by Bob Beranek
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Dry setting is a procedure that some technicians perform religiously and others never do. What is dry setting? When should you do it? How should you do it? Should you do it at all? Here are my thoughts on the subject.

What is dry setting? Dry setting is the positioning of the glass into the opening before the application of adhesives. The purposes are to:

  1. Make sure you have the right glass part.
  2. Observe defects in fit, configuration or problems with the process of setting the glass.
  3. Position for accurate placement
  4. Make guide markings for accurate setting or adhesive application.

When should you dry set? Personally, I dry set when:

  • I’m unfamiliar with the glass brand being installed in a particular vehicle.
  • The glass is going into a newly collision repaired vehicle.
  • I’m “trailblazing” a new vehicle.
  • There are multiple parts for the same vehicle.

How should you do it? The dry setting procedure is one that is relatively easy but if done wrong can cause a contamination that will have to be corrected. When during the process of installation should the dry set be conducted? It must be either before the pinchweld and glass is prepared for bonding or after all surfaces are prepared. You can’t set a clean primed glass on the old contaminated urethane.

Some prefer to set the glass when all surfaces are prepared and non-contaminated because the molding is on the edge of the glass and all installation conditions are present. The visual will be more accurate. However, figure out which of the “purposes” stated above is your reason for a dry set. Some, such as correct part confirmation or observing defects in fit and configuration may not be realized when the dry set comes so late in the process.

Once the glass is set into the opening, the next step is to position and align the glass in the opening. If two people set the glass, one person should do the side to side and top and bottom positioning. This is also the time to critically observe the perimeter for fit.  If the glass is positioned higher in a particular area, mark that area with tape or wax pencil so more adhesive can be applied.

When the glass is properly positioned, use some kind of marking device—either a length of tape or wax pencil—to create a corresponding mark on the glass and vehicle body. If tape is used, then you must cut the tape at the glass or molding edge so part of the tape is on the glass and the other part is on the body. This marking will be your alignment guide for setting the glass assembly into the opening. Make sure to position the markings in a “comfortable to see” position so an accurate set can be completed.

Should you do it at all? Again, this is completely the technician’s decision to make. If the technician is uncomfortable for any reason with the fit or the setting of the glass, then I would recommend a dry set to confirm or deny his concerns. Dry setting could increase the number of glass breaks due to mishandling the glass, especially if the technician is careless or inexperienced. I don’t think however, that potential breakage should be the reason for eliminating the process. As a trainer, I feel that careful dry setting is beneficial for all of the reasons above and also for the sake of practice setting the glass. Every glass part you set in the opening makes you better at setting the glass. Practice makes perfect.

I hope this helps you in understanding the process of dry setting. I look forward to your ideas, comments and critiques about this post. Talk to you soon.

Bugs and mosquitoes are not uncommon in the humid northern states in the summertime but that is not what I want to talk about this week. The “bug” I want to talk about is what we in the industry call the glass monogram. The monogram, or bug, is a wealth of information if you are able to decipher the codes and symbols.

Let’s begin with the obvious; this glass was made for Nissan by Vitro SA. This is confirmed by the DOT number 287. By law the glass manufacturer must display their issued DOT number on every part sold in the U. S. They don’t have to display their logo, but they must display their number.

According to other U. S. federal regulations the glass must also display the American standard designations for safety glass, in this case, the AS1 designation. There are several designations for safety glass but there are only three that are common on vehicles sold in America, AS1, AS2 and AS3.

AS1 designation is reserved for glass that passes all of the tests for safety as dictated by ANSI Z26.1 standard and the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) 205. AS1 glass can be used anywhere on the vehicle the engineers wish to use it but it is typically used on the windshield only due to the complex and expensive manufacturing process.

AS2 safety glass is the next highest grade and passes most of the aging tests but fails the steel ball drop test which would prohibit it from being used in the windshield area. That is why it is used in side and back glass positions.

AS3 is commonly called privacy glass because of its characteristically dark color. This type of glass can be used anywhere behind or above the driver, or from the “B” pillar back or above.

The Circle E code is a code used in vehicles sold in Europe. If a glass part is sold in the U.S. only, then the AS designation is all that is necessary for the glass to display. However, if the part is sold in the U.S. and Europe, then it must display both the AS and the Circle E codes. There is also a Triple C code used in China.

CCC is an acronym for China Compulsory Certification and is a new program started in May of 2002.  It combined two other programs that made exporting and importing products into China easier.

The European symbol is much more detailed than the China symbol. The China symbol is either there to prove approval or not. The European symbol has much more to it than the CCC symbol.  For example, the two slashes above the circle indicate the standard for laminated glass while the absence of a symbol is the indicator for tempered glass and there are a number of other symbols to indicate other types of glass construction. These two foreign standards are much like our AS standards in that they require certain safety requirements of glass parts installed in the road vehicles specifically in their country or participating countries. To simplify the meaning of these symbols is easy, if they don’t display the symbols, then they can’t be sold in the nations that require them. 

The “M” number is always present on auto glass parts. It is a manufacturer specific indicator of the type and construction of the glass part. The only exception to the “M” number is Ford Motor Company’s “FM” number. This number is not standardized so the meaning of the number is only known by the glass manufacturers but it does allow the manufacturers to identify a part and its construction characteristics such as coatings, tint, glass and PVB thickness.

Typically, the Bug also includes the nation of manufacture. In this case, the phrase “Hecho En Mexico”—Made in Mexico—is added in the lower portion of the bug. If there is an absence of a country statement of manufacture, it is made in America.

Any other symbols, illustrations, and/or codes are added for the use of the manufacturer or distributor. The many symbol options could be,

  • Date of manufacture
  • Value added options
  • Manufacturing plant
  • Inventory control bar codes
  • Tracking codes
  • NAGS number of part

If you require more knowledge of the contents or meaning of the various symbols found on the monogram, contact the distributor or manufacturer of the glass. Usually they will be willing to share the information that the glass monogram supplies. Others will be more difficult to obtain due to the protection of proprietary information.

Remember, there are two things you must make sure you do before and after installing any piece of auto glass; make sure the part you are installing has a DOT number in the monogram and secondly, record that number for possible future reference per the AGRSS Standard.

Jeff Gage wrote in response to my last post:

“Great topic, in light of this information, when is NAGS going to publish…a definitive measurement of urethane application? … What exactly is the definition of a kit? Is a “kit” simply the urethane, primers, and dam as listed by NAGS, or is it to include the tape, solvents, and other peripherals required to insure that the job is done correctly?” 

I thought that this comment and the attached questions are good enough to address them in detail.

What is a “kit” anyway?

A kit is defined as the supplies necessary to install a stationary auto glass part into a vehicle.  Most auto glass professionals think that it is the urethane and it’s supporting materials but actually it is all of the materials and supplies needed to install the glass except the approved add-ons of moldings and/or clips. These kit supplies can be paper towels, razor blades, solvents, cleaners, daubers, tapes, and any other items used during and after the installation.  This is a little disconcerting considering that many of the approved “kit” allowances are less than the cost of the needed urethane for that vehicle let alone the other items and supplies listed in the “kit.”

Jeff also asked, “…when is NAGS going to publish …a definitive measurement of urethane application.”  Jeff asks another good question but one that I can only speculate on. NAGS will have to answer this one because they only know why they do the things they do and print the things they print. However, I think they don’t publish definitive measurement because they don’t know the actual volume measurement.

Service manuals, printed by the vehicle manufacturers, list the specifications and configuration of the bead but do not print the amount used. I suspect that a good mathematician can calculate the exact volume of urethane used but it seems that the manufacturers don’t think it is important enough to publish. NAGS publishes the estimate because it is important to retailing glass shops for billing purposes.

So what should we do? We should replicate the dimensions as close as we can to the OE and communicate the true volume to NAGS so they can accurately report the amount used.

So how do we replicate the OE bead? I do address my method of estimating the bead size and configuration in my training courses and in my book, “The Complete Guide to Auto Glass Installation-A Textbook,” in great detail – get the gratuitous plug for my book?—but here is a brief synopsis.

  1. Once the bead is trimmed back, find the thinnest representation of the OE bead. We pick the thinnest because it is the bead programmed in the computer for the robot to follow. The reason for the different thicknesses is the various pressures put upon the windshield during vehicle assembly while the urethane is still uncured.
  2. Take the tip of the urethane tube and cut the tip to the proper width. Use the inside diameter of the tip as a measure and cut the tip straight across and not at a 45º angle. The 45º angle lays the urethane bead on the bonding surface and does not apply the bead to the bonding surface.  Laying the bead can bridge a gap and cause bonding and leak problems.
  3. Cut a “V” notch equal to or higher than the wall of the upper “L” shaped pinchweld.  This assures that the underside of the glass will make contact with the urethane before the glass is push down into its final position.

Note: If the vehicle has clipped moldings, then the “V” bead should be equal to or higher than the height of the clips and not the wall of the pinchweld. Then use the moldings to push the glass downward until the clips engage. This assures a good tight fit of the moldings to the glass surface.

Jeff—I hope this answers your questions.

To all of my other readers, I hope this gives you some reasons to rethink your urethane application habits and follow the methods that have proven successful.