This post contains six do-hickys, three fudgesicles, and some bad words all strung together. Read at your own risk.
Two weeks ago I caught a rock on my windshield.
A big rock.
About a week ago I ordered a windshield online from California. It arrived late Friday afternoon. I opened the box, and spent that evening pondering the idea of removing the broken windshield. It seemed to be quite the step. With out a windshield the bus may as well not have an engine, as I sure as hell not drive it with out a windshield. While pondering this I spent the evening getting the windshield out of the foam packing and cleaning off duct tape goop from the glass. It was well protected.
I was pleasantly surprised that the rust wasn’t bad and general condition of the frame was good, it just required some grinding and painting.
Sunday morning I went out for breakfast to mentally prepare myself for what I expected to be an ordeal getting the windshield installed. I was concerned that I would get really frustrated and expend lots of useless energy getting angry and upset about something as trivial as a windshield.
I was right to prepare myself.
I went home and checked online for some guidance on how to install a windshield. From what I could find, the windshield is installed by a relatively ingenious gasket that somehow holds the glass away from the metal while keeping a water proof seal. No screws, glue, bolts, mastic, pookey, silicone, tar, nothing but rubber holds it in place. The articles posted online do not have many details about how to install the windshield. Most have the same three step plan:
- Wrap the rubber gasket around the windshield glass.
- Have a friend hold the glass in place on the outside of the bus.
- Somehow, while using a string in the rubber gasket, you get the gasket to fit around the grove in the frame. (Yea right, and make sure you have a one eyed shrew on hand to hand you a left handed cresent wrench)
Patience was emphasized an unusual amount of times.
So I start to work on getting the rubber gasket around the window glass. I follow the instructions that I got off of one website that suggests that I use warm soapy water to help make things slip into place. This turned out to be insane advice. Soapy water should be used to get the thing in place in the window frame, but not putting the gasket around the window glass. It turns out that soapy hands and rubber and glass is a really bad combination, it’s like threading a needle with mittens on. Every time one part of the glass went into a rubber slot another would slip out. I got with in a half an inch of tossing the entire assembly…. well someplace. I stepped back, went down stairs and had a fudgesicle. Took a break, too cool off a bit.
After about another half an hour or so of dicking around with the rubber gasket I managed to finally get the thing all the way around the glass with a little string in the window well groove (Not sure way this is needed but figure it will become obvious later).
I believe that the only reason I was able to get it in a all was that the soapy water finally evaporated.
I had my lovely wife hold the windshield onto the window frame while I soaped it up again, then went inside to do what ever your supposed to do with the string. Nothing worked and the string broke. So I got out a little screw driver and started to painstakingly move the little rubber do-hicky over the metal window frame flange. This is where patience comes in. It was then that I had the idea of using a plastic putty knife to try to get the do-hicky over the flange. That not only didn’t work, but popped out the rubber flange. Damn. Damn. Damn.
After another fudgesicle and a half an hour of watching woman’s synchronized diving live from China, I went back to the garage to tackle the rubber gasket from hell. This time it only took me fifteen minutes to get the damn thing around the glass. My lovely wife once again held the windshield and soapy rubber gasket over the hole in my bus. Once again I started the painful process of getting the little rubber do-hicky over the flange. If only the plastic putty knife had a hook to help pull the rubber do-hicky over the flange….. Hey, why not make one? I went into the kitchen and got some butter knives that we only use for camping and or throwing into the dirt. After some heating with a torch and creative bending I came up with this…
It turned out to be the magic tool that saved the day. With only one butter knife and a tiny screw driver I was able to slowly work my way around the windshield. After two hours of sweating and cursing inside my bus I managed to get three sides of the flange covered with the rubber gasket do-hicky. The only place left was the top of the windshield. It started to look like the whole windshield needed to move about a millimeter down to make it fit. I really did not want to start over simply because it was off by a millimeter. So I took out a largish screw driver and figured that maybe, just maybe I could pry it down from the outside just a little bit. Carefully, slowly I tried to move the gasket.
Just a little sound made my heart sink.
I just cracked my brand new windshield.
The windshield that cost almost a hundred dollars.
The windshield that took an hour to un-box from its foam filled box.
The windshield that took another hour to slowly scrape off the goo from the duct tape the packers used to protect the edges.
The windshield that took me over an hour to get the damn wet slippery rubber gasket around.
The windshield that took my countless hours of dicking around to get the gasket 7/8th the way around.
My neighbors found out that windshields don’t protect from cursing.
If I remember correctly as soon as I heard the sound I made the following statement:
Or something like that.
An hour later I was able to get the rubber do-hicky over the flange to prove, at least to myself, that it was possible.
Now I just have to order another windshield.
I consoled myself by watching Diary of the Dead.
And I ate another fudgesicle.