Solo windshield installation

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate
links, including eBay, Amazon, Skimlinks, and others.

May 1, 2009
As most of you know, installing a windshield is a chore and generally requires 3 people who know what they are doing. I've done it twice with the help of two friends but did not have the gasket oriented correctly so I had to remove it and install a third time. My friends live far away and I have been unable to find any help for the last month, striking out at two windshield stores (idiots working there could not figure it out).

Here is how to install a windshield yourself in about an hour. The idea came to me while mountain biking yesterday. Doing it this way is easier than doing it the traditional way with 3 people.

This applies to a '74 FJ40 - YMMV. First there are 3 incorrect ways and one correct way to orient the gasket. The gasket changed sometime around '77? as well. The channels in the gasket are different; one has a square shaped channel, the other is V shaped. The square one is for the glass, the V one for the frame. The groove for the locking key strip (you must use one of these) goes on the outside of the frame.

You must build a simple frame to support the inside of the gasket when roping the glass in. I use a piece of 3/4" plywood, two 2x4's and two 2x2's that I had lying around. With the rear view mirror mounting plate on, a 2x" piece of lumber is the correct height for supporting the gasket.

Put the frame on the plywood, outside facing up and screw the 2" pieces around the inner margins of the frame.

Here is the plywood with the support pieces in place.


Here is the frame on the supports, gasket in place (see below).


This technique starts with the gasket in the frame, and then ropes the glass into the gasket (unlike previously described techniques). Place the rope (I think I used some 1/4" nylon cord from Lowes) in the inner (glass) channel with the ends overlapping at bottom center (at the gasket seam). Use cable ties in each corner to hold the gasket in the frame as shown.


Place the glass centered in the frame on top of the gasket with the rope ends out.


You now just pull the rope to evert the gasket capturing the glass as described elsewhere (FAQ). I used spray silicone lube to help. Getting it started is the most difficult part, you need to use one had to pull the glass into the channel while the other pulls out the cord. If you have any of those glass suction cup handles they would probably be useful. Just cut the cable ties when you get to them. I found it easiest to get the entire bottom of the glass seated (pulling both rope ends) and then just pull one end the rest of the way around.

The 2x" supports keep the glass and gasket from falling in while you are seating it. I used a plastic wedge in a few spots to the the gasket everted.

Glass seated in gasket, still needs key.


I found inserting the key to be a little tricky. One of those paint can opening tools seemed to work the best to get in inserted completely. Then just cut the remaining key strip off.

Bottom gasket seam and key ends.


Acetone works well for removing the silicone spay lube. I used a razor blade to trim away some of the frayed gasket edges resulting from pulling the cord.

Hope this saves you frustration and money.
Last edited:
Use caution when using silicone spray. It doesnt dissipate from inside the channel and could possibly allow the glass to slip past the rubber. When I was installing glass for a living the lubrication I always used soapy water. Same kind of slip and would dry out on a good hot afternoon. Good method though and right on with doing it by yourself. HarborFreight makes a rinky-dink lock strip tool that works well for a couple of uses. It has a hoop on one end that opens the lockstrip gap and a smooth flat that lays the strip in as you push it, the soapy water trick works here as well.
gasket install

Hi, I'm setting this up in my garage. I'm having a real time getting it started. I can only get a thin lip of the gasket onto the windshield. How much of the gasket should get on the glass when you start? Any pointers would be great! Thanks, :beer: ty
I installed mine by myself.
Took me about 20 minutes and all I used was a brake tool. (the curved on with a right angle and the point on the end for springs)
Was a bit hard on the thumbs but not a bad little task.

WISH I KNEW THE GASKET WENT ON THE OUTSIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm leaving it as is.

How pliable should the gasket get when you put soapy water on it? I'm trying to figure out if you need a good bit of gasket on the glass or will it ease in there after you get most of it done? I'm using 3/16" cord. Is the smaller size cord any better?

:beer: ty

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom