by Bob Beranek
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Photo Courtesy of Trifive.com

I can always tell when a technician was trained by an “old-timer” like me. How? They “spank” or slap the glass into position rather than smooth it in place to make the seal. It comes from the old days when glass had to be spanked and seated into a gasket or when dense butyl tape needed to be forced down to contact uneven pinchwelds. Liquid urethanes call for smoothing the seal, not spanking or slapping the glass into place.

First, let me say it’s not necessarily wrong to slap the glass. It is, rather, ill-advised. There are two negative results that can happen when a glass is slapped rather than smoothed.

  • If the glass is thin, chipped or scratched, then the chance of premature breakage is increased. If the glass is “hot,” the glass is more volatile and can fracture. Some of these issues can and should be caught by the technician prior to installing. However, how hard is too hard to slap the glass into place? It only takes one break to lose your profit and possibly a customer to inconvenience.
  • The second negative issue involves leaking and bonding. Curved glass has a spring to it. It can be depressed as much as a couple of inches before breakage and then sprung back to its original shape or curvature. If the bead of urethane is short and the glass is slapped at its apex, it can make contact and then “string out,” causing leaks and bonding problems. If it is smoothed-out, the urethane bead is redistributed into weak areas, making for a more solid bond and leak-free installation.

If I said I never spanked or slapped the glass, I would be a liar. There are instances where a slight slap is necessary. If you have a large, tall or awkward vehicle where leveraged pressure can’t be applied to the edge of the glass, such as in large service vans, then a slight tap on the top and bottom center may be called for. Of course, this is after a careful inspection of the glass part conducted during the prep stage and that the glass is not exposed to excessive heat.

My advice is to use slapping only when you must and only when the glass was carefully inspected for pre-installation damage. Keep the glass out of bright hot sunlight for as long as possible prior to installation into the opening. Reduce the violence used in past installations as much as you can. The customer will feel less anxious if watching the process and vehicle and glass damage will be reduced to increase profits.

 

Recently I was surprised to hear one of my colleagues had never heard of the term “decking.” That instance got me thinking, glass techs do speak a language of their own. A good example is from previous Education Committee debates, where I learned there are a lot of colloquial names for plastic sticks like, bones, fiber sticks, and the always popular “pooky sticks”; different terms were used based on the location.

I thought it would be beneficial to start a glossary of terms and add them to the dictionary of auto glass terminology. Here are some to start:

  • Decking

Decking refers to the act of pressing the glass downward into its final position on an applied adhesive. A common phrase would be, I decked the glass into position on the pinchweld.

  • Pinchweld

Considering this term doesn’t exist in my computer’s dictionary for some reason, I thought it might be added to our glossary for that reason alone. Everyone knows what a pinchweld is, a periodic weld between two layers of metal.

However, in the auto glass industry we look at a pinchweld as not just a thing, but as an item with multiple parts. It can be “L” shaped, “flat” or have a “Z” shape. It can also have a “floor” and a “wall.”

It’s a part of the vehicle frame that a glass part is adhered to.

 

  • Exposed-edged Part

An exposed-edge glass part is any glass part with an unprotected edge. It can still have an underside moulding attached, but the very edge of the glass is exposed.

 

  • Bead

The bead is an extrusion of the urethane adhesive, and is usually found on the under edge of the glass part. However, it can also be recessed on the bottom of the glass. Sometimes the bead is applied to the glass and other times applied to the vehicle frame (pinchweld).

  • Cowl

The true term for the “cowl” is the cowl panel. It’s a cover located at the bottom edge of the glass and extends to the front of the firewall. It covers the cowl/firewall drains. The panel usually surrounds the windshield wiper posts and covers the unsightliness of the drains and raw metal underneath. The cowl panel should be removed on most vehicles to perform a proper installation.

  • Tucking

Tucking is the act of inserting the glass under the cowl panel without its removal. Tucking can displace the applied adhesive and make the glass installation unsafe. It is usually used to save time removing the cowl panel and wiper.

  • SDAT/MDAT

These acronyms stand for Safe Drive Away Time and Minimum Drive Away Time. They have been used interchangeably, however the industry wants to begin using the later. To reach MDAT the urethane must reach the strength necessary to withstand the forces put upon the glass as defined in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 208 and 212. The titles of these standards are Passive Restraint Systems and Windshield Retention respectively.

These terms are only the start. If any of my readers have heard a term used they are not familiar with or if you have some terms we should add, please let me know.

I saw a topic on an industry forum run by glassBYTEs that was titled “Hey Bob Beranek!”  Well, I couldn’t ignore that and promised the subject writer I’d answer his questions as best as I can. The questions and answers may help you too.

  1. Should every new install with ADAS be re-calibrated (or at least checked), or only if things don’t seem to be working accurately?

According to Opti-Aim, a recalibration should be completed on every ADAS equipped vehicle after a windshield replacement. Why? The reason – although a fault code may not be triggered/tripped, the camera, bracket, or both may not be perfectly positioned for maximum performance. As I’ve said in previous posts, even if the camera or LIDAR is a millimeter off, it can cause big differences at the reference point. It can mean feet or yards off of being perfect.

  1. What about aftermarket glass? Should only OEM glass be used when ADAS is involved?

Most third-party calibrators can recalibrate aftermarket parts if the ARG parts meet OE specs. However, if the bracket is so far off that it’s outside the limits of the units aiming ability, that part will not allow the unit to be properly recalibrated.

The only way of making sure the glass can be recalibrated properly in advance is by using OE parts. That’s why many dealerships require OE glass before agreeing to do a recalibration. They don’t want to waste time recalibrating something that doesn’t work, or they want to limit their liability.

  1. Is an aftermarket glass from say Pilkington (DOT-15) the same as an OEM Honda branded glass that is marked Pilkington (DOT-15)?

That’s a good question for Pilkington. I will let you know what I find out. I do know Pilkington guarantees they can recalibrate any Pilkington part no matter if it is OE or not, if their calibration tool (Opti-Aim) is used.

Recalibration is complicated and a rapidly changing issue. There are liabilities, products, tools, adhesives, procedures and vehicle design both public and proprietary that come into play. There are scanners, lasers, cameras, LIDAR, and sensors of every type and style mounted to dozens of different parts of the vehicle. Some apply to us and others don’t. We all hope for is a simplified or standardized system that can be recalibrated or self-calibrated. Right now none of us know it but I’ll do my best to keep you up to date.

 Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my Readers!