Volume 12, Issue 5 - September/October 2010

Ask the Doctor
pros who know

The Floater Crack–Is It Worth It?

by Richard Campfield
When a floater crack comes into our shop, one technician may pretend to be busy so the other one has to do it. As for me, I think I just remembered I have a dentist appointment …

The floater crack is the most time-consuming windshield repair in the book; it takes about an hour to fix.

What is a Floater Crack?
The floater crack is a stone break that was ignored and cracked from temperature change, usually caused by the defroster, heat, cold or a carwash. This crack came from pure negligence by the vehicle owner who should have had the stone break repaired.

This crack does not run to the edge and that is why it is called a floater crack, because it is floating in the interior of the windshield and is usually horizontal. This is the most difficult and time-consuming crack to repair. The steps can be altered depending on how many tools you have. In fact, you may alter the steps after examining the crack and impact point. This crack does not have a gap like an edge crack caused by the outward installation stress. It is tight from inward lamination stress and has two points and an impact break, which means you are not only going to repair the crack, but have three stone-break/chip repair procedures to perform (the points and the original impact) plus the crack. The impact is almost always a star, beeswing or combination break. This repair can take 45 to 60 minutes

How to Repair a Floater Crack
You’ll need the following tools to repair a floater crack: crack opener(s); a sliding holding structure with an injector that can hold at least 12 drops of resin; a drill; bullseye taper; a low-viscosity resin; and a medium crack resin. Please note: a crack resin is different from a chip resin. A crack resin does not separate from the PVB and can withhold stress without yielding.

Following are the steps for how to repair a floater crack with two different tool combinations.

The first uses one repair tool and one crack opener.
1. Drill in front of the points and tap a bullseye.
2. Place a drop of low-viscosity, primer crack resin into the drill hole.
3. Place a tool at the point with a medium crack resin.
4. Place a crack opener approximately 1-2 inches from the point.
5. Prepare and mount your sliding injector tool over the drill hole and wait for the resin to seep down the crack then slide along the crack toward the impact point.
6. Stop just before the impact point so no resin bleeds into the break’s bullseye.
7. Remove the tools.
8. Cover the injected area with a resin (more than 2,000 cps) that will not seep into the original break through the impact point.
9. Repeat steps 2-7 on the other side of the crack.
10. Cover the injected area as in step 8, including the original impact, which is not injected.
11. Cure the entire crack.
12. You now have the original break separated and sealed from the top and sides so that it can be repaired just like a normal stone break using vacuum and pressure.
13. Remove the mylar film, but not the resin. Drill through the resin into the impact point, and then repair and cure under pressure.
14. Scrape off and pit-fill the drilled holes and impact point.
15. Clean up, and the repair is complete.

Two Chip Repair Tools, One Crack Repair Tool and Two Crack Openers
1. Drill and tap a bullseye at the points. Place a chip repair tool at the points; vacuum and pressure.
2. Place a crack opener approximately 2-3 inches from each of the points and adjust the pressure bolt.
3. Prepare and place your crack repair tools with medium crack resin butted up to the tool at the points.
4. Wait for the resin at the point to reach the crack resin and for the crack resin to begin to flow past the injector then start sliding your injector tool slowly along the crack.
5. Go around the impact break and do not let any resin bleed into the break’s bullseye. Medium crack resin will not bleed.
6. Cover the entire surface and break area with a resin that does not seep into the break through the impact point, and then cure. Do not scrape off.
7. You now have the original break separated and sealed, so that it is repaired just like a normal stone-break using low-viscosity resin, vacuum and pressure. Drill through the resin into the impact point, repair and cure under pressure.
8. Scrape off, clean up and you are done.

You now have the basic instructions to repair a floater crack. Is it worth it? That is not your call; it is the consumer’s call as it is his/her vehicle, OE seal, OE windshield, safety and money.

Richard Campfield is the founder and president of Ultra Bond Inc. in Grand Junction, Colo. Mr. Campfield’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

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