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'38 Special upper window run channel


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Should a '38 Special use the run channel with or without the stainless steel beading on the edge? Some years ago I assembled my car using the SS. Now I am reassembling after some body work, and when the SS popped off the flex channel, I decided to try it without. I think this may be correct, since now, the SS trim does not "disappear" into the door, with nothing to mate up to. What would be correct? (remembering it's a Special, and not the C-bodied Roadmaster or Limited)

Jeff

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Almost all GM cars used the stainless steel trimmed channel from 1933 till the mid to late '60's ;it would be correct for your car. The stainless trim should rest at the edge of the channel opening and not go up into the channel. In some cases cardboard shims were used but also these channels were secured with steel clips or were held by pressure from the garnish mouldings. Also ,the beltstrips would usually match the channel trim as well as the division bar channel which also has beads on the upper channel. GM trucks continued to use the black channel into the '50's.

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Thanks, I really appreciate your feedback.

Regarding your comment on the belt line trim - that's the very problem I am hung up on. The Special clearly doesn't use beltline weatherstriping, since it would interfere with the two rubber bumpers located on the inside edge of the outer door skin. I ordered new rubber bumpers from Bob's and slipped them into place over the weekend. (yes, I have seen some restored versions, with a cat-whisker weatherstripping applied instead of the bumpers. Don't think that's right, although it probably works better!)

So, without any horizontal feature to line up to, the upper piece of stainless beading just disappears into the lower portion of the door, since it follows the run channel, to where it meets up with the lower (rigid) run channel.

Any originals out there?

Thanks again,

Jeff

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I bought every thing from Bob's, with bead, he sells very small screws to help hold it in place, I took small peices of felt after I was finished a glued it over the screw heads so the glass would not come in contact with the screw heads.. Also if you have your door completly stripped be sure to install your door latch first.. I just finished my doors about a moth ago, nice winter project..

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Our 38 had been messed around with in that area. Some home made rubber sweeper strips were in place. Jeff, on the inside lip of the window opening, can you see any holes where those clips would have gone for the sweeper strip? That, to me, would be the giveaway.

Cheers

Grant

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On the inside lip of the window opening (meaning the door outer skin), there are two rubber bumpers - totally original on my car. They were shrunken and hardened with the passage of time, but certainly in a position that would preclude a sweeper. I have purchased replacement bumpers from Bob and installed them, same as the originals, so this should be correct. I do have sweepers on the inside lip - on the window garnish moldings. Here, my car looked like someone had replaced them, so I followed suit. The previous ones had staples, I used an epoxy.

Mighty confusing stuff - trying to sort out what was truly factory original from what someone might have done in a partial restoration in the 60's or 70's.

Jeff

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Sounds about right to me Jeff. The epoxy was the way to go with the garnish molding sweeper strip, but, as I found out with my old 39 Chevy, the bond is only as strong as the paint it sticks to.

One thing to watch out for is screws sitting proud of the outer window channel. The original used clips stapled to the channel. I replicated those staples out of wire, and used original clips. Worked great on the Chevy. BUT, the coupe used a combo of screws and RTV silicone. Worked just as well, but if your window is left up against a screw overnight, you'll awaken to a nice crack all the way down your glass. Make sure they don't stick out!!!!

Cheers

Grant

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That's a great tip on the screw heads - I never thought of that being a contributor, but of course, with temperature changes, the glass needs to expand without hitting a little steel screw head. That would localize the stresses in one spot, and lead to cracks! Makes perfect sense.

When I installed these channels 15 years ago, I used screws. For this re-assembly, I bought some screws with much smaller (and flatter heads), so I should be ok. I bought them from Restoration Specialties, and at the time he tried to explain the clips. (which he didn't have on hand) I decided to stay with the screws, since I had no remaining evidence of how the clips would work. But, it sounds like they are available.

Jeff

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I haven't checked up on the clip's availability for a while, but anyone parting out a late 30's GM car should have some. We used a combo of originals, and ones we sourced from the local vintage car club's parts shed. The clips push horizontally into slots that face inwards in the window opening.

Cheers

Grant

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Some miscellaneous updates...

Most people have voted on the SS bead. I appreciate the feedback. Since there is no real rush, I am still poking around a bit.

According to the shop manual, the run channel was called "Bailey channel".

I have submitted the same question to a Buick restoration guy, and a guy who can check references at the AACA library. Cool.

This weekend, I will temporarily install beaded channel in the rear passenger window (2-door sedan). Then I will have the passenger door without, and the passenger window with. I will take some pictures, continue to gather feedback, and contemplate this and other life mysteries for a while.

Jeff

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I don't know that my car hasn't been messed with in this area, but my car is original on many points and I see nothing to indicate mine has been messed with in this area. Accordingly, I attach pictures for your reference; I hope they're helpful:

2013-02-15_11-17-58_622.jpg

2013-02-15_11-18-48_870.jpg

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OK, I am pretty well convinced that it will be SS beading for the flexible upper run channel. Nothing on the horizontal run (outside). That is clear from the little rubber bumpers that are used on the outside, lower window opening.

I will use a horizontal sweeper stapled to the inside lower edge (attached to the garnish molding).

I would rather use the correct clips instead of screws for the flexible run channel. Does anyone have an example of these clips??

Jeff

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Jeff , you're probably correct in that there is no outside beltstrip on your model. There would have been a rubber dust seal that was part of the glass setting channel that extended out far enough to ride up against the bottom of the inner door opening. There was probably no trim on the small corner of the window. We try to over think some of these cars but they were not always trimmed to the hilt. On cars with the beaded beltstrips,the ends of the beltstrips are crushed flat to fit around the beads on the channel as shown in the photos. Beltstrip material was originally held on with staples. Replacement staples are available and do work well if you carefully install them. I do not recommend using silicone to fasten window channels. First, it's residue gets on the paint and will make any future touch up a royal pain. Second,silicone makes a pretty strong bond which will negate any removal of the channel in case of wear or damage. The use of small (NO.4) flat head screws will work but make sure you sink the heads below the felt strip but don't drive them through the metal skeleton. Also just use a couple,you only have to hold them in place ,not protect them from hurricane winds! You might check with Restoration Specialties to see if they have any original channel clips as they have a good selection of obsolete parts (814-467-9842). Some GM cars (coupes, and maybe some sedans) don't use window channel in the rear qtr. windows. They have beltstrip material fastened to the garnish mouldings and the outer frames with staples and clips.

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Thanks. I agree with your assessment. And thanks to all for their input.

My next step is a call to Restoration Specialties. Their catalog doesn't clearly show which clip may be correct, but a phone call may point me in the right direction. Otherwise, its a couple of small screws!

Also, I have the rubber dust seal installed. It's fun to figure out how these systems were designed. In the case of the rubber-lip dust seal, my only conclusion is that it was NOT a great design!! I can see why they got away from it. And, to anyone who has installed the horizontal beltline sweeper, although it may be slightly incorrect, it is probably going to be much more effective! Oh well.

Jeff

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