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HomeTech Articles > 944 Rear Hatch Glass Repair

Pelican Guest Technical Article:

944 Rear Hatch Glass Repair
William Miller
bnamiller@netzero.net


Overview

The 944 is equipped with a glass hatch that is surrounded by an aluminum frame. This frame is supported by 2 gas pressurized struts (attached at each rear corners) and two hinges at the front. When the hatch is in the closed position the strut place "reward" tension on the glass. Over time this tension cause the glass to be pulled loose from the forward portion of the frame. This will ultimately break the seal and cause water to enter the vehicle. I’ve heard of cars having this problem in less then a year. Shame Porsche, shame.


The glass is supported in an aluminum frame with a rubber seal and retaining clip "trim". The trim is designed to "hold" the glass against the seal and frame. The seal has no adhesive so the only thing that keeps the glass from pulling loose is friction.

I contacted several local glass shops but none were willing to work on it. Every shop said to buy a new hatch from the dealer! With very little to loose (it’s my brother-in-laws car) I decided to attempt the repair myself. For the investment of a couple hours and less then $10.00 in materials it’s well worth the effort. The hatch now fits correctly and should last for a long time given proper treatment.

The affected car is a 1985 ½ 944 with unknown mileage (the speedometer was previously replaced). This car has the "rode hard put away wet…" look and feel. The glass had separated from the forward frame and caused a 2-3mm gap. My B-I-L had sealed the gap with silicone to minimize the leak.

 

Process

Warning (disclaimer)! This repair is performed at your own risk. Don’t blame me if you break or crack the glass. I felt it was worth the risk (not my car) to attempt the reseal. If you are not willing to accept the idea of buy a hatch DO NOT attempt this.

Because the frame will most likely be bent the hatch will need to be removed. Begin by removing the rear portion of the headliner. Mine was held in with 7 screws. Remove the forward portion of the hatch seal by pulling it towards the rear of the car. Carefully peal back the headliner (it is held in place by the seal) to gain access to the allenhead bolts retaining the hinges. This car had the head-liner cut to get to the screws, don’t try this at home. Loosen all 4 bolts but do not remove. Remove the retaining clips on the hatch struts and disconnect the wires for the defroster and wiper motor if equipped. With the help of an assistant, (have them support the hatch while the bolts are removed) remove hinge bolts and washer plate under the bolts. Disconnect the hatch struts and CAREFULLY lift the hatch off the vehicle. Pretty strait forward.

Stand the hatch on it’s tail on a soft surface (an old sleeping bag works very well) and support it so it can not fall over. With a flat blade screwdriver carefully pry the trim loose from the inside. Start from one side and work slowly. It’s comes off fairly easily but don’t get in too big of a hurry. The frame is soft and will bend easily. Continue working your way across the frame till the trim is removed.

Now determine if the frame is bent along the end where the glass has pulled loose. This example was bent very noticeably at each hinge point.


To straighten the frame I used 2 1/2inch extensions, a big pair of channel lock pliers and a 3/4inch piece of wood. See drawing .

While holding the fixture in place squeeze the frame back into position. Ensure that the extensions do NOT contact the glass and check you progress repeatedly. It’s helpful to have another set of hands to support this fixture.

When you are sure you have the frame straight and the glass fits to your liking. Gently pull the frame away from the glass and thoroughly clean the seal. Apply of generous bead of Silicone based sealant. I used DAP® brand 100% Silicone rubber sealant (black) from my local Ace hardware store. Don’t worry about making a mess as it can be easily scraped off with a razor blade when cured.



While the silicone was wet I applied clamps and straps to hold the frame and glass in position until the silicone setup (overnight). Use extreme caution when applying clamps to the glass. You really don’t want to crack the glass! (that would be bad) Allow this to dry over night before proceeding, give your buddy his beverage.

After the silicone has cured remove the clamps and trim away any excess silicone.

 

Reassemble

Reinstall the trim to the front of the hatch. You may need to do some tweaking to the trim piece if it was damaged (twisted etc) during removal. After getting the trim started I seated it using light blows from a dead-blow hammer. A rubber mallet would work equally well.

Get your buddy to help reinstall the hatch. It is helpful to have a small screwdriver to center the hinges with the bolt holes. (Why are these back seats so small, or maybe I’m just too fat?) Loosely tighten the mounting bolts so the hatch can be adjusted to fit. When you are happy with the alignment tighten the bolts and temporarily reconnect the struts, your buddy will start to complain about it getting heavy (blah blah blah). Reinstall the head-liner and connect the wiring. When reinstalling the hatch seal pay attention to the forward corners. On this car the seal didn’t contact the hatch and had to be "persuade" to fit correctly. It had not been seated correctly for quite sometime as the carpet was soaked! I’m guessing I’ll be putting in a new seal before too long.

You may want to leave the struts disconnected for several day’s to give the silicone time to completely cure.

If you’ve got a pulled out hatch give this repair a try. It’s not difficult and is a lot cheaper then replacing the hatch.

William Miller

Comments and Suggestions:
emsman Comments: mrunlawful have any more pics of the final product?
June 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Let's see if he has more to share. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
clayton Comments: my 1985 944 hatch keeps popping up, i tried replacing the pins to know avail,what else could be wrong.
May 6, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: With the hatch open, can you manually close the latches? Then check if they hold close. They may not be locking. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
BacT3R1a Comments: I ended up with this issue, few days after installing new support shocks.. Then i saw the glass out of the upper frame!
So i took it off myself, it only weighs 52.5LBS, took the trim molding off the top, the glass and frame were in alignment so i cleaned the glass and rubber seal with paint thinner, applied a nice bead of clear silicone, squeezed both pieces together and reinstalled the top molding back and tapped it in with a rubber mullet and the excess silicone came out, glass was in place and 5 hours later, its back in the car, but this time, i'll leave only 1 new and one bad shock. One support shock holds the glass pretty well, 2 is overkill to me.
Remember, patience is a virtue!
December 5, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
mrunlawful Comments: I custom built an exact duplicate hatch glass out of fiberglass painted to match, then did my final body work. I have a rear camera inside my vehicle facing out a hole big enough on the hatch I made. Must say never have to worry about breaking it ever
February 21, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for sharing, it looks sweet. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
speedster Comments: Do you know how the pins or rear bolts that are in the the hatch adjust Thanks John
September 8, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Here is some info from the forums:

1. Open hatch and tighten the hatch pin(not the nut), so the pin moves up. Do this more turns then you did when you loosened it. (both sides) Try closing the hatch. You want the hatch to close and NOT lock. So if the hatch closes and lock, open it and tighten the pins more until they don’t lock when closing the hatch.

2. Now the hatch should close and not lock on both sides. Open the hatch and loosen the pin a full turn on both sides. Notice that the pins have more wear on one side of the flat part of the head than the other. Try to align the pins so that this extra wear is facing the front of the car.

3. Close the hatch and see if it locks. If it doesn’t lock, keep repeating step 2 until the hatch locks. If one side locks and one side doesn’t, keep repeating step 2 for the side that doesn’t lock, until it does.

4. Now you can tighten the nut on the top of the pin. Make sure the pin doesn’t rotate while doing this.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
stilespj Comments: William,

As Bill said: "Great write up by the way!"
I'm in complete agreement.

Bill, thank for the tip on the 3M products, I'll give them a try just ordered them.

My hatch glass is coming loose at aroud the passenger side hinge area. It is sliding back and making opening the hatch a bit difficult. Time to fix it.

Paul
August 2, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Bill Dunster Comments: William, Great write up by the way!
June 10, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Bill Dunster Comments: Hi I am a PPG industries automotive coatings employee. My sons rear hatch has been rebuilt recently. 3m makes a primer and urethane that will bod to glass. Silicone has an acidic property that will corrode aluminum and steeldont use to reseal your windshield either it will rust the metal the part numbers for the 3m is 08609 window weld urethane and 08681 primer. it will run you around $50.00 in materials but is the reccomended products from 3m. Happy hatch rebuilding!
June 10, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Fluidplay Comments: The extensions are just a way of supporting the frame in areas where the frame is bent allowing you to apply pressure to the damaged or "bent area in an attempt to straighten the frame before re-installation. I would use something like a C-clamp to apply this force as you would have more control over how much movement in the material is required to straighten.
December 31, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
randy Comments: Hey thanks I'll try this right away. It will probably save me $140.00 to do it myself. I have another hatch if needed already. But I prefer the hatch with the brake light in it.
April 7, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Paul59 Comments: you have just made my life a whole lot easier... Thank you
March 5, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
chocko Comments: It will also help if you purchase a new aluminum top bracket.
January 19, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
boxcar Comments: thanks Cliff, I'll take a look.
SO far I found an early model hatch. basically am still at square one.
Early hatch is a temp for time being car use and is in place on new gasket. It is now exhibiting separation at leading edge of hatch. Plan is to mitigate fit problems on temp.
Then,take my old apart and straighten/reseal with modern glass adhesives. Have seen a 3m urethane product listed in conjunction with a primer, but there are others I'm sure.
July 5, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Cliff_87_951 Comments: "BOXCAR", you leak in the pass seatwell could also be coming from the battery tray which is another common problem. Remove your battery and check for and rusted out areas.
June 23, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
boxcar Comments: sounds practically easy. after just finding a 1 inch pond in the 86's pass seatwell, and insuing seat and carpet removal-and box fan drying I'm ready. don't want any substantial mold growth so i hit these areas with some 30% bleach solution-since they were all pulled up. also should order the big seal William mentioned first...so a little lead time before game day. none of those rubber parts live more than 20 years. the met blue 944 gets to live in the garage for the mean while.
May 15, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: See this reply from Cliff_87_951:

"BOXCAR", you leak in the pass seatwell could also be coming from the battery tray which is another common problem. Remove your battery and check for and rusted out areas. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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