Your RV's windshield plays a more important role than you may realize. It serves as a barrier against wind inside the passenger compartment of the vehicle, but it also serves a structural role. The placement of the windshield supports the front of the car, providing resistance against collapse in the event of an accident. If the windshield breaks, it won't serve the same supportive purpose. Here are some tips to help you replace a broken or otherwise damaged RV windshield.
Removing the Existing Glass
Before you can install the new windshield, you'll have to take the existing windshield off the RV. Here's a look at the steps that you will need to take to remove it properly:
Remove the Rearview Mirror and Wipers
Before you can remove the windshield, you need to remove the rearview mirror. Take the cap off the base of the mirror, if there is one. Then, use a small screwdriver to remove the anchor screw from the retaining block. Once you remove the screw, you can slide the mirror off the windshield.
Lift the windshield wipers away from the glass, and then remove the arms. To remove each arm, locate the mounting screws at the base of the windshield arm, and remove the screws. Then, you can lift the wiper off the car and set it aside. This keeps the wipers from being damaged during the process. If yours aren't secured with a single mounting screw, inspect the base of the arm to determine where it disconnects.
Removing the Trim
Most windshields have trim bordering the outside of the windshield. You'll want to invest in a trim removal tool or a thin blade that you can slip underneath the edge to remove the trim. Remove the screws at each anchor point along the trim, and then pry the trim up from around the windshield edge.
Dealing with the Gasket
Take a close look at the gasket around the outside of the windshield. If there are signs of drying, cracking or other wear, you'll want to replace it with a brand new one. In that case, you can slide a knife under the middle of the gasket and then pull it around the length of the window to break the gasket itself free. If the gasket itself is in good condition, you can preserve it by using caution when you remove it to ensure that you don't cut it with the knife.
Removing the Glass
Once you have the gaskets and the trim removed, that frees the glass for you to pull it out. Sit inside the car and have a helper ready by the front. Run a trim knife around the outside edge of the glass to cut the existing urethane. Place one foot along a corner of the windshield and a stick near the top edge.
Push against the edge gently. Don't kick it – that'll shatter the glass, and it could hurt you. Have your helper catch the glass as it starts to tilt outward away from the car. This will keep it from falling against the hood. Once you get the glass out, use a heat gun to warm the old urethane so that you can scrape it out with a putty knife.
Installing the New Glass
Before you can install the new windshield, you'll need to clean out the windshield channel. Use a rust inhibitor to protect the inside of the channel from moisture damage. Then, let it sit and dry thoroughly before you install the new glass.
If you're using a brand new gasket, it's in your best interest to let it sit in the sun for half an hour or so before you do the installation. This will soften it up to make it easier to work with when you put it on the outer edge of the window.
Apply urethane sealant around the channel to hold the windshield in place. Once the channel has been treated with urethane, position the glass and lower it into place. Press gently around the outer edge of the glass to make sure that it is properly seated.
Replace the gasket on the outside of the windshield, and then place the trim back on the outside of the glass. Let it sit overnight for the urethane to cure before you replace the rear view and the wipers.
As you can see, tackling a broken windshield doesn't have to be intimidating. You can do the work in your own garage with the right tools. If you are uncertain about handling the new glass, you may want to talk with a windshield glass specialist at Central Glass for help.