by Bob Beranek
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What does Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS) cover and what vehicles are exempt?

All auto glass replacements are covered under the standard. However, the “permissible exceptions” clause, as stated in section 7.2 of the standard under the heading, installation standards – rubber gasket, has caused confusion.

7.2 If the OEM gasket installation did not include adhesive and the vehicle is licensed for highway use and is less than 10,000 lbs. Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), the installation shall include polyurethane or an equivalent adhesive bonding system. The following are permissible exceptions: egress applications, antique/classic vehicle (as defined by the state in which it is licensed) restorations, or in cases in which this requirement conflicts with current vehicle manufacturer specifications,” a portion of the standard reads.

As the AGRSS committee chairman, I have asked a sub-committee to look into fine tuning our standard.

The first portion of section 7.2 is straightforward. If replacing a windshield in a gasketed vehicle under 10,000 lbs. without containing an adhesive, then the technician needs to add adhesive to strengthen the installation. However, the second sentence causes the most confusion.

If the vehicle has a gasket set window: that is used for escape, is a specialty licensed show vehicle, or is a specialty licensed antique vehicle, then that vehicle is exempt from following the AGRSS. The reason – because the vehicle is licensed for reduced mileage use under state laws governing “classic, antique, or collector” (CAC) license plates.

Now that some older vehicles fall into the CAC category with glued-in auto glass parts, do they have the same exempt status as the gasketed parts? That is the issue our standards committee must address as we review it.

The debate–does safety override good scores at the auto show, or do manufacturer specifications override current safety practices? At the time of the vehicle’s manufacture, that vehicle met the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). That vehicle is judged at the auto show on how original the vehicle is kept. It is why the states allow the vehicle to be transported or used on a limited basis through special licensing.

What happens when a vehicle’s model year would allow it to be considered a CAC vehicle, but it is used like any other vehicle licensed for the roadway? This is where the standard needs to be more clear. The CAC exemption must only be for vehicles licensed as such, and it needs to be applied to all vehicles, whether gasket set or glued-in glass mountings.

In other words, if a vehicle is licensed for the roadway without restrictions, then the AGRSS standard must be followed. If the vehicle has limited use as defined by the state in which is resides, and it is licensed as such, the standard can be adjusted to allow for the desires of the owner/operator.

Back in 2013, I wrote an article for Technically Speaking called “The Seven Steps of Installation Pre-Inspection.” 2013 does not feel that long ago, but new technology has underlined the importance of pre-inspections beyond even what they were in the past.

Interaction with the customer before work begins and the inspection of the vehicle for pre-existing defects are still very important. To review, the tech should look for:

  • Early signs of corrosion. If corrosion is visible before mouldings are removed, it is an indication that there is more corrosion present under the glass or moulding. It may be necessary to discuss bodywork or the possibility of refusing to complete the installation entirely.
  • Moulding fit. If the moulding is not fitting flush to the body or glass, it could indicate a hidden problem with a previous installation. This also should be discussed with the customer.
  • Missing or damaged parts. This also can indicate a previous installation. It could mean the installation may take longer to complete to the customer’s satisfaction.
  • Aftermarket paint jobs. Usually appears as “orange peel” texture, improper color matching or over spray on mouldings. This can indicate previous bodywork. This may cause problems with glass fit or paint peeling by removal of the moulding or protective tape.
  • Interior or exterior stains or damage. Check the seats, floor, headliner and interior garnish mouldings. Some stains may indicate a leak that should be addressed before work begins. While others can mean that some exterior parts may be loose or misplaced causing water or air seepage.
  • Electronic and mechanical items. These include wipers, washers, radio, lights, window regulators, power door locks, rain/light sensors, remote start, etc. Make sure all mechanicals are in working order before beginning work or inoperable mechanicals are discussed with the owner.

Today there is even more to look at and deem suitable for auto glass replacement. With the advent of the Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) and the increased complexity of modern vehicles, the importance of pre-inspection or “Vehicle Assessment” is more important than ever.

We also now have more to consider when approaching the vehicle for glass replacement. Be sure to look for:

  • Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. Is there ADAS present? How do I handle it with the customer? Do I recalibrate or pass it along to the local dealership? If I am doing the recalibration, are all conditions correct for accurate calibrations? Does this vehicle require static calibration, dynamic calibration or both? Does it need a wheel alignment before the recalibration can be performed accurately? Your CSR or dispatcher can be trained to pre-qualify the customer and schedule accordingly, but pre-inspecting and customer interaction is the best for all concerned.
  • Pre/post scans. It is becoming common to pre- and post-scan a vehicle whenever it is repaired or maintained. The scans can pinpoint issues before they become bigger. Some of the items found on a scan cannot be remedied by an auto glass technician but should be found and communicated to the customer prior to doing any work on the vehicle. Post-scans can indicate if something you did caused a fault code to be triggered. This will alert the auto glass technician of possible concerns before leaving the keys with the customer.
  • Tools and their usage. We have a wide array of tools at our disposal. Power tools, new hand tools and setting tools all made to make our job easier and safer. The pre-inspection time should also be used to determine the best tool for the job based on what is observed and investigated by the customer interview. If the vehicle demands zero damage to the pinchweld due to exposure to the painted surfaces, then possibly a wire-out tool rather than a power or hand tool would be better to use. If the glass and installation expose a prior installation, then expect issues like corrosion, vehicle damage and missing parts to be part of your installation.

Modern installations are becoming very complex and technologically advanced. We must be on top of the new changes and be prepared to adjust our pre (and post) inspections to document any existing problems and preserve a record of the work that was done, both for the safety of the customer and to protect yourself from liability.

Someone recently asked me about older Ford pickup trucks with “wide” chrome embedded in the gasket (DW819), and it brought back a lot of memories for me. When I was a rookie auto glass technician the DW819 windshield was one I saw daily, as trucks were everywhere in rural Wisconsin. They were all gasket sets and many had chrome mouldings.

The Ford DW819 with chrome was my nemesis. That model was so difficult for me, I would try to sell the customer on not replacing the chrome into the gasket. I even told them all black gaskets looked cool and the chrome was gaudy. Sometimes it would work, but in many cases it didn’t.

One day I came into work and found three DW819’s in my work orders for that day. I knew I wouldn’t escape chrome inserts on all three, so I got my selling skills in order. My fellow tech saw I was walking around the shop complaining that I had 819’s to do. He pulled me aside and said they were easy and asked me what my beef was? I said the chrome pops out while I’m roping it in.

He said, “Follow these steps exactly as I am telling you. They may seem counter to common sense but do it anyway.” These are the steps he gave me.

Photo courtesy of Hot Rod Network

The older model vehicles use a six-piece chrome moulding that inserts into the gasket. The chrome moulding has an “L” shaped flange on the underside. The flange inserts into a gasket channel. This installation is one of the more difficult styles to install. The following is just one of several successful methods.

  1. Place the glass/gasket assembly upside-down on your work surface.

Note: Once the mouldings are inserted into the gasket channel, it may be necessary to tape the assembly to the glass. Wrap the tape completely around the gasket and mouldings, because the installation process will tear the tape.

  1. Slide the side moulding flange into a wet gasket channel.
  2. The bottom moulding pieces have two flanges, a long straight flange on the flat and a short flange on the curve. Insert the short flange into the gasket channel and slide it into the side just installed. Using a hook tool, apply pressure with the thumb and lip the remaining flange into the gasket channel.
  3. Repeat this process on the other side.
  4. The top moulding pieces are like the bottom. However, slide the long flange into the gasket channel and lip the corner into place. Make sure you meet the sides and top mouldings together.
  5. Apply a thin bead of sealant to the body edge of the gasket.
  6. Set the glass/gasket assembly into the opening. Pull the rope toward the center of the glass while your knuckles touch the inside glass surface. It’s possible for your knuckles ride away from the glass damage to the gasket.
  7. Clean up any sealant and wash the glass inside and out

That day two out of the three Ford trucks had chrome mouldings and both of the jobs went like clockwork. I never had a problem after that instruction by my co-worker. I don’t know if the actual procedure was superior or if the instruction was really a psychological adjustment to my mindset. However, either way it worked. Good luck to those of you who give a DW819 with chrome a try.