Jim Smart
December 16, 2014

Classic ’65-’68 Mustang vent window frames are made of die-cast construction, which is a Heinz 57 mix of non-ferrous metals, such as zinc, copper, aluminum, lead, pewter, and even tin. Automakers used to make autobody parts from die-cast metal because once the expensive tooling was made it became cheaper to make parts when volume was high. The problem with direct-injection die-cast metal is the unknowns of each piece.

Because these parts were made mostly from scrap, each part is a gamble today. Die-cast parts are a crapshoot because it is impossible to predict what it will do over the long haul. Die-cast parts gas off and yield acidity, which can mess up chrome in short order. Chrome over die-cast metal tends to bubble and pit, making it unsightly. And this is what has happened to untold thousands of classic Mustang vent window assemblies. Chrome shops have a difficult time dressing and re-plating old die-cast vent windows. They have to grind it down to raw die-cast to get rid of the pitting, which can distort the frame and take away important definition.

National Parts Depot has reproduction vent window frames and even complete vent window assemblies for ’65-’68 Mustangs. If you want to use your Mustang’s original Carlite glass, go with the frame. If originality isn’t paramount to you, opt for complete vent window assemblies and replace the entire unit. The biggest trick with classic Mustang vent window assemblies is adjustment. Once you get a handle on how these windows adjust, the rest comes easily.

1. Vent window replacement begins with door panel and water shield removal. A trim removal tool pops the door panel without incident once the window and door handles and any retaining screws have been removed (and armrests where applicable).

2. Removal of the vent window frame begins with the two vent window frame bolts removed with a 1⁄2-inch socket. One of these bolts screws into a nut-plate in the door, while the other screws into the die-cast window frame. Be very careful with the bolt that threads into your window frame. They strip easily.

3. This fastener is both for adjustment and window security. Remove the flange nut using a 1⁄2-inch socket.

4. The bottom adjuster/fastener is loosened next with a 1⁄2-inch socket.

5. Before going any further, apply layers of blue masking tape to the painted surfaces on top. Even with masking tape for protection, you must be very careful removing the vent window assembly because paint will chip through several layers of tape. It is the impact that cracks and chips paint.

6. Window adjusters are Allen screws that adjust the window in or out to modify window angle and fit. The bottom adjuster controls window angle in and out at the top. The top adjustor controls window angle as it relates to the A-pillar.

7. This is one of the Allen screw window adjusters. It screws in or out to control window angle. Once window angle is set, you tighten the nut and the window is secure.

8. The stainless window channel is removed next and is not secured by hardware, but instead just a pinch fit.

9. The vent window assembly is die-cast and stainless steel. The stainless steel channel track is secured to the die-cast frame with a single Phillips head screw and two rivets.

10. Vent window glass is removed by removing the pivot tension spring, cam, washers, and bracket. Take reference pictures of this before you take it apart.

11. With the spring and nut removed, the bracket, washers, and cam are next with a Phillip’s head screwdriver.

12. Here are the vent glass pivot parts laid out in their proper order.

13. Push the glass downward to release the top pivot pin. Pull the glass out.

14. Rivet heads are ground off to release the stainless channel track.

15. Headless rivets are driven out with a center punch releasing the stainless channel track.

16. Stainless doesn’t have to be re-chromed. It is polished to a luster and ready for installation.

17. The stainless channel track gets new rivets and its weatherstrip. This is one of the rivets pressed through the stainless, which will then get the weatherstrip and be bucked.

18. The weatherstrip is seated around the rivets one at a time.

19. Rivets are bucked and secured using a center punch, making them as solid as the factory a generation ago.

20. The vent window rubber seal is installed next, being carefully seated one segment at a time. It is suggested you thoroughly wash all rubber parts prior to installation. Washing removes the mold release agent (that green stuff), making for easier installation.

21. The stainless channel track is fitted to the die-cast frame as shown.

22. Next, the Phillips head screw is reinstalled to secure the stainless channel track.

23. You can go two ways with stainless to frame security. You can use pop rivets or go with Phillips head screws as long as their heads clear the weatherstripping.

24. The vent window latch is fitted along with its wave washer and secured with a roll pin.

25. The vent window glass is fitted to the new frame and its top pivot pin seated.

26. Sometimes, you will run into die-cast frames where the upper pivot hole needs to be modified with a 5⁄16- to 3⁄8-inch drill bit. Be very careful and do not overdo it.

27. The stainless window run channel is fitted and seated. A couple of soft hits with a rubber mallet will often help to seat the run channel.

28. Finally, the vent glass pivot is reassembled, lubricated, and adjusted.