Exposed Edge Glass (Part Two)

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.