Upgrading Your Barn Find with Parts from Chevs of the 40’s

Written by Chuck Vranas on June 13, 2019

This article originally appears on Hot Rod Network


There’s nothing quite like the sound of a creaking barn door opening to illuminate a vintage truck that’s been sitting dormant for years. We’ve been working hard to showcase just what it takes to bring one of these finds back onto the street to enjoy racking up the miles while working with a reasonable budget. Last time we left off Scott Roth, co-owner of Rothspeed in South Burlington, Vermont, had just wrapped up on the installation of a Classic Performance Products HydraStop hydraulic brake booster. This time we’re focusing on the cab for the next few installments while working with parts from Chevs of the 40’s, located in Vancouver, Washington.
One of the most important parts of any classic truck is the windshield, as it not only frames your vision of the road ahead, it also seals out the elements in keeping your interior nice and dry. When it came time to review the status of the windshield in our 1946 Chevy project truck it was obvious the entire unit had seen better days. The two-piece glass was heavily delaminated and covered with scratches, which included a well-worn arc from the windshield-wiper. The more you looked it was obvious that there were additional problems, including a badly worn windshield to cab rubber gasket as well as a nearly seized-up regulator that allows the windshield to be cranked-out for added airflow in the cab.

It’s easy to see that our original crank-out windshield has seen far better days. The delaminated and scratched glass along with deteriorating windshield and frame to cab rubber seal will need replacing.

We contacted Chevs of the 40’s and spoke with their talented team regarding the pending issues. Being that they are the world’s most complete supplier of 1937-1954 Chevrolet car and truck parts it wasn’t long till they compiled a list of what we would need to get the job done in revitalizing the entire crank-out windshield system. Starting with their two-piece windshield frame kit, it’s available in bare steel or chrome depending on your needs. For our purposes, seeing that the truck will retain its original patina, we chose the bare metal version, which Scott added a perfect patina to making it look like it was original to the truck. Chevs stocks all the essentials, including perfect reproduction frames, glass, gaskets, setting tape, windshield crank, and regulators. It’s always a good idea to prepare for disassembly by first treating all of the hardware to a good dose of penetrating oil to make teardown a breeze.

To get started, Scott Roth, co-owner of Rothspeed, begins the disassembly by removing the stock windshield wiper.

In the case of our 1946 Chevy, removal of all of the original components went smoothly with only a few screws needing removal by a rotary tool with a small cutoff wheel. Always remember to play it safe by wearing protective glasses and gloves when taking on many of the tasks at hand. The completed installation looks awesome with a new windshield frame and gasket, clear glass, and smooth-operating crank-out windshield regulator in place. Let’s follow along as Roth takes on the project.

Thankfully our crank-out windshield regulator was not completely frozen, which allowed Roth to open it carefully using a Vise-Grip. This allowed better access for removing the upper frame hardware using a flathead screwdriver.

The screws for the windshield strap bracket were frozen solid, which required the use of a cordless rotary tool with a cutoff wheel to remove them. Always be sure to wear protective glasses for a step like this.

The windshield was then removed as a complete unit. Surprisingly, the inner windshield channel of the cab was relatively clean and free of any rust damage. It’s a good idea at this time to lubricate the upper pocket hinges of the cab for smooth operation.
One call to Chevs of the 40’s and we were able to order a complete new steel windshield frame. Here you can see the fresh windshield frame halves along with frame connecting inserts, center divider, and supplied hardware.

To prepare the windshield frame halves for paint the sections were first treaded to a red 3M Scotch-Brite pad to remove any surface contamination and add bite to the surface.

It’s easy to see the amount of dirt and contamination removed from the surface with a couple of passes over the steel with a clean cloth and some 3M Prep-Solvent.

With the frame halves on a worktable, Roth first applied a spray coating of red oxide primer to the surfaces.

To add a worn, patina-like finish to match the original windshield, Roth continued by mottling the surface in distinct areas using the tip of a sponge to build up the primer.

Several coatings of black gloss were then applied and allowed to dry before scuffing the surface lightly to match the original windshield frame’s patina.

For mounting the new unit in place, Chevs of the 40’s also supplied new glass sections, vulcanized rubber frame to cab seal along with a roll of setting tape, rubber bumpers, and 3M weatherstrip cement.

To prepare the windshield section for installation to the frame, Roth measured and cut a section of setting tape and secured it to the flat side of the glass using 3M blue masking tape.

The glass was then carefully pushed into the inner frame. Any remaining visible setting tape was trimmed using a razor.

The windshield frame connecting inserts were then installed using the supplied stainless hardware and flathead screwdriver.

Using a gasket installation tool, the new frame to cab seal was set into place. Allow yourself plenty of time to complete this step.

Roth also patina’d the exterior windshield aluminum center divider to match the frame. The inner mounting rubber retainer with threaded steel core was trimmed slightly for a perfect fit and set into place.

After the windshield was turned over a rubber gasket was laid into place across the center divider.

The painted steel center divider was then installed along with the beveled T-brackets and secured with stainless hardware.

Here you can see the new completed windshield in the foreground and the worn original in the back. It’s easy to note that the patina on the new unit carefully mirrors the original.

Using a flathead screwdriver, the front mounting screws of the windshield regulator were removed. Note that the rubber bumpers are completely deteriorated.

Under the dash Roth removed the remaining mounting hardware from the regulator unit.

Finally, the original broken windshield crank was removed using a flathead screwdriver.

Thanks to Chevs of the 40’s we were able to obtain a freshly rebuilt windshield regulator for our installation, along with a new windshield strap bracket and crank handle with knob.

This close-up of the original regulator lets you see firsthand that it suffered plenty of abuse over the past 70-plus years with its worn and rusted gears.

When setting the new windshield in place, it’s a good idea to have some help. Once set into the frame, Roth aligned it for perfect balance and secured the upper hinges to the unit first with fresh stainless hardware.

Once the rebuilt regulator was mounted in place the bottom of the windshield was secured to the regulator with a new strap bracket.

A new crank handle was then installed using a flathead screwdriver.

The final touch was the installation of two new rubber bumpers for the lower inner windshield channel.

Sporting just the right amount of patina, the completed frame looks great and will have a perfect seal. Cranking it open on a warm summer day will provide just the right amount of fresh air into the cab.

Using a razor knife, Roth carefully cuts away the exterior gasket for the rear window glass. This glass also suffered from haze and scratches over the years.

With the gasket out of the way, the rear glass was carefully removed.

Once the mounting area was cleaned, the new rear glass rubber seal was set into place.

Kurt Labrie of Clear View Glass stopped by to lend a hand with the installation of the rear glass into the fresh rubber seal and completed it with a lock strip.

With the addition of the new rear glass, our outward vision from the cab will be crystal clear!