1964-1967 GM A-body and 1967 F-body vent window restoration and glass repair
Larry Weiner - January 24, 2013 10:30 AM
Many leak and wind noise issues can be resolved with new vent window seals.
We will also be replacing the window upright channels while the vent window assemblies are out. This greatly reduces side window rattles and wind noise issues.
Another issue on our Camaro was the chipped edges of our vent window. These can be repaired and now is the time to do it.
Remove the two plastic retaining pins and gently pull back door weatherstripping to expose the fasteners holding the chrome vent window assembly to the door frame. Remove the Phillips head screw and 7/16-inch bolt at base of vent window assembly.
Remove the long Phillips head screw from the top of the inner door frame that retains the vent window assembly.
Open door all the way and remove the retaining nut from the upper vent window assembly adjustment screw located just beneath upper door hinge.
Remove the door panel to access the lower vent window assembly adjuster screw. Mark the location of the washer to ease reassembly. Remove the retaining nut and turn the screw in to aid in vent window assembly removal. The assembly can now be removed.
The window frames on this vehicle were nearly perfect, but we did have the vertical stainless steel trim straightened and polished to remove scratches and slight dents.
Disassembled vent window assembly cleaned, chrome polished, glass repaired and ready for reassembly with new vent window seal and channel run seal.
Lubricate horizontal steel channel on vent window frame with a spray window cleaner and slide the new rubber vent window seal onto the channel until it contacts the vertical channel.
The vertical section of the vent window seal slides into the receiver that is molded into the horizontal section.
Line up the metal tabs with the matching holes in the window frame vertical channel. Push the metal tabs into the frame and bend over with a flat blade screwdriver.
Slide the vent window pivot through the window seal and the locating hole in the horizontal vent window frame and install the slotted metal washer, followed by three fiber washers.
Install metal washer with flat side placed as shown, followed by tension spring, locking tab and nut. Tighten the nut only part way at this time.
Slip the vent window upper pivot pin into the receiver hole in the chrome cast vent window frame.
Install two Phillips head screws through the steel vent window frame into the cast frame. Seat the vent window seal into the frame and pull the assembly together.
After trial fitting, install the new vent channel run seal and install the screw. Adjust the tension on the vent window spring so that the window opens smoothly with a small amount of resistance and bend the retaining tab down
Use a 1/16-inch center punch and small hammer to remove steel rolled pin that retains latch handle and tension washer.
Remove shaft for vent latch. Note the positioning of the shaft when removing. It is important to reinstall it exactly the same way or the vent window handle will not be in the correct position when it is reinstalled.
Using belt sander to remove chips in edge of vent pane. Start with 120 grit, to 200 grit to 400 grit to finish. A water spray is used during the belt sanding process to cool the glass.
All chips have been removed from the pencil edge, and the original date coded vent glass looks like new.
Remember when vent windows were standard equipment on nearly every vehicle manufactured by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler?
With few exceptions, the vast majority of automobiles built from the mid 1930s through the late 1960s had vent windows. First offered by GM in 1933 on closed bodies, vent windows were originally called “No-Draft Individually Controlled Ventilation.”
The vent window was a big step forward in an era of the manually-operated cowl vents. The vent window offered drivers and passengers a new alternative for interior ventilation, one that eliminated the draft and buffeting inside the vehicle caused by driving with the door glass rolled part way down. Following GM’s lead, most manufacturers added vent windows to the front doors of their vehicles. Vent windows became so popular that they also started to appear on rear doors for a time.
Harley Earl, the legendary head of GM Art and Color, was influential in the adoption of the “Streamline Moderne” movement of the 1930s. This new design trend was exemplified by the innovative appearance of vehicles such as the 1933 Cadillac V-16 Aero-Dynamic Coupe, the 1934 LaSalle and the 1938 Buick Y-Job. Notably, each had vent windows that were seamlessly integrated into their design, and reflected the popularity of this new feature. Beginning in 1933, GM quickly added them to nearly all of their production vehicles, from the base Chevrolet to the most expensive Cadillac. They were warmly embraced by consumers of the time, most of whom considered vent windows both a functional and stylish vehicle enhancement.
When Bill Mitchell succeeded Harley Earl as the head of the GM Styling Section in December, 1958, he pioneered a new trend coined the “Sheer Look,” one that showcased uncluttered, advanced vehicle design. The dramatic appearance of vehicles such as the 1963 Corvette split-window coupe and the 1963 Buick Riviera reflected this new design direction. In 1966, GM introduced “Draft Free Ventilation” on the revolutionary new Oldsmobile Toronado. This eliminated the need for conventional vent windows and resulted in a sleeker, more modern looking greenhouse. By 1968, Draft-Free Ventilation evolved into Astro Ventilation and quickly became standard equipment across the board at GM. Within a year, vent windows were ancient history on nearly all A-, B- and F-bodies.
Today, over 40 years after vent windows disappeared from most vehicles, one of the issues vintage vehicle owners face is vent windows that leak and whistle due to the deterioration of the rubber seals. While the supply of NOS vent window seals dried up long ago, suppliers like YearOne offer excellent reproduction vent window seals for most popular vehicles. The vent window assemblies in GM A- and F-bodies share very similar engineering, and the seals are relatively easy to replace with common hand tools and a little patience.
The vent window seals on the 1967 Camaro that is the subject of this story were the factory originals, and after 45 years, were dried out and cracking. Adding insult to injury, the right side seal and the edge of the vent window glass had been damaged by a previous owner who apparently used a screwdriver in an attempt to pry the vent window handle open. While we were restoring the vent window assemblies, we also replaced the glass channel run seals, since they were also deteriorating from old age.
Follow along with us as we demonstrate how to remove the GM A- and F-body vent window assemblies from the doors and replace the vent window seals. In addition, we’ll show you how original date-coded glass can be repaired, returning it to like new condition.