'Bolters helping 'Bolters is a beautiful thing!
You've always wondered if you could take out that back window in your cab and replace it with a larger one? Well, it is possible and here Randy to show you how he's done it. And if YOU have done something similar, let us know so this piece can expand to cover all the neat tips and tricks.
1960-1966 Big Back Window Conversion
(August 1, 2008)
By Randy Osborn
The Window Project
I have a 1961 Chevrolet Fleetside Apache pickup. In May of 2008, I decided to take a 1961 small back window cab and make it into a BIG BACK window cab. Scott "48bigtrucks" Ward supplied the big back window for this project, and lots of advice. He helped me figure out how this converstion works!
Here is a side-by-side comparison of the big window and the small window, once they have been removed from the cab:
Drill out the spot welds. Most welds are 2 inches apart. Some are 4 or 6 inches apart. Some are on top of one another.
BE CAREFUL -- DO NOT drill all the way through BOTH pieces of metal. Drill only through the first sheet of metal. It does not matter which side you drill out. You can work from inside the cab or outside. I chose the inside of the cab.
Here is a picture of spot welds drilled out using the special spot weld removal bit.
Now that all of the welds are drilled out, the two pieces will need to be seperated. BUT WAIT! The seam is still welded together. The seam that runs from one side of the cab to the other side -- the seam that joins the headliner to the back window panel. This seam will need to be ground off. CAREFULL! DO NOT grind off the metal you are keeping (the good metal)!
If you are removing the SMALL back window, then you will grind off just BELOW the seam. If you are removing the BIG back window, you will grind off just ABOVE the seam.
Removing the small back window
I took a cut off wheel and my angle grinder to remove the back window panel(s) from the headliner panel(s), cutting just next to the seam. DO NOT cut into the seam if you want an 'original' look. Some people weld the seam together - not me!
Notice the seam area. It is cut BELOW the seam because I am not using the small window anymore, so it is okay to cut into it.
Next, I am grinding down the excess metal left on the seam. I am NOT cutting the metal where the headliner panel is. (See image on the right; click for a larger view.)
Grind a little, then pop a weld. Once I found a weld, I ground down that area a bit more. Then pryed out the weld, popping it apart. Repeat all the way around. This took awhile since it is hard to see the welds under the lip.
Be carefull using the screwdriver to pry apart the welds. DO NOT damage the seam area where the headliner is. I admit, I occasionally slipped while grinding and ground into the headliner metal. It should sand down and look okay.
The only way I saw to remove the spot welds from the seam was to do it the way I described. The other way was to remove the roof panel, and that was not an option. Removal of the roof panel can be done, but this project simply was not worth that risk of damaging the roof and / or not getting it back on the truck correctly.
What did you say?
Just to make sure you understand my version of "apples and oranges," here's the lingo I'm using to explain the parts of the truck:
Putting the BIG window in
FIT IS CRITICAL!
It is EXTREMELY Important that the panels fit correctly or the glass and rubber molding might vibrate out while you are driving your truck! I did a test fit to see what I was dealing with. It fit very well. I made sure that there is enough of a lip where the two panels meet - where the rubber molding will go. I noticed that the BIG window panel flexed a lot.
Now the BIG back inside panel window is in the SMALL back window cab. Here's the picture. I have cleaned al the seams on all the parts now. It is not welded in yet! This is just a test fit.
Besides being a member of Stovebolt, and the Genuine Chevy / GMC KC Truck Club. Randy has a collection of seven Chevy trucks. Here's his Photobucket account. These are the one's we have in our Gallery: a 1950 Chevy 3100, a 1958 Chevy Fleetside, a 1961 Chevrolet Fleetside Apache, a 1966 Chevy Suburban.
I had rather walk carrying a Stovebolt hubcap than ride in anything else.