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Thread: MK4 Windshield Installation: Tips, Myths, and Realities

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    Senior Member shark92651's Avatar
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    MK4 Windshield Installation: Tips, Myths, and Realities

    First off, I apologize for the cheesy topic title but I got your attention, right? I am now planning for my windshield installation and I have read or otherwise taken in a lot of information and I wanted to see if I could get a consensus on what can be done, what should be done, and what can be ignored.

    Replace the brass insert with Whitby's SS inserts
    Do people consider this a "must-have" or just a nice upgrade? I "ordered" a set on their website a week ago, which just seems to be a form that sends someone an email. I have had no contact since about payment nor did I receive a reply to my email asking for the status. Should I keep trying to see if/when I could get these, or should I just continue with the brass inserts and be careful not to strip the threads?

    Carefully measure each screw and file off material to ensure it does not bottom out on the glass
    This was advice I received at the build school. From looking at the frame it appears that there is a metal strip underneath the brass insert here so it would be impossible for the screws to touch the glass. I suppose it could still put pressure on the glass at that point and be an area where a crack could form. Is this good advice or not? I did attempt to measure the length of the screw as it extends from the sidebar and how much room is available from the edge of the frame to the bottom of the threaded hole. I checked with my calipers and it varies but it does look like I could file off about .02" from each screw to avoid it bottoming out.

    Instead of drilling sidebars to 1/2" hole, drill and tap for 1/2" x 13 threads
    This one actually sounds like a really good idea to me to make it easier to get the bolts in place and tightened down without needing 3 hands. Worth it?

    Use some paint sticks to keep the windshield frame off the fiberglass body
    The instructions don't mention this, but I have seen this is what others do. Is this good advice or unnecessary? Seems this could prevent a good seal with the weatherstripping, but I dunno.

    Setting the angle to 53 degrees
    Correct me if I am wrong, but the suggested angle of the windshield is 53 degrees, especially if any plans to add the soft top in the future. From what I understand the best way to get this angle is to measure 27 inches from the corner of the cockpit above the door latches to the top screw in the windshield bracket. Is this the angle and method most use to reach it?

    Shimming the sidebars to meet the body mounts
    I've read that you do not want to tighten down the bolts causing the sidebars to pull into the body mount. It looks like body shims that can be slipped right over the bolts are the most recommended here. Can I get by with a single width, such as 1/8" or what is recommended?

    Cut "this much" off the sidebars before you mount them to save you some time
    This was advice given at the build school, and I did measure the pieces they cut off, but can't find my notes. How much could/should I cut off each sidebar to avoid having to insert, measure, and remove the windshield before cutting the side bars? Can I just cut it at a right angle, or should it be cut at the same angle as the final windshield position (53 degrees) ?

    Well that is about all I have compiled on the windshield installation at this point. I appreciate any advice and input.
    Last edited by shark92651; 07-31-2019 at 04:13 PM.

  2. #2

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    I highly recommend drilling and tapping the side bars. Makes installation so much easier. I sell the aluminum shims in a packet of 4 2 18 and 2 1/16. As far as the angle, Heres what I do. drop the windshield in place so that its resting on the body. mark all 4 holes then pull the windshield out and remark the holes so that they are in the center of the brass arm. Just don't change the height. That will get you close enough.
    I usually cut them at a 45 degree angle and the scrap length is 2.5 inches.





    Mike
    Last edited by michael everson; 07-31-2019 at 06:09 PM.

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    David aka Ducky2009 Ducky2009's Avatar
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    2x on Drill and tap vs drill only, and do use shims. Make sure you don't distort the windshield, it will crack. If you unbolt your fusebox (let it hang towards the center), you can reach the DS bolts from inside the car. PS can be reached from under the hood easily.
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    Not a waxer Jeff Kleiner's Avatar
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    In order:

    ---I have never used the Whitby SS inserts nor have I ever stripped the brass insert.

    ---Hitting the glass is a myth. They can hit the metal frame but can not touch glass. The visor screws, they can hit glass!

    ---Yes! Absolutely worth drilling the sidebars. It will make life easier for you...and your painter

    ---Huh? That's a new one! Never heard of holding the windshield up with paint sticks. If you do the seal probably won't make good contact with the cowl.

    ---I use the 27" to 27 1/4" method.





    ---Yes, it is imperative that the windshield be shimmed as necessary so that it remains relaxed and is not stressed by flexing the arms inward. Usually I can fasten the driver's side directly to the chassis then add 1/8" to 3/16" worth of body shims to the more easily accessed passenger side. Although I haven't tried it yet (because I still have a box of about 100 assorted body shims) Mike makes a really nice piece now that catches both bolts with one shim.

    ---Over the years I've found that the length of the arms vary a bit depending on which far east country produced them so I make the cut 13" down from the bottom screw hole.

    These windshields aren't nearly as fragile as some would have you believe. I put them on and off alone all the time. Then again, maybe I'm just lucky!

    Cheers,
    Jeff

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    Senior Member MPTech's Avatar
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    If you want an easy level for measuring the windshield, select the Measure App in Utilities on an iPhone and select Level.
    This is a great little App for everyone with an iPhone.

    I had the Brass strips and stripped them out, I like the Whitby's SS inserts, I don't worry about stripping them anymore.
    I cracked my windshield 4 years ago, I think putting it in a bind (I think I should have used the shims).
    The side screws can't contact the glass, but the visor screws can.

    Good Luck! It's only scary to install the first time.
    F5R #7446: MK4, 302, T5 midshift, 3.55 Posi IRS, 17" Halibrands
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    Dumb question here, but do you find yourself using/needing windshield wipers?

    I was planning on ordering a kit this fall and did not plan on even getting wipers. Not so much for budget, but just wanted the clean look. Don't plan on driving in the rain.

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    Senior Member Hotyacht's Avatar
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    Good luck waiting for a response from Whitby............................................ ...................
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    Senior Member Fixit's Avatar
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    Take a look here...

    Like Jeff, I usually don't have the luxury of a helper.
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    Quote Originally Posted by delta0014 View Post
    Dumb question here, but do you find yourself using/needing windshield wipers?

    I was planning on ordering a kit this fall and did not plan on even getting wipers. Not so much for budget, but just wanted the clean look. Don't plan on driving in the rain.
    Well this is a simple question. Do you plan to drive in the rain? I have many times now and with the combination of rainx and the installed wipers I'm happy. I will tell you that I only use the wipers like every 5 minutes or so. The Rainx does a nice job, but you will need the wiper every now and then.

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    I too ordered from Whitby and after close to 2 weeks I decided to call them. I don't remember who I talked to but he checked on my order and found it on top of other orders where it had been for I assume 2 weeks.
    2-3 days later I had my order.
    JR
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    On a roll Al_C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by delta0014 View Post
    Dumb question here, but do you find yourself using/needing windshield wipers?

    I was planning on ordering a kit this fall and did not plan on even getting wipers. Not so much for budget, but just wanted the clean look. Don't plan on driving in the rain.
    My 2 cents: check your state's requirements. Some states require that you have wipers in order to get your car registered.
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  13. #12
    Not a waxer Jeff Kleiner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by delta0014 View Post
    ...Don't plan on driving in the rain...
    None of us ever PLAN on it but unless the car never leaves the garage it's inevitible.

    Jeff

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    Senior Member ILPBFoot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al_C View Post
    My 2 cents: check your state's requirements. Some states require that you have wipers in order to get your car registered.
    This qualifies as a wiper in Illinois. Just had my inspection done and all good.

    Wiper.jpg
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    Senior Member shark92651's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the input, should make it go a lot easier on Saturday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ILPBFoot View Post
    This qualifies as a wiper in Illinois. Just had my inspection done and all good.

    Wiper.jpg
    That's perfect, I'll do that if its required and then just pull it off.

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    Senior Member lewma's Avatar
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    I was a little concerned about installing it myself but the whole process turned out to be not too bad. Plus, I did it AFTER my car was painted. I cut about 2 ish inches off each leg, then I also had to open up the holes in the body a little more than the painter did. I slid the windshield through the body then had to push it down with a little force to get the rubber seal to hit the body. I pushed it down just far enough so virtually no daylight was showing between the seal and the body. I then used a silver sharpie to mark the holes on each leg.

    Carefully pulled out the windshield, then used a step bit to drill out the holes in the legs while the legs were still attached to the windshield. Again, carefully.

    After putting the windshield back in, i installed the shims by wrapping them in a little masking tape. For me, that made them sticky enough to get them in while inserting the bolts. I had to shim both sides.

    Tightened it all down and was done.

    Not too bad overall and considerably easier than the California DMV process that I'm going through now

    I did wipers too.

    mark
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    The timing on this post was great and some great info, but today I started to install the windshield and ran into an issue that hasn't been discussed. After bolting the bars to the windshield frame they are flared out at the bottom and have a twist of about 1/8-3/16" from front to back. I have pictures but haven't figured out how to attach them yet. The total variation between the bars is about 3/4" with the top rear being 50 15/16" between them and the bottom front being 51 11/16" between them. That would require spacers that are tapered in two directions which will be very difficult to accomplish.
    I think that I could carefully clamp the bars in a soft jaw vise and twist them to get closer but am afraid it will pop the chrome off, although it would be below the body and not show. Just need some advice and see if anyone else has encountered this issue.

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    Senior Member John4337's Avatar
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    I donít plan on driving in the rain, but it happens, only a question of when. Iím in the put them on camp.



    John
    FFR #7388 - Mk 4 Complete Kit w/ IRS, Ordered 10/21/10, Delivered 12/8/10, Drivetrain in 8/21/11

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    Senior Member edwardb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by denn1s48 View Post
    The timing on this post was great and some great info, but today I started to install the windshield and ran into an issue that hasn't been discussed. After bolting the bars to the windshield frame they are flared out at the bottom and have a twist of about 1/8-3/16" from front to back. I have pictures but haven't figured out how to attach them yet. The total variation between the bars is about 3/4" with the top rear being 50 15/16" between them and the bottom front being 51 11/16" between them. That would require spacers that are tapered in two directions which will be very difficult to accomplish.
    I think that I could carefully clamp the bars in a soft jaw vise and twist them to get closer but am afraid it will pop the chrome off, although it would be below the body and not show. Just need some advice and see if anyone else has encountered this issue.
    You're on the right track. Soft vice and something with soft jaws and the widest contact you have. The chrome plating can be fragile. But nothing should happen to it if you're careful and don't press on it with sharp edges. The brass bends very easily. It won't take much to straighten the difference you describe. I've twisted and bent nearly every set I've used. No reason whatsoever IMO to mess with tapered spacers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by edwardb View Post
    You're on the right track. Soft vice and something with soft jaws and the widest contact you have. The chrome plating can be fragile. But nothing should happen to it if you're careful and don't press on it with sharp edges. The brass bends very easily. It won't take much to straighten the difference you describe. I've twisted and bent nearly every set I've used. No reason whatsoever IMO to mess with tapered spacers.
    Great, thanks for the quick reply.

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    Senior Member Avalanche325's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by delta0014 View Post
    Dumb question here, but do you find yourself using/needing windshield wipers?

    I was planning on ordering a kit this fall and did not plan on even getting wipers. Not so much for budget, but just wanted the clean look. Don't plan on driving in the rain.
    No one PLANS on driving one of these in the rain. Just about everyone ends up doing it. If you are going to do more than cruise around your neighborhood, you WILL get caught in the rain.
    I used my wipers all the way home form autocross on Saturday night ~1hr. The forecast was 20% or less chance of rain all day.

    I see that John posted. It is a running joke with the Deep South Cobra Club that it rains on travel to the cruise day.

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  25. #22
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    Shark, The area I have found to be critical is not the brass strip for side post mounting, it IS the length of the fasteners used to mount the visors. That location is where the screws WILL eventually make contact with the windshield glass.
    I have seen a number of windshields crack is this area. The fastener extends into the channel pushing against the rubber gasket. The wind does buffet the windshield and or it vibrates within that gasket. The screws eventually make their way through the rubber to contact the glass. When this occurs, it will crack the glass. I seen many windshield gaskets with nice little holes cut through them from the fasteners.

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