Improving Your Hindsight

1960-66 C10 Big Back Window Conversion

Have you been scouring the market for a first gen C-10 with a big factory panoramic-style rear cab window? If you haven’t been able to track one down at a reasonable price, there is hope as you can up size your rear window with some moderate skills. The key to this transformation is finding a big window panel for the inside of the cab to pair with the larger window. Surely, you’ve noticed that the exterior of the cab has excess sheet metal surrounding the small window opening that was designed to be punched out by the factory in case an order for a big window came through. Aside from the inner panel, the only materials needed for the job are a larger window (obviously) and new weather stripping.

Josh Freeman at Freeman Fabrication had mentioned this conversion to us and that a truck was going to be rolling into his shop for a swap. In the bed was a spare big window inner cab panel, a fresh pane of larger glass, seals and weather stripping from Precision Replacement Parts. It was time for this truck to get a better perspective on where it’s been with a larger line of rearward sight.

To start, Josh removed the bench seat from the cab. The upholstery work is too nice to subject it to the inevitable sparks that are soon to fly, but every inch of interior space will be necessary to get the job done. 

To start the actual process of removing the rear window, Josh sliced into the outer rubber and began to slowly pull it out. A pair of helping hands was enlisted to catch the window as Josh pushed it out from inside the cab.

Next, Josh stepped inside of the cab and began prepping the back of the inner cab panel for removal. He started by grinding down the welds on either side of the panel stripping. With a steady hand, Josh grabbed a cutoff wheel and followed the upper seam of the cab panel from the passenger to the driver’s side. 

Next, Josh moved to the outside of the cab, made a pilot cut with the grind wheel and used a saw to cut out the small window opening from the panel. The cuts weren’t precisely made here since these weren’t the final versions. Josh just wanted to clear some room to work. 

Josh left the inner panel hanging while he made the exterior cut. When he was finished outside, he stepped back into the cab and separated the rest of the panel for good. 

Using a rotary tool, Josh cut away the remaining piece of the inner panel. Then, he removed the excess metal from the interior before the new panel was test fit.  

Once the small window-equipped inner panel was out, it was time to give the donor big window panel some attention. Josh removed the welds holding the stripping in place and peeled it off as he went. The edges of the panel were straightened for a better fit and cleaned up for a stronger hold when welded. 

The moment of truth, Josh brought in the new panel to see if any adjustments were necessary, but it fit perfectly as it was. Then he clamped it into place where he wanted it. He used 3M Panel Bonding Adhesive along the top of the panel to hold it to the upper cab wall; otherwise, it would have been necessary to remove the roof panel to access the weld location. The adhesive saves time and trouble. 

More clamps were added to better hold the panel in position. Then Josh inspected the edge for inconsistencies and gaps, and any weird spots were tapped closer to the cab wall. Josh spot-welded it into place at every preexisting hole along the edge to make it a permanent fixture inside the cab. 

The welds were taken down and cleaned up inside the cab. Next, it was time to cut out the exterior cab panel. With the new inner panel in place, Josh simply followed the window opening all the way around and sliced through the metal from inside the cab. 

Josh got right on top of prepping the opening for window installation by smoothing out the edges of the panel and the outer weld marks. Red oxide primer was the closest match to the truck’s exterior color, so it was used to coat the spots of bare metal made by welding. The paint blended in surprisingly well, but this part may be a little trickier on trucks with a painted exterior. 

As he neared the finish line, Josh began placing the Precision Replacement Parts seal around the new rear window. A small mark was made on the glass to show where the end of the seal belongs just in case it moved out of position while they were covering the rest of the window. Josh taped it as he went along to keep it in place. 

With the seal properly installed, Josh recruited another set of hands to help him place the back window carefully into the larger opening made in the back of the cab. This part is a little tricky, so having a couple of helpers around definitely doesn’t hurt. 

More clamps were added to better hold the panel in position. Then Josh inspected the edge for inconsistencies and gaps, and any weird spots were tapped closer to the cab wall. Josh spot-welded it into place at every preexisting hole along the edge to make it a permanent fixture inside the cab. 

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