Howe’s It Doin’ Garage Does the “Big Window” Conversion on the AMD 1966 C10

By Jason Chandler   –   Photography by the Author

Back on Project #Backpay! This ’66 Chevy C10 truck has been under major reconstruction. If you have been following along, you already know that with a step-by-step approach, you can do these same repairs at home. Last time you saw #Backpay we featured the power steering and column conversion.

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01 Although in good shape the small window has received its eviction notice
Although in good shape, the small window has received its eviction notice.

Read More: Premier Street Rod Shop Tour

This time we will go in-depth on installing a new big back window conversion. We headed to Howe’s It Doin Garage in Dallas, Georgia, with Mike Howe performing the installation. Some of what you will see here covers the roofskin installation. Although the roofskin on this truck is in great shape, the removal is necessary to get to the factory spot welds on the original inner back window panel. Auto Metal Direct (AMD) has all the parts you need to swap out your small back window panel with all new fresh restoration parts for the conversion.

02 Mike starts with his fancy glass removal tool
Mike starts with his fancy glass removal tool. A sharp utility knife will work as well.

The big back window trucks have always fetched a premium … all starting back in 1955 when GM first offered a variation of back window sizing in their trucks. Since then, guys have been swapping their trucks for the larger glass with all kinds of different methods to make it happen. AMD has gone the distance to make sure that your conversion is as easy as can be. They have developed all-new tooling to bring to you a full factory-style replacement panel. The full removal and installation are straight forward and can be done in a weekend.

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Let’s go to Howe and see what we have to work with!

03 with a quick once around the old back glass comes out with ease
And with a quick once around, the old back glass comes out with ease.
04 AMD’s new roof and big back window panels for this project come well packaged and are damage free
AMD’s new roof and big back window panels for this project come well packaged and are damage free (helping ensure the installation is that much easier by preventing the need to fix any faux pas caused by poor handling during shipping!).
05 we are going to install some sound deadening material on the underside
While we have the new roofskin out, we are going to install some sound-deadening material on the underside, for obvious reasons.
06 Mike Howe preps the truck for the installation by covering glass and other areas
Mike Howe preps the truck for the installation by covering glass and other areas to minimize grinding debris and welding sparks that could otherwise damage these areas.
07 Removing the seam sealer is a hell of a mess
Removing the seam sealer is a hell of a mess. Your wire wheel will work great to get this out of the channel.
08 With the sealer removed the factory spot welds are easily accessed
With the sealer removed, the factory spot welds are easily accessed, making removal that much easier. A small pilot hole is drilled into the center of each spot weld; this will allow us to align the spot weld remover and keep it from moving around. Be careful not to drill too deep or you will be welding up more than one hole. A spot weld remover is a great tool to have at this stage.
09 Howe uses a sharpened screwdriver and body hammer to separate the roofskin from the other panels
Howe uses a sharpened screwdriver and body hammer to separate the roofskin from the other panels. The roofskin is removed, also notice the nest from a previous resident. That area will get cleaned and treated before installing the new AMD roofskin.
10 Now you have access to clean the inner roof panel as well as get a better cleanup on the seam sealer left behind
Now you have access to clean the inner roof panel as well as get a better cleanup on the seam sealer left behind. You want to remove all the sealer as it will cause issues when you go to weld everything back up.
11 Repeat the same process on the inner roof panel
Repeat the same process on the inner roof panel. Small pilot holes, spot weld remover, and cleanup. You don’t have to worry as much about drilling too deep here as that inner back cab panel will have new metal to weld back to.
12 useing deburring tool to separate the sides of the inner back cab panel from the door surround
Howe moves to the inside and elects to use his deburring tool to separate the sides of the inner back cab panel from the door surround. The remaining spot welds are found at the bottom of the panel across the back of the cab.
13 Howe uses a washer to mark the back of the cab where the new window will go
Howe moves to the inside and elects to use his deburring tool to separate the sides of the inner back cab panel from the door surround. The remaining spot welds are found at the bottom of the panel across the back of the cab.
14 With the cut line marked Howe cuts out the new opening
With the cut line marked, Howe cuts out the new opening. (This is a great example why the seat, carpet, and fuel tank were all removed; lots of sparks, not to mention the extra room needed to work with!)
15 A body saw makes quick work of the corners of the panel
A body saw makes quick work of the corners of the panel as opposed to attempting those areas with the cutoff wheel.
16 The old panel comes out just like that
And voilà: The old panel comes out just like that.
17 The new opening already looks great
The new opening already looks great. Howe will clean up and treat the inside in preparation of the new panel being installed.
18 now is the time to prepare all the surfaces to receive the new parts
With the panel out of the way, now is the time to prepare all the surfaces to receive the new parts. A 40-grit sanding disc will clean up the rest of the spot welds.
19 While you have easy access grab your hammer and dolly and straighten up all the edges
While you have easy access, grab your hammer and dolly and straighten up all the edges.
20 the new panel goes in perfectly
While you have easy access, grab your hammer and dolly and straighten up all the edges.
21 We will be plug welding the new parts on
We will be plug-welding the new parts on and Howe uses his pneumatic punch to make holes perfect to accept the welds. Clean up around each hole to ensure that the weld penetrates without any issues.
22 Using self etching weld through primer ensures that the mating surfaces are protected
Using self-etching weld-through primer ensures that the mating surfaces are protected after they are welded together.
23 With the new big back window panel installed clamp it in place and position it exactly where you want it before welding it in
(Be sure to apply the primer to the truck and the new panels.) With the new big back window panel installed, clamp it in place and position it exactly where you want it before welding it in.
24 Now we begin welding the two panels together
Now we begin welding the two panels together. The key to a great weld is a tight fit. Howe positions the clamp directly next to the welding hole to make sure the two panels are lying flat against one another. Clean the welded area with a wire wheel to remove any contaminates from welding and apply a coat of primer to prevent the surfaces from rusting.
25 Howe moves to the inside of the cab to continue welding the panel into the truck
Howe moves to the inside of the cab to continue welding the panel into the truck, just like original. Welding across the back of the cab at the bottom of the new inner panel can be tricky. Howe uses a pry bar to ensure that the two surfaces are flush and that he gets a good weld. Grabbing every clamp you own is the name of the game here. We can’t stress enough that a tight fit is the key to a solid weld.
26 With the new big back window panel in place Howe installs the new AMD roofskin
With the new big back window panel in place, Howe installs the new AMD roofskin.
27 Be sure to align everything and clamp it in place before welding
Be sure to align everything and clamp it in place before welding; measure/align as many times as necessary before striking that first weld arc!
28 Howe starts in the center and works his way out to completely weld the roofskin in place
Howe starts in the center and works his way out to completely weld the roofskin in place. With everything welded correctly, Howe will test-fit the new glass from AMD into the opening. Further grinding and sanding is required on the opening to get a perfect fit. Remember it is always easier to take away than to add metal back.
29 Be sure to clean up all the spot welds inside and out
Howe starts in the center and works his way out to completely weld the roofskin in place. With everything welded correctly, Howe will test-fit the new glass from AMD into the opening. Further grinding and sanding is required on the opening to get a perfect fit. Remember it is always easier to take away than to add metal back.
30 Howe begins installing the new Precision Replacement Parts back glass gasket
Howe begins installing the new Precision Replacement Parts back glass gasket we picked up from AMD. The gasket comes complete with the lock strip included. The new AMD glass goes in and the weatherstripping tool was a great add on from Precision.
31 With the new glass installed this conversion couldn’t have been easier
With the new glass installed, this conversion couldn’t have been easier.
33 Stay tuned for our next installment of this tech series where we go in depth on that steel bed floor conversion
Stay tuned for our next installment of this tech series where we go in-depth on that steel bed floor conversion.
32 The new big back window panel fit perfect
The new big back window panel fit perfect.

Sources:

Auto Metal Direct
autometaldirect.com

Howe’s It Doin’ Garage
instagram.com/howes_it_doin_garage/

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Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of Howe’s It Doin’ Garage Does the “Big Window” Conversion on the AMD 1966 C10.ctp february 2024

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