1955 Ford Part 36: Rear Quarter Windows
Updated: Dec 27, 2019
Installing Rear Quarter Windows and Channel
The quarter windows and channel were all original to the car back when I removed them last year to make way for the painting and body work process. Now it was time to clean things up and install new window channel (also known as "whiskers"). Thankfully I had saved the original window felt pieces including the entire channel assemblies and horizontal strips. Everything was in really bad shape-most of the clips fell off in my hand and the rust and rot had really made a mess of the channels.
I ordered new pieces after borrowing money from the bank to pay for them. (Yikes!) Once the new parts arrived, the first thing to do was to check the measurements and the fitment of the reproduction window channels I had purchased.
The photos above tell a difficult story when you look at them closely. The new channel was the right length and it had the right bends. However the new channel was not an exact copy for two reasons: 1. The new channel was missing three U shaped metal support pieces and 2. The top clip at the rear channel upright was nowhere near correct in its position. When I checked it out, "They are all made this way..." was what I heard. I sighed a big one and just went to work. The two U shaped channels that secure the lowermost ends were removed from the old channels, cleaned, blasted, and then glued into position on the new channels. This contact cement is worth its weight in gold - lovely stuff with a great bond. I used the same glue for the rear of the headliner (more on that in a later post.)
Before gluing these into position though I decided to check the position of that adjusting screw. The passenger side channel was put into position on the car and checked for correct placement of each clip and the metal supports shown above. Tape was used to secure them in position temporarily.
No manual shows any detail about how the window channel and support pieces are to be installed, although at times you can find information on adjustments and how to make them. I did remember when I pulled the old channels how much of a headache it was. Thankfully putting the new channel in position was not quite so much a chore. Basically I put the whole channel (pre-bent) through the quarter window opening into the car, top end first. Once the bottom portion of the channel cleared I inserted both of those free ends into the window opening and slid the whole works down. The adjustment screw shown in the metal U shaped channel did have to be turned down just right to fit in the window opening.
You can see in the photo above that I also marked the location of each clip/hole so that once the channel was in position it would not be difficult to find the places where extra pressure was needed to pop them in (at times I had to use a dull punch and small hammer). Once the channel was close to its position I discovered two things: 1. The rear metal channel support piece with the adjustment screw did not match at all but ironically was very, very close if it was flipped upside down (so I swapped the two sides and this worked) 2. The rear most clip that was shown to be out of position in the photos above did obviously not match up with any existing hole/slot and a new one had to be drilled.
It was not too far off, but you can see by comparing the two photos above where the new hole went (this was the same for both sides).
Both sides were installed, then came the window crank mechanism, but this was pretty straightforward. I did put new rollers on the window frame and one new roller on the balance pivot arm. The most difficult part of this part of the installation was getting the roller to slide onto the rails that are permanently installed in the window cavity in the car. You need good lighting and the just right twist to the tongue as you pull the arm/roller onto the rails before you bolt the window crank mechanism onto the car. Once the crank is in, I like to install the handle and lower the arms all the way. Then the window is inserted into the opening at a 90 degree angle with the rear of the going in first (don't forget to insert those rollers into the rails on that window frame!) and rotate the window into the channel. The window should slide in the channel to the bottom to meet the two pins at the bottom. From there, it's a simple deal to go back into the car and reach up underneath the inner wall to push the pins into the rollers. As the window is cranked up the adjustment can be made at the rear of the channel support. That adjustment screw is 1/4 20 and so I decided to put a nut on the interior as well to allow the channel to be tightened to the inner wall making things more secure.
What this post does not show is the installation of the horizontal strips. There is one that clips into the sheet metal at the window opening and companies sell these with the clips pre-installed. This was just a simple snap-in. The other side attaches to the sheet metal garnish on the interior - instead of using staples like Ford did (to save time on the assembly line) I plan to glue these to the garnish molding with some weatherstrip adhesive. I will also use some 3M strip caulk above the channel to keep any rain out.