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Some additional Tech Tips from Bartamos:

Save those old slider pieces from your project. List them in the Swap Meet section.

Looking for some for more tips on windows:


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          Some "Suburbanites" like the look of solid side windows instead of sliders (better known as stationary windows), or maybe their original sliders are just too far gone. Either way, if strict originality isn't important, here's a way to put solid side windows in your 'Burb. Ken Law answered a request for help in the Panels and 'Burbs forum and after he had gone that far, he wrote up this Tech Tip with some additional details and (our favorite) ... photos!

Solid Side Windows in 1955-1959 Suburbans
Converting side windows from sliding to a solid one piece

By Ken "Bartamos" Law
1956 GMC Carryall 4 x 4
1957 Chevy Dairy Queen Panel
Bolter # 6873

July 2011

More discussion on this Tech Tip

It all started with a question in the Panels & Burb forum ~

My 1959 Suburban's slider windows have seen better days. Parts of the frames are rusted out, the glass is cracked, handles are missing, etc. At $50 per seal, plus new glass, plus the time spent messing with them, a one piece glass seems pretty attractive. We plan to pretty much use this as a two seat truck so sliders aren't really necessary.

I was wondering if anybody knew of a source for one piece glass to replace the sliders. I think The Filling Station sells seals for the one-piece glass but I haven't seen anybody selling the actual glass anywhere. Maybe someone knows of a template?

A Little History

Some Task Force (1955 through 1959) and V8 -era 'Burbs had two sliders and two stationary side windows, although it's pretty rare to find a TF that way. Most Task Force 'Burbs have four sliders. I find that most side window channels are rusted out and are hard to find and / or rebuild. (I have done that also.) I did stationary windows on my 1956 GMC,  made my own templates (two sizes) and got the rubber for stationary windows at $28 each. (Note: I believe rubber for '55-'59 is same as '60-'66.) I had tinted glass cut to my templates at $350. Total price about $475 -- which is roughly equal to the amount you'll invest in restoring the original frames and installing the slider kits -- but with a lot more work! Plus -- you'll probably have to buy some slider glass. I have never found anyone selling slider or stationary glass as repop. Any good glass shop can cut either for you.

Converting to Stationary Windows

If strict originality isn't a factor, here's my suggestion on how to do stationary "solid" windows in a 1955-1959 Suburban:

First remove the locks, frames, then the channel with glass and all rubber, or what's left, of all those parts. Deburr and straighten the pinch welded rim all the way around. This picture shows a die grinder being used

Get the rubber first, install it into the window openings for a week, hopefully in the heat. Leave ends a little long. Tape it tight in place and check it every day. It will, in time, have "memory" as rubber has the tendency to conform to a  shape and stay that way after it is "trained" by being held tightly around the window opening.

After being held by tape for a week or so, the rubber should be conformed. Establishing this "memory" to the shape of your opening is very important to a tight fit and makes working with, and installation of the rubber much easier.

IMPORTANT: Make sure the rubber is held tightly in the corners with tape and that the pinch weld rim is touching the bottom of the rubber groove all around.  

After a week or so, measure / mark the rubber while on the vehicle and then cut in a home made "miter box" jig. This image shows the rubber seal ends being held while curing after being cut. Notice the slit in the wooden jig to accept the knife. Use a super sharp knife.

Bond ends together with 3M black weather-strip adhesive. Maintain continuity of the glass groove and the pinch weld groove in the rubber while curing. Get some kind of ridged board (from Home Depot or the like) that is .25 thick, (the glass is about .23 thick). Use this particle type material as a template for the glass and to practice the installation. This will also confirm that the rubber is correct. See template picture.

To get the template to the correct size (remember this is an exact pattern for the glass to be cut at your expense!) Cut out the board in a shape similar to the window opening, but larger. It needs to fit up against the window area, either inside or outside, so you can do the initial marking.

The String Method to install truck windows

Install the rubber onto the glass as best you can using tape to keep it on. You can remove the tape later even after you are all done. Then install some clothesline rope (about 3/16 to 1/4 diameter) into the rubber pinch weld groove. You can do these two steps in reverse if you want.

CAUTION: The corners of the glass are all different so be sure you install the rubber onto the glass correctly, just like it was "trained" for the opening.

Tape the ends of the rope to the top of the glass (see pix) Apply fairly generous amount of spray soap to pinch weld metal and rubber groove.

As someone steadies and pushes on the glass and rubber seal from the inside, pull out the two string ends equally clockwise and counterclockwise, which will force the rubber lip to the outside of the pinch weld and therefore trap the rubber and glass in the opening. Don't rip the rubber. The angle of the pull should be about 45 degrees toward the center of the glass. You may have to alter the pull angle from time to time to get a certain portion to pop out, especially at the corners. 

If your glass is right and your rubber was sized as above, it will go on nicely.

It is always nice to have some plastic tools standing by to pry or wedge with. Use NOTHING made of metal around glass. Wash off the soap, dig out any tape and admire the look.

Talking about this tip in the forums.

Drill some finger holes in the board so you can hold it. This part is a two-person job.

Mark a line all the way around the installed rubber opening, using the rubber edge as a guide for this first magic marker line.

Measure the depth of the groove in the rubber (the groove for the glass), subtract about 1/16 (this 1/16 lets the glass be a little loose but still seal) and make another larger perimeter line at that distance all the way around again. You will now have a board with two lines all the way around.

Cut it out to the outside most line and this will be the glass size. You will do this for the large and small window. Just two patterns are necessary. 

Install it just like it was glass using the string pull method (see column to the right) and the finger holes to hold it. It should be a little loose, not much. Install all four rubbers using the templates to be sure the window openings on your particular Suburban are close to the same size on both sides.

Take the pattern to a glass shop. Explain what you are doing and get their automotive safety glass in any tint you want. You will need .25 thickness.

Be sure to put your name and phone number on the patterns and write on them NOT to drill the finger holes.

Buy a good suction handle and install the glass same way, no adhesive or RTV, just plenty of soap!

Replace the frames with no locks necessary.

To recap: The trick is to make sure the rubber is tight to the truck when taped for a week -- especially in the corners and ... when you butt seal the rubber, build a jig to hold the butt ends together tight and keep the grooves in line. It will cure fast so get it all ready and dry practice it.

The rubber has two different grooves -- the groove for the pinch weld and the groove for the glass. There are no leak problems with stationary windows and it looks real nice. The rubber "seam" created by the bonded butt joint can be at the top middle or the bottom middle -- anywhere you think looks best.

You can now buy that Suburban and not worry about rotten channels. Don't forget! Your channels, slider window glass, handles and locks are worth a fair amount of money and will help you recoup the solid window cost. So post them in the Swap Meet so you can pass them along!

I think the stationary windows are very nice looking albeit not stock. 

Good luck!
Ken Law


My old truck lets the heads do the spinning while the rims stand still.

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