Dry Setting

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.