Updated: Dec 27, 2019
Installing Door Vent Window Assemblies and Door Glass
If we thought that the installation of the quarter window and channels were fun, well just hold on for what goes with the doors. I have relatives that have owned quite a few 55/56 Fords and all of those cars were either Victorias, Crown Victorias, or Sunliners. Not a one of them owned a sedan. To say that the installation, adjustment, and overall work on a hardtop door is much easier than a sedan or "post" car would be an understatement. Things are dramatically tight - especially when using new channel and seals.
Before we could install anything on the door itself, I had to address the issues with the vent windows assemblies. You can see from the pictures below that the parts were original to the car (October 1954 assembly as I recall), and they were dry rotted, cracking, and needed to be replaced.
Removing the large "C" shaped seal was not a difficult affair. The seal just tucks tightly into the frame of the vent window assembly itself. The old seals were still very tight, but they were removed quite easily. I also had to take a punch to the 4 small rivets that held the thin vertical strip seal (at the rear of the vent window) to remove that seal. The rubber is molded to a thin metal strip that keeps that seal in position.
You can see the difference in an old rivet and a new one in the photo above. These things are pesky to remove and to install. The new seals and rivets are shown below:
From what I could ascertain it appeared that the thin vertical strip seal was to be installed last because it sat in position up against the large "C" shaped seal. Therefore, after removing the rust from the frames and painting them with Rustoleum I installed the "C" shaped seal into its frame.
This was not too difficult to install, but the new seal was very, very tight to the channel (which you need it to be anyway). Make sure your upper and lower pivot holes match up and of course, press the seal well into the corners so that you have everything firmly seated in the channel. Remember that the vent window will draw up against this seal when closed.
The most difficult part of this process was to install those thin vertical strip seals. The small rivets were hard enough to seat into the strip, but then we had to find a way to cinch down those rivets to the vent window frame. For good measure, I did add a thin line of 3M black sealant to the metal strip just in case there would be any small area that was not completely water tight.
The rivets were secured using a pair of vise grips and a large nut in the channel itself to put pressure on the backside. Once these were cinched down at all 4 rivets the seal was as tight as it could be to the frame and I was pretty satisfied with the results.
Now on to the doors. If you took a decent look at the title photo, you could easily tell that both the window and the vent window frame have to work together to be installed correctly. Ford also has another good diagram in there shop manual that shows attachment points and hardware positions.
If you are working on a 55/56 Ford passenger car that has this style of door (whether or two or four door cars) I highly suggest you follow the manual. They are laid out pretty well and re-installation of these parts is difficult enough on its own.
I brought out all of the parts I needed for both doors and thankfully these were pretty easy to find since stuff was boxed up and the hardware was placed in bags that were marked well some time ago. I did have to fix the arm that was attached to the passenger side crank assembly. In the vise it was easy to bend back to straight.
I also made sure that the two small brackets (one for the lower position stop and one for the bottom of the vent window assembly) was ready to install. The scissor arm unit was also examined and cleaned as needed.
Make sure you can find the small clip shown here:
This small clip is all that secures the pin from the cranking arm to the scissor pivot. The scissor pivot was installed first (make sure that roller is in position on the roller guide in the diagram!) and then the crank assembly second. After that you align the pin from the crank arm and the hole from the scissor pivot and keep them secure by using this clip. I wish Ford would have used a cotter pin and a washer but with one less piece of hardware I get it for manufacturing purposes.
Next comes our large door window. I cleaned this up well and installed new rollers in the guides along with some white lithium grease.
The window was then lowered into position in the door, making sure that the pins were in their lowest positions (that way the glass roller guide would rest against the pins and not slide to the bottom of the door). Once the glass was resting in that position, I was able to reach my hands up into the cavity and push the pins into the rollers. Do make sure that your window rides in the rear channel. Having the glass as low and to the rear as possible will help facilitate the re-installation of the vent window assembly.
Now for the trickiest part of the work - getting that vent window assembly back into the door! What worked for me was to turn the assembly as shown to lower the hard channel into the door, then to turn it into position as we went forward towards the front of the door.
The most difficult part is to make sure you don't scratch that new paint. In the picture immediately above it should be noted that the channel of the vent window assembly has to meet up with the leading edge of the door window glass for this to work correctly. A flat blade screwdriver or a small pry bar will help too but be careful of course. Once you have it in position, get a small light and make sure that holes align. For instance note this picture:
The whole assembly needed to be nudged backwards just a hair to fall into position correctly. These small adjustments are extremely necessary - not only for the fit of hardware but especially for the up/down movement of your windows. The last pieces to install were those two small brackets - one was for the bottom end of the vent window assembly so that it could be secured to the door. The other one with the rubber stopper was so that it could keep the door glass from going below the horizontal whiskers.
And here we have it!
When I got to the driver's side I had forgotten that a blot had broken off in a weld nut - many years ago before I ever had the car. I had just never got around to fixing it. I tried to cut a groove and remove it with a screwdriver but it would not budget. It had to be drilled and tapped.
Before I closed up for the night I also re-installed the levers for the door latches and made sure they were working correctly. I did make sure there was plenty of lubrication for the mechanisms. Thankfully, these were about the easiest pieces to re-install on the door.
I am at work on the stainless for the rear glass, have glued the rear of the headliner to the rear ceiling metal flange, and will hopefully have that installed soon. It may be a good idea to work on the windshield stainless and glass to prep everything so that we can install both the same day.
Masking off the windshield header before gluing the front headliner back to the car...
Above and below photos: Working on the rear of the headliner with contact cement and a whole lot of clamps...
Does mama know I have her clothespins out in the garage?