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May/June 2003

The Cutting Edge
    new car installations

2002 Ford Thunderbird
by Mark Furth and Steve Coyle

2002 Ford Thunderbird

1. Getting started:
Start by meeting with the customer to perform a pre-installation inspection of the vehicle, and inform the customer of safe drive-away times. Protect the interior of the vehicle and remove the break-away style mirror. Now protect the exterior of the vehicle around the areas that could be damaged by cowl and/or windshield removal and lower the convertible top.

Next, remove the wipers that are held in place with 13-mm nuts. Each nut is covered with a rubber cap. The cowl panel is fastened along the leading edge with cowl fasteners. They can be removed by pushing downward on the center pin and lifting the fastener out. The edge of the cowl panel snaps into place along the windshield. To remove, gently pry upward away from the glass. Remove the cowl panel from the vehicle.

To remove the exterior “A” pillar moulding, remove the push-in fastener at the bottom of the black filler and the small nut at the bottom of the moulding, which can be accessed by opening the door. The rubber door seal does not need to be removed. Next, remove the interior “A” pillar moulding by pulling away from the pillar. The exterior moulding is fastened with “T” bolts. 

Once the interior moulding is removed, you will have access to the 8-mm nuts that secure the exterior moulding with a deepwell socket. Use caution not to lose the nuts while removing them from the moulding. Once the “T” bolts have been removed, pry gently on the bottom of the moulding to release a push-in-style clip and slide the “A” pillar moulding off the top moulding. The top moulding is also held in place by “T” bolts, which require the interior moulding to be removed to gain access. The top moulding also has one clip in the center of the moulding that can be released by gently prying upward.

2. Removing the original windshield:
You can use several tools for the removal. The cold knife or a power tool will work on the top and both sides, but to cut the bottom and both lower corners you will need a power tool. Once you have removed the windshield, clean the pinchweld area with a brush, then complete a full strip, being sure to test the existing bed of urethane.

3. Preparing for the new windshield:
Prime the pinchweld according to your adhesive manufacturer’s specifications.

Concentrate only on areas of the paint that may have been scratched or damaged during the removal process. The freshly cut urethane bed provides the best bonding surface so use caution not to prime over the fresh-cut adhesive bed. Clean and prime the windshield according to your adhesive manufacturer’s recommendations. Allow proper time for the primers to cure.

4. Placement of the new windshield:
Dry-set the windshield into the opening, being sure to adjust for proper alignment. Remove the windshield from the vehicle. This vehicle utilizes Velcro® for setting blocks that will need to be transferred to the replacement glass after the dry set. There should be notches in the frit to indicate the location of the Velcro. Use a properly cut V-notch tip to duplicate the original bead size. Note the path of the adhesive along the bottom. Set the windshield into the opening using your dry-set marks for proper alignment, being careful not to slide the windshield once it makes contact with the pinchweld. Replace mouldings and cowl panel and perform a leak test on the installation.

5. Finishing Touches:
Clean and prep the vehicle. Finish by replacing the wipers and testing to make sure the travel has not been altered. Document all adhesive products and lot numbers used for the installation. 

Mike Furth and Steve Coyle work for the Performance Achievement Group, an auto glass training company in Madison, Wis.


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