Monday, February 18, 2013

Installing the Rear Hatch Glass, Windshield on my S1 Lotus Esprit

This was a hard job. If I could do it over again, I would probably just keep each section of glass bonded into the car and removed the trim pieces prior to sanding and painting the exterior. The biggest issue with replacing the glass is finding suitable spacers that go between the fiberglass frame recess and the glass itself. If the spacer is too low then the glass sits too low and the aluminum trim pieces don’t fit flush with the body. If the spacers are too high then you have the opposite problem. I ended up buying 7 mil thick ‘hard rubber’ matt on eBay an then cutting the spacers from that, which worked perfectly for both the windshield and rear hatch glass. The next step was to mask a roughly 1 inch border on the underside of the glass where I then applied the window sealing primer. I had to brush two coats of primer to completely eliminate the transparency of the glass.

I had never bonded in a windshield so it was all new territory for me. It’s definitely an art. Once you start to apply the bead of sealant onto the window frame you quickly realize that you’re only going to have one go at it. And once the glass is put into the recess and on top of the sealant, it’s possible to move it once, maybe a few millimeters, but then that’s it. I imagine the factory probably had a special jig for this to get the fitment perfect, but none of that was available to me. So with the help of my wife and a little luck, we put the glass into place and as straight as possible. After a few days I drenched the window glass with water to find leaks, which there were many, and then filled them in using a ‘body filler’ squeegee. I just applied more of the sealant in the areas where there were leaks and then kept re-testing with water. It took a long time and you need to eliminate all the leaks prior to snapping in the aluminum trim pieces (where afterwards you can’t remove them without ruining). It was a lot of steps for what looked like a straightforward job!

Windshield masked and ready for the primer.

The spacers go at the very edge of the glass, not where you see them here.

I used 3M single stage primer and fast curing urethane adhesive.

The windshield bonded in and the marks all lined up.

Windshield sealed, trimmed and ready to go!


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