With the interior completely removed from the car I focused on removing the windshield trim, as well as the windshield itself, to look for areas of corrosion on the windshield frame - also known as the birdcage.
To start I removed the various trim pieces from the t-bar and from around the windshield. In nearly all cases these trim pieces are held on by screws. However, the trim piece along the top of the windshield (shown in the picture below) is simply a press-fit type application. Also, in some cases the screws securing the trim pieces in place are hidden within the weather stripping so be sure to check things out carefully before getting to rough when trying to remove the windshield trim pieces.
Unfortunately, while trying to pry off the trim piece located along the top of the windshield I accidentally cracked my windshield. I had been using a flat bladed screwdriver, and was using very little pressure, but it was still too much for the windshield. From what I've heard these old windshields are very brittle and break easy. I guess those stories were right! So, with the windshield broken I removed the rest of the trim pieces followed by the windshield itself. Once the windshield was removed I found that most of the sealant used to secure and seal the windshield against the birdcage had deteriorated and pulled away from the windshield over the years. The result was numerous gaps and openings to the car's exterior which clearly explained the rust streaks and water marks that were visible running down the inside of the passenger compartment below the windshield.
With the windshield out of place I removed the VIN tag for safe keeping. The tag is simply secured by two rivets that can easily be drilled out and removed.
Finishing up the trim removal I removed the corner trim pieces from the top of the windshield frame...
Hidden below the top corner trim pieces was quite a bit of sealant presumably placed their years ago by a well intentioned individual trying to seal up some water leaks. But, based on the condition of the birdcage shown in the photos below, I sure wish they had done a more thorough job...
At this point it was easy to identify areas of deterioration on the windshield frame. The worst areas of deterioration were located at the upper and lower corners of the windshield frame where relatively large areas of the steel frame have rusted away leaving moderate sized holes and heavy pitting on the birdcage.
The photo below shows the corrosion that exists at the top passenger side corner of the windshield frame. In several areas the metal is rusted completely through with heavy pitting in the remaining steel.
The photo below, showing rust at the bottom passenger side of the windshield frame, indicates that there's probably a lot of hidden corrosion below the front fender. Some probing with a screwdriver and flashlight revealed that this was in fact that case. Since the only way to properly fix this problem is to cut out and replace the corroded material, the front clip and firewall will both need to be removed entirely to gain access for repair. I wasn't real excited about undertaking this chore since it's a lot of extra work, but this is an area that definitely needs to be repaired!
Unfortunately the drivers side of the windshield frame was rusted similarly to the passenger side so it looks like I have plenty of work ahead of me.
So, with areas of heavy corrosion found on the birdcage below the front fenders it became evident that the front clip and firewall would need to be removed to allow a proper repair. But, before this work can begin, the doors must be removed to allow access to the areas where the front fender is bonded to the firewall. Luckily, removal of the doors is very straightforward - simply remove the eight bolts shown below and the door lifts right off. This is definitely a two person job. You really need to have a second person to support the door while the bolts are being removed. Luckily my buddy Curt came over for the afternoon and helped me tackle this chore along with a few other items.
After the door is removed be sure to collect the shim plates and note how many were installed at each location. Be sure to check both the door hinge and birdcage for shim plates. Sometimes the shim plates stick to these surfaces and can easily go unnoticed.
For the time being I set the doors aside in a safe place. It'll probably be a few months before I get back to them...
With the windshield trim, windshield and doors removed I'm now ready to tackle removing the front clip and firewall...
Removal of the front clip and firewall is a big job but I hope to cover all of it in my next update. Stay tuned!