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Using the Rope Technique for Installing Windshields

In Episode 16 of Project C10, work gets done on the cab. It takes Rick Drewry and the crew about five hours to install the windshield properly -with three tries to set the glass into place for a perfect fit. Many first-time restorers are surprised that installing a windshield can be one of the most frustrating parts of a restoration. In the episode, Rick gives several tips for installing a windshield successfully, including planning the steps in advance, enlisting the help of other crew members and preparing yourself for the fact that it may take some time -and a little elbow grease- to get the job done right. The Project C10 crew uses that ol’ soapy rope technique, a classic trick for setting a windshield into place smoothly.

windshield rope technique

Project C10 Tech Tip – Rope Technique Explained

Start with a freshly cleaned windshield that’s totally free of old adhesive and any other debris, with its rubber gasket on. Take a long cotton rope or string – thin, about the size of the string on window blinds – and drench it completely in a mix of water and dish soap. You’ll need at least two or three people to do it right, so get a small group of workers together. Leave about six inches of soapy string free at the start and take it to the inside of the vehicle. Then wrap it tightly into the channel of the vehicle body, starting in the top center and going all the way around until you’re back at the top. Leave about six inches at the finishing end, too. The two 6-inch ends become handles to pull. Now work with your helpers to put the windshield into place, with one person putting pressure on the outside top of the windshield and someone else working from the inside of the vehicle, pulling one end of the rope gently until rubber pops through. The person pulling the rope should move around the windshield slowly, taking out the rope bit by bit, and the windshield should settle into place.

install c10 windshield

Real-World Rope Technique Advice

Of course, even with the rope trick, a windshield doesn’t always go in perfectly the first time. Rick says it’s not uncommon to attempt it two or three times before you get it right. In fact, it could take a few hours of careful tries before you’re satisfied with the result. Make sure you’re working with patient friends. He also advises using plenty of dish soap – at least a few tablespoons in a bucket of water. Lay drop cloths across the seats and the garage floor to prevent a soapy mess. Don’t yank out the rope too quickly, because you’re looking for a smooth, slow popping of the rubber gasket.

Ask a Classic Truck Restoration Mentor

Stuck on installing a stubborn windshield? Ask the experts at Project C10 for advice. Restoring a classic car or truck can be extremely tricky, and it’s helpful to hear tips from people who have done it all before. We welcome you to become part of the Project C10 community and seek help when you need it. From bodywork to engine work, bumper to bumper, we’re here for your toughest restoration questions.

Join the Project C10 Truck Community

Project C10, powered by American Modern, an original video series from Classic Auto Insurance that chronicles the restoration of a 1965 Chevy C10 truck to a beautiful restomod worthy of car show display. Stay up-to-date with Project C10 by subscribing to Classic Auto’s YouTube Channel, following us on Instagram and visiting our C10 Restoration page on, where you’ll enjoy step-by-step episodes, project-specific Tech Tips and behind-the-scenes articles that give you an inside look into what it takes to restore a classic collectible like a Chevy C10 truck.
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