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1955 Ford Part 38: Rear Glass and Stainless Trim Installation

Updated: Dec 27, 2019

Installing Rear Glass and Stainless Trim

With the car body completely painted and the headliner glued to the front and rear of the body ceiling, it was now time to begin installing the large glass panels - the rear glass and the windshield. This post concerns the rear glass although the windshield installation is going to be extremely similar.

Back many posts ago we recorded the effort to remove the large pieces of glass from the car. The rear glass was especially frustrating since the old seal was not soft and was hard to cut/remove and since Ford had mysteriously hid one small screw underneath a piece of stainless trim. (This is not shown in any manual I have seen - none of the diagrams I referred to displayed either the hole or screw and certainly no instructions were given in the shop manual.) The first order of business was to clean the glass as well as possible, removing the old sealer and making sure the surface was clean enough to be resealed with fresh urethane. I used a razor blade on all of the leading edges and a good glass cleaner as shown:

Once the inside and outside surface of the rear glass was completely clean, I made note of the upper most corner on either side. These are just about 90 degrees as you can see. This helped to orient the seal correctly.

The seal was installed around the entire circumference and tape was used to hold the seal to the glass for a few days to give it a little "memory" before the day we actually installed the glass.

After the weekend I came back on Monday evening and started to prepare. The work went in this order:

1. Prepare the sheet metal flange on the body (this actually retains the seal) with 3M strip caulk. I only put this material where it was located when I removed the rear glass a long time before repaint.

2. Locate each piece of stainless steel trim - there are 6. One long piece across the top, two curved pieces at the bottom with a small clip to hide the joint, and two uprights on either side had to be laid out and double-checked for fitment.

3. Move a scissor body stand into position next to the car to make it easier to simply move the glass from the stand to the car.

4. Locate the pesky sheet metal screw that retained the passenger side SS trim at the top and double check that the new one I had purchased some time ago was an exact match.

5. Warm up a tube of Dow U-428 windshield/glass sealer in a bucket of very hot water (this stuff is thick!).

Once the glass and taped seal was placed on the body stand it was time to break out a tube of the U-428 sealer. Even though I had heated it up the material might as well have been concrete! It was thick. For the most part my son and I kept the seal on the glass and just ran the entire length with a good bead of this sealer in the channel. Later on after the glass is installed we will go back and put another bead just inside the lip just to make sure we have no leaks.

Once the sealer was applied we installed the stainless steel trim into the lip of the seal. I did mark the center of the glass (and I suggest you do as well) to make sure that the stainless would line up on the car body once installed. I did not take a photo of this while working with the stainless but I did get a picture after installation:

The SS on either side along the bottom will stick out as shown here in this photo:

Note as well that the tape was kept in position after the stainless was installed - it only helped to keep both the seal and the trim in place before it was put back onto the car. Once I was satisfied with the trim I fetched my draw cord out of the tool box and used it to line the INSIDE lip of the seal so that I could follow the instructions.

The Ford shop manual shows these instructions in detail but suffice to say, the draw cord idea to pull the seal lip around the sheet metal flange is pretty much an industry wide thing from the era. While many will use soap and water to lubricate the cord in the seal, I like using a waxy cord instead of the mess. I have used this method on a number of windshields without issue. Once the cord was completely installed, we re-taped the seal, stainless, and now the cord (just in case it fell out of the lip in places), and criss-crossed at the bottom of edge of the glass. The extra cord was taped to the INSIDE of the glass.

My son and I then lifted the glass into position against the sheet metal flange. Be careful of the lower stainless pieces as they enter that "fork" area where the 4 pieces meet up on the rear deck. I suggest you loosen or completely remove the rear deck stainless if need be. Also, it is wise to loosen the retaining stud by accessing this hole shown here:

Here is a picture of the stainless steel trim that you have to make sure fits into that fork area. Until the seal is installed in the flange, this small area will need to be adjusted as you move along.

I used a plastic pry bar commonly sold in kits for interior trim and parts. This kept me from scratching paint or other pieces but still allowed me to put things into position. Next, I went inside the car and began pulling the draw cord - as we went along the seal pulled up and over the sheet metal flange tightly. While this was going on from the inside, my son was slapping the glass surface on the outside (just like the FoMoCo shop manual). We would have taken pictures but it happened so quickly and went so well I forgot. I did snap a photo afterwards just for reference - note the wedding ring! That is a big no-no for glass obviously.

The top corners were extremely tight but this was a good thing in my opinion. Once the seal lip was in position we both slapped the exterior of the glass and the whole piece settled into the seal and ultimately into position like it should. We were pretty happy.

The top trim lined up perfectly with the hole for that small sheet metal retaining screw.

The interior seal looked very good.

The last pieces to install were the uprights on either side. These are made with a narrow channel along the bottom and this fits BEHIND the trim piece at the bottom that rests in the seal.

Once that piece is placed into position, the whole works can be pushed down to insert into the stainless trim that runs the length of the quarter window. Of course, after that you can cinch down the nut on the stud of the FoMoCo clip that keeps this fork area retained to the body - there certainly is a need for tension here on the car.

I was pretty happy with this installation. Remembering what the removal process was like and how frustrating that was I was not looking forward to this installation and how much time it would take. The real time was taken to prepare everything before installation of the glass to the car. I am eager to see how it will seal up and keep the water out of the car. The original never leaked so we will pray this one won't either. Hopefully the windshield install will go even better - I feel like I am more familiar with that end of the car, those trim pieces and the process up front. So much so I have done the windshield by myself a few times.

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