Vent Windows

When I purchased the car, everything was in pieces. It was one big jigsaw puzzle to put together. I didn't know if I had all the parts and didn't know what the parts looked like! Here's what one of the original door vent window frames looked like without the glass.

Original vent window frame with rotted rubber!

The first step was to take it apart. The rubber was hard as a rock and I had to slowly break it off and slide it out of the channel. I purchased a complete window felt, rubber and fuzzy kit from the National Chevy Association and it is excellent! It took all of the guesswork out of figuring out which pieces I need - top quality stuff too!

Here is the vent frame taken apart, cleaned and painted

The frame is held together by rivets. I was able to put it back together with pop rivets for most of the positions but had to buy some special rivets for clearance purposes to hold the window swivel in place. There wasn't enough room for the rubber if you used pop rivets or between the frame and the door frame.

This is the bottom of the vent frame upright

At the bottom of the vent window frame upright is an adjustment screw that bolts to the door. This is what it looks like. It is used to adjust that the upright is vertical front to back through a slot in the door inside and that it is vertical in/out position by turning the screw in or out.

Here's the vent frames while shortening and bending to fit

I tried cold bending the vent frames but ran into problems. I ended up using my propane torch to heat up the areas to cherry red before bending. Talk about nice to work with - much easier to control the bending. Notice in the above picture the electrical conduit, I used it to apply leaverage when bending and to isolate the heat while working on it. Cherry red is HOT! You can see the spots that I added bends in because the chrome looks burnt.

This is the generic nothing fancy propane cylinder

The driver's side frame is on the right and its bent to the correct shape and length. The passenger's side frame needs to but to length. The top is about 2 inches too long. The wood is used to make sure that the frame is flat when laid down as its easy to put a twist in while bending. The white spray bottle in the background is used to quickly cool the frame after bending. I've burnt my leather working gloves handling a hot frame.

Both frames held together using hose clamps

I used the driver's side as a template for the passenger's side. I left both the latch and the hinge swivel installed. The hinge swivel needs to be riveted in and in its new position when bending as the slot in the side is a weak point in the frame. You can see that the passenger side frame's top edge needs to be curved more down and its too long.

This is the vent window glass frame

My car has a vent window regulator that is attached to the bottom of the vent window glass frame. If you compare this frame to the original vent window above, you'll notice how much of a difference the shape and angle is. One problem is that I have to change the hinge position where the top of the glass frame swivels. You can't see it from this side but there's a slot where the hinge protrudes from. It has given me untold amounts of grief trying to bend the channel to the right angle. The slot makes a weak point which tends to bulge and warp.

Here's the vent frame just waiting for the hinge and glass

To install the rubber in the frame channel, you push one side in and then squeeze the other side with a wooden stick - I used a thick plastic bondo . One of the problems with chopping a roof is that the window rubber doesn't quite fit. The hole for the regulator shaft is slightly off, the corner is not quite right because the angle changes and the slot for the hinge is in the wrong place. Thankfully its rubber and can be stretched and squeezed to fit.

There is a vent window felt channel that fits against the upright and it was a simple matter of cutting it to fit. On the other side of the upright is the main window felt and it is siliconed and pressed into the existing channel. It was pretty straight forward. The original window felt was two pieces and the replacement is one piece which makes more sense to me.

This is the driver's side vent window regulator

Here's the top view of the driver's side vent window regulator

The vent window frame screws into the door frame and bolts to the top of the vent window regulator. Naturally, since the roof was chopped, all of the indents in the door frame for the vent window hinges and everything else doesn't line up. So a little bit of die grinding and cutting and it fits. Thankfully, most of the screws lined up perfectly, just a few had to be drilled and it wasn't a big deal.

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Copyright December, 2011 Eugene Blanchard