Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Replacing a windscreen - in pictures

Mr B's 'workshop', 2012
Last time we went to see Mr A's parents, I took my clarinet and his dad accompanied me on the piano. We both enjoyed it, and he was keen to do it again, plus Mr A's mum isn't too well, Mr A Snr is having to cope with that on his own, and they really enjoy going out for lunch. So we planned to visit again this weekend, combining the trip with seeing Mr A's sister and some other friends as well.

The first job was to pick up Mr A's sister, and then the three of us made our way to the next stop, where Mr A's dad and I produced our best efforts with Bach's Air on a G String and the slow movement of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto. We need some easier, shorter pieces than the Mozart, more like the Bach. Off to lunch, very tasty, then back to Mr A's sister's to drop her off and onwards to Mr B's windscreen workshop. My car windscreen recently received another hit from a flying stone, so along with the small crack and the huge star-shaped crater, there was a new crack that's been growing fr three weeks in a way that would have been imprudent to ignore.

Mr B has featured in my previous blog - he was the friend who arranged for Mr A to go with him on a charity rally from Plymouth to Dakar, meeting a group of random strangers on the way who have now become firm friends. I was quite interested in seeing the whole windscreen replacement operation, simply because I like finding out about things that are new to me. I tried to take a photo of the crack in the windscreen, but the lighting conditions were not suitable and my photographic skills were not up to it, so you'll just have to believe me that it was a big one.

I also tried to take a photo of Mr B's workshop, which is very large, and entirely filled with junk except for a space just large enough to accommodate a car whose windscreen needs replacing. The photo at the top doesn't do it justice, because it's impossible to stand far enough away to give a proper sense of how much stuff there is piled up in there. I know a few people who are reluctant to throw things away, but Mr B beats them all. Mr A gave Mr B an old car for parts or scrap in 1992, and twenty years later it's still buried in that workshop, covered with junk inside and out.

Anyway, back to the windscreen replacement. After taking off the windscreen wipers, all the plastic pieces that sit at the base of the windscreen, and the rubber seals around the sides, the next stage was to detach the existing screen by cutting through the bead holding it to the metal frame. Mr B had a special knife attachment that he could run around the screen, but the corners were a bit tricky, so he fed a sharp profiled wire through the gap made with the knife, and sawed away using that. Eventually the old windscreen could be removed, and the remaining bead material cut away. I was surprised at how much time and effort it took to get the old screen off.

The edge of the new screen and the frame were de-greased and primed, and then Mr B laid a new bead on the new screen with a very nice triangular profile, just like icing a cake. Together, he and Mr A gently placed the screen in the hole, adjusted it so it was exactly central, and that was it - no need for pressure or time to cure, the bead just solidifies over time and you can drive about while it does. The plastics at the base of the screen hold it in place. That part of the operation is surprisingly quick.

So then it was just a case of putting all the bits back on in the right order, saying thank you very much, and then going back to the B's for supper and chat. On Sunday we all went for a walk in the lovely New Forest, lunch and then home. Before you knew it, the weekend was over and I had to go back to work.

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