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Windshield Frame Project

The Hydro Foiling Plumber

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I have a 97 Sunsetter and the windshield frame has some areas on it that the paint has chipped off. I was tossing the idea around about taking the frame off, sanding it down and repainting it myself. I also have two screw holes on each side of the frame from the old bimini clips (pre-tower)

I look forward to some input...I plan on working on the boat this weekend and will post some pictures to help understand what I am dealing with.

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Isn't it easier to refinish the frame without removing the windshield?

You'd have to be careful not to scratch the glass with sandpaper. And the masking off the entire boat to re-paint or powdercoat would be a PITA.

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I took mine apart and sent it over to Cross Link powdercoating in Dallas. They blasted it an painted it black. Had it done about 5 years ago and no chips to date

Do you know if I can use some type of filler to fill in the old screw holes and then have it sandblasted then powdercoated? Also did you remove the entire windshield or just the top part of the frame? My main problem is just the metal cap on top of the glass. I will post some pictures this weekend of the windshield and some pictures if I decide to tackle this project this close to ski season.

Thanks for your input as well as everyone else.

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Okay, here's my update (without photos) I removed the top five pieces of the windshield frame when I got home from work yesterday. I stopped at Home Depot and purchased two grades of steel wool, metal epoxy filler (for old bimini brackets in the side frame) and spray paint. When I started sanding down the aluminum pieces I noticed that a lot of the paint was bubbling in areas that had not chipped off yet. I started picking at it and was able to remove 95% of the paint from 4 of the 5 pieces. I had one particular piece that was a PITA to remove the paint. I returned to HD and purchased another grade of wool that was much more aggressive. I worked on cleaning and prepping all pieces from 7:00pm - 11:30pm. After the amount of time I spent sanding and prepping the aluminum I wish I would have spent the $200.00 to have it sandblasted and powder coated...oh well; If they don’t come out the way I hoped I will spend the money and get them done professionally. But as it is now I have only spent around $30.00.

I woke up this morning to try and figure out where I would hang the pieces to paint...too much wind. So I am at the office and am using the shop to paint them. I have applied the first coat of paint and decided to write an update.

Also, I have taken pictures of every step along the way and will post pictures tomorrow once all the refurbished pieces on back on the boat.

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I hear ya, I'm always weighing how much I will save vs. how long it will take me. So far I've done a lot myself, but am looking at a few projects I will more than likely pay for. Not that I can't do them, just not worth my time vs. savings.

Hope it works out, it's on my list, as well. Just further down at this point.

Looking forward to pics.

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Not to be a downer but did you use a pre-paint prep solution before you painted them? If paint on metal flakes off it usually means that there may have been some residue on the metal before the OEM paint. I disassembled my entire frame on my '95. It was a PITA to put back together but it came out great. I had it chemically stripped and painted.

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Once I removed all the screws from the top pieces I was able to remove them pretty easy. The longer curved pieces gave me a little bit of a problem, but i was able to remove without being very forceful no hammer required.

I did not use any type of pre-paint prep solution. As easy as it was to remove the pieces I thought if the paint doesn't work out or last I will take them off and have them professionally done. I washed them down and wiped down each piece with rubbing alcohol.

I picked up the painted pieces from the shop last night and will put them on as soon as I get home from church. So far they look really good.

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Okay all of the aluminum pieces are back on the boat and rating for how this project turned out is a "C"...the paint did not turn out as nice as I would have hoped for.

BTW; getting the aluminum pieces and the rubber back on was not easy...finally ended up using glass cleaner to help lube the rubber and the aluminum pieces slid right into place. This was after trying to dry fit them, then using Babe's Seat Soap (it was within reaching distance) then as mentioned Windex did the trick.

But, FWIW the wife thought it looked nice.

Here are a few photos of before, during and after...

post-6277-029377600 1303092222_thumb.jpg

post-6277-000610400 1303092244_thumb.jpg

post-6277-005084800 1303092257_thumb.jpg

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few more pictures

I still need to do some touch up painting on the vertical support piece between the driver's glass and the walk thru section on top. There are a few places here and there that are not "perfect" but this was just an attempt to clean it up from the drivers view and it is a big improvement.

post-6277-022998900 1303092354_thumb.jpg

post-6277-053157600 1303092367_thumb.jpg

post-6277-084721300 1303092381_thumb.jpg

Edited by The Hydro Foiling Plumber
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here are the products that I used.

Just a reminder that I only used the epoxy to fill the old holes for the original bimini

post-6277-075032100 1303092580_thumb.jpg

post-6277-065967800 1303092613_thumb.jpg

post-6277-069972200 1303092623_thumb.jpg

Edited by The Hydro Foiling Plumber
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One last picture of the boat on the water from last year...this is a very rare photo taken with a tube in the boat! I had kids on the boat that begged to ride the tube....so what the kids want, usually the kids get.

Can't wait for warmer weather

post-6277-077236900 1303092837_thumb.jpg

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Nice work! This is still on my winter project to-do list, since my frame looks pretty bad on the top too.

How would you rate the color and gloss match compared to original? Choosing the correct paint when matching black can be very difficult. Also, is there anything you would have done differently were you to do this project again (other than have someone else do it) :)

Thanks for posting, I've marked this for reference when I go to do mine!

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Looks very good! As a suggestion, during prep, I always wipe down the surface I'm going to paint with Xylene, it takes off any oily or dusty residue and evaporates quickly. Can be bought at any hardware store. Use in a well ventilated area, it has a lot of ether.

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Nice work! This is still on my winter project to-do list, since my frame looks pretty bad on the top too.

How would you rate the color and gloss match compared to original? Choosing the correct paint when matching black can be very difficult. Also, is there anything you would have done differently were you to do this project again (other than have someone else do it) :)

Thanks for posting, I've marked this for reference when I go to do mine!

I think that if I were to do this project again in the future I would at least find someone to sandblast the aluminum to remove the old stubborn paint. Secondly based on some of the replies I should have researched and used some type of prep/cleaner prior to painting; only time will tell how long the paint I used will last.

As I mentioned earlier I was not prepared for how hard it was going to be to reinstall the metal pieces on top of the curved glass. The straight pieces were very easy to reinstall. I found that spraying the rubber with Windex prior to putting the metal back on worked best to keep the rubber lubed so it would not bind up when putting the metal back on. I removed and reinstalled the drivers side curved piece at least 5 times before I was able to properly align the rubber and the existing screw holes without the rubber binding up on me. Again once I used the Windex to keep the rubber lubed up it went together pretty easily.

I understand completely on the color match trying to match black paint is not easy and what I ended up using is not an exact match...I used a gloss black and I wish I would have used something between a flat and gloss finish...maybe satin finish? Even with that I think when you are only painting some of the pieces and not the entire frame you will struggle getting a "perfect match" It's hard to match years of UV damage, etc...

I plan to touch up a few other areas with the same paint such as the crew heads, the top of the framing that is attached to the boat, the tops of the vertical supports on the walk thru window, etc…

I also replaced the old foam tape located at the bottom of the windshield. The existing was dry rotted and had shrunk and basically looked like crap. I will attach some pictures tonight with a few before and after pictures.

Thanks for the compliments and glad I was able to provide the pictures and information on my first DIY posted project.

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How did you get the frames off? Just pull straight up? Tap with wood block against it + hammer?

Pistol Pete, after reading my original response to your question, I am not sure I answered it very good. The straight pieces came off by pulling straight up. On the curved pieces I started from the walk thru and worked my towards each side; if you can imagine following the curve as I pulled straight up... (Hope that is a better explanation). As mentioned earlier I did not use any tools other than my hands to remove all 5 pieces.

Hope this helps.

Let me know if you have any other questions and I will do my best to help in anyway I can.

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