FCA drew attention this month to structures surrounding three pieces of glass on three of its next-generation vehicles.
Advanced body development and collision repair manager Dan Black’s Verifacts Guild 21 talk Aug. 8 covered the 2019 Ram 1500, the 2018 Jeep Wrangler and the 2020 Jeep Gladiator. The popular Wrangler and Ram are obviously going to be common sights in body shops, and the Gladiator had already sold 7,252 units in less than two months as of the end of June.
So both body shops and glass repairers should take note of Black’s tips and then check out the FCA repair procedures for the full story.
2019 Ram 1500
Black noted that the panoramic sunroof found on some Ram 1500s wasn’t a new concept. However, the sheer size of the dual-pane opening was worth thinking about when working with the sheet metal around it, Black said.
‘There is not a lot there,” he said. The roof skin itself will be “more delicate to handle” without a structure and need “more care” in its removal out of consideration for other nearby components, according to Black.
Whenever you “cut a hole in something, there’s less integrity,” Black said. A shop will need two people to handle and manage it during its the roof skin’s installation.
Black said the skin had “plenty” of structural adhesive and would be “a little bit of a challenge” to remove given the many “areas of resistance” tied to the adhesive’s performance.
The outer aperture is bonded to the vehicle with structural adhesive in conjunction with spot welds, Black said. “Flutter foam” also exists on the headers, he said.
Another crucial roof-related point: “Roof skin removal is required” whenever a shop needs to replace a B-pillar on a 2019 Ram 1500, Black said. (The press-hardened steel B-pillar can’t be sectioned, he said.)
The roof skin covers the area where the B-pillar joins to the side aperture, Black explained. There’s no window access; roof removal is the only option, he said.
However, while the roof must be removed, it might not need to be replaced, Black said. (As noted above, check the actual FCA OEM repair procedures, on this and any other technical point.)
2018 Jeep Wrangler
The windshield header frame on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler is aluminum, Black said. But it’s also reinforced with composite parts, he said.
“That component must be replaced with an OEM part,” Black said of the entire structure. He said this restriction also can be found in the OEM repair procedures.
It’s the only way FCA can ensure the part works as it’s supposed to, he said.
A slide from his presentation indicated the composite reinforcements “must be installed to maintain roof strength standards.”
2020 Jeep Gladiator
The backlite glass on the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is mounted to an SMC fiberglass composite top, according to Black.
He said repairers only had “a minimal area to gain access” and should use either a hand tool or a ratcheting cable option to remove the glass — not an oscillating device. (Using the ratcheting cable option from inside the vehicle might give a shop a “nice clean cut” on the urethane, he said.)
The SMC is “soft fiberglass,” and a slipup with something like a pneumatic tool with an extractor blade will cut through the structure “very quickly,” Black said. Because no reveal molding exists, “it’s not forgiving,” he said.
Bite into the composite with your tool, and your shop might have to replace the roof assembly as well, Black said, explaining that it can be difficult to match the texture coating.
He said it was “imperative” to “take your time” and only use “cold-pull hand tools.” Black acknowledge this was slower, but it was the “proper” way to protect the roof assembly.
Black said the Gladiator’s rear slider glass also has a track at the bottom which must be worked around while removing the urethane bead.
The next VeriFacts Guild 21 call will be Sept. 12 at 2 p.m.
The dual-pane sunroof on a 2019 Ram 1500 is shown. (Provided by FCA)
The dual-pane sunroof on a 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel is shown. (Provided by FCA)
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler body design is shown. Two composite reinforcements within the aluminum windshield header can be seen here. (FCA slide provided by Great Designs in Steel)
The back glass of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon is shown. (Provided by FCA)
The back glass of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland. (Provided by FCA)