by Bob Beranek

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.

Comments (5)

  1. Daniel said on 30-03-2012

    One of the reasons I decided to cross the Atlantic almost a decade ago was to learn and understand how American way of windshield replacement can be performed with “one technician in one hour”.
    What you enhanced at the end of this episode, Bob, is the “European way” of doing WS replacement: two technicians and a reasonable amount of time. You might never want to rush up things, once you deal with a tight situation, especially when you work on imported vehicles, carrying supplemental value for their owner.
    Once again, I agree, sustain and even promote the extreme care that should be carried on when dealing with delicate windshield replacement and the help and expertise of a second technician.
    On the other hand, there are jobs than can be successfully performed in a solitary manner, but let’s face it: “ONE IS TO LONELY, TWO IS A TEAM, while THREE IS A CROWD”.
    Nice to follow your posts and I feel comfortable to comment them.
    I owe you some Buds.

  2. Mikey Lykesit said on 31-03-2012

    Mr. Beranek, As I read your article I thought I might already have mastered this technique, and wouldn’t have posted a comment except for the Fact that Daniel hit the nail on the head with his suggestions. No substitute for perfection, his methods will ensure the best results.

  3. Rick Nelson said on 19-04-2012

    I somewhat disagree with the statement that wire tools are slower.

    To the uninitiated, wire removal may seem slower but with experience, 5 – 8 minute removal time is normal. I would think Daniel above, coming from the EU would have this knowledge as wire has been used over there for many years with success.

    How much time does it take to protect the vehicle or repair the damage?

    • Daniel said on 20-04-2012

      Thanks for your appreciation, Rick.
      I would comment a little bit more on the use of wire cutting.
      Back in the late eighties, I used round steel wire, ripped from parking brake broken cables or from industrial traction steel ropes. You imagine the efforts to apply when trying to cut the old urethane bead ! ((Particularly the lower corners of the 1992 Ford Sierra MKI and 1994 MKII so tight to the vehicle’s body)
      Later on I discovered the piano chord (string), enhanced few years after with brass treated surfaces in order to reduce friction.
      And, finally: Hallelujah ! Here came the squire section steel wire which advantages need not to be displayed.
      No further comment except that the piano chords (strings) used by some of the technicians who replaced windshields I have to replace at my turn, severely damaged the edges of the pinchweld, the interior trims of the “A” pillars ( not taken out for laziness reasons) and the dashboard edge right under the windshield. Hence the induced corrosion Bob ( and not only him) talks about in these posts.
      To cut a long story short: never use the piano string (chord) as it induces high heat, may damage the pinchweld and the protection devices you must use to spare the front edge of the dashboard.
      Have a great week-end and hope to share some Heinekens with all of you, sometime.

  4. keith elder said on 31-03-2014

    in my experience wire tools have always taken longer to do a removal of a windshield, their just a fussy tool do deal with and after see’ing many windshields removed with these new fangled wire tools i have decided i dont have any use for them. the few glass companies i have worked at have never given much time to do a install and time is always the factor that is number one, so dont kid yourselves. whatever is allowed as the use of time by your company then go for it with the wire tools. safety first

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