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Replaced back door glass keeps shattering

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New User

Aug 24, 2015, 12:23 PM

Post #1 of 5 (1775 views)
Replaced back door glass keeps shattering Sign In

Hello all,

I'm having a really terrible problem replacing the back door glass to my old Buick Roadmaster station wagon. The back window was shattered last month when someone broke into it. It's the top half of the back which raises up and isn't mounted in any sort of frame, just 2 strut connect points and 2 hinges at the top. I was relieved to fine a replacement used piece locally for $100, and replaced the glass. After about 3 days, many drives which included opening and closing the door, sometimes slamming it quite hard, the window spontaneously exploded parked in our parking lot. We checked security camera footage and sure enough it seemed to explode on it's own.

Luckily the same place had another piece of glass, and we installed it again, this time being very sure to align everything up and very lightly tighten the bolts. Again, this time after about 2 weeks, it exploded. Once again I had been driving the car a ton, and shutting the back door pretty hard. The explosions happened both times around 8pm, but it's hard for me to believe this is all about the temperature changes given the use it was put through throughout the week.

Any advice on this? I figured if I got another one I better leave the struts detached as that seems to be where the most pressure could possibly be. These were the older struts that were on the car before. One is noticeably stronger than the other however still no where near new strength. After both explosions the stronger one was hanging out of the car and the weaker one was hanging in.

This is not my roadmaster, just wanted to show you what the back window looked like.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Aug 24, 2015, 12:30 PM

Post #2 of 5 (1773 views)
Re: Replaced back door glass keeps shattering Sign In

My guess would be that it's not adjusted correctly and not seating evenly putting stress on the glass when it's latched closed.


We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Aug 24, 2015, 1:55 PM

Post #3 of 5 (1766 views)
Re: Replaced back door glass keeps shattering Sign In

Just some comments on this.

Struts in that pic must be of equal force and where and how they mount to glass 100% right. Oddly, you'll find and seen that glass is strong as all get out when mounted exactly right and that one and type you could just twist in your arms and break it.


IDK but fasteners thru the glass where it hinges must remain insulated from metal to glass by rubber and or plastics and if off or worn will be a problem.

All new stuff probably not available?


New User

Aug 24, 2015, 6:22 PM

Post #4 of 5 (1756 views)
Re: Replaced back door glass keeps shattering Sign In

Thanks Tom,

After decades of not even thinking of it with this car I'm definitely going to be more careful closing the door going forward. I merely mention slamming it now to point out that it wasn't installed and then shattered at the first little disturbance.

As for the fasteners there are only 2 that I actually installed directly into the glass at the very top. Both times I installed it complete with all the little plastic bits that insulate the metal parts from the glass. The strut mounts came with the glass, so i simple just popped the old struts onto the new mounts.

And no, no new stuff available which is why I was pretty excited to see a local wrecking yard with one of these, and then again with a second. Obviously now I'm determined to figure out what's going on before destroying a 4th.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Aug 24, 2015, 9:43 PM

Post #5 of 5 (1753 views)
Re: Replaced back door glass keeps shattering Sign In

Glad you posted the pic of that door/glass set up and that it wasn't glass all in a metal housing. It's just not very tolerant by design for abuse. Look at the molded rubber on body of car and on the tailgate as well. Adjust so as snug but not too tight as to have to even slightly slam to latch. Hard to do with cold and heat extremes I can see that is also a leaking point.
The plastic isolating parts, rubber or stuck foam where metal of those hinges up top mount are weak from the start.

Glad you are still finding this glass as I would think the wagon of this car wasn't as high a # of production than the sedan models?

Care in adjustment and installation is a must then not abusing it by hard use much more of a must with this than others but no moving door with glass is thrilled to be slammed - too many weak areas for them to stay well just with driving and body torqueing a bit with road flaws and changes,


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