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Rusted Rear Windshield


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Hi all,


I have rust around my rear windshield and want to get opinions about the level of difficulty and the process of removing this rust.


I spoke with one body shop and they recommended I:


• Cut into the old, cracked windshield gasket with a box cutter

• Pop window out (should come out with ease?) 

• Remove rust around the windshield (the hardest part of the process I'm guessing)

• Weld any cracks

• Prime and Repaint area with new color

• Reinstall gasket and window


I would also like to redo the headliner (which I should probably do before reinstalling the gasket and window?).


I'm very new to doing body work and I've never welded (or own a welder). Should I tackle this project on my own or should I pay ($600) the body shop to do it for me? 






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I think you should pay the body shop to do the job unless you really WANT to get into body work and have other areas to tackle on this car.


However consider that the welder will set you back $350 on the low end. Maybe you can find something used for less but you do not want a flux core only setup. You will need to run gas so you will also need a bottle and gas itself. Now you also need gloves, apron, auto darkening helmet, wire, and other odds and ends. You will need a way to grind your welds down and clean them up- so angle grinder and abrasives. Before you even weld you need to remove the rust so wire wheels, sand paper, and at least a metal cutoff wheel will be needed.Your finished work will also need to be painted which is a whole other ball of wax. SO just in tools and materials you will easily blow through $600.


If you go the DIY direction DO NOT skimp on a welder, if you do it will be a constant source of frustration, sub par results, and perhaps cost you more in the end... Popular Mechanics did a quick review of several welders that is interesting just google it. Personally I can recommend the Lincoln Handy Mig and Eastwood Mig-135 as good intro welders.


As far as rust repair I don't consider this to be a very complex area to fix.. The rust higher up on the side of the window will require at least the detachment of the headliner in that area as well as the foam material there behind the headliner. Otherwise the welder will catch the foam on fire. You will have good access to one side of the rust to cut it out, however the back side of the weld and repair is internal to the structure built around the window frame. To protect the back side of the repair and mitigate any rust/moisture within the window frame I would use the Eastwood internal frame protector system- http://www.eastwood.com/internal-frame-coating-w-spray-nozzle-qt.html

Creating the sheet metal patches should not be that difficult either however keep in mind that some of your rust is running into visible portions of the body. You will need to be confidant in your abilities to make a clean repair.

EDIT- rereading your post it appears you believe that you will be welding just cracks- that will not be the case. You will be fabricating small patches out of sheet metal and welding those patches into the rust areas you have removed. The more rust the bigger the patch generally. Really big complicated patch means possibly finding a donor car or order the whole body panel (which is most likely not the case here). Small areas can also be fixed with Lab Metal. Also take a look at where your parsel shelf meets the lower rear window frame you may find rust there too. The more you can learn now before the car is torn apart, the better.


I think in the end you need to decide what your long range goals are for this car, how you will get there, and what your budget it. If this is all you want/need to fix for some time then pay to have it done. On the other hand if you have the time but a limited budget and have other rust areas I say invest in the tools and fix it yourself.


Here are a couple shots of what I recently dealt with on the back window. BTW none of this was visible or apparent until the window was removed-





I did two patches- one for the inner where it attaches to the shelf and then another for the frame itself.


Heres the end result after an afternoon of work-


Edited by pilotnbr1

74 tii
"I know just enough to be dangerous"

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As was suggested, poke at those rust spots to see if they are still on the surface, or if they are now holes.  If the metal is just pitted, or even if there are small holes, you might try repairing with POR paste (it's POR 15 paint the consistency of toothpaste)  I've used it to repair rust holes up to about 1/4" in diameter with just the paste itself and up to 3/4" using a small piece of fiberglass window screen to bridge the hole. My repairs (on an E30 rear fender lip) endured two salty Ohio winters with no problems... 


If you decide to go the body shop route, see if they will let you pull the backlight (rear glass) and chip away all the existing rust to reveal any holes or bad spots that need actual welding repair.  When you do remove the glass, be VERY careful not to bend or torque the glass while removing.  Tempered glass is tricky stuff and can shatter without warning if even slightly bent/torqued.  Or not.  I've seen both.  Cut the gasket away thoroughly and never pry on the glass to get it out.  Oh--and use a factory (not aftermarket) replacement gasket.




'69 Nevada sunroof-Wolfgang-bought new
'73 Sahara sunroof-Ludwig-since '78
'91 Brillantrot 318is sunroof-Georg Friederich 
Fiat Topolini (Benito & Luigi), Renault 4CVs (Anatole, Lucky Pierre, Brigette) & Kermit, the Bugeye Sprite

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If the car isn't garaged, don't put off the repair. Your rear gasket most likely is allowing water to leak into the car. It starts by pooling in the package shelf and can go elsewhere. I had to cut out and replace the entire shelf in my car because of this. When I bought my car, the gaskets were hard as a rock and original. They leaked. A lot.


Better to just get it done before it leads to something much worse. Also, don't be surprised when the window comes out and you get a better look at what lies underneath. The good part is that once it's done; you'll never have to do it again.   :)

mike tunney

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