Vent Windows – Awesome and Frustrating at the Same Time
The main reason I haven’t put the windows back into the doors is because I need to restore the vent windows first. The front of the side glass runs in a channel attached to the back of the vent windows, so they basically have to be installed (and removed) together.
My original vent windows themselves, meaning the glass and the stainless frames, are in decent shape. But the larger chrome frames look like the surface of the moon. That’s what happens to chrome when it’s not attended to regularly, especially in the presence of moisture and stagnant air. Thanks to the fact that the Disgustang sat outside for more than 35 years, uncovered, the rubber seals around the windows dried out and cracked, moisture leaked in, the carpet soaked it up, and then the sun turned the mix into a hot, sweaty mess for days or weeks afterward. Pretty much every chrome piece inside the car was pitted something fierce. Owing to the California climate, though, the chrome on the outside of the vent windows and rear quarter windows wasn’t nearly as bad as it was on the inside.
Luckily new reproduction vent window frames are available (driver and passenger), and unlike some of the other reproductions out there, these are time-tested and have been installed in thousands of cars, so hopefully I won’t have to fight them like I have some of the other stuff. I’ll be reusing my existing glass and the stainless frames, as well as most of the hardware, but there’s a lot more work that needs to go into rebuilding the vent windows than just swapping the old glass into the new frame. For double the price, you can buy the full vent window assemblies already put together with new glass and everything, but with good original glass, I figure there’s no need to spend the money.
I had started the process several months ago but had been stymied by the use of rivets holding the stainless division bar frame to the chrome vent frame. The stainless division bar, by the way, is not available from the parts houses, so BE CAREFUL to save the one you have. In any case, having mostly disassembled the drivers’ side window, I’d put the vent windows on the back burner while more pressing tasks moved forward.
But now with the rain, it’s the perfect time to stand in the garage and fiddle with these darn things. After getting the glass out, the first step was to separate the stainless division bar, which involved using my Dremel tool to (carefully!) grind down the rivet heads. I don’t need to take out the weatherstripping or do much more to the old frames since I won’t be reusing them. But now that I’ve got the division bars separated, I’ve got to polish them…which means I’ll probably end up polishing all the stainless on the car as long as I’m going to go to the trouble of setting up the buffing supplies. I’ll let you know how THAT goes in my next post.
And if anyone wants a good overview of how to restore their own vent windows, take a look at the video below from AutoRestoMod. While they show you on a ’67, the process is pretty much the same on lots of 60’s Ford products and almost identical to the process for earlier Mustangs. Enjoy!