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Windshield Trim Replacement

Contributed By: Bill Kelsey

This is not easy. It is one of those tedious and frustrating little jobs that if you hurry you will probably have to redo (if you still have all the parts after they pop off as you drive).

You need to do the pieces in this order: bottom, bottom corner brackets, sides, top corner brackets, top. The bottom corner brackets need to be pre-fitted to either the bottom (preferable, I think) or the side pieces, and the top corner brackets need to be fitted to the side pieces.

You will see a rubber ridge (or lip) near the inner (windshield) edge of the windshiled gasket. Make sure the area under the rubber ridge is clean, and it may help to lubricate the rubber and the back of the metal pieces with liquid soap or another lubricant (silicon?) that won't harm the window gasket. It also helps to have two people for the top and bottom pieces, to help keep the metal from popping free as you work towards the other end.

Starting at the middle of the bottom piece, work the lip of the inner (top of the bottom piece, bottom of the top piece) part of the metal piece over the ridge in the gasket. It may help to have a small flathead screwdriver or similar blunt item handy to push any stray bits of rubber ridge back behind the lip. Using a leather or rubber mallet, gently but firmly tap (no matter how much you may feel like it, no "banging away like a spastic monkey", to recall someone's remarkable expression from a long ago discussion on the list) the edge of the metal piece to get it to fully and firmly hold the ridge in the gasket. Attach the side pieces and repeat the process. Once the side pieces are in, screw in (or tighten) the bottom corner bracket screws.

Repeat the process for the top, again working from the middle (wouldn't you hate to almost have it all in, and discover that the piece is just a bit too much off center to fit?). Here, having an assistant is almost mandatory -- it can be done by one person (been there, done that), but will probably take longer and be more frustrating as whichever side you have just finished working on will tend to come loose as soon as you move to the other side of the windshield.

Once on, check the fit (the top piece seems most prone to come loose) now and again for a couple of weeks, to make sure the pieces do not begin to work loose. If they do, loosen the corner brackets and gently but firmly tap the metal lip back over the ridge. If the pieces still seem well set after a couple of weeks, you should have no further problems.

Bill Kelsey
Aberdeen, South Dakota
'79 widetrack Cherokee "S"

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