How to Install a Leak-Free Glass in Your Tri-Five Chevy

Glass Action

One of the greatest challenges of classic Chevy restoration is windshield and backlite replacement. If ever you’ve tackled this dreaded task—and even if you haven’t—it is one of the more frustrating chores of a Tri-Five restoration. It is frustrating because it is a lot more involved than with the glue-in windshields like we find in the Camaro, Nova, and Chevelle. We’re not completely sure, but it appears GM was the first domestic automaker with glue-in windshields and backlites back in the 1960s, which made glass replacement cleaner and easier.

Tri-Five Chevys, like most vehicles at the time, had rubber seal windshields and backlites, which consists of laminated glass sandwiched in a rubber seal within the greenhouse fore and aft. These old-fashioned, rubber-sealed windows are prone to leakage and they often popped out of the body in collisions, which necessitated the move to glue-in windshields and backlites. Glue-in glass was more about vehicle safety than anything. It also made cars cheaper to produce because less time was involved to install them during vehicle assembly.

We’re working with Hot Rod Specialties and Certified Auto Glass & Windshield Replacement to learn how to properly install an old-fashioned windshield and backlite in a ’56 Chevy sedan. This is a very involved process because you must pay close attention to the details. The relationship between the glass and the seal and the seal and the body is crucial if you want to avoid leaks. Get sloppy or miss an important detail and you will have leaks. It’s also easy to damage the paint, which can quickly ruin your day.

There’s a lot of confusion about what kind of windshield sealant to use. The preferred sealants to use on these rubber-seal windows are 3M’s Auto Bedding and Glazing Compound (PN 08509) or Adcoseal R-900, which are flexible sealants that never cure. They remain pliable and flexible, which means they move with the rubber and glass to maintain a solid seal.

There’s a lot of debate about how to install these composite windshields and backlites, however, there’s but one way to do it correctly. Always mount the rubber seal on the glass and ensure it is fully seated on the glass. You may use a lubricant during installation, such as soapy water or CRL Quick Release Agent, which makes the contact surfaces slippery but also has a high evaporation rate so the seal/glass stays put once installation is complete. CRL Quick Release Agent can be found at any auto body and paint supply store.




Certified Auto Glass & Windshield Replacement


Hot Rod Specialties

Summit Racing



Photos By Jim Smart

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