View Full Version : Vent window rebuild

07-06-2014, 10:17 PM
Got my vent windows out this weekend and I'm ready to rebuild them with new weatherstripping. Does anyone have a write up on the process and in particular removal and installation of the blind rivets? Pictures would be fantastic! And a great addition to the TRL.

07-07-2014, 02:39 PM
I did write up a small procedure for another member when I sent him some of my extra rivets. I didn't put pictures to the document, but I do have a lot of pics. I'll send what I have in a PM as I can't attach a Word doc here.
Things I would recommend are:
1. If you remove the rain shields, the replacement rivets need to be "hollow" rivets. I couldn't find any, so I had to drill solid core rivets to work.
2. Definitely replace the small guide at the top of the vertical channel. It protects the glass. Avail. from TBird houses.
3. If you need to replace the felt in the vertical channel, I have been using the soft side of 2" wide velcro with industrial adhesive and it works great. I have a guy on Ebay that will sell you just the soft side material. He is also a car enthusiast and was curious why I just wanted one side of the velcro. If you buy the replacement vertical rails, you will have to remove the mounting brackets and reattach them to the new.
4. If you replace the vent glass, beware, as many of the precuts are wrong. They have a 3/4" radius on the top and bottom of the glass and this will prevent them from properly sealing. Had to have Bob's glass cut some to match my original glass.
5. If you need to rechrome, good luck. My 2 frames cost about $350, but the shop did a nice job on them .

07-07-2014, 08:13 PM
Excellent! You give me a lot to think about. Thanks

07-07-2014, 11:31 PM
Nice tip on the Velcro. My felt looks good but was wondering about what to do if it wasn't. I've seen replacement Chanel but new stuff never fits like the original.

07-07-2014, 11:43 PM
I looked at the options, and by the time you change out all the mounting brackets on the new channels, it is actually easier to reline the originals. If you ever want any info on how I did it, just PM me and I will give you the details. It's a little tricky to get that super sticky velcro into the tracks. It costs about $6 to reline the original channels vs. $50 for buying new. Also, the rear channels are not available aftermarket, so they need to be restored. I attached some pics of the relined channels.


07-07-2014, 11:51 PM
Let me know if you need some rivets. It only takes a few rivets to go back together, but usually you have to buy at least 25-50. I still have extras, and they can be a bit tricky to find them.

07-08-2014, 01:22 PM
I looked at the options, and by the time you change out all the mounting brackets on the new channels, it is actually easier to reline the originals. If you ever want any info on how I did it, just PM me and I will give you the details. ... Done! But why not share it in the forum?

07-08-2014, 02:36 PM
Here is a link to the Ebay seller I have been using for the Velcro. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=301224996427

Here are the steps I used to install the velcro:
1. Remove all of the old felt and then clean the channel with an oil free solvent.
2. Cut a piece of velcro about 2" longer than the channel being lined.
3. Measure the inside width of the channel and then draw lines on the backside of the velcro strip (paper side), on center, matching the inside width of the channel.
4. With an exacto knife, carefully cut the paper strip out of the center and remove the paper.
5. Fold the velcro strip in half and carefully insert the sticky side of the velcro into the channel so the sticky side contacts the bottom of the channel. I used a small piece of wood to press the velcro firmly to the bottom.
6. Using a needle nose pliers, carefully start to peel the remaining paper from the sides of the velcro and and attach it to the side of the channel.
7. Using the exacto knife, follow the small ridge in the channel and carefully trim off the excess velcro. Go slow and make sure you are using a new blade.
8. At the bottom end of the channel, I split the velcro overhang and wrapped it around the end. Just thought this might stop any creep of the velcro in the track.
NOTE: The vent window channel is narrower than the rear channel, since the glass has the s.s. trim around it, which makes it thicker. The rear channel is more critical to get the initial cut of paper on center.
Hope this works for you.

07-09-2014, 08:31 AM
Nice! Mine are assembled but out of the car. I think I'll redo them before I put that part of the car back together, and prevent some future creak-a-thon.

09-13-2014, 11:31 AM

TBird1044's post was very useful, especially the advice re. the velcro. But I have my vent assemblies off the car and am totally stuck on the rivets.

1. The little "tip" assemblies from Tbird HQ came with rivets, but the rivets are much longer than the old ones that came out. Without even trying, I can see that they are not going to squash down properly. 2. Can't see how to get a tool in the groove to squash them even if the rivets were right. I bought a vent window rivet "tool" for 100$ which is basically like a C clamp - waste of money. No way will that go into the groove. 3. Same issue with the vertical weatherstrips. They came with what appears to be the right rivets, but again, the "tool" isn't going to fit in the space. These rivets seems like they would work on the "tips", but no extras and no one seems to sell just rivets.

Can anyone help? Where to get the right rivets? I have some hollow ones if that is the only choice. Another idea is 3/32" pop rivets but they are not correct like originals. The biggest question is what to use to squash the rivets. I have a lathe and could possibly make a tool if I knew exactly what it should look like.

(Desperate at this point) :)



09-13-2014, 12:08 PM
My solution in dealing with these vent frames is the 5/32 pop rivet w/3/16-14" range. The head doesn't look too bad at the top of the frame, and I could disguise it if needed. I also use these to rivet the channel to the frame, using an extension for the nose of my rivet gun to reach into the channel. I then grind much of the head away to prevent interference with the edge of the glass.

09-13-2014, 03:12 PM
Aren't the rivets fun to deal with??
When I talked with the people selling rivets, I seem to remember that they said you should have 1/2 the rivet diameter sticking through the hole to flatten. I'm sure the correct ratio could be found on the net. If your rivets are too long, you could always use a dremel grinder and shorten them to the correct length. I'm surprised you were able to find or get hollow rivets. I ended up drilling solid rivets.
With the hollow rivets, I put a piece of brass over the anvil on my vise, and used that to back up the rivet head. Then I took like a 3/8 bolt, and with a small grinder, I put a concave sphere on the end of the bolt. With the rivet in place, I used a center punch to set the rivet and spread the edges. Then I used the bolt I made and finished setting the rivet with that.
I did use 5/32 pop rivets where ever I could. Much easier, especially on attaching the vertical rail. Like Partsetal said, I also had to make a little spacer, or used small washers, so I could get the rivet gun head into some of the channels. Only problem doing that is, if you space it to far, the rivet gun won't grab the nail for the pop rivet.
Make sure you have a helper to do this. One to hold the frame and one to set the rivets.

09-13-2014, 05:33 PM
The rivets used for this application are "semi-tubular" rivets which means that it is hollow at the tip but solid otherwise. Of course they are designed for a specific grip range. They are set with a tool that spreads the tube as it rolls the edges. I seen these and they are too big to use on the vent frame rivets. I actually made one from a small piece of bar stock and it worked like a champ on the bench, but too unwieldy to position in the vent frame.
I imagine that it took a lot of special tooling at the factory to assemble these vent frames.