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1973 Alfa Romeo Berlina 2000
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello All - It's been awhile since I last checked in. In the last 5 months, I have been driving my 73 Berlina so much that I had to pay the insurance company more to increase the mileage limits on my antique car insurance! The car just makes me happy ... I know there will be plenty of challenges/adventures, but for the moment, I have just been getting to know the car. For example, she's blowing some blue smoke and all indications are that I have some valve or piston ring leakage... but I just can't do anything about it at the moment, and she still seems happy to buzz down the road!

Having said all of this, if you take a moment to look back at my past posts, you'll see that on the drive home from Arkansas to Pennsylvania, after having just purchased the car, a stone was thrown up and the front windshield was cracked. I had no idea that that small crack would turn into a 5 month saga... Many of the wiser/experienced Alfa owners are nodding their head. I'll try to capture some of my experience here, in the hope of contributing to our collective knowledge. I've made mistakes and am probably still making mistakes, but this bulletin board has been awesome and I've received a lot of support and help from members. Thank you!

I'll follow up with posts documenting little experiences related to my 1st windshield experience. I should also state, This story already is near the end. The Berlina is going into the shop on Monday to begin the replacement. But for now, here is a recent pic of my Berlina... not perfect, but actually she is...
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Premium Member
1973 Alfa Romeo Berlina 2000
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31 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Alright, so if we start at the beginning... My son and I were driving our 1st Alfa Romeo home to Pennsylvania from Arkansas (read the details here). At around 300 miles into a 1200 mile journey, my son turned to me with a foreboding look and said, "Dad, are you ready to want to kill yourself?". He pointed at the passenger side of the windshield. A rock had been kicked up and created 2 spider cracks in the windshield. They were small and there was nothing we could do, but I still had a pit in my stomach.... somewhere in my research on this car, I'd read that the windshield were a bit rare. Here are a few pics of the depressing maturation of a cracked windshield.

The day after we got home:
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I was trying to get help and talking to glass shops, but those cracks seemed to grow by the hour and I just did not have the confidence or tools after having just bought this car to start drilling holes in the windshield to try to stop the cracks. It was heartbreaking to watch these cracks grow...
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Each one of those small initial cracks in the spider was spreading...and I was just watching. I think that the fact that the damage was right where the window bends did not help. My son and I were watching every YouTube video there is on stopping windshield cracks and repairing them... Don't laugh too hard, we were desperate! We ended up doing two things... and I did not take pictures... Sorry!
  1. We bought this cheap windshield repair kit from Amazon. It actually kind of worked. The cracks were a bit less obvious, and I like to think the resin may have prevent new cracks growing. Having said this, the cracks did NOT disappear.
  2. I identified a new crack growing. It had been about two weeks now, and I'd watched 3 other cracks grow the full length of the windshield. I was at a breaking point (no pun intended), so I got brave one morning... I pulled out my Dremel tool, the smallest bit I could find, did my best to identify the end of the new growing crack, and drilled a shallow hole in my windshield. I then took a large needle used to sew leather, placed it in the divot I had created and gave it a TAP! A small bullseye instantly formed and that crack never grew again...One of my successes, but. man was I scared!
I'll end this post here... More to come.
 

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When you find a windshield don't be afraid to take the old one out. Slice (some of) the inside lip off and it just pushes out.
Get the weather strip new from Classic Alfa London or Cicognani. Carefully remove the aluminum trim from the old strip and install on the fresh strip.
Watch videos on roping in a windshield , i installed the front and rear glass on my TI and it was cake. Do need an assistant though. Came out straight, much better than when i paid a glass shop to do it years ago.
 

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Pete
 

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1973 Alfa Romeo Berlina 2000
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31 Posts
Discussion Starter #8

This place makes custom windshields.
Thank you! I did contact them and they were very helpful and sent suggestions; however, the quote was just under $4k and I had to build mold or template based on the old windshield. I decided not to go this route. But I want to re-emphasize how helpful this company was... It makes sense that it would be expensive to make a custom windshield.
 

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Premium Member
1973 Alfa Romeo Berlina 2000
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31 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
When you find a windshield don't be afraid to take the old one out. Slice (some of) the inside lip off and it just pushes out.
Get the weather strip new from Classic Alfa London or Cicognani. Carefully remove the aluminum trim from the old strip and install on the fresh strip.
Watch videos on roping in a windshield , i installed the front and rear glass on my TI and it was cake. Do need an assistant though. Came out straight, much better than when i paid a glass shop to do it years ago.
George - Thanks for the advice. One of the big challenges for me has been the fact that my old windshield is a glue-in and I have decided to replace it with a gasket based windshield that you describe. I'll be writing more about this process later. The aluminum trim was almost as hard to find as a replacement windshield.
 

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1973 Alfa Romeo Berlina 2000
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Discussion Starter #10
For future reference, cracks shorter that 6 inches can be "fixed". Those in the "after we got home" pictures would have been an easy repair for one of the chip fixers.
Brian - I tried. I went to Safelite the next day, but they said that due to the "spidered" nature of the crack and the fact that it was about 1 inch at it's greatest width, it could not be filled or fixed. It also started to grow... literally hour by hour.
 

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1973 Alfa Romeo Berlina 2000
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31 Posts
Discussion Starter #11

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Premium Member
1973 Alfa Romeo Berlina 2000
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31 Posts
Discussion Starter #12

Pete
Pete - Yep, that windshield would probably fit, and I asked Classic Alfa, but they will not ship a windshield. It is just their policy. So this was a dead end. I did buy my windshield gasket from them though... and they were always super helpful. I will go back to them for other parts.
 

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1973 Alfa Romeo Berlina 2000
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31 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Once I came to grips with the fact that I would have to replace my windshield, I began to ask for help. My best sources of help were AlfaBB and Andrew Watry who moderates the Berlina Register. If you want an excellent write-up on Berlina windshields, take a look at the September 2020 Berlina Register Newsletter written by Andrew. Here were my major hurdles and choices I made:
  1. My 1973 Berlina has a glue-in windshield. These are quite rare, if not almost nonexistent. They are a slightly different size than gasket based windshields. The aluminum trim is completely different. I needed to decide whether I was going to replace the glue-in or switch to the slightly easier to find gasket based windshield.
    1. I spent at least two months contacting every possible lead on windshields. Some were quite helpful, some never called me back. No one could find a glue-in windshield... I couldn't even find interchange or part numbers. Based on the advice from many and the evidence that glue-in windshields were impossible to find, I decided to focus on finding a gasket based windshield.
  2. I believe the gasket based windshield that should fit my Berlina were standard everywhere but in the United States. This means these windshields do exist. They also happen to be the same as the Giulia. As Pete pointed out above, Classic Alfa even sells this windshield.... but they won't ship it:(.
    1. Luckily, through AlfaBB I connected with Stuart Moss... He happen to have a few Giulia windshields and we worked out a deal for them to be shipped from Oregon to Pennsylvania. Stu was fantastic and very helpful!.. I'll say that I am 95% confident that the windshield he shipped will fit... 95% because it's not in yet...
    2. Here is a pic of what he provided me. It looks to have the correct interchange number for the smaller gasket based windshield. It does appear to be tinted, and my old windshield is clear, but I figure the car will just be a bit cooler in the summer.
    3. 1661543
  3. Now that I'd decided to go gasket, I needed to find the gasket and the aluminum trim that goes in the gasket.
    1. Classic does have the gasket, and unlike the windshield, they are willing to ship the gasket. I ordered one and had it in a few days.
    2. The aluminum trim would prove to be another challenge. It's totally different than the trim that goes with my glue-in. I could find no source for the trim. Classic Alfa does not have it, nor does anyone else. It also seems that it is a bit of a fragile piece. Luckily, AlfaBB came to the rescue again! After posting and communicating with several users, I connected with Hans Jensen in Denmark. He thought he had the trim I needed... He also had a set of Berlina headlight bezels I purchased. Another very helpful fellow! Again, I'm 95% sure the trim is correct, but will only know once it is in...
    3. Here is a pic of the gasket and trim, ready to head off to the body shop.
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That's enough for tonight. The next step was to find the right people to do the work. More on that later... Thanks again to all who have offered some help!
 
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