Replacing the Windshield (again)

Well, July finally drew to a close and ended a month that consisted pretty much of travel and illness. I was home a whopping nine days out of the whole month and was sick as a dog for five of those. Needless to say, I didn’t do much on the car. In fact, I didn’t even fire it up for the entire month.

While I was on one of my business trips last month, the Lexan windshield I ordered finally showed up. It took a while to find some time to deal with it, but I finally was able to replace the (second) broken glass windshield today. I also spent time this week working on the coolant leak problem.

First things first, the damn coolant leak is still not fixed. I have done a few things this week trying to narrow down what the issue is, with no luck. I’m getting close to removing the Fortes de-gas tank and putting a T-filler in a new upper radiator hose. I’d rather not do it, but I am running out of options. I need to call Mike this week and see if he has any last ideas to try before I just rip the thing out.

The windshield was a much more successful process. At a high level, replacing the glass amounted to removing the windshield, removing the chrome trim from the glass, and mounting the Lexan sheet into the frame. The Lexan is flat, but flexible, so it was just a matter of muscling it into place.



Rather than removing the entire windshield assembly this time, which requires removing the dash … which requires removing the center console and as such is just a giant pain in the neck, I simply removed the eight small screws that held the windshield arms to the windshield itself. The windshield just lifted out.


Removing the glass was pretty easy. I did it in a way that was more complicated last time, where I removed all the screws from the brass L brackets. This time I only unscrewed the bracket from the upper hoop and left them bolted to the bottom chrome piece. This post from last year shows the process in detail from the first time I did this.


The old glass is junk, to be tossed in the box the last broken one is still sitting in inside my garage. The crack was in the identical place as the last one (and not coincidentally, the same place as almost every broken FFR windshield…)


The process of installing the Lexan started with installing a rubber gasket around the edge of it. The Lexan has protective paper on it, so I had to peel it back an inch or so to fit the rubber.


Some notching and trimming was needed to clear the brass L-brackets that hold the chrome pieces together. Other than that, it was pretty simple. Once fitted, the remainder of the fitting involved soaping up the rubber and the chrome trim and using a lot of muscle and banging to seat the rubber trim and the Lexan sheet into the chrome trim. Because the glass is normally curved and the Lexan was flat, this was probably something I should’ve used another set of hands to do, but I eventually got it in.


Once the trim was all in place, the screws went back in and the windshield was all set. I used some heat and a razor blade to remove the inspection sticker from the glass and moved it over to the Lexan. When I get the car inspected again this fall, I’ll remove the sticker before going down to the shop so the person doing the inspection doesn’t damage the Lexan trying to scrape this sticker off with a razor.


Re-installing the windshield was easy — the new one is 20lbs lighter than the old one, and much easier to move around with one person. I used two small wood clamps on the chrome arms to prop it up.


Once it was positioned, I just had to get the four screws in on each side.


With the windshield bolted back down, I peeled off the paper from the front and back of the windshield. Lexan is beautiful stuff — as clear as glass, flexible, 250 times more impact resistant, lighter. Its the same stuff that they make bullet proof windows for armored cars from. I have to be careful with the wipers — they can scratch the Lexan if the window is dry. I also have to be careful what I use to clean it now, but at least I’ll never have to worry about it cracking again.


The last step was re-mounting the sunvisors. At that point I pulled the car out of the garage and verified yet again that the coolant was still leaking out of the cap.

That’s now turned into a big deal — its making it hard to drive the car anywhere. It seems to only leak a small amount on each drive, though, so I do hope to drive the car this week. Its been a whole summer of not making it to Kimball Farms for their cruise night, and that is very high on my list to do in the next week or two.

The carpet set is still something I’m needing to start working on. I’ve started to set up a better work area in the office rather than in my dining room so I can spread out and leave all the sewing bits out while I work on it. Hopefully in the next week or two I can get that wrapped up. As it moves into fall the weather will be really nice for driving, and I want to get all of this taken care of by then.