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          There really isn't much to your truck you can't rebuild yourself -- a quick breeze through this site should prove that. From generators to steering boxes, from axles to engines, it's all doable by average joes like us with a little help from our friends. Vent windows? No prob! Here's Jay to help you...

Rebuild your vent windows

(31 January 2008)

By Jay Barrington
1954 Chevrolet 3100
Bolter # 2954


Step 1 – Disassembly

          Put that crow bar down! If you're planning on rebuilding both vent assemblies, don't disassemble them both at the same time -- Do one side first before starting the other side so you have a go-by for reassembly should you need it.

          The first step in rebuilding the vent window assemblies is the complete dismantling of the various pieces and removal of the old weather stripping. If your weather stripping is old and hard, it may take some effort to remove it. I had to use a small chisel and hammer on some of mine. The glass in the vent frame needs to be removed. If you plan on re-using the glass, this may take some effort to keep from breaking the glass.

          To remove the glass / frame from the main frame, you will need to carefully grind off the rivet at the top pivot point and then remove the tensioning nut on the lower pivot stud. Do not lose the three washers, spring or nut as they are not reproduced to my knowledge. You might want to make a sketch of how these pieces fit together for further reference.

          The old vertical channel felt now needs to be removed. It is riveted in place. To remove them, grind the heads off carefully and then punch the remainder out with a drift / punch.

          Since I was replacing my glass, the removal was done by breaking the old glass out. Be careful doing this to not bend the frame.

          Removal of the old handle is done using a small punch to drift out the set pin holding it to the frame. There is a wavy washer behind the handle which you need to remember to replace during re-assembly. I would suggest buying a new handle and spring. It improves the look of the finished assembly.

          Figure 1 -- the window assembly out of the door

Step 2 – Cleaning the Frames

          Once the old rubber and glass are removed, it is important to clean the frames. I used a knotted wire wheel on a 4” grinder to remove a majority of the old rust and paint. Wear eye protection! 

          Once that was done, I immersed the pieces in a phosphoric acid bath for a day or two using a large tub I bought at the store. Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot should all have something you can use for this. The acid was purchased at Home Depot in the paint department. It comes in one gallon containers. I used two to cover the pieces completely. I flipped the frames after about 12 hours to ensure good coverage.

          Recycle the Acid – once I was done with the acid step, I filtered the acid and put it back in the original containers to use again. Wear hand and eye protection anytime you are working around this stuff and make sure it is far away from any painted surface you do not want to paint again.

          Figure 2 -- here is a large image of the picture above

Step 3 – Prime and Paint

          Once the frames are cleaned, it is time to re-paint them. Before I did any priming, I went over the pieces again with the wire wheel to remove anything left behind after the acid bath. I then wiped all the surfaces several times with a degreaser / cleaner (IMPORTANT).

          I then taped over the handle stop on the main frame and gave every surface a couple of coats of black primer. You can probably powder coat these pieces also but if you do, DO NOT get any powder coat inside the glass frame channel. Once the primer was dry, I shot several coats of rattle can black satin on the frames, followed by a coat of rattle can clear.

          Figure 3 -- Painting the pieces

Step 4 – Install New Weatherstripping

          I recommend letting the paint dry for at least a day before doing this step.

          Installation of the main rubber is fairly simple. The rubber kit I used came from Classic Parts but they are all the same, I would imagine. 

          To install, coat it with a light coating of dish soap and then start twisting it into the channel. There is a tab on the rubber which fits into a hole in the frame near the top. You need to push the rubber around until these line up.

          Figure 4 -- Getting the soap on the rubber

Step 5A – Installing Rivets

          The vertical rubber strip that the new glass will seal against is installed next. When I purchased my new parts, I also purchased the replacement rivets and the rivet setting tool.

          Having a helper for this step will make things easier.

          As you can see in the image, I have a piece of 3/8" plate in the vise to act as a backing drift. I placed some black weather-stripping adhesive in the top and bottom corners to ensure a good seal. I then positioned the new rubber strip as shown. Your helper should hold the frame in place over the back drift, while you position the new rivet in the first hole using some needle nose pliers. Position the rivet setting tool over the rivet and hit it firmly with a hammer until the rivet is set. You do not have to hit it with great force to make this happen.  Repeat for the other rivets.

          As you will note, I protected the fresh paint with some blue tape during this step.

Step 5B – Installing Rivets

          Some people suggested using the vise to set the rivets but the throat on my vise was not long enough to do this without cutting down the rivet setting tool which would not have been a problem. I choose not to.

          If you think you can use another type of rivet to do this step, I will add that I did also -- but the regular pop rivets will leave too much of a tail which will interfere with the operation of the vent. It is the crush rivets or nothing I am afraid.

          Figure 6 -- Hammering in the rivets

Step 6A – Glass Installation

          Now comes the fun part. Installing the new glass into the glass frame is the most difficult step but by no means impossible. The setting tape I used was obtained from a local auto glass place. It is not the thick cloth backed stuff you see in the various parts catalogs so do not bother buying any. This tape is about 1/16" to 1/32” thick and feels just like buta rubber. Since it will take some force to set the glass in the frame, I covered the fresh paint with tape as shown.

          Figure 7 -- Setting tape applied

Step 6B – Glass Installation

          To facilitate the installation of the tape into the corner of the frame, it needs to be notched as shown here. This will help minimize any binding. One other precaution that will make the glass go in easier is to spread open the vent handle tabs on the bottom portion of the glass frame to give it a bit more room.

          Position the tape on the edge of the glass that will go into the frame, and coat it with a thin coat of ATF (transmission fluid) to help it slide into the channel. Having your helper at this stage to help keep the tape on the glass would save some frustration but not all.

Step 6C – Glass Installation

          With the glass frame taped to protect the paint, place the glass on edge on a cushioned (towel) surface, place the setting tape along the edge and position the frame over the tape and press down.

          As the frame slides on, it will try to move the tape out of place. You may need to remove the frame and reposition it a couple times.  If you do it right the first time, then you did better than I and you should be writing this.

          Once the frame is aligned correctly and is pressed down as far as you can get it, you will need to knock the frame on the rest of the way using a rubber mallet.

          Watch to ensure you do it evenly so as to not cock the glass in the frame. If you do this, then start over. Do not be afraid to land some good blows. Once, I had it most of the way in and I had to hit the edge of the glass fairly hard with the mallet to seat the glass all the way. Take your time. It will work. Set the glass so the trailing edge is almost but not quite flush with the frame ends. Examine the other vent assembly you have to see how far that glass is sticking out from the end of the frame as a go-by.

          I would also suggest setting the new glass / frame into the main frame to see how well it will seal against the vertical rubber strip you installed earlier. You can err on the plus side a bit but if you get the glass too far in, it will not seal correctly and you will have to pull the glass back out a bit which will be more fun.

          Once you have the glass in place, you can trim the excess tape off with a razor blade.

          Good job – you have finished the hard part.

          Figure 9

Step 7 – Install Handle

          When I ordered my new glass and rubber, I also ordered new handles and the wavy spring that installs behind it. There are also new setting pins you can order to secure the handle.

          Place the wavy spring over the stud on the glass frame, position the new handle over the stud and install the set pin. Very easy.

          Next, position the new glass into the main frame. Note: you will need to place one of the washers for the pivot tensioner inside the main frame such that it will be "captured" when the pivot stud goes through it. Do not install the spring and other hardware at this time.

          If your helper has gone off to do other things, get them back now! You will need to install a crush rivet in the top pivot joint and having them available to hold the assembly while you set the rivet against a hard surface is helpful. To install this rivet, it needs to be crushed from the bottom so set the top of the rivet against the 3/8" thick plate and swing that hammer for the last time.

          Once that is done, you can install the remaining washers and spring to the lower pivot stud and secure with the nut. You can let your helper go at this time.

          The final step is to install new glass channel felt into the vertical channel of the vent assembly. To do this, I used 3M weather-stripping adhesive inside the metal channel. It has held up with no problems to date.

          Figure 10

Finished with the First one

          Now that you have finished the first vent assembly, you can do the second one in less than half the time. I hope you have found this write up useful. 

          Here is what the finished product will look like. You can install it now but you will have to pull it out when you install the door glass but that is another story.

          Figure 11 -- Larger image of the the finished product!



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