Windscreen removal and replacement

Bryan Ditchman (Caribbean Blue 0265) had to remove his windscreen to cure water leaks and has produced a comprehensive note on the exercise which will be of interest to MG RV8 enthusiasts. (Oct 99)

Releasing the dashboard facia assembly (described in RV8 Workshop Note 12) is not essential when removing the whole windscreen frame but it is a great help in carrying out the task. I removed the windscreen frame because of water leaks coming in under the rubber trim between the screen and bodywork, as well as water ingress under the glazing rubber and between the windscreen glass and glazing rubber.

Stage 1 - Remove windscreen glass
Place a protective blanket in front of the windscreen, lower the hood and remove the wipers and sun visors. Note the two types of serrated screw fixing the visors and their retaining clips. Now sitting in the passenger seat with the door open and one hand outside, push the upper left hand corner of the glass; it will be found to be quite easy to commence the removal and then proceed along the top of the windscreen glass, prising the rubber seal off the screen surround. Once both sides are released, then the glass and the rubber lifted out.

Stage 2 - Removal of screen surround
The windscreen frame has side pillars as for the MGB Roadster - two bolts on each side requiring 17mm sockets and/or ring spanners depending whether the dash brackets are removed thus giving more room. The lower screen rail has three fixings across its length as follows.

Viewing under the dash with a lead light will enable access to a bolt approximately one centimetre in from the edge of the cockpit, requiring a 10mm socket - 3/8 inch drive is preferable. The third fixing is dead centre, being a stud of about 4cm in length, fixed in the frame and secured by a nut and lock washers under a strengthening bracket behind the air vents.

With these all removed, the frame can now be removed from the car, but watch out for two plastic spacer pieces and steel packer(s) fitted inside the legs which are used to centralise the screen.

Stage 3 - Preparation prior to re-assembly
I encountered three or four areas of rust around the inner and outer lips of the frame which were duly treated with Kurust. Upon removal of the upper and lower rubbers, more cleaning and Kurust was necessary. I then rubbed down the frame with 400, then 600 wet and dry paper and gave it about six coats of satin black as my car is an early example. Note the windscreen frame changed at VIN 0451 together with the rubber seals to the dash and header rail. From those I have seen, I think the later frames were painted in gloss black.

The next step entails locating the packer and spacers in the side locating tubes. Each spacer has a hole in the middle thus allowing a small screw and washer to locate it from inside the cockpit. I actually fitted new spacers (part number ZKC 5238) as the originals were badly distorted. Now check that the two bolts that locate the lower rail of the frame have good threads and fit well into the frame. The length of these bolts is critical - too long and they will damage the outer skin of the windscreen frame. The part number for the bolts is FS 106251.

With the frame inverted, fit the screen to dash rubber. I applied two strips of "Dum-Dum" to the screen prior to fitting the rubber, to which I applied a further two strips of "Dum-Dum" either side of the foam self adhesive strip. I then returned to the car to clean up the outside panelling and found a major source of water leakage - the joints between the rear of the front wings and body under the screen were not filled in, so more "Dum-Dum"! There were areas of heavy fretting from the screen rubber which I masked off and resprayed. With this completed, we were now ready for reassembly.

Step 4 - Frame replacement
This step is easier to accomplish with two people to

Windscreen surround. (Source RV8 Parts Manual)

avoid scratching the paintwork. Line up the two side legs and locate the centre stud into the hole with the screen nearly vertical, then carefully lower the legs into their sockets until the lower rail and rubber is about one inch above the dash panel. Now offer up from below the two bolts with their washers, the latter needing some juggling to get through the double skin. Now slowly lower the screen and locate the two bolts but do not tighten yet. Locate the four bolts in the side legs but do not tighten. Now holding the screen top and pushing slightly forward, close both doors. The final tightening process can now proceed while maintaining the optimum screen angle to suit the door cheaters, keeping an eye on the lower screen rubber to the wipe box ferules. When the angle is acceptable push down on the outer corners of the screen and tighten the two bolts and centre nut for the bottom rail - do not overtighten! Now tighten the side bolts. Note, this process may have to be repeated after fitting the screen glass and then when erecting the hood, such that there is no or minimum chafing between of the door cheaters and the screen sides. There should be none.

Stage 5 - Refitting the windscreen glass
Avail yourself of vaseline, non-setting roof and gutter sealant and a 3.5 metre length of 17amp pvc covered auto-electrical cable of about 1/8 inch diameter. Inject the sealant into the lower grooves of the screen rubber, inside and out and treat the remaining grooves with Vaseline including the length of cable which should be fitted into the outer groove along the top and the outer sides after fitting the rubber to the screen glass. Sit the unit on to the lower edge of the screen surround and press down firmly, thereafter slowly pull the cable out from the inside of the screen and seal the glass evenly on each side - in the reverse manner to that used for the removal. The vaseline allows installation without the sealant coming out with the cable. I have no leaks.

Before replacing the fascia unit, take time to check all electrical connections and the windscreen washers. The latter are a potential source of water leaks. Please refer to RV8 Workshop Note 8 for the associated part numbers.

A final point, if you remove the black box covers to the screen legs on the door post, the black pop rivets are obtainable as part number RA 608125. These are also used to fix the waist finisher rail on the doors, inside the tonneau button. Brown & Gammons can supply these rivets in small quantities.

Note Variations to the Sealing Rubbers & Frame
Screen to Dash
up to VIN 0450 ZKC 5249
(not Japan)
Screen to Dash
VIN 0451 onwards ZKC 5323
(incl Japan)
Header Rail
Up to VIN 0450 ZKC 5250
Header Rail
VIN 0451 onwards ZKC 5322
(incl Japan)
Early Windscreen Frame
Up to VIN 0450 ZKC 5217
Later Windscreen Frame ZKC 5324
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