Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How I Install a Bobcat Skid Steer Door Glass

Let me start this with an explanation of why I even thought it might be useful to put this detailed process out there for anyone to read. There are many reasons but the most obvious is that there are a lot of Bobcats out there with cabs. The front door is destroyed because of people raising the loader arms with the door open, it knocks the door off the hinges and either breaking the glass or damaging the whole door so that it requires repair with a new glass. My position as a used equipment dealer means that I get those Bobcat skid steer loaders with the empty door frame, broken glass, or nothing at all where a door should be. I have had 2 door frames in the past month requiring the glass installed, one I took to a glass shop (not specializing in machine glass obviously), $95 bucks and 2 days later I got it back with a hint of “don’t come back”.
When I asked my local Bobcat dealer about having one installed he replied that it took 2 men and 2 hours. Knowing his labor rate I did an about face and decided that I had to figure this out, it can’t be that hard.
I went at it with a total failure, with no instructions I put the seal on the window, attempted to put the window in the frame only to have it fall out. Ok so it isn’t obvious how to do it, I need some instructions. I went to “Lawnsite.com” I posted the question, “how do I install this Bobcat window”, sure enough I got a response with basically the order of the installation. Now I was ready to try again and this is my experience with a Bobcat G Series door frame and glass. I hope it is helpful, remember, this is my experience and I am not a professional. Do this at your own risk, my process might not be proper or safe.

First I set up a table with a thick cloth to work with at a good height, my table should have been a little larger but it worked.

Second, I didn’t have any of the specialized window tools but I did have a very dull screw driver, duct tape, a block of wood, hammer, pick and my hands.
Third, the parts that I have are of course the frame, glass, rubber seal and lock pull safety cord. I call it a lock pull safety cord because the cord is designed to be pulled out so that the window can be easily popped out of the frame in the event of an emergency exit.
Before I started on the process, I chipped the concrete from the frame and cleaned the seal area of the frame.

A close look at the seal reveals that there is a locking lip designed into the seal. The seal gets installed around the frame, then after the window is installed into its designated groove the locking lip gets folded over so that it secures the window into the groove.

Ok, so the locking lip is on the outside of the door frame, the groove of the seal for the frame is the deepest in the seal, work the seal around the frame. As I worked the seal around the frame I duct taped it to the frame, the seal is very rubbery and doesn’t want to stay where you put it. After I secured the seal around the frame I had a couple of inches left over, I hated to cut it but I did and I cut it so it was still about a half inch too long. I forced it into position expecting that when all was done it might be stretched out, also by making it a little big it helped to keep the seal in position on the frame. I put the gap at the bottom of the frame so that water wouldn’t come in the gap and run down the window.

Next I laid the window on the frame and seal, I shoved the window into the seal groove at the bottom of the door frame. I didn’t know where to start, it just happened that way. This is when patients comes in, the dull screw driver is great, it doesn’t cut the seal and it doesn’t cut my skin the numerous times that I slipped out of the seal and jabbed myself. It is a slow process of applying pressure on the window into the groove while using the screwdriver to work the rubber groove open and out of the way of the glass so that the glass goes all the way into the groove. The glass doesn’t bend, however it is a hardened safety glass that is really tough and I do put more pressure on it than I would have thought with no cracking. I work it into the groove all the way around the frame, removing the pieces of duct tape from the seal as I go.

Once I had the complete window worked into the seal I moved to the locking tab and again with my dull screwdriver and my thumbs I worked the locking tab into the locked position. Again, patience and very small bites at a time, eventually it was completely locked in all the way around.

At this point the locking safety cord needs to be installed, I thought about soap or silicon and then I remembered all the Bobcat skid steer doors that I have seen with the safety cord partially falling out, I figured that if it gets lubed going in it might be easily falling out so I will try to do it dry. It works! Again with my dull screw driver, I work the groove open so that the cord goes deep into the groove and I work it so that the seal just follows my screwdriver around the frame, I roll it into position and it goes very easily in. At the top of the door I leave a grab loop so that there is an obvious spot right by the emergency exit decal already on the door that says to grab and pull the cord out to pop out the glass in the event of an emergency. At the bottom of the door I spanned the gap of the seal, my logic is that maybe the cord will help to keep the gap area of the seal intact and one more small block of the gap as well.
Remember the gap in the seal where I had forced the seal on to the frame, where the starting point and ending points of the seal were butted together at the bottom of the door? Upon completion of installing the window, that area did open up to about a 1/8” gap. I have seen some of these gaps at about 1 inch, not too shabby if I must say so myself.



Total work time, from setting my table up to taking the table down including taking all the pictures, 1 hour and 45 minutes. Now that I know what I am doing I’ll bet the next one will take about an hour. My thanks again to the response on Lawnsite.com and I invite any opinions about what I might do differently to help with this job.

6 comments:

  1. Hey thanks for the help, I have been trying to install a seal and window for like 3 hrs now Iam going to try it your way, sounds good and hopefully it will work for me, will get back with you

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  2. The tape to hold it in place is key. Thanks for the post!

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  3. Thank you for your help . This will be the second time in 5 years I have had to do this . The last time took about 2 hours was looking for a better way to do the job . Bobcat should make a window that does not shatter all over the operator
    make a

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  4. thank you for the information.
    http://www.affordableskidsteers.com/

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  5. Thanks for your insights, really helped me install mine in less than an hour. I used a a paint can opener and it was the perfect tool. Also a little vasoline helped smooth things along.

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