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Rear Side Fixed Windows Leak Repair

Contributed By: Tom Collins

A very common problem I found on both my '85 GW and my '82 Wag was both a leaking problem and much rust damage around the frame around the rear fixed windows.  This can only be repaired permanently by complete removal of the complete window and trim.  Temporary cures such as caulking the exterior don't Last very long but will allow the rust to continue eating up the frame.

A helper is very handy to have during this, especially when reinstalling the window unit but can be done alone as I did but is a real pain in the keester.

This sounds pretty complex but rear thru it a couple times first and its really pretty easy and not too time consuming depending on the amount of rust you may uncover.

REMOVAL: 1.  Remove the interior trim piece of metal attached by screws.  This exposes the rubber channel that holds the fixed glass.

2.  Use a screwdriver, putty knife, old wood chisel, a butter knife (if the wife isn't watching), etc to carefully break the seal between the black rubber channel and the metal. Remove all old caulking you can see being careful not to scratch the paint and/or chrome trim if there (No chrome on the 82 Wag but full chrome on my 85 GW)

3.  With the rubber channel "broken loose" from the metal gently pry the rubber back that "laps" around the window frame channel starting at the bottom corner toward the front of the vehicle.  I used an old dull wood chisel as the putty knife was a little flexible.  What you want to do here is pry the window loose and push toward the inside of the vehicle.  Thumping it with the side of your fist works best here also (No not your knuckles, silly!) Work it loose here first and go across the bottom toward the angled end of the glass. When you get near the angled part go back to the front end and work upwards until that end pops free.  You will have to "help" the channel that laps the metal a little by folding it off the metal as you tap the window inside the vehicle.  This is where the helper is handy to catch the glass with the rubber channel still attached.

4.  With the window now out remove the one-piece molded rubber channel.  Use a screwdriver or something to scrape all the old caulk, sand, goop, etc that has accumulated inside then blow it out with compressed air or clean out carefully with a rag.

5.  Examine the window frame opening on the vehicle carefully for any rust damage.  Don't be too surprised that you will find some.  If its only surface rust, sand or wire brush it out being careful not to damage the exterior paint if possible.  Treat any rusted sections with a converter like "Extend" or "One Step" that converts any rust into inert oxides & will mostly stop it from extending or at least slow it down drastically.  Either of these should be available at your local Pep Boys, Autozone, Discount Auto or whatever chain auto store that's in your area.  This step is important as products like "naval jelly" only get rid of the surface rust but will still leave some 'active' rust that will eventually come back faster.

If you have major rust thru areas, clean them of as much rust as you can, treat with a converter then fill with a body filler like bondo, etc.  Most rust converters will say to give it 2-3 coats a few minutes apart then wait 24 hours.  Give it at least a couple hours to fully work before any priming & painting.  If you have to add filler make sure the surface is sanded with some course sandpaper like 80 or 100 grit before filling.  After filling sand nice & flush before any priming & touchup painting.  The will be mostly hidden but you want the frame as straight and level as possible for the best seal.  Any primed areas should be sprayed with touchup paint to seal them as the primer will normally absorb water back in behind the window channel.


1.  Start at the passenger door side & drill out the top & bottom pop rivets that holds the side piece in place.  The rest of the trim is "snapped" around flat metal clips riveted to the frame.  Carefully work a putty knife between the metal frame and the chrome at the bottom side & carefully pry that edge loose first then tap the chrome lightly to free it from the top edge of the chrome.  It gets easier after the first clip is free as you can flex the chrome carefully off the bottom part of the clip then the top of the clip as you pry it off the remainder of the clips.

2.  Clean and prep all rusted areas, treat rust & paint as above.

3.  Reinstall chrome starting at the sloping rear section, the corner, the top then use pop rivets to put the side piece back on.


1.  Get a good window sealer caulk from your auto parts store - There are special urethane caulks especially made from this at most stores or thru the Eastwood Company if you're really finicky.  I ended up using a good quality flexible (or non-hardening) clear exterior caulk from my local home improvement center that was rated for metal/rubber/glass and it has worked well for the last couple years.  Note that some kinds might require a special solvent for cleanup afterwards!

2.  Make sure the channel has been cleaned out and the glass edges are clean & dry.  Fill the channel with a small bead of caulking and reinsert the glass. Make sure its seated fully by tapping around the whole channel with the side of your fist.

3.  Take a length of 1/4" or 3/8" rope and start with about a foot loose at the bottom of the outside section of the channel about 6" in from the passenger side in the lip area that will fit around the outside metal of the frame.  Run it all the way around the channel as tight as you can so that the lip area is lifted slightly to help the installation.  Overlap the end so about another foot hangs looks.

4.  This is where it gets a little fun and a helper is kinda necessary as the caulk will be trying to dry as you stuff this baby back into the hole.  Run a bead of the caulk around the frame just in from the outside area.  Put the bottom corner by the passenger side in first then start working as much of the bottom toward the rear in as you can and start tilting the window upwards. The outside person helps by lifting the outer rubber 'lip' of the channel slightly as the inside person thumps it with the side of their hand.  Once its slightly started start pulling the rope from the piece nearest the door opening and up that side.  With the inside person allying pressure pushing & 'thumping' the glass, the outside person slowly removes the rope allowing the lip to pop in place around the metal and chrome.  Its gonna be a kinda tight fit so a little patience is required here.

5.  Remove any excess caulk that's on the rubber channel with the proper solvent being careful of the painted areas of the metal.  Let any excess caulk on the glass dry a day & it can be removed with a single edge razor blade or paint scraper pretty easily.

6.  Make sure the lip has seated pretty good around all the metal.  If its slightly raised run a bead of clear window caulking/sealant around it and clean off any excess.

7.  Try to keep from driving it for at least a few hours to let the caulk set or drive to a local pub & sit it out there buying your helper a few brews (Sorry dear, can't come home yet until the caulk drys in a couple hours).

Hope this helps.

Tom Collins, Tampa

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