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Windshield replacement help!

Hi All,

Question about windshield replacement, sorry in advance for the long post! Have a 99 Subaru Outback, went down to one of the local windshield shops for a replacement (20" crack in mid-upper portion and quarter sized ding in lower driver’s side area). They noticed some rust where the roof meets the glass at mid-width of the windshield, didn’t look that bad to me but they said they wouldn’t replace it until it was patched/fixed. Brought it over to an autobody place, the fellow said “oh, your (expletive)ed” basically would take “thousands” to fix it. He suggested I go back to the glass place and tell them to install it and put a ton of urethane/glue over the rusted area to seal it in, went back down but they wouldn’t bite. Went back up to the autobody shop, they suggested I just try a different glass place. That plan is still pending, but in the meantime . . .

What to do? I don’t think the car will pass inspection (NH) with the crack, and the car seems to have many, many more miles left in it, but it sounds like this repair would cost more than the car is worth. Don’t want to be unsafe but also don’t want to just let the car go. Are there any other options?

Thanks in advance for the help!

First thing I’d do is try a few different autobody places, ‘thousands’ sounds like quite an exaggeration. I understand why the glass place won’t just replace it, they don’t want to deal with water leakage complaints.

You’re right…it won’t pass NH safety inspection.

This happened to me with my 98 pathfinder. It was caused by a previous glass replacement shop not priming the area where the glass sits before they put the glass in. Mine only cost me about $800. So I’d consider going to a different body shop.

As for glass shops…stay away from Settles (they’re the ones that botched up the first glass replacement job). I’ve had real good luck with Portland glass.

The windshield on this car is unfortunately a structural piece. I assume that their assessment is that the crack is evidence that the stuctural piece is already weakened to the point where it’s flexing and cracking the windshield. And it’ll probably do so to the one they put in too. I suspect they’re right. Silicone silastic is not a sturctural repair. Glopping it on will prevent a water leak but will do nothing to prevent the excess stresses on the new windshield.

Repairing such a rot area to where it will be structurally sound will require removal of interior items such as headliner and trim, plasma cutting, metal forming, and welding, followed by blending of the profiles and painting. That’s the only way to do a structural repair. Yes, it’ll be expensive. Very expensive.

If it were up to me, and I had to pay shops to do the work, I’d look for a replacement and sell it as a parts car.

Is this just surface rust? Can you see rust above the windshield moulding? Post a pic. Then I can tell you what to do.

If you are talking about rust in the window channel, I had that with my Riv. The channel had actually rust holes in it that allowed water in. When it was time for a windshield, I had the glass shop take it out on Friday. I drove it home and repaired the rust holes and refinished the roof. Took it back Monday for the new windshield and it was fine. Try a small body shop or a moon lighter.

The glass shop is not worried about leaks alone. If the car is in a wreck and the glass pops out and causes for example someone to get hurt them it’s on them.

I suppose you bought the car used? Sounds as if a previous owner had glass work done and the tool cut into the paint and/or metal.

Remove or have someone remove the windshield. Inspect the damaged area and repair it or have it repaired…Some wire-brushing, Rust-Kill, Bondo, prime, paint…Have a new windshield installed, cash, no receipt or guaranty required. Drive on…

They would be correct in their assessment about rust in this area costing thousands of dollars to repair. There’s a lot of labor involved in something like this.
The reason the shop may not want to do this is because there are X number of people who will state they won’t blame the shop if the glass leaks but when it does leak during the first rainstorm they will be right back pointing the finger at the shop.
A litigation happy society doesn’t help either.

What I would be concerned about would be if the rust is this bad up top then what’s it like down low and underneath the car?

That said, keep calling around. Someone may agree to get their hands dirty on this.

Thanks Team!

Turns out the other glass place I brought it to (Portland Glass - very nice folks) changed it out with no problem, they did say that due to rust they couldn’t provide a warranty against leaks, which is fine by me! Very relieved.

So, now that the windshield is in, what is the best way to control that rust? Pictures pre-replacement shown below. The shop said they cleaned up the rust as best as possible and just put new trim around the window. Anything else I can do to seal that up and prevent future problems?

Thanks again!

From your original post: "They noticed some rust where the roof meets the glass at mid-width of the windshield, didn’t look that bad to me "

Note to self - don’t ask cmak7 to appraise cars… :wink:

The time to work on that rust was when the old windshield was out, before the new one went in. Hard to say what you can do about it now.

My brother had the same problem with a Chevy van he uses in his plumbing business. The van has had 3 trees fall on it at different times. The first time, the tree crushed the van just behind the front seat. The insurance company declared it a total loss, but my brother and his neighbor straightened it out with a hydraulic ram and replaced the side doors. At this point, the van has a salvage title and the insurance company won’t write a comprehensive or collision policy on the van. At any rate, when the 3rd tree fell on the van, the windshield was damaged. One company wouldn’t replace the windshield because of rust and the company couldn’t guarantee that it wouldn’t leak. My brother found a glass shop that would replace the glass with no guarantee. If the van goes another year, he will have gotten his money’s worth out of it.

I have had some good luck with the rust stoppers that stop the rust, turn black and provide a base to paint over. Ask at any parts store.

Eliminating the rust will be obscenely expensive.
Controlling the rust to some degree can be done with a chemical solution which is often phosphoric acid based. I believe most solutions such as Metal Prep are phos. based.

The probem is that this should have been done while the glass was out and that Metal Prep is not a guarantee that rust will be permanently stopped.

Holy cow. Forget what I said. That is significant rust. Forget about trying to stop that unless you take the windshield out and start grinding away. Two part epoxy primer is one of the best ways to prevent the rust from coming back, but that won’t work on this one. There are holes in the sheet metal above the glass. It may be a convert at some point.

Obviously I am not a golfer (bonus points if you know that quote), and equally obvious I am no autobody expert. This thing just needs to make it 2 more years, possible? I think so. I like the car, but not enough to get obscene with the amount of money I am ready to dump into it. Will try out some of the rust control measures and hope for the best! Thanks!

Do the rust stopper and some 3m weather strip, you will make it! I think this is what I got to seal between the brick and concrete in my house, it is flexible, tacky and waterproof

With rust that bad at the top of the windshield I would definitely examine the chassis of the car underneath.

A brake line popping open or a suspension component breaking because of severe rust could make a pleasant day not so pleasant.

Safety First for sure, but I had a Ford Pick up truck so badly rusted I think it turned 2 different directions on every curve, front to the right, rear to the left. 2 years is not out of the question, how safe? No answer, If it was your car would you patch it and go? If it was mine I would. (no liability for bad answers implied!)