by Bob Beranek
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The Sunday paper this past week featured an article on the Detroit Auto Show and the future of automobiles. It was interesting that they started the article with the very vehicle I talked about last week, The 2015 Ford F-150 aluminum bodied truck. They spoke of the various materials that many of the concept vehicles highlighted, such as, the above mentioned aluminum, magnesium, carbon fiber and high-strength boron steel which gives the vehicle super hardness with equal weight. The thing that was mysteriously absent from the article was the use of glass in the vehicle designs and its importance to fuel savings.

The flavor that I got from the article is the need and desire of automakers to find more fuel efficiency without the loss of power, performance and styling. After all, they have to meet the U.S. government’s mandate to average 54.5 mpg by 2025, not an easy task. The problem has been, to produce such a car the makers would have to give up something to achieve the mileage goal. They either had to make the vehicle small, slow and fuel efficient or big, powerful and appealing, but a gas guzzler. I know, they have been trying to get the formula right for years but the theme of the story I read is that they think they have the right recipe of achieving the government imposed goal and still have a vehicle that will sell.

What does this have to do with automotive glass? Well, if you perused the Internet and saw the concept vehicles offered at the show and opened your eyes to the recent use of glass roofs, you will know that glass plays a big part in the future design of vehicles. The reason for this is what we have known for decades, glass is smoother than a painted surface and the more glass surface is on a vehicle, the less drag it has. This concept has been around since the Ford Taurus was introduced in 1986 but the drastic increase in glass roofs and other glass uses in the designs were thought to be too radical for the marketplace. It wasn’t until the glass roof in the 1996 Porsche Targa that the “radical” idea of a glass roof was tried and proven desirable. Now you can see all glass roofs on many vehicles both domestic and foreign.

What does this mean for the future? I think it’s obvious. Glass is economical, relatively light weight, and it offers aerodynamic properties that make it desirable to use in vehicles of the past, present and the future. There may come new technologies like gorilla glass or heat-strengthen laminated glass, but there will be nothing more practical than glass in automobiles. I can’t wait to see what they will do with it next.

This was sent to me from my friend Danno Olivas from Cascade Auto Glass. I want to give Danno my thanks for the information. When he refers to adding “notes to CAGBoss,” he is basically instructing his people to make notes on their point of sale software so they pick the right parts. The instruction should be the same for my readers. Make a note for proper part acquisition.

It appears there are two problems related to the 2013 Ford F-150:

—Mitchell’s NAGS data doesn’t list the DW01749GTYC as an option in 2013 (even though it is).

—Ford’s system doesn’t decode the VIN# properly. It points to the 9L3Z 1503100 C (which is a DW01982GTYC). 

This was first discovered on BOIS PO# 2701782. Two separate dealerships filtered the VIN# for me and said we needed the 9L3Z 1503100 C … but when we got there it ended up being the DW01749GTYC anyway. I had Cliff swing by Landmark and he found several of each style of windshield in varying models of 2013 F150s on their lot (even from the same manufacturing plant).

Please add notes to CAGBoss to be very clear when asking customer if they:

—Have an oval in the 3rd visor frit that says “FORD;” or

  • No oval … just writing that says “F-150.”

We’ll need to make an additional call to the claims network to make sure we get authorization; either for a part that doesn’t show as valid for that application, or for a dealer part since the DW01982GTYC doesn’t have a valid NAGS list price yet.

I read with interest this week about the new 2015 Ford F-150 truck having a “mostly” aluminum body. That word “mostly” is what really piqued my interest. Jaguar is another vehicle that has a “mostly” aluminum body, although the pinchweld is not, so the bonding and the type of urethane doesn’t cause major concerns. The Audi A8 and TT coupe have all aluminum bodies and special adhesives and prepping are called for to prevent galvanic corrosion.

To learn more about the F-150, I emailed my friend and colleague from Carlex—Rod Watson. He informed me that indeed the truck’s pinchweld is aluminum and that the manufacturer uses Dow urethane. With that knowledge it is apparent that aluminum/galvanic corrosion will be a concern when replacing the windshield on these vehicles.

The reason I was so concerned about this revelation is that, unlike the Jag and the Audi, the F-150 is the best-selling vehicle on the road, and we will be working on them frequently. We will need to have specific and clear instructions from all of our adhesive suppliers on how to deal with the prepping of the aluminum body.

Obviously, Ford has done their research and knows how to bond the glass to the body without causing corrosion. The company’s paint procedures are such that no matter what product used, the coating will protect the aluminum from oxidation. Our concern must be what happens when we get the vehicle for glass replacement? What precautions must we take to protect the vehicle from premature corrosion? What products must we use to avoid dissimilar metal interaction?

To answer these questions, I went to the experts, the adhesive manufacturers.

Dale Malcolm from Dow says that the key to reduce galvanic corrosion is to “clean and seal the scratch as soon as possible, especially with aluminum.” His product Betaseal™ 5504G All-In-One Primer is the company’s answer to sealing the scratch. Dale’s suggestion for the best results is to seal the scratch immediately. The longer the scratch is exposed to oxygen the more prepping the tech must do. For example, if the scratch is allowed to stay exposed for a long period of time, follow these steps:

—Clean with an abrasive pad or abrasive pen* to bright shiny metal;

—Wipe with 100 percent pure acetone; and

—Apply two coats of 5504G allowing two to ten minutes between coats, depending on ambient temperature.

Bob Stenzel of Sika says that their products and procedures have not changed much for several years:

—Abrade the scratch with plastic abrasive pad (ScotchBrite);

—Wipe the scratch with Aktivator Pro® and let dry three to ten minutes, depending on ambient temperature; and

—Apply a coat of Sika® Primer-206 G+P and allow to dry 10 minutes.

SRP adhesives work similar to the others:

—Small scratches (less than 1 inch by 1 inch) require the removal of any existing corrosion;

—Wipe with 100 percent acetone and allow to dry;

—Apply the SRP 5025 Primer; and

—Allow it to “flash off” and dry thoroughly for ten minutes depending on ambient temperatures.

As Dale says, the key is to clean and seal it immediately. Clean it with acetone or recommended product and seal it with the metal primer. The use of the procedures above should make the introduction of aluminum vehicles rather uneventful. My thanks to Dale Malcolm and Bob Stenzel for their expertise.

*The abrasive pen Dale discovered was a product marketed by ProMotorCarProducts.com. It is a glass filament abrasive that can reach into small areas for removal of corrosion or contaminants. Though I haven’t had a chance to use one yet, Dale says it is a really effective tool for use in our industry. If you have any experience with this product please e-mail me at bob@autoglassconsultants.com. I am very interested in hearing your feedback.