Door and Window Channel assembly procedures for '53-61 Coupe-bodies
Purpose: To assemble a complete door and install weatherstrip and window channels for '53-'61 Coupes and Hawks. (C-body only) Photos will be added when I get a chance to take them.
1) Replacing the front window run rigid channel:
Remove the brackets from the old channel by drilling out the rivets using a 1/8" drill bit. Remove the brackets and any remnants of the old rivets.
I prefer to spot-weld (mig) the old mounting brackets onto the new window channel. This makes it very easy, and there are no rivet heads to interfere with the window glass.
If you would prefer to rivet the channel to the brackets, use the old window run as a pattern to drill the new holes- then "recess" the holes from the fuzzy side- with a blunt punch. Once you pop-rivet the brackets to the new rigid channel, you will need to peen down the rivet heads inside the run where the door glass runs- this will prevent the glass from hitting the rivet heads. The original run had the recess for the rivet head for this reason. If you can find a rivet setting tool and brass rivets- those would be better.
2) Replacing the vent window rubber and reinstalling the vent window glass:
Take your new vent window rubber and clean it in a 5-gallon bucket filled with with Hot -Soapy water. Then dry and re-clean with a strong solvent like denatured alcohol or lacquer thinner. This will remove any "release agent" left from the molding process.
Install the new rubber into the old vent-window frame. I find it easiest to lubricate the rubber with dishwashing liquid- and keep a spray bottle of plain water handy. I start at the inside lower corner and work the rubber into the channel at the sharp bend near the lower pivot. I work the bottom first, and make sure the holes for the window frame "pivot post" and the hole for the small mounting screw are aligned. Then I work my way up to the top and be sure to align the slot with the upper vent window pivot.
For the front stainless run attached to the window glass itself, I use self-stick weatherstrip "fuzzy" (1/4") for household use. This can be found in the door and hardware section of your building supply dealer. It is generally used to prevent drafts in windows and doors. The original peel-off tape strip will not hold the piece in for long, so I glue it with 3M Superfast Urethane. I use 2 pieces to make the "L" shape).
3) Window installation:
Carefully insert door glass into the door- and leave it inside the door at the bottom- use some foam to hold it against the outer door skin (to make working room). Install window regulator through access hole- and securely mount it in place (4 machine screws with integral star-washers- use sealer around the heads after install). Use the window crank to lower the regulator so the "posts" that go through the window's lower run- are just above the access opening.
Insert the vent window assembly into the door- and temporarily install the lower machine screws (very loosely) just to semi-hold it in place. The upper part of the vent window can be screwed securely in place (3 screws that go through upper door frame- and one screw just in front of the vent's latch). Look inside the upper door opening- you will see metal tabs that create the channel that the window run slides into. It is not completely solid- as their are gaps between the metal. Use masking tape to mark the middle of 3 of the pieces at the top, and the lowest piece at the rear of the opening. (more on this later)
Once the vent window run is in place, Install the glass in the track at the REAR first, and then into the rigid channel of the vent window run. With the screws loose, you should have enough room to wiggle it in. Attach the window glass to the window regulator with the special washers and horseshoe clips.
4) Installing the Window Channel:
If you are using straight flexible window channel with the stainless steel beads -cut it approximately the same length as the original (or slightly longer). Place the channel parallel to the top of the door, and approximate where the curve will be- Bend the channel in a VERY slow arch- to about 45 degrees (do NOT bend it 90 degrees). You will notice that the black channel will actually "slide" inside the stainless beading. Slide it into the track at the rear of the window opening (parallel to the rear of the door) and all the way down to the bottom- AS FAR PAST the window glass (still in the rear track) as possible. The window glass should be in the new fuzzy track/channel.
With heavy pliers- crimp/smash 1/4" of the exposed ends of the stainless channel- making sure you catch the black felt covered channel in the crimp- this will prevent the channel from sliding backward inside the stainless beads as you begin bending it into place. Trim off any excess Stainless bead at the front. Mildly arch the end of the channel to meet the top of the door channel opening- just behind the vent frame at the top... and gradually work your way rearward towards the curve. As you do this, the channel will be moving upward out of the rear window run. This is good- and you may wish to assist it a bit by making sure the black felt is sliding inside the stainless runs.
When you get within 6 inches of the curve- you can use a large round piece of wood to work the curve into place. I like a baseball bat- as I can grab it at both ends to work the channel into place. Once in place, I drill (3) 1/8" holes through the channel and into the inner metal pieces (where the masking tape is), and use pop rivets to hold it in place. Studebaker used these weird clips, and they are often deteriorated, and don't work too well being re-used.
5) Final Adjustments:
Roll the window glass all the way down into the door. You might need to loosen the 1/2" headed bolt that serves as the lower window stop in the regulator. You can now install the 2 pieces of window fuzzy on the inside/outside of the lower door glass opening.
Roll the window up until it is level with the opening where you would rest your arm. Pull the front rigid channel rearward- to tighten the window in it's channels- and "snug" the 2 lower screws (that were left loose earlier). Slide the (1/2") window "stop" up to the point it contacts the arm of the regulator- and tighten it to prevent lowering the window too far again. Roll the window the rest of the way up to check it's fit- and verify it isn't hitting any rivet heads.