pressed into place and the 3M sealer has been allowed to cure. Stainless installation is now ready.
9. The stainless trim installation starts at the bottom. Use your palms to carefully press the molding into place. Listen for the click of the trim clip. This is not easy by any means. You will run into clips and molding that won’t sit together easily. How easy the installation depends upon body construction to begin with, any collision damage not properly repaired, and how much sealer you used. If you used too much, it gets tricky. Press evenly with your palms and do not pound on the molding.
10. The windshield molding is now installed. Bottom molding first, then top, and then sides. Press firmly again and do not pound.
11. Mission Accomplished! A great example of installing the glass and seating the molding. There are no dents in the molding because the trim hasn’t been pounded. Simply press the trim into place using open palms. It works.Categories: Blog