A Question about Volvo’s Pre-Primed Windshields

I received an email last week from a Canadian distribution/installation company. The executive expressed concern about pre-primed parts ordered from Volvo, specifically the FW03156GTY, FW03604GTY and FW03678GTY. These windshield numbers were displaying a failure of the pre-applied primer.

Here is how the issue was described to me:

“We have been purchasing three part numbers from the Volvo dealership chain that are arriving pre-primed … this primer can be scratched off with your fingernail.

We’ve now had two occasions where our technicians clean, activate and re-prime the shield prior to installing, but months later the car comes back because the shield leaks. After removing the glass we find the primer stays stuck to our urethane bead but totally separates from the glass.”

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When Volvo was approached with the problem, they blamed the company for not installing the glass properly and sent instructions from the Volvo Service manual. The document they sent the service center was the MSDS for polyurethane in every language known to man and a 10-frame drawing of cleaning, priming, applying and setting the glass with an old product that hasn’t been in production for years. In the words of our friend, “[W]e were sent these instructions to follow, it would be funny if it wasn’t dangerous.”

Here are my concerns about this issue:

  • OE pre-primed automotive glass parts were addressed by all adhesive manufacturers years ago. They gave us instructions on how to handle those types of parts when they arrive at our shops. Are those instructions still accurate?
  • Is there something wrong with the frits on these parts that would cause adhesion problems with urethane and its primers?
  • Did Volvo fail to properly prime the glass supplied to the distribution arm of the dealership group? If so, what do we do about it?
  • How many of these windshields are out there and how many of them have been installed unsafely?

I have begun an investigation on this issue and plan on making it known to everyone involved that there is a problem with these parts. However, in the meantime, I would suggest that when and if you have to purchase a part from your Volvo dealer, make sure that the frit primer is properly applied and adhered. If it chips off, refuse the part as defective. Maybe that way we will make our concerns known to our vendors.

If you run into any issues similar to those described above, please send the details and a photo of the part in question to bob@autoglassconsultants.com.