I had been hoping that I wouldn’t have to remove the glass from this car, as the front and rear screens are bonded in. There was only one tiny rust hole just above the screen on the right hand side, but closer examination with a torch revealed there was rust visible under the bonding inside the screen, so unfortunately it had to come out. With the stock original glass, it’s not to much of a trauma to get the screen out, but this car has had the original glass replaced with a laminated screen. These are a lot harder to remove without breaking them, especially as it seems many glass fitters tent to go overboard with the adhesive, making it harder to cut through. I only have one spare screen and I wouldn’t expect to have much joy finding a new one, so I really needed to remove this one without cracking it!
I decided to err on the side of caution and instead of using my proper screen removing tool, I painstakingly cut through the sealer a little at a time with a sharp knife, working from both inside and outside the glass. It took several sharp knives actually as this dulls the blades very quickly. To cut along the inside along the bottom, I ended up making a special tool to do it, as it’s very hard to get in there with the dash in place. My special tool consisted of a large screwdriver with a box cutter blade welded to the end of it! It was worth taking my time though, as the glass thankfully came out intact. Once it was out I examined the surround closely and was surprised to find it was actually pretty rusty all the way round. Only maybe 5% of the rust was actually visible with the glass in place.
First job was to remove the old sealer. This can be easily cleaned from the glass with sharp blades,but to remove it from the body I used a wire wheel in my air drill. This is very effective at removing paint, sealer and rust and did a good job of getting most of the screen surround back to bare metal but there was a still lot of surface rust to deal with.
Thankfully there were only about half a dozen tiny rust holes (some are arrowed in the picture above), all of which were small enough to weld up with a single blob of weld. The surface rust needed to be removed completely, rather than just treated, so I elected to use Hammerite Rust Remover for this. This works in the same way as Bilt Hamber Deox Gel, but I find it’s a bit more effective. You do need to keep it wet and give the surface the occasional going over with a wire brush, but if you are patient it can work wonders. I re-applied the stuff four times in total over the space of two days, but the end result was a completely rust free screen surround. Once the rust is gone you need to wash the gel off, dry it and get some paint on the surface pronto, otherwise it’ll surface rust again very quickly as it’s so clean. I gave it a few coats of Bilt Hamber Etch Primer.
While the glass was out, it was a good opportunity to repaint the metal part of the dash top. I stripped it back to bare metal and gave it two coats of etch primer followed by three coats of matt black just using normal acrylic aerosol paint. Once the screen surround has some 2K black top coat applied, the glass can go back in. I’ll be doing this before the outside of the car gets its final paint.