Installing glass is not as easy as it may seem. The
Jeep's windshield consists of 3 components. The frame, the glass and a
windshield gasket that is basically a rubber seal. The glass fits into a
slotted groove in the gasket. The gasket is then "hooked" around
the inner lip of the windshield frame. It's not easy to install for a few
reasons. First, the gasket is tight fitting and stiff making it difficult
to manipulate. Secondly, the glass can be broken if flexed too much.
Glass also has a tendency to shatter if the edge is struck or pried on with too
much force. Additionally, if you have a painted surface that you
don't want to mar or scratch, you have to be extra careful with that as well.
While I'm certainly no expert glass installer, I did manage to install the
glass successfully without incident. I did a little asking around about
technique for installing the glass on a Jeep and used a few tips that I'll
share. Below is the step by step process that I used to install the
glass. Again, this was my method. You may have a better idea in some
cases especially if you have installed glass before.
If you've never installed glass before or don't feel comfortable with
installing glass, DON'T. Get a professional to do it for you. It's not
expensive and if they break it, it's not your fault.
The first order of business is to setup a clean, flat working
area. I cleared out the garage and placed a blanket flat on the floor and
over that I placed a large flat piece of cardboard. Tools that I used were
Window cleaner, not to clean but to use as a lubricant.
Weedwacker line. This flexible, strong cord is make of a
plastic that can be safely used to manipulate the gasket around the frame.
Bondo spreaders made of soft plastic. These are the safest tool
I could think of to use as a pry tool when I had to do any prying on the glass
Two people. At times four hands were better than two.
Frame Preparation - The frame had previously been painted
and sealed. One of my biggest concerns was water damage (i.e. rust).
So to help prevent rust, I did a few things with the new frame. First, I
sealed up all the seams with a paintable automotive sealer. Then the
interior of the frame was painted with a rust inhibitor. I also allowed
the rust inhibitor to run down into the seams, just as water would. It was
given plenty of time to dry before it was finally primed and painted. Some
people like to use silicone or window sealer when installing a windshield.
I opted not to do so only because I didn't know how it was going to go with the
installation. IF I need to seal it up I can still do so but running a thin
bead of silicone around the seal inside the Jeep or outside around the frame.
The windshield is ready for the gasket to be placed around the
glass. By spraying plenty of Glass cleaner on the glass and gasket, it
helps to lubricate the glass and gasket allowing the gasket to slide over the
glass. If the gasket is too tight where the glass slips into the groove in
the gasket, use the bondo spreaders to help guide the seal over the glass.
When you get around to the last corner, it gets tough. The
gasket is tight on the glass and here's where you might need the bondo spreaders
to get that last corner over the glass. Use the Window cleaner to help it
slip on. Don't use anything metal or sharp to pry the gasket over the
glass or you may end up cracking the glass.
Gasket is on.
Next up is a trick I learned from a glass installer. The
twine from a weedwacker is soft yet strong. When you look at the gasket,
you will see the lip that will wrap around the windshield frame. By
feeding this weedwacker twine into the lip (under the lip) as pictured below
left, you will be able to use it to "pull" the lip of the gasket
around the frame as you will see below.
Feed the weedwacker twine into the gasket's lip. Overlap
the weedwacker twine when you get it around to the start point. Then tie
it together with a big loose loop to act as a handle to grab (see below).
Next I gave the gasket a good soaking with glass cleaner.
Now I placed the glass on top of the frame and made sure it fit snug into the
opening, then carefully flipped it over so the glass/gasket combo was under the
frame. The gasket lip with the weedwacker twine in it goes against the
I previously tied the weedwacker twine into a knotted loop and
pulled it out from under the frame. Now I carefully begin pulling the
gasket lip over the inner lip of the windshield frame. Hold the frame down as
you do this or the glass/gasket combo with slip out. Keep it wet with
glass cleaner to make it go on easier.
Again, as you do this, HOLD the frame down especially on the
opposite end so the glass/gasket combo doesn't slip out from under the frame or
you'll be starting over again.
Work the gasket lip out and over the frame as you go around the
frame. Keep holding that frame down so you don't lose the lip
overlap. I ended up pulling in a circular fashion with each progression,
which helped to pull the gasket lip out and over the frame.
When you get around to the last corner, it gets tight.
Take your time. Work in small increments a little at a time and hold the
glass/gasket in place so you don't lose the progress you've made. Use plenty
of window cleaner and have a helper (the wife maybe?) hold down the
frame. It may be helpful to stand it up on end, unfinished side up, as you
work the remainder of the gasket lip over the frame. Also the glass may
need a little help to get it seated into the frame. Press lightly to get
it seated. DON'T twist the glass or over-flex it. It WILL break if
you get too rough with it or twist it too much.
I wore gloves because the weedwacker twine can get tough to yank
on with bare hands.
Finally, it was in with no problems. The frame was then
bolted to the hinges that were already installed on the tub and the lower seal
was installed as well.
Now it actually looks like a Jeep! The slight tint looks great.