1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Window Pains II, the Helm Windshield

Like I wrote in my last article, getting windows back in this boat is proving to be the most tedious, least satisfying part of this refit. Before I started on the (hateful) aft stateroom windows, I removed the helm windshield frames in March 2012 in preparation for rebuilding and eventually painting the cabin top. That part was relatively easy. By mid-November 2013, I was finally pulling the pieces together to make the replacement for the helm center windshield, since the original had gone missing sometime  before the boat was moved onto the hard back in the 1980s. I’ve done a couple of things that should resolve some problems with the way the helm windshield was originally installed. Most recently though, I’ve been staring at the individual helm windshield frame components trying to figure out how in the heck I’m going to put it all back together.

Windshield frame upright extrusions are open-ended

Windshield frame upright extrusions are open-ended

Being open-ended, there’s only a 1/8″ wide surface for bedding compound to adhere to and that’s just not enough. From the dirt on the cut ends, you can see that the sealant really wasn’t sealing anything at all.

Welded aluminum caps the extrusion end

This gives a nice, wide surface for the bedding compound to seal.

Stainless windshield brackets should last longer than the OE steel ones

Stainless windshield brackets should last longer than the original plain steel ones

I didn’t have the original lower brackets to model the new ones on because they had pretty much completely rotted away. I believe the lack of sealant at the base of the outer extrusions helped promote the rot, so hopefully the use of stainless and a better sealing surface will work better.

Lots and lots o' bits and pieces

Lots and lots o’ bits and pieces

Each upright in the windshield frame assembly has very specifically cut brackets that holds all of the bits together. Surprisingly, most of them came out without too much of a fight. Keeping their orientations recorded is extremely important if I ever want to get them back together again.

Test fitting the pieces

Test fitting the pieces…looks pretty good here

Got a liitle overhang at the base

Overhang at the base means the upper end needs to go up, because I sure can’t adjust the cabin top down. Adding the kevlar and heavy biaxial fiberglass layers to the windshield base increased the height by maybe 3/16″, but that was necessary because of the damage we found to the original FRP layup in that area.

Not a very good fit at the top, either

Jacking up the leading edge of the helm roof should bring these all back into alignment. But before I get to work with jacks, I need to protect my new paint job.

Breaking out the tape and blankets

Breaking out the tape and blankets

Padding is done

Next I need to attach the horizontal parts of the windshield frame. Since there were no dimensional changes in the horizontal axis, all of these parts should fit just fine. Then, I just have to move the leading edge of the hard top with jacks until the upright parts of the frame all fit.

Drilling pilot holes from the underside of the cabin top

Drilling pilot holes from the underside of the cabin top

Drilling out the holes for the new 1/4-20 screws

Drilling out the holes for the new 1/4-20 screws

As I documented in the article when I removed the windshield, most of the screws holding the base of the windshield were rotten. The ones that weren’t rotten were poorly aligned, and many weren’t even screwed down tight. Since there was an obvious repair to the area, I believe this wasn’t Chris Craft’s doing. I decided to upgrade to 1/4″ stainless hardware for the windshield base, which meant I had to drill out the old holes and tap them for the larger screws.

Bases temporarily installed for the test fit

Windshield bases temporarily installed for the test fit

Installing the upper horizontal windshield frame pieces–ALL STOP

It turns out that the center upright section is tweaked. Though it’s not visible to my eye, there’s a 1/4″ banana to it. I need to install the aluminum frames to give a rigid surface for the lumber I’ll use in conjunction with the jacks to move the hard top into position. Without the center piece, I can’t start the jacking process. I’ll have to take the center piece home, where I’ve got a hydraulic press I can use to make the piece straight again.

Because the boatyard is an hour away, it’s only worth making the trip on weekends when I can spend the whole day out there. So I’ll have to put off this crucial step for another week…and that pushes back the schedule to paint the windshield frames, reassemble the whole thing and get it installed.

It’s always something… 😦

I got so bummed about getting stymied on the windshield that I shifted gears and did something fun instead–speaker installation in the salon!

A couple of cleats and some repurposed 1/2" marine plywood

A couple of cleats and some repurposed 1/2″ marine plywood

Nothing fancy

Nothing fancy

I’ll pull the speakers,  edge-seal the plywood, and do a proper wiring install later. Getting the speakers in left me in a much better mood, even if it wasn’t a “must do” job.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Exhaust IV

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2 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Window Pains II, the Helm Windshield

  1. John Longwell says:

    Music is always my first job – it helps the others!

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      I had been using the speakers that came with the boat in the v-berth. But the buzzing from the paper cones and, well, having to go all the way to the v-berth to adjust the radio have been a long-term irritant. I am happier now, but I can’t wait to get the various window issues resolved.
      Cheers,
      Q

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