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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I have the windshield frame out of my YJ to weld in a section to replace a rusted-out portion around the middle of the frame. This seems to be a common issue and I wondered exactly what the cause is? My glass guy thinks it is the outer T-section trim that isn't actually a seal, just covering the gap, so it collects water. Does the metal trim piece compound matters by rubbing the paint away? Any alternatives to that piece? The original trim had shrunk to leave about a 3" gap so I'm guessing I should cut the new repro piece a little long to allow for future shrinkage?

While the frame is out I'm wondering what the 11 small holes along the inside top of the frame are for (see pictures)? The car has a hardtop on it, but it is not originally from this Jeep (has a different plate number etched in the glass) and I'm wondering if it originally had a soft top fitted and these holes are something to do with that? If so I could just weld them up while it is out of the car, but then if I ever got a soft top I'd be drilling them out again? If I leave them will they let water into the frame? In fact, what should be on top to seal the hardtop to the frame?

One last question for now :) : what size and type of screw goes through the metal header on the hardtop and into the frame's top flange? Mine has some large hex-head sheetmetal screws, not all of which are tight, and the holes in the frame look to have been drilled out oversize for these.

Sorry if that's a bit long-winded.

Thanks, Andy
 

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Yes, the seal lip holds water and rusts it out. My California/Arizona rust free YJ has its only rust there.

Yes, all the small holes are from the soft top channel that holds the front edge of the fabric top.

Taking the tops on and off cause the holes to strip and is a common pain in the ass. The fix is to install Rivnuts/Nutserts or whatever they are called in your area. There are (cheap?) kits that have the inserts and install tool.

https://www.machinemart.co.uk/p/teng-ttnr81-81-piece-heavy-duty-nutsert-set/

I got my kit from Harbor Freight for less than $20 with a coupon, but it looks like they are a little spendy in the UK.

https://www.harborfreight.com/hand-...5-piece-threaded-insert-riveter-kit-1210.html
 

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The hard top has a long foam seal and two corner seals.





You can put a dab of RTV on any unused holes so water stays out. When you go with a soft top, just screw right into them again
 

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I had new glass put in my jeep and they replaced the crappy plastic trim with a rubber seal i don't think there is any way for water to get into it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Excellent, thanks guys.

Yes, the seal lip holds water and rusts it out. My California/Arizona rust free YJ has its only rust there.

Yes, all the small holes are from the soft top channel that holds the front edge of the fabric top.

Taking the tops on and off cause the holes to strip and is a common pain in the ass. The fix is to install Rivnuts/Nutserts or whatever they are called in your area. There are (cheap?) kits that have the inserts and install tool.

https://www.machinemart.co.uk/p/teng-ttnr81-81-piece-heavy-duty-nutsert-set/

I got my kit from Harbor Freight for less than $20 with a coupon, but it looks like they are a little spendy in the UK.

https://www.harborfreight.com/hand-...5-piece-threaded-insert-riveter-kit-1210.html
Do you know what size the original screws were? Were they Torx head sheetmetal screws like used for those strap loops in the floor, etc.? And yes, things are expensive here, although to be fair those Teng tools are on a different level to the Harbor Freight ones. I have a kit I bought many years ago for a car build that is all metric so I'll have a look and see if I can get some Imperial stuff for it.

The hard top has a long foam seal and two corner seals.

You can put a dab of RTV on any unused holes so water stays out. When you go with a soft top, just screw right into them again
Ah, right, definitely need to get that seal as mine has nothing. The RTV is a good idea.

I had new glass put in my jeep and they replaced the crappy plastic trim with a rubber seal i don't think there is any way for water to get into it.
My glass fitter wasn't impressed with it and said he might have something that does a better job, or I have a new Crown repro seal to use. Is that any good? It looks a slightly larger cross-section than the original piece which may not be a problem, but having used a lot of Chinese-made repro rubber and plastic on old Model A and B Fords, it doesn't usually last long when exposed to sunlight!
 

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Being a bodyman for the first half of my career and a body shop owner for the second half, I have a pretty good idea about why our windshield frames rust out.

When the windshields are replaced, if it is the glued in type (as most of them are), the glass tech cuts the old one out with a special knife. As they cut through the urethane adhesive that holds the glass to the frame, they commonly cut through the paint.
Some techs are quality minded and will do what they can to seal over the cuts with some kind of sealer. Others are in a hurry and only want to get done and get on to the next job.
Either way, the best repair to the cut paint is to featheredge sand the cut to bare metal and prime and paint it. I think this rarely happens.

The outer "seal" is actually only a molding that fills the gap between the glass and the windshield frame. It doesn't do a very good job of holding water out, but it does a good job of holding water in. Water and bare metal or water and poorly protected bare metal is a recipe for rust.

My jeep is 30 years old. I wonder how many windshields it's had in the past. How many of those windshield techs were quality minded.
When I got my Jeep about 4+ years ago, the only rust was on the corners and bottom of the glass opening. I replaced the w/s frame with an aftermarket one. I had a small bit of difficulty when installing the wiper motor, but even with the extra labor, the aftermarket frame was a better deal than any attempt to patch it or try to find an OEM frame.

Now days some glass technicians will use a inductor, that heats and breaks the urethane bond. Then they simply apply new adhesive to the windshield and install it on the (hopefully) undamaged painted surface.

When my windshield needs replacing, I intend to closely watch the tech and if he damages the paint, I'll tell him to come back later, after I have repainted the damaged area. That will probably piss him off, but I would rather he be upset by having to come back, than me be upset by having to replace another windshield frame.

Hopefully this gives someone insight as to why Jeep windshield frames rot out when there is no other rust on the vehicle.

Good Luck, L.M.
 

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I am in the process of replacing my windshield and frame. The question that I have from the comments here and other threads and forums is:
If the outer molding is part of the problem is there an alternative that eliminates the problem?
 

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I am in the process of replacing my windshield and frame. The question that I have from the comments here and other threads and forums is:
If the outer molding is part of the problem is there an alternative that eliminates the problem?
There should be no problem if the painted surface in the channel where the glass sits is secure.
The problems start when the windshield is being replaced and the tech doesn't take the time to apply a good sealer on the cuts. A sloppy technician knows that by the time that the rust has progressed enough to cause a leak, you will probably need another windshield. Then it's the next guys problem.

As a body shop owner, I've had glass technicians come up to me while they were replacing a customers windshield and say "The windshield channel is heavily rusted. What do you want me to do?" Then I call the customer with some options and prices. Usually they take the cheapest option which is to gob some excess urethane over the rust and hope for the best.

When I replaced my windshield frame, I had the glass company send a tech to my house and he replaced the glass and the outer molding (aftermarket molding that the glass companies stock by the roll). I haven't had any problems, nor do I expect any.

As stated in my post above, when I need a new windshield, I'll watch the tech closely.

Good Luck, L.M.
 

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Im not doubting you LM, but there is a high percentage of rusted Jeep windshield frames out there, and I just cant see each of them having had their glass replaced. There must be another source.
 

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I don't doubt that scratches cause rust, but most of the rust I see is not around the glass, it's the bottom of the frame where I've seen them rust out.
 

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Im not doubting you LM, but there is a high percentage of rusted Jeep windshield frames out there, and I just cant see each of them having had their glass replaced. There must be another source.
I don't doubt that scratches cause rust, but most of the rust I see is not around the glass, it's the bottom of the frame where I've seen them rust out.
The youngest YJ is 22 years old. I can't imagine any vehicle 22 YO having an original windshield.
Here in Colorado where the state uses sand on the roads rather than salt, it's common to replace a windshield once a year. The glass doesn't crack usually but the sand makes pits (sandblasting) that make it difficult to see in bright sunlight.
Even if a windshield lasts 5 years, that's 4 windshield replacements in the youngest of YJs.

Think about this: It rains, water gets behind the molding. It stops raining and the water behind the molding pools at the bottom of the windshield channel.
The water has more time to work on the scratches on the bottom than the scratches at the top. I imagine that's why the bottom rots out sooner.

Of course, my statement is just my opinion of why the Jeep (CJ and YJ and probably TJ) windshield frames rot out when there is no other rust on the vehicle. My opinion is based on many years as a technician and as a shop owner.

Does anyone have a different guess why?

Good Luck, L.M.
 
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Do you know what size the original screws were? Were they Torx head sheetmetal screws like used for those strap loops in the floor, etc.?
I'm not 100% sure as I never had one new, but all the used ones I've owned had small phillips washer head sheetmetal screws





I have a new Crown repro seal to use. Is that any good? It looks a slightly larger cross-section than the original piece which may not be a problem


I'm assuming you are talking about this seal. I replaced my rotted original with a Crown repop. I was disappointed with it different profile and incorrect looking fit compared to the original. It poofed out underneath and looked like ass. So, I ordered a MOPAR original. Surprise, surprise... The Mopar one is the same profile as the crown. It seems like the profile was changed by mopar and the crown is a copy of the new revision. The only difference was the mopar has solid rubber ends where the crown is all the spongy rubber. Both sealed fine. The Mopar was slightly less wavy, but still pooched way out on the bottom.

 

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I would venture to guess the "Pooch" was part of the design revision to provide a drip edge to help alleviate moisture from getting under the frame??
 
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But, it can still run behind the top lip and pool there. I'd like to read the memos on the redesign. See what they were after.
 

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To the OP original question.
The 11 holes across the top of the frame are where the hard top attaches.
I just installed the hard top from '85 CJ7 on my '95 YJ. It had the 'maybe' original screws in the holes. They were #6 x 3/4 in flat head sheet metal screws, when I took the top off my CJ7 the previous owner had used #8 Torx self tapping sheet metal screws
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'm not 100% sure as I never had one new, but all the used ones I've owned had small phillips washer head sheetmetal screws

I'm assuming you are talking about this seal. I replaced my rotted original with a Crown repop. I was disappointed with it different profile and incorrect looking fit compared to the original. It poofed out underneath and looked like ass. So, I ordered a MOPAR original. Surprise, surprise... The Mopar one is the same profile as the crown. It seems like the profile was changed by mopar and the crown is a copy of the new revision. The only difference was the mopar has solid rubber ends where the crown is all the spongy rubber. Both sealed fine. The Mopar was slightly less wavy, but still pooched way out on the bottom.
Thanks, it was actually the seal (that we've decided doesn't actually seal anything) around the glass edge. Perhaps 'finisher' is a better description?

My seal between frame and cowl had liberal amounts of RTV spread along on the cowl side, pretty much all of which I have peeled off so I will be starting from factory-fresh I guess. The seal itself is showing signs of age as the outside face looks like open-cell foam. I wouldn't be surprised if it is the original factory one as the Jeep has about 73k miles on it, with three previous owners, the last one at least appearing to have just used it and had basic maintenance done only if necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
To the OP original question.
The 11 holes across the top of the frame are where the hard top attaches.
I just installed the hard top from '85 CJ7 on my '95 YJ. It had the 'maybe' original screws in the holes. They were #6 x 3/4 in flat head sheet metal screws, when I took the top off my CJ7 the previous owner had used #8 Torx self tapping sheet metal screws
I think mine are #8 or #10 screws, and the holes in the frame have definitely been drilled out as they have left large burrs on the reverse. I'll probably leave them as-is for the time being while I sort out more important stuff.
 

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Dumb design.....its not the frame leaking its the seal bottom seal allowing road mist (salt, water and other road dribbles) to enter the frame bottom seal area. There it sits with no way to get rid of the chemicals from the road. Even a heavy morning dew will drain into this area, reactiviting salts ext.

The cure is simple. Silicone calk the top of the seal after tou have dropped the windsheild and cleaned it well. If its a new widshiled undercoat it and still calk the gasket.

This is not a willys, its a pain to drop the windshield anyway withour risk of stripping screws. So leave it up forever and calk it.
 
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