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January/February 2002

The Cutting  EDGE     new car installations

2002 Chevrolet Impala
by Phil Ochs

1. Getting started:
Grasp the stem of the breakaway- style mirror and twist the assembly away from the glass. Disconnect the wires from the mirror and store the
mirror in a safe location. Remove the plastic covers on the wiper arms with a small screwdriver to expose the retaining nut. Remove the nut and release the spring tension by lifting the blade to remove the wiper arm from the post. Some wipers may be difficult to remove and may require a wiper arm tool. Remove the plastic cowl retainer on the passenger side of the cowl. Then remove the plastic push-in retainers by gently prying up on the Phillips-head portion of the retainer. Remove the screws from the cowl panel and lift the one-piece cowl out with the hood open. The replacement glass includes a new moulding that wraps around the edge of the glass on three sides. Starting on the bottom of either side of the vehicle, remove the moulding by pulling up and away from the glass. Always be careful not to pull up any body paint during this process (especially with re-painted vehicles). 

2. Removing the original windshield:
Cut the adhesive with a cold knife or power cut-out tool on the top and sides of the glass. Cut the adhesive on the bottom with a power tool, since it does not follow the outside edge of the glass. Take special care not to damage the painted surface of the pinchweld.

3. Preparing for the new windshield:
We always recommend using the full cut-out method. Using a sharp chisel, remove the adhesive leaving a thin skin of well-bonded urethane on the pinchweld, being careful not to disturb the body paint if possible. Prime the pinchweld according to your adhesive manufacturer’s specifications. Concentrate on any areas of the paint that may contain scratches or other damage.

4. Placement of the new windshield:
The new glass will include a foam strip. Apply the foam strip to the bottom of the glass. With the new moulding applied to the glass, dry-set the windshield and mark the proper position with a wax pencil. Be careful not to contaminate the primed surfaces. Apply suction cups to their proper position on the glass, remove the windshield from the opening and set it on the stand with the outside of the glass facing down. Using a V-notch tip, apply the adhesive along the inside edge of the moulding and directly below the reference mark on the bottom of the glass. Applying the adhesive to the glass will assure proper contact. We always recommend an advanced-curing, high-viscosity urethane for passenger-side airbag-equipped vehicles. Set the windshield into the opening using the dry-set marks as guides for proper placement. Once the glass contacts the pinchweld, use caution not to slide the glass. Apply slight pressure around the perimeter of the windshield.

5. Finishing touches:
Use a leak detector to assure a proper water and airtight seal. Replace the cowl, wipers and mirror in reverse order of removal. Clean and detail vehicle, returning the vehicle to the owner in better condition than that in which it was received. 

                      Reports from the field
Always wear hand, eye and wrist protection while working on this vehicle. We recommend using an advanced-curing, high-viscosity urethane for passenger-side airbag-equipped vehicles. Inform the vehicle owner of the cure time and any other additional precautions. Always return the vehicle to the manufacturer’s specifications.


Phil Ochs is a technical trainer for the Performance Achievement Group, an auto glass training company in Madison, Wis.


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