I drove back from the Eastern Shore last week, heading west into the sunset, and was reminded once again how beautiful that side of Maryland is, and at the same time exactly how shitty the glass in my current windshield is. It’s covered in small chips and nicks, so when the low sun hits it, I can’t see anything in front of me. I’ve literally driven with my head out the side of the truck in situations like this, which works fine for short trips to the store but gets very dangerous when merging onto a highway at 60mph.
I’m thus eyeballing one of the windshield frames in my garage and moving ever closer to swapping it out with the frame on the truck. At this point I’m trying to decide whether it’s a better idea to pull the glass out of the existing frame and replace it with the new gasket and spare glass, or just mount the whole thing in the spare frame and swap windshields. The former is filled with uncertainty; who knows what shape the metal is under the gasket on that unit? My guess is that it’s pretty crunchy under there, but I don’t know for sure. The latter solution is also problematic; mounting a whole windshield can be tricky with things like panel gaps and hidden bolts. But at least the engineers at IH made it removable in the first place; I’m lucky it’s even a possibility.
I’m leaning towards the second option, because I know what shape the inside of the spare frame is in, and I’d like to replace old parts with newer better ones as much as I can. I can also mount and prep the windshield wiper motor and linkage much easier on the spare frame than I can on the truck. With that in mind, here’s what has to happen, in order:
- Spray rust encapsulator inside the entirety of the frame
- Clean up the metal lip in a few places to make mounting the gasket easier
- Sand and paint the frame properly to cover the primer and encapsulator
- Hit the whole thing with clear coat to protect it
- Mount the metal lip and snaps for the soft top (this will be much easier on the bench than on the truck)
- Check, lubricate, and prep the wiper motor and linkage
- Install the gasket and glass in the finished frame
- Pull the old windshield off the truck
- Replace it with the new one
- Mount the rearview mirror much higher.
I’ve got the encapsulator. I think I’m just going to spray the outside with aerosol Duplicolor, as buying a $100 quart of paint to shoot out of a $100 gun I don’t even own seems a bit expensive. And the shape of the frame lends itself to aerosol as well; I don’t have to worry about smooth coverage on a wide flat area.
The big thing is pulling the old frame off and putting the new one on—I think I’ll probably pause at step 6 and cut the old glass out of the frame just to see how that one looks before trying to pull it off. If it’s relatively intact and just needs some light cleanup, I might just keep it on and pop the new glass in.
I’m still doing a lot of traveling on the weekends to my father-in-law’s house, but I think I can squeeze some time in during the next few weekends to knock out the first five items on that list. Now, the big question: which color do I use to paint the spare windshield? Should I stick with red, or go with something completely different?