So, I’ve put this project off for a while, and finally got some time to mess with the fun stuff. Usually, I’m working on someone else’s rig, so it’s nice to play with my own.
Given the choice, I’d prefer to wheel without the windshield so I don’t have to replace it if I do roll the rig over. As for the windshield, it’s still in great shape after the restore in 2008, but after seeing several rollovers it just doesn’t make sense to wheel with it in place. Usually, if I’m going over 15 mph, then I’m on the wrong trail. Lets face it, a roll would destroy it, and OEM’s are next to impossible to find in good shape, … the aftermarket stuff is worthless.
The overall plan here is to make the windshield removal and re installation as quick, painless, and simple as possible.
So, like I said, everything was in good condition. I had refreshed the OEM windshield hinges when I did the frame off and painted them with POR, used stainless steel hardware, and anti seize on the bolts. So four years later they were still rust free and I didn’t have to skrew with any frozen torx bolts. After removing the hinges and hacking the pin off at the centers with the cut off wheel, I put the bottom half of the hinge in the vice and drilled / punched out the pin ends that were left in the hinge barrels. Once the old pins were out, I cleaned up the complete pin barrel bore for the top and bottom halves with a 7/16 drill bit.
I looked around at a few local suppliers, but the only decent hitch pins I could find were 1/2" diameter, so I spun the pair down on the lathe to 27/64", this gave a nice fit that slides well and hopefully won’t bind.
While I had the hinges off, I also cut some tabs for the YJ mirrors so I could re mount them somewhat betta and lower on the bottom half of the hinge. After drilling and tapping the tabs for the mirror mounting bolts I aligned them and welding em on, then I needed to drill a thru hole for the forth bolt on the hinge. The back of the mirror mount was easily modified so I used a hex bolt instead of trying to counter sink a machine bolt. Assembled the hinges with the new pins and mounted em back on the Jeep.
Wanting the windshield to be completely “quick release”, I picked up set of small DE-STA CO latch clamps that would be sturdy enough to retain the weight of the windshield assembly. I also wanted them to be able to lock like my tire carrier, and these have a decent thumb lock.
I know my tabs are overkill, but that’s the way I roll. So after sketching up some templates on the ole cardboard I got out the grinder and cutoff again and worked up some 1/4 plate for a set of base tabs to mount the latches on.
I decided to place the clamp section on the windshield and have the latch to remain on the dash, that way it’s not rattling around when the windshield’s not on. FYI, the windshield weld nuts were spaced at 2.00” for the old bell shaped retainer plates.
Then I attached the latches to the mounting plates using self tapping screws and a lil bit of pre drilling, and hit the back side with a flap disc to make it all smooth. After mounting the tab to the windshield frame, and checking the angle with my doors that never get installed, I drilled the lower latch tab into the dash so that the top edge would stop the windshield from compressing the cowl seal and thus throwing off the angle.
After everything was drilled, checked, and adjusted, I taped up the clamp with blue painters tape and gave everything a few coats of implement flat enamel. Some new zinc coated bolts, and SS washers to keep the rust away for a week or two.
Lastly I spliced the four wire wiper motor harness into a weatherpack so that it would tuck underneath the motor when the windshield is in place.
A few tweaks and this a check mark on the list of “jeep to do’s”.
Before I started this project, I was concerned about the pin riding out of the barrel, but now that I’m done I’m confident there is enough friction to prevent the pin from coming out on its own. Should the pin start walking, I may use a retainer clip on the end.
Not sure what I’m going to do with the dash pad while wheeling, I never drilled the holes into the dash so it’s only screwed in at the cowl. My dash bar on the cage is higher than those that don’t run a pad. Maybe I’ll paint the front side of the pad with something stupid like roll me over, or no fat chicks, …..