Setting a True Goal
There was a thread on the glassBYTEs.com™/AGRR™ magazine forum in which someone asked how to prepare the pinchweld for a windshield installation on the new aluminum Ford F-150. I found the written instructions from Ford for that vehicle and posted them.
Ford happens to use Dow adhesives, and so the instructions I posted were written by a Dow representative. Of course, dealer instructions must make the assumption that the tech is prepping a pinchweld that was damaged upon the removal of the glass.
However, one reader commented that it should be the goal of every tech to not damage the vehicle at all. I fully agree, and feel this is an outlook that does not get its proper due. Are some of us too careless? You should be actively doing your best not to harm the vehicle.
I know that tools break, blades wander and technique must be mastered, but “no damage” should always be our goal.
Mistakes happen, but I sometimes see technicians fail to take into consideration the tools and precautions needed to remove the glass with minimal body damage. They feel that the primer is there for that reason, and as long as the installation is away from the customer’s immediate sightline—no harm, no foul. I disagree.
Primer is necessary to protect the pinchweld in the short term, but once the bare metal is exposed to oxygen, corrosion has begun. The best way to eliminate corrosion for the short and the long term is not to damage the vehicle at all. It may take a little longer, but it is time well spent.
The potential for problems occur during the removal and preparation steps. In the removal step, the technician must make a decision that is best for the customer’s vehicle, and not for his installation speed and comfort. Yes, the cold knife and power tool would get that glass out faster but they also raise the possibility of more damage to the vehicle if you don’t take measures to protect it. Depending on the vehicle, it may be better to use finesse rather than violence to remove the glass.
In the preparation step, damage usually occurs during the removal of the old adhesive. If the glass is original equipment, the urethane bead is usually quite easy to strip with little or no damage. The problem comes with the second and third installations. The technician before you may believe in “the more the better” philosophy of automotive glass replacement. There could be urethane everywhere that needs to be removed. Yet, we must at least try to remove the existing urethane with the least possible damage. Buy the right tools, take your time and practice the techniques that make you the best in your area.
In full disclosure, I am not a saint. I do sometimes pick power over finesse, and I’ve been tempted to let the primer “cover up” my mistakes. But I fight that inclination, and so should you. Instead, brag that you didn’t use one drop of pinchweld primer today. If you have no scratches, you will need no primer. That would be an accomplishment that you can celebrate.