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Old 01-10-2017, 04:18 PM   #1
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Leak at Upper Windshield Corners

I am told that a somewhat common issue that occurred in the pre-2008 Econolines is a leak under the windshield gasket--at the pinch weld that forms the window flange, right at the upper corners of the windshield, where two pieces of body sheet metal are joined.

As I understand it, the joint was not particularly skillfully done. This allows water to seep under the windshield gasket over time. That leads to rust, which leads to flaking, which then causes the sealant to separate from the metal. This allows water to seep into the A pillar, where it tracks down the pillar and drops down onto the carpet right below the A pillar on both sides of the van.

A similar issue occurred at the rain gutter at the seam in the back, where improper caulking can lead to rust and water entry just inside the rear doors.

It is my understanding that from 2005 to 2010, Ford provided what they termed a "Service Optional Repair" for this issue for owners who complained with sufficient vigor. The original Ford repair apparently involved exposing each of the affected areas, re-sealing, and then re-painting the entire roof.

Ford apparently issued some form of bulletin explaining the repair, but nobody I have spoken with at Ford has been able to locate that bulletin. From what I have heard, each repair cost Ford about $5,000, and they were eager to sweep the whole thing under the rug.

Has anyone:
1. Had this issue?
2. Had a Ford repair?
3. Performed an alternate repair?
4. Seen the service bulletin?

I have a minor form of this issue at my windshield, and I want to nip it in the bud, so I am looking to collect as much information as I can before I proceed with a repair.

Thank you!
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Old 01-10-2017, 05:27 PM   #2
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Hey Glider, I'd post this over at FTE forums too.

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Old 01-11-2017, 09:02 AM   #3
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I had that issue on my old Ford van and tried several times to seal it from the outside and inside with no luck until I had the windshield removed. The rust hadn't gotten very bad, so some quick grinding and wire wheeling got back to good metal, then some POR, and a proper amount of windshield sealant cured the problem for good (I think, I sold it a year later) As I remember, it only cost a couple hundred dollars, but the rust had not gotten structural yet. Good luck.
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Old 01-11-2017, 11:32 AM   #4
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When I worked for the 2 largest auto glass companies... a bunch of years ago, the only time I encountered leaks was when the glass was improperly replaced and that caused rust and other related problems.
I haven't heard of the problem suggested above...
If the rust is minor / surface then grinding, cleaning, primer and (paint-optional) should be all that is needed.
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Old 01-18-2017, 05:05 AM   #5
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I'm still in the auto glass biz, also once owned a body shop.........here's what I know........

1. The windshields from 1991 onward is bonded to the body with a specialized adhesive---no gasket. The trim you see is permanently attached to the windshield, called encapsulated molding.

2. The body seams you speak of in the upper corners tend to crack over time or use if a lot of bumps, jarring or jolts is part of the van body life. Its not necessary poor quality at time of manufacture but because the van body is body-on-frame construction it isn't as strong as a unit body build would be. As such the body can experience joint failures like observed or experienced.

3. Leaks from a failing roof joint can go undetected for years as the water can run down behind the A-Pillar trim unseen. The water can/does collect under the floor mats, also unseen for possibly years.

4. The only real way to repair a failed joint that is causing a water leak is to remove the windshield, properly remove and treat any existing rust before reinstalling the original windshield or a new one---they tend to break upon removal half the time.

This is just one of those thing E-Series van owners should know about and be prepared to deal with at some point if the van will be owned for a long time, just "one of those things......." Remember how the van is used can be a factor but its not uncommon for this to happen even to the most carefully driven vans too.

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Old 01-21-2017, 02:44 PM   #6
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JWA, that was exactly the information I needed.

After a very heavy rain, I can feel just a bit of dampness in the carpet under the driver's side A-pillar, so this is a minor issue, but definitely something I want to address immediately in order to keep my van in excellent condition.

I will replace my windshield as part of this process. Are there particular brands that you recommend I either go for or avoid?

Thank you very much for your help with this.
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Old 01-21-2017, 06:31 PM   #7
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Is there any way to test for this short of pulling the windshield? I get wind noise from somewhere on the upper part of the driver's side A pillar or door seal. I've added foam to the inside of the door seal to no avail. The noise doesn't seem to be the window. My van is a 2012 with 37,000 miles on it, but it's a Quigley conversion and has made a couple of Baja peninsula runs as a support vehicle which means the front suspension has probably bottomed out about 10,000 times.
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Old 01-21-2017, 06:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohsix View Post
Is there any way to test for this short of pulling the windshield? I get wind noise from somewhere on the upper part of the driver's side A pillar or door seal. I've added foam to the inside of the door seal to no avail. The noise doesn't seem to be the window. My van is a 2012 with 37,000 miles on it, but it's a Quigley conversion and has made a couple of Baja peninsula runs as a support vehicle which means the front suspension has probably bottomed out about 10,000 times.
If the seam is opening up, then water will trickle inside the A-pillar and land on the carpet--under your left toe on the driver's side, and under your right toe on the passenger side. Feel for dampness there after a heavy rain, and/or look for evidence of water stains in that area.
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Old 01-21-2017, 07:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohsix View Post
but it's a Quigley conversion and has made a couple of Baja peninsula runs as a support vehicle which means the front suspension has probably bottomed out about 10,000 times.
Get to Agile for an RIP kit asap.
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Old 01-23-2017, 08:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glider View Post
JWA, that was exactly the information I needed.

After a very heavy rain, I can feel just a bit of dampness in the carpet under the driver's side A-pillar, so this is a minor issue, but definitely something I want to address immediately in order to keep my van in excellent condition.

I will replace my windshield as part of this process. Are there particular brands that you recommend I either go for or avoid?

Thank you very much for your help with this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glider View Post
If the seam is opening up, then water will trickle inside the A-pillar and land on the carpet--under your left toe on the driver's side, and under your right toe on the passenger side. Feel for dampness there after a heavy rain, and/or look for evidence of water stains in that area.
Okay listen up about this sort of leak.

ANY leak from the windshield regardless its origin can go undetected nearly forever if its hidden from view by the A-pillar trim. The huge misfortune here is water can/does run under the floor covering where it remains in contact with the metal floor, never evaporating away. This WILL cause rust issues potentially leading to a hole in the floor. I've seen this first-hand on a '97 E250 RB I owned some time ago---it was about 10 years old when it came to me.

An advantage to the rubber-like mats is water leaking on top of them is easily see---carpeting hides wet spots. FYI........

As to windshield brands avoid anything from Safelite or their brand which is SGC---some of the worst fitting and poorest quality in the business. I use PGW but Pilkington-brand lites are probably a bit better---after that it's all pretty much a crap shoot.

The installer is probably more important than w/s brand---preparation is vital. If its determined the broken body seams are the issue and that's manifested itself only in the w/s pinchweld area the installer can compensate for that easily enough. You'll almost have to interview potential installers to get an idea what products and procedures they use on E-Series vans. I'm happy to give opinions on such things if needed/wanted, PM might work best. (Because installers tend to use different procedures/materials than I do its tough to have a "must use" list that's workable in every market.)

Also Safelite's installers aren't the cream of the crop----be very aware of that.

Typically after a leaking E-Series windshield has been properly treated leaks don't return. I don't know this would apply to an off-road body so that should be a consideration.

So hope this helps a bit more?
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