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Thursday
Feb242011

It Never Rains In Southern California

 

But oh, it does! Which brings me to a typical older car problem – dried out, leaky front windshield seal. Take the case of a gorgeous 1981 Rolls Royce Corniche Drop Head Coupe owned by a client of mine with a slight unnoticed problem. The thirty year old car is otherwise in superb working order. From experience, no one really looks at or notices the deterioration of the windshield seal, unless you look closely at it or drive in the rain. It just so happened coming back from a car show in Orange County last year, a somewhat sunny day turned into first clouds, then rain. That is when the old and dried out front window seal started to leak. A little at first, so we grabbed what we had, and tried to stop the leaks, with of all things, Kleenex. As the rain continued, more and more leaks developed. It turned into a race to stop all leaks with more and more Kleenex. Halfway back home the front window was plastered from the inside with white Kleenex everywhere, so we just kept changing the soaked ones out for new ones. A Rolls Royce with “uncontrolled seepage”, how embarrassing!  Obviously, it was time to replace the front windshield seal.

A complete front Corniche windshield gasket runs around $400.00 and the labor usually runs about 3 hours for trim removal and refitting. In some cases with older vehicles, depending on the state of the seal, there could be an additional charge of 3 hours to remove all old rubber and baked on glue from the windshield seal gutter and treatment with a rust protector. We recommend money be spent on a professional windshield replacement specialist to avoid additional, and unnecessary damage or breakage to the windshield.  This will generally run around $250.00.

Preparing to remove the windshield and seal involved removing upper windshield inner trim and upper dash in order to access the windshield’s outer chrome trim locking tabs. The next step is to seal all the outlines around the window seal area with a masking tape to avoid any sharp tool scratches, especially if old gasket and glue needs to be gently scraped away.

With 30 years of the baking sun on this particular Corniche, the seal was so hard and brittle that it took 3 hours of diligent and careful scraping to remove all residues for a smooth and bondable surface.

Our recommendation is, while the windshield is out, take advantage of the opportunity to clean up all dash surfaces and pillar trims from previous staining and dirt (another sign of leakage) It is also a great time, since the dash has been removed to clean up any electrical work.

 

Don’t be caught off guard, remember, “It does rain in Southern California!”



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