Volvo Glass Bonding Issue

I want to thank my readers for sending me issues involving safe installations. The newest one came from my friend, James Tremayne of Professional Glass in Seattle, Wash. His email mentioned a glass adhesion failure he witnessed.

This is the second time I have seen Volvo glass with bonding issues. The first was with pre-primed parts coming from Volvo dealerships. The difference here is that this was not the familiar paint delamination that we have seen on numerous makes and models of vehicles.

The problem Jim experienced was an adhesive failure to the glass surface. The vehicles involved were the 2010 Volvo S40 and a 2009 Volvo C30. These cars both take the FW2523 and the replacement glass in both cases were OE parts. Jim reported that one of these Volvos came to him with a leak complaint, and the other as a replacement, but both displayed the same condition. It seems that the failure is showing itself on the top of the glass only and not on the sides or bottom.



I did some research on Volvo leak problems, and found a large number of complaints concerning wet floors after a rain. Most of the suspected causes were the sunroof drains, but I also noticed many reports that fixing the sunroof didn’t work and the cars still leaked. Of those I reviewed, only one suggested the windshield seal as the culprit.

I called my expert at Saint Gobain, the OE supplier of the glass, and learned that Saint Gobain does not prep the glass in any way before it is shipped to Volvo. Any pre-priming or glass preparation is done by Volvo at their distribution and assembly plants.

Currently, we do not know the reason for this failure. The problem could be incorrect preparation, manufacturing defect, installation problems or adhesive defect. We also don’t know if this is widespread or just in a particular area. However, we do know that this is incorrect and if you have a customer that complains of a leak on their Volvo it is best to inform them of the issue and suggest replacing the windshield.

Knowing of this problem, this is what I would do if a customer brought me their Volvo with a windshield leak:

  1. I would push up from the inside of the vehicle and see if the glass is loose from the adhesive;
  2. If that does not show a failure in the bond, I would then use a leak detector to determine the location of the leak; and
  3. If a leak detector is not available, I would water test and determine the location of the leak that way. If it is coming from the top seal and the glass is OE, I would suggest replacement instead of a reseal.

Once the diagnosis is made, it would make sense to replace the windshield with a brand of glass that is not the OEM. If the OEM part has a built-in defect, which we do not know at this time, all we would be doing is replicating the problem. I would then proceed with the installation making sure that I follow my adhesive manufacturer’s instructions for the removal of non-traditional contaminants.

What seems ironic to me is that Volvo is famous for vehicle safety and demanding the use of their products for the sake of performance and to preserve the safety of their automobiles. Yet, at least some of the products they supply appear to be inadequate to that end. If anyone reading this post has some insight on this issue, please contact me at bob@autoglassconsultants.com.