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Aluminum Windshield Restoration need help

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Location: Suisun City, California

Aluminum Windshield Restoration need help

Post by R_Maclay » Fri May 14, 2010 9:30 am

Hello all,

I have an open tilt windshield assembly that is an original option for my 1965 Chris Craft XL-175 SunLounger but it needs to be rebuilt and broken glass replaced.

Where would I go to find replacement channel glass rubber? Send samples out?

How do I get some of the regular screws out that have corrsion issues, including set screws?

Will I have to replace some of the metal blocks that hold the assembly together?

Do I soak the metal/screws in penetrant oil or do you have a preferred oil?

What is a good way to polish the aluminum pieces?

Thanks, Mac
1965 Chris-Craft Corsair
17.5 Ft. XL-175 SunLounger
225v6 OMC-Buick I/O

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Bill Basler
Posts: 1996
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2005 4:48 pm
Location: Cedar Rapids, IA

Post by Bill Basler » Fri May 14, 2010 3:06 pm


I am just doing exactly what you are doing right now. My windshield on my Sunlounger was slightly pitted, and a bit dull looking. The windshield frame is clear anodized.

You're probably familiar with working with anodized, aluminum. If not, this stuff is very very tough. It is harder on a Rockwell scale than tool steel and you must get past the anodize layer to work the dings and scratches out.

I left mine up to a local metal finisher. He uses Easy Off Oven Cleaner to chemically etch past the anodize. He then put my parts on a 80 grit belt, removing all of the scratches and giving the aluminum an overall brushed look. He finishes with two different Scotchbrite "grit" ending up with the finest, giving the parts a very uniform and extremely fine brushed appearance.

I will be sending my aluminum extrusions off to an anodizing shop in Minneapolis. At some point, I hope to have my rubrails up to them as well, but they are a mess, and need lots of care.

Now, I had the same issues regarding disassembly. You will find that the large, short, Phillips head screws on the top frame intersections and the bottom frame intersections, hold the top and bottom frames to the center and corner vertical frames. You'll remove these first. They are only about a 1/2 inch long.

Once you have these screws removed, you'll need to remove the smaller diameter flat head phillips screw at the aft corners where the side winds meet. These were the most difficult to remove. In fact I had to get a die grinder out and grind the head out of one of them. These tap into a small steel casting that brings these corners together. Whatever you do, don't mess up this casting.

Now, you should have basically a top frame, that is detached from the uprights. You'll also have a bottom frame that is detached from the uprights.

With a bit of flexing and wiggling, you'll get these to work their way off of the glass. How much trouble you'll have will have a lot to do with how crispy your gaskets are.

My windshield rubber is hard as a rock and very cracked where exposed. I will be ordering new. I have found a couple of least one of which should work. One source requires a minimum number of feet, so if I end up with extra, I'll donate it to you. I should have this resolved within a week or two.

There are two different profiles of rubber used. I will be buying both profiles.

The glass itself is auto safety glass for the front glass. Side wings are plexi. I was going to replace my sides with auto safety glass as well, but then realized the side aluminum extrusions are actually bowed slightly. This is the reason Chris-Craft used plexi.

Once everything is removed, the top and bottom frames can be broken down by removing the aluminum op rivets. It took me about 10 minutes to drill them out. No big deal.

Once you remove these, you see some V shaped steel blocks that insert into the channels in the extrusions. These need to be treated with care as well.

Once of the reasons this is a bi#$% is because of the dissimilar metals. I will clean all the parts up run a tap through the threads and replace all of the screws with Stainless, with Never Seize on the threads. New aluminum pop rivets will work fine.

Hopefully I can find the perfect fit on the rubber. If so, this is a finished project.
Bill Basler

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