The Chevy Suburban is the longest-running uninterrupted production vehicle nameplate ever and an American classic. Changing the window weatherstrips in those iconic rear side sliding windows can be intimidating but we’ll walk you through the entire process step by step!
In this video we’re using a 1965 Chevy Suburban but 1960- 66 have the same window assembly and use the same parts. The method for doing this is similar for other trucks in this era as well.
There are 3 main steps to this process:
- Remove the frame and old rubber
- Clean the surfaces
- Install new rubber and replace frame
New rubber (part numbers will vary depending on if your sliding window is in the front or the rear position- see the Steele website for more information)
An extra set of hands 😊
Lets get started!
Step 1: Removing frame and old rubber
Remove the molding that’s around the entire perimeter of the glass in the interior of the vehicle. Its just held on with a few screws. Once the molding is removed, you can remove the screws that hold the frame to the body of the truck.
The frame is also held into place by the rubber lip on the gasket. Pry underneath it to remove it- ours was so old and brittle it just broke off into pieces. Once the rubber lip is removed, you can pull the metal frame away from the truck body (toward the inside of the truck) and this will allow you some space to remove the sliding glass.
Once the sliding glass is out, you can remove the frame that holds stationary glass.
To remove the stationary glass from the frame you’ll need to use a razor to cut away the old gasket. With the gasket cut away, you can slide the glass forward into the center of the frame and this will give you space to maneuver it out.
Step 2: Cleaning the surfaces
You’ll want to clean the glass so the rubber has a nice smooth surface to seal against. You can use regular glass cleaner and a razor to get off any stubborn rubber pieces. Also, clean the channel of the frame to make sure there are no pieces of rubber or debris in there (use a screwdriver and run it through the channel for easy cleaning). Note: If your channel or frame is rusted out and crumbling, you’ll need to replace it (ours is in bad shape but we are using it for demonstration purposes only).
You’ll need to clean out the channel on the body that the frame sits in as well. If you have fresh paint, this probably won’t be a problem but for a patina like ours, you’ll need to check it.
Step 3: Installing the rubber and replacing the frame
Fit the stationary glass with the new rubber. Make sure everything is the right size and shape before getting too far. The left and the right seal have opposite angles so make sure the corners set right and the length of the top and bottom line up. Then, string the stationary glass into the frame. Use a ¼” cord and push it into the lip channel on the gasket. The string helps the rubber lip get over the metal channel during installation. Tape the ends of the string to the glass to get them out of the way for the install.
Next, apply some dish soap to the gasket because you’re going to be putting it into the middle of the frame and sliding it to where it needs to be. Putting it in the center of the frame gives you more leverage with the metal channel and the soap provides lubrication for sliding and will evaporate unlike silicone.
Now its time to reinstall the stationary glass into the frame. Put one side in the lower channel, bring the frame over the edge of the glass and then slide the glass into place. As we’re doing this we’re using the string to make sure the rubber lip doesn’t get stuck under the metal frame. Pull the string out and away from the glass to pull that rubber lip over the metal frame. Pull the string out ¾ of the way on top, slide the glass into place and then pull out the remainder.
Now is also when you’ll want to replace the bump strips and the run channel for the sliding glass. The bump strips are held into place with only 1 screw and the pressure of the channel. They’re hollow so once the screw is out you can take a screwdriver and pry it out. To install the new piece, just reverse the process. The new piece doesn’t have a pre-drilled hole but you can easily drive a screw into the rubber. It doesn’t have to be very tight, just enough to hold it into place. The run channel just pushes into place and isn’t held in with anything other than pressure.
Using the string process again, string the frame back into the vehicle, sliding the cord between the rubber lip and the metal frame. Put the bottom edge on first and pull the string to get the rubber lip over the edge. As you get the lip over, have someone else pushing the glass into place (from the inside of the truck) to seat the frame where it needs to be.
You may have to maneuver the frame as it gets into the seated position. Its nice to have a plastic tool to use during this process as well. You’ll also want to have someone pressing forward to get the frame up to where it needs to be. Stop just before the sharp corner and start working on the top side. Pull the string down and away to help the rubber lip get over the edge. The corner is the trickiest part because this is where all the pressure builds up. Take your time and work the rubber over the edge until it pops into place.
Next is the trim rubber. This rubber goes over the lip and into the frame on the sliding glass side. It actually doesn’t touch the sliding glass but seals the edge between the truck and the glass frame. The piece that comes in our kit is cut long. When you trim it, leave a half inch extra and begin to work the rubber back towards the corner. The reason for this is to create pressure and make sure the rubber is firmly pressed tight up against the other end. You can even use a soft rubber mallet to help seat the rubber into place.
Now just replace the sliding glass by placing the bottom into the channel and pulling the frame over the top.
That’s it- here’s the before and after. No more rotted rubber and the new rubber gives a great seal and fresh look to the truck!
These Chevy and GMC Suburbans were available in 4 different variations from 1960-1966- here is a look at your options. If you have a different year/make/model/style, visit our website to find the correct window seals for yours.
Steele not only has all the products you need but all the knowledge you need to get the job done right, too. If you have questions about Rubber Parts or Weatherstripping on your Classic Car, Truck or Hot Rod feel free to reach out to us! You can call us at 800-447-0849, contact us through our website at https://www.steelerubber.com/contact or comment on this post and we’ll get you answers as quickly as possible. Check out our YouTube channel for our full library of how-to/installation videos.
Steele Rubber Products, located in Denver, NC, is a manufacturer and seller of high quality rubber parts and weatherstripping products for classic and vintage automobiles, hot rods, RVs and Boats. Steele offers more than 12,000 parts for American made cars and trucks as well as a large line of universal weatherstripping and rubber parts to be used on any project. Established in 1958, Steele is a trusted name in the automotive restoration industry.