A crack­ing re­sult

A dam­aged wind­screen has put our Puma out of ac­tion – but hap­pily we found some ex­perts to fix our Ford

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Living With Classics -

CHRIS HOPE I’ve been with the CCW team long enough to know that if there is a con­sis­tent favourite among our three £500 Chal­lenge cars, then it’s the Puma. That be­ing the case, ev­ery­one was gut­ted to dis­cover that an in­nocu­ous-look­ing stone chip in the off­side top cor­ner of the wind­screen had be­come a crack that en­croached on the driver’s pe­riph­eral vi­sion – a po­ten­tial MoT fail­ure.

So, seiz­ing the ideal op­por­tu­nity to get into ev­ery­body’s good books, I fired off an email to Au­to­glass, which was only too happy to show off its skills – even if they were to be demon­strated on a bar­gain base­ment Blue Oval coupé.

First, I was im­pressed by how quickly Au­to­glass man­aged to source a re­place­ment OE-qual­ity screen. The Puma is by no means an un­com­mon car, but the fact re­mains that it’s been out of pro­duc­tion for the past 15 years. And yet, Au­to­glass soon ar­ranged for a re­place­ment screen to ar­rive the fol­low­ing week via its sis­ter com­pany, Lad­daw (which dis­trib­utes re­place­ment ve­hi­cle glass). Tech­ni­cal trainer Matthew Red­ding gave the car a de­tailed pre-in­spec­tion be­fore car­ry­ing out any of the work.

It’s worth point­ing out that Matthew ar­rived in his smaller train­ing van, and not the larger Ford Tran­sit that cus­tomers can usu­ally ex­pect to see, the lat­ter com­plete with a built-in ex­tend­able canopy ( known as a Van­brella) for all-weather work, plus ad­di­tional light­ing that al­lows tech­ni­cians to work well into the early evening over win­ter. It’s at this time of the year that Au­to­glass usu­ally re­ceives the great­est num­ber of call­outs, as a re­sult of the ad­verse ef­fects of frost on our roads.

I asked Matthew whether work­ing on a slightly older car posed any chal­lenges over work­ing on a newer car. Ap­par­ently not, as a lack of technology makes this a rel­a­tively straight­for­ward job. Many more mod­ern cars come with ADAS (ad­vanced driver-as­sis­tance sys­tems) which sup­port safety fea­tures such as au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing and lane de­vi­a­tion warn­ings, all of which help to pre­vent col­li­sions. Fol­low­ing a wind­screen re­place­ment, Au­to­glass has to re­cal­i­brate the cam­eras that th­ese sys­tems rely on in or­der for them to work prop­erly. Our Puma, on the other hand, doesn’t even have a heated wind­screen.

The Puma’s screen is bonded in place and Matthew has the per­fect bit of kit for re­mov­ing it. The Ez­iWire tool is a bit like a wire cheese cut­ter; it at­taches to the in­side of the wind­screen and, af­ter mak­ing an in­ser­tion at the base of the screen and feed­ing the wire around its en­tire edge, ro­tat­ing a han­dle draws the wire through the seal so that the screen can be eas­ily lifted out. Once Matthew had pre­pared the sur­face with primer, he ap­plied fresh polyurethane glue to the ’screen be­fore pre­cisely ma­noeu­vring the new one in place. And, hey presto! It took Matthew around two hours to re­place our Puma’s wind­screen, but that was with me pes­ter­ing him with ques­tions, and hav­ing him pause be­tween jobs so I could take pho­tos. In re­al­ity, a job like this takes about an hour or so – espe­cially in the late spring heat, which al­lows the glue to cure much more quickly; typ­i­cal cur­ing time is 30 min­utes, which Matthew as­sures me is the fastest in the busi­ness. Best of all, the Puma’s back on the road!

A spe­cial fi­bre wire de­signed to pro­tect in­te­rior plas­tic trim is used to cut through the old seal.

The old ‘screen comes out – thank­fully the area un­der the wind­screen is cor­ro­sion-free.

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