1973-1982 Corvette Rear Window Glass Installation

Is this how you have to dress to drive your 1973-1982 Corvette in the rain?

If it rains while you are in your 73 to 82 Corvette, do you have to don your foul weather gear to keep from getting drenched from the leaks in your backglass weatherstrip? Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger because this is a major problem for Corvettes of these years. The other problem is finding a weatherstrip kit to repair the leaks. Chevrolet used a pliable adhesive or butyl sealer to seal the glass to the body. After 15 to 20 years, this sealer dries out and hardens which causes cracks to appear. When it rains, these cracks allow the water to seep down between the body and the glass causing leaks. Up until now no one made a complete kit but thanks to Zip Corvette Parts, 8067 Fast Lane, Mechanicsville, VA 23111, (800) 962-9632, a complete kit is now available. There are two kits available. They are the 1973-1977 Corvette Rear Window Seal Kit and the 1978-1982 Corvette Rear Window Seal Kit. No longer will you have to hunt for “something that will work” or go to your local glass installer and maybe have the weatherstrip repaired or replaced, if they even want to work on it. This new kit will allow you to repair the back glass weatherstrip right at home in one afternoon. The results are professional and easy to do. Our Project 77 had quite a few leaks and was a prime candidate for this new kit. Follow along as we stop the leaks and store our foul weather gear away.


Step 1

01: The new Kit consists of the adhesive or butyl seal, spacer blocks, adhesive seal primer and adhesive or butyl cutting wire. You will also need 1/4″ and 3/4″ masking tape, 1 can of 3M General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner, single edge razor blades, an awl, some common hand tools, and a friend to help with the glass removal and installation. A Corvette Shop Manual for your year Corvette is also very helpful. These are also available from Zip Corvette Parts.

Step 2

02: Start by disconnecting your Corvette’s battery because the doors will be open for awhile. Now remove the lower glass trim, shoulder belts, and side panel trim.

Step 3

03: Next remove the backglass plastic moulding. Be very careful because this can break very easily. If it is already broken or does accidentally break, a new replacement is available from Zip Corvette.

Step 4

04: Using a sharp awl or scribe, put a hole into the adhesive weatherstrip between your Corvette’s body and the backglass. Look for a place where the awl will go through easily. You do not want to be twisting or turning the awl because if you catch the corner of the glass, you could break it. Just push the awl straight in and through.

Step 5

05: Now feed the adhesive cutting wire through the hole. Let it extend about 8″ on either side of the glass. Wrap about 3″ of wire around a broken stir stick or screwdriver to make a T-handle. Now with a sawing motion, pull the wire around the glass, sawing and cutting the adhesive as you go. This can be done by one person, but it is much easier with another pair of hands, one pair on the inside and another pair on the outside. When cutting the adhesive, do not pull out away from the glass but try to stay parallel with it. This will keep the wire from hitting the painted surface next to the glass.

Step 6

06: Be ready to hold the glass when the adhesive is cut through. Sometimes the glass will not fall out after it has been cut. If this happens, have someone gently put pressure on the outside of the glass while you support the inside. This will usually free it from the adhesive and the glass will fall into your hands. You were waiting to catch the glass, weren’t you?

Step 7

07: Put a mark on either the outside or inside of the glass. This way you will know which side faces out. Place the glass on a table and fully support it. Use a razor blade to clean off all of the old adhesive.

Step 8

08: After you have scraped off all the adhesive that you can, take the 3M General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner and thoroughly clean any remaining adhesive residue off. You want it as clean as possible.

Step 9

09: You will also have to clean all of the adhesive weatherstrip off the body. Use a putty knife to carefully remove the majority of the weatherstrip, then take the 3M adhesive cleaner and thoroughly clean the remainder of the adhesive off.

Step 10

10: Take some 3/4″ masking tape and tape off the outside of the body where it meets the glass. You do this to keep the window weld primer from getting onto the paint. Also take the 1/4″ masking tape and place it onto the glass about 1/2″ from the edge all the way around. This will give you a 1/2″ area to apply the Window Weld Primer. It will also leave a clean edge when the tape is removed.

Step 11

11: Now pre-fit the glass on the body. Place the two rubber spacers on the bottom body lip and then rest the glass on top of them. Center the glass in the opening, both height and side to side. You may have to turn the rubber spacers because they are shorter on one side and taller on the other. When the glass is set the way you want it, glue the spacers into place and place a piece of 3/4″ tape on the center of the glass then down onto the inside of the body. Now cut it. This will be your line up mark. When you install the glass with the weatherstrip, all you will have to do is line up the tape. Simple, isn’t it?

Step 12

12: The Window Weld Primer can now be brushed onto the glass. Spread on a nice even coat. Do not make it thick. You just want it to cover. Brush it up to your tape. This Primer only goes on the side of the glass that the adhesive will stick to. The Primer promotes adhesion between the weatherstrip and the glass and the weatherstrip and the body.

Step 13

13: Now spread the Window Weld Primer onto the body lip. You want to have a nice even coverage all the way around. This is why you put tape on the outside of the body to allow the Primer to be spread up to the body’s painted surface.

Step 14

14: As soon as the Primer is dry, usually in about 15 minutes, install the adhesive weatherstrip. Start at the center top of the glass and place the adhesive onto the primer. Keep the adhesive in about 1/8″ from the outside edge of the glass. Use your finger to guide it and gently push it down onto the glass. Do not flatten it out. Work it onto the glass in one continuous piece. Do not put it on in pieces. When you get back to the top, overlap it about 1″ to 2″.

Step 15

15: After you have it into place, carefully remove the paper backing by pulling the paper back over itself. This makes it easier to remove and less of a chance for it to stick to the adhesive weatherstrip.

Step 16

16: The glass is now ready to install. Carefully place the bottom of the glass onto your two rubber spacers. (You did remember to glue them into place, didn’t you?) Now align the tape mark. Make sure the glass is where you want it. When it is pushed up against the body and the adhesive makes contact with the primer, it is over. You will not be able to move it without cutting it out and starting over. When the glass is lined up, gently push it up against the body. Take the palm of your hand and put pressure against the glass all along the edge working all the way around. You will see the adhesive flatten out and seal against the glass. Work the palm of your hand around a few times. This will help to ensure a good seal. If the adhesive seal is flat against the glass all the way around, you are done and the glass is sealed

Step 17

17: Carefully re-install the backglass moulding, side panel mouldings, lower glass moulding and shoulder belts. Remove the masking tape. If any adhesive sealer did get onto the body, use the 3M Adhesive Cleaner to remove it. Re-connect your battery.

Step 18

18: Clean the glass. Store away your foul weather gear and go play in the rain without getting wet.

1973-1982 Corvette Rear Window Glass Installation: Foul Weather Fixer

Source: Zip Corvette Parts
8067 Fast Lane | Mechanicsville, VA 23111 | (800) 962-9632


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One Comment

  1. Wes

    Thanks a lot! After trying my first time to replace the seal and it did not look good, I decided that there had to be a better way. I ordered the new butyl and then I went on line to see how to do it the right way. I was close initially except for the alignment onto the glass. The seal was to low on the glass and it left a trough that a place for water to stand and potentially leak. Thanks for a good how to do it the right way!

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