by Bob Beranek
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Exposed edge glass mounting has two major challenges to the AGR technician—cutting it out and keeping it from making noise. This week I want to discuss the cut out and all of the ramifications.

There are two types of exposed edge glass—the underside molding type and the completely bared edge type. The underside molding type (UM) was the first introduced and used in the VW and Audis. This type of exposure was a challenge in that it was difficult to R&R because the exposed pinchweld wall did not allow for an inside cut with a power tool, due to possible damage to the pinchweld wall, and it required the delicate removal with a cold knife or wire which could break the glass. However, if the glass was to be replaced then the installation was relatively easy because there was no molding to remove or replace. Plus, the UM actually protected the wall from the vertical leg of the cutting blade.

Then the new designed vehicles, with an even closer tolerance between the glass edge and the pinchweld wall, appeared and we had even a more challenging task. How do we cut this out quickly and easily? Quickly and easily may not be the words used to describe the cut out of these parts, but the word “creative” comes to mind.

Here are some ideas that have been used to overcome this removal challenge.

  • Padded cold knife blades—These were introduced by a couple of manufacturers and in some cases they work very well. The problem is that the padding on some is a little to thick to use and on the others the padding wears off easily and then it becomes just a regular cold knife blade.
  • Plastic pinchweld protection systems—Again, they work fine if there is enough room to attach them to the pinchweld, but if you have room to attach the system you have room to use a cold knife.
  • Tapes—Tapes or layers of tapes can help in protecting the pinchweld wall but be wary when applying tapes because they can peal paint when removed. If you plan on using tapes, I would suggest using vinyl or fabric tapes rather than paper backed tape like masking. If you need to take some of the adhesiveness away from the tape, just stick the tape to your shirt and then stick it to the surface.
  • Wire and wire tools—There has been a huge influx of wire tools entering the market and they are all very good. They do require training and practice to use efficiently and you do need to remove the interior moldings to reduce the possibility of damage.  However, once mastered there are several benefits to its use, but one of them is not speed of removal. Thus quality of removal must be weighed with the loss of productivity.
  • Help—If another technician can be used to help with the removal then there are some removals that can be made easier. For example, the vehicles that have an exposed top can be cut out on three sides and then the helper can pull down on the vacuum cups to pull the glass away from the top pinchweld wall while the other tech pulls the cold knife.

If you guys have any other ways to make the cut out easier, please let me know so I can share the knowledge with others.

In 1998, I said that “the introduction of exposed edge glass on the VW New Beetle (FW2072) would be a flash in the pan.” I was wrong. The reason I made that statement is that I saw brand new vehicles with windshields that displayed lamination separation at the top of the glass near the rain channel and thought that the vehicle manufacturers could not accept this defect and pass FMVSS. I thought for sure that unless changes were made with the design of glass, that the future of exposed edge glass was destined for failure.  Well, it didn’t work out like I thought, as a matter of fact; it increased and became quite popular.

I overlooked one very important fact—cost of vehicle manufacture. Obviously it is cheaper to assemble a vehicle if moldings are not required to be installed. Plus, they can pass on the responsibility of vehicle appearance to the glass manufacturers and replacement companies. Why wouldn’t you introduce glass mountings without moldings?  Well, they’re beginning to find out. In future contributions to this blog I will be addressing a number of challenges that exposed edge glass poses and how we can correct and accomplish removal, mounting and troubleshooting.

We will address cut-out techniques and options, importance of bead placement, bonding and troubleshooting the ever-present air noise. I urge my readers to send me your stories, hints and fixes that you have experienced.

There are recent changes to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) that pertain to our industry and I thought I would give you a heads up.  These changes are not going to drastically change the way we install auto glass, but will accentuate the need for proper installations.

FMVSS 111 – Mirrors
This standard has not changed for over a decade. The main changes that occurred 10 years ago were the “break-away” mirror mounting and the 90 square inch rule for big over-the-road trucks. The break-away mirrors rule, as you recall, is the rule that the mirror mounting must allow the mirror to break away from the windshield surface with a force of about 90lbs. The 90 square inch rule applied to passenger cars for a short while, but changed to only include trucks over 10,000 gross vehicle weight (GVW).  It stated that a mirror with a surface of 90 square inches or less must be convex.

FMVSSs 205, 208, 212, 214
These standards have not changed at all and need not waste your time on the particulars.

FMVSS 216 – Roof Crush
This is the standard that has changed the most.  In May of 2009 the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) published its new FMVSS 216a.  It was a major change for those that tested vehicles so a period of time was given to design and build the testing equipment. NHTSA also has a phase in plan for vehicle manufacturers to build their vehicles to meet the new standard. Here are the changes:

  1. There are two 50th percentile dummies placed in the two front seats to measure the effects of roof crush to the head area.
  2. The test is now performed on both sides of the vehicle and not just on the driver side.
  3. A vehicle is found in compliance when the roof does not exceed 5 inches in deformity and the dummies’ heads are not impacted with more than 50 lbs of force.
  4. There are two different methods of testing depending on the vehicle weight:
    a. If the vehicle has a GVW of less than 6,000 lbs, the roof must withstand three times the unloaded vehicle weight (UVW);
    b. If the vehicle has a GVW of more than 6,000 lbs, but less than 10,000 lbs., the roof must withstand 1.5 times the UVW.
  5. The Phase-in was given to manufacturers to ease the burden of these new standards.  To be in compliance the vehicle manufacturers have to meet this schedule:
    a. Less than 6000 lbs,
    i.     25 percent compliance by September 1, 2012
    ii.     50 percent compliance by September 1, 2013
    iii.     75 percent compliance by September 1, 2014
    iv.     100 percent compliance by September 1, 2014
    b. More than 6,000 lbs and less than 10,000 lbs.
    i.     100 percent compliance by September 1, 2016

FMVSS 219 – Passenger Compartment Intrusion
This standard no longer exists. It was removed because the modern day designs of vehicles are constructed to assure passenger compartments are the refuge during a crash.  The government felt it did not need to state the obvious and removed the entire standard.

These changes are the biggest change to the FMVSS in years, as it pertains to our industry, and the phase-in is beginning this year. Will this make us change the way we install?  No, not really. But it will make us think twice about how and what we do and how it will affect the overall crashworthiness of our customers’ vehicles.