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          Rubber. It keeps our trucks from scraping along on the pavement and the weather from coming inside the cab with us. Or at least that's how it's supposed to work! But like all of us, as rubber ages, it gets cranky and ornery, and it refuses to do its job. Replacing your windshield rubber gasket is never fun. Or all that easy -- especially if you've never done it before. If you can, you should work with a buddy (those replacement curved windshields aren't cheap!). But if you're stuck and don't have help, here's Seetz with his method for ...

Replacing windshield rubber -- Alone!

(June 24, 2008)

By Sietze Slinkman
"Deep south Dutchman" Seetz
1959 Chevrolet Apache 38 Panel Van

Installing a winshield in a Task Force Truck ... a one-man job!

      I had to install a new rubber gasket for my windshield. Dry rot had caused the rubber to crack in numerous places, which meant that when it was raining, little streams of water would run down on the inside of the windshield. The water would collect in the area above the firewall and then drip down into the dash. This resulted in rust, electrical (fire!) damage, plus a lot of water condensation on the glass.

      So time to install a new gasket. The glass was still good, so I kept that. I read a lot on several Stovebolt forum threads. Then decided I should be able to do it by myself. This is how I did it.

The tools and supplies you need:

  • new gasket (I got mine from, was an excellent fit. there are more suppliers that offer good gaskets, like Steele for example)
  • new glass if necessary
  • rope (I used chalk line), about 20 ft should do
  • utility knife (I love the classic Stanly knife)
  • screwdriver (any kind will do)
  • 1" putty knife
  • WD40
  • some kind of cleaner
  • rags / paper towels
  • something to stand on

First the glass needs to come out.

      But wait!! Before you do this, if you keep the old glass, put a mark on the truck body and on the glass, so you know the exact placement when you put the glass back in. Removing the wipers will be helpful, too. I forgot to do that and they didn't bother me too much.

      You won't need the rubber anymore -- so just start cutting. Do this on the outside. Make a vertical cut first across the weatherstrip. Find where the glass ends and drag the knife along. Don't touch the glass as you might damage it -- which might cause delamination (milky white glass).

      Once you have cut a few inches, try pulling the rubber off with your hands (or maybe a set of pliers if that's easier). Work your way around, until you have removed all the rubber that covers the glass. There will be plenty of rubber left, but you only need to uncover the windshield.

      Gently push the glass out (from inside of the cab) with two hands flat on the glass, shifting from one side to the other. As soon as you feel that the glass is free, stand on the side of the truck, one hand pushing the glass from the inside, other hand on the outside, keeping it from falling out. You might want to stand on a stool for this. Hold it on the top, get both hands on it on the outside of the truck, and carefully put it somewhere safe (a couch in a locked room is great). Make sure you keep the glass upright, and carry it with your hands under the glass, on 1/3 and 2/3 of the glass.

More cutting

      Now cut the remainder of the rubber, using the putty knife where you need it. The sealant GM used cleans up great with WD40, so use that the window area first, then use some kind of household cleaner to remove the WD40 and for general clean-up. If you are using your old glass, clean that too.

Second part: the glass needs to go in again.

      First, put the rubber around the glass. There's a lip on one side of the rubber. This needs to be on the inside and on the top. The ends of the flap need to be in the same place left and right. You may have to fiddle with it a bit to get this right.

      Now is the time to install the rope. Push it down into the rubber. Start and finish in the middle on the bottom. Keep a loop of about 2 feet there, and tie a knot.

      Now carry the glass to the truck, and put it on the cowl vent opening behind the wipers. This is where other people use lube, like dish detergent. I didn't do that. I don't trust any locked in moisture. But I have to say it was 90 degrees when I did this job, and that surely makes the rubber very flexible. Maybe a hairdryer is a good idea for colder days?? I don't know, but you might want to give it a try.

      Make sure your extra loop of rope is in the cab. Next is what I found to be the best trick of 'em all: grab the windshield on the bottom, and push it towards the cab, and up, until it sits tight against the windshield opening. Get in the truck, use your fingers to fold the rubber around the edge of the windshield opening (on the top). Get out again, and push up as far as you can. Then push the windshield on the bottom, pushing the rubber tight against the windshield opening.

      You might want to do one side first, then the other, standing on your stool besides your truck. Twist the rope loop a few times around the screwdriver (for an easy grip).

      Stand next to your truck, have your doors and windows open -- one hand inside with the rope, one hand outside. Push the windshield against the cab with one hand, and pull the rope a few inches with your other hand. The rubber should be pulled into the cab, over the steel lip.

      Keep doing this, a few inches to the left, a few inches to the right. Keep checking the rubber. If it folds inwards, use the putty knife (careful, watch the paint!) to pry it out. Slap you hands flat on the glass to push it in further. You can hit pretty hard when you keep your hands flat. Continue until you have pulled out your rope.

      You've just installed a windshield!

If it's a bit misaligned ...

... no problem. Hit it!* Having sweaty hands helps. You want to make a movement that is a combination of a slap and a stroke. This will move the glass a little bit. It'll take a lot of slaps, but it will move. Just be careful. You can hit it harder than you think -- but glass is not steel! What worked with me is doing this early in the morning, because the glass shrinks at night when it's colder.

      I hope that this can work for you as great as it worked for me. It was highly satisfying to pull this off by myself.

      Good luck!

      * Additonal tip from Bill "red58" LePage: DO NOT slap close to the edge, and do not slap anywhere near where there's the slightest nick, chip, ding in the edge of a used glass!


Carpe extorqueo ... Seize the Wrench
Steve St. Louis – 1964 Chevy

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