Removable Rear Window

Last Updated 09/21/06

Home
Up
Console Gauges
Heater Core Valve
Electrical Diagrams
Body Mount Replacement
Removable Rear Window
Keisler 5 Speed
GM Crate Motor
H1 H4 Headlight Conversion
Heater AC Problems
Rams Horn D Port Mod

 

How to convert your fixed window to a removable like the 1968 - 1972 C3.

  Content is not complete

You'll really like this option!  This feature disappeared in 73.  It should have never been removed.

Parts List:

  • 68-72 Aluminum window frame.
  • 68-72 Rear glass.  The glass used in the fixed window is not the same size.
  • 68-72 Rear window weatherstrip.
  • Weather strip adhesive - Black recommended.
  • 2x Locator pins if they are not on the frame already.
  • 2x Latches.
  • 2x Halo Panels with cutouts for the latches.
  • 2x Locators for body.

Optional

  • Rear window storage tray from a 1970-72.  See note below
  • Custom latch to use with above tray.  See note below

 

Removable Rear Window Installation:

This is a fairly easy project once you procure all the parts.  The body is still setup with cutouts for the locator pins and top hinges.  Nothing to cut.  Just a few (8) holes to drill and a new seal to install.

  • Remove the interior trim.  This includes:
    • 2x Halo Panels
    • 2x Side Panels
    • 1x Rear Window Trim
    • 1x Lower Window Trim
  • Remove the existing window.  It's glued in place.  I ran a razor blade around the edges.
  • Remove all the old glue.
  • Take the weatherstrip out of it's box or bag and let it sit for a few days, possibly in the sun so it gets it's shape back and isn't twisted.
  • Test fit the weatherstrip then glue in place.  Extra hands help.  Make sure you have an idea of exactly how it fits before you start the process. 
  • Assemble your rear window frame if it is new.  Install the glass.  Install the two locating pins.
  • Install the plates for the guide pins on the body.  There should be a metal plate that covers a white plastic guide.  The square cutout is on the body for these parts but not the holes for the screws.  Measure to rough in the location of the plate.  You might want to lay the assembled plates in place then install the window with it guides to see exactly were they need to be mounted.  The window will be centered by the new rear seal. There isn't a lot of slop available so measure and test fit carefully.
  • Install the latches.  The cutout is there but not the holes for the screws.  Put the window in place.  Put the latches in the loced position.  Mark the spot.  The latches are loose so move the holes forward to compensate for the loose fit and uncompressed window seal.  You'll have to drill two holes for each latch.
  • Test to see if it latches firmly.  You might want to leave the car in the sun for a while to soften the seal so it compresses a little.  You'll probably want to latch the window in place and let it sit overnight so you can readjust.  If so, stop here.
  • Install the side panels
  • Install the halo panels.
  • Install the lower trim panel.
  • Enjoy the open feel you get with the tops off and the window removed.

Window Storage Tray Installation:

This is optional if you want a place to store the window out of the way.  I'm not sure I would have added the tray if I knew it wasn't a bolt in place project.  The latching mechanism must be constructed because of the changes to the 77 or any vehicle that does not have the flow through ventilation.  If you don't have grills behind the rear window, you'll have to make your own latch catch and figure out how to mount it.

  • The best time to install this is when you have the gas tank and shield out.  There are plates that need to be installed outside the luggage area in an almost inaccessible area.  I managed to do it but it wasn't easy
  • Figure out where to mount the plates.  I assembled the tray and hinges and made some measurements.  Then I figured out where the hinges needed to be installed of the back side top of the luggage area.  All done by measuring.  You should err on the side of too wide, not too close together.  You can use some washers to fill in the slop on the hinge once installed.
  • Mark and drill the top and bottom holes in the hinge plate. 
  • These are used to hold it in place once it's on the backside.  I used rivets. 
  • IMPORTANT:  Mount the plate slightly lower that flush with the top of the fiberglass.  Drop it about 1/4".  There may be filler on the back side.
  • Once drilled, use temporary screw or rivet to hold the plate in place while you mark and drill the 4 holes in each plate used for the mounting screws on the hinge.
  • Now for the hard part.  I helps if you have an extra set of hands to hold the plate on the backside while you mount the hinge on the inside.  If not, improvise as I did.  I could access one side, albeit with great difficulty.  The other side was impossible, even with the muffler removed.  So I fished a coat hanger from inside the compartment and pulled the plate into place. 
  • Once the plate is in place and the hinges are mounted to it, test fit the tray between the two hinges.  If satisfied, secure the plate to the fiberglass with two rivets on each side.  If you ever have to remove the hinges, the plate won't fall.

 

Gotcha's.

  • The rear window tray requires some sort of custom latch.  The 68-72 models had a plenum which was part of the latch.  This area in the later cars is open.  I'm still working out the details of this.  I have some ideas and will post them as soon as I've completed the project late summer 2006.  For now, a bungee cord or two does the trick!
  • Rear trays are not all the same.  The one from the 1968 will not fit.  This are too long.  It can be identified by the fiberboard construction.  Later (70 and later for sure) models are plastic and shorter front to rear.
  • Beware of storage try "kits".  I bought my tray as a kit from a supplier in Colorado expecting an easy install with no fabrication and no parts chasing.  You'll get a "kit" but one that does not include all the pieces to finish the job.  What you get is a storage tray, hinges, and plates from a 72 or earlier Corvette.  Nice but there is one important piece missing.  The latch.  They don't include one because it would be a custom design.  The latch for the storage tray is attached to the plenum.  That's not on a 77.  So you'll me making some kind of custom latch to mount to the body as I did.
  • Used window frames are often in bad shape.  The glass may be scratched.  Locator pins may be broken off.  Screws may be twisted off.  I had two frames like this.  I eventually ordered a new frame and glass from Paragon.
  • Used window frames have pins to help secure the lower part of the frame to the upper part.  Removing the screw from each side does not permit the two pieces to separate.  You'll have to drive the pin out first.
  • Used windows may be glued to the frame.  If you want to remove the broken or scratched glass, it might be impossible without damaging the frame.
  • Halo panels require some work.  I had to add spacers between the holes for the screws and the frame to make them fit properly.  Also these panel do not have the "coat hook" found on the 77 if you really care.  It wasn't an option back when these cars (72) were built.

Pictures and descriptions to follow

 

 

     

Home | Up | Console Gauges | Heater Core Valve | Electrical Diagrams | Body Mount Replacement | Removable Rear Window | Keisler 5 Speed | GM Crate Motor | H1 H4 Headlight Conversion | Heater AC Problems | Rams Horn D Port Mod

Copyright 2006 - 2006, Gary Cook - All Rights Reserved

This site was last updated 09/18/06