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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Windshield Woes - Why listen to a Woman???

It's an interesting world we live in.

Now this is going to sound like I'm complaining, but actually it could have been much worse.  I thought I would write about it anyhow.

Why listen to a woman? Especially when she says the most sensible thing? My goodness, what would a woman know about motorhomes, or windshields, or cutting and pasting and replacing? Making sure pieces fit BEFORE you start a job?

Our motorhome has two very large (and expensive) windshields. 

The morning started out with Steve driving the motorhome and I followed with the car up to Tri City Glass in Appleton. Both of the windshields that were ordered had finally arrived and were going to be installed. We had food and dogs aboard because we had to stay for 24 hours afterwards before moving the rig to drive it home.  I stated in yesterday's blog why we hesitate to ever leave our rig anywhere without us supervising.  So it was our choice to stay in the rig in their lot overnight.

Bear in mind that there are four different companies involved here.

  1. American Family Insurance which approved the windshield replacement due to the rocks and debris that flew up when a semi truck tire blew in front of us. 
  2. The second company involved is Safelite which actually handles the windshield replacement process. They of course do not carry large special-order windshields in their inventory so the actual acquisition of the windshields is farmed out to a third company. 
  3. Some unknown person at a third company took the order and had the two windshield pieces and new rubber trim seals shipped out to our state. 
  4. The fourth company is Tri City Glass which has been contracted to just remove the old windshields and install the new ones. They are the closest location able to handle such a large installation. 

So since mid-May all four of these companies had to coordinate and work together to approve, find, order, accept delivery, and now finally do the replacement. This is quite an expensive process, and we are paying a $500 deductible.  The total cost is about $2,000-3,000 ~!~~!

We weren't in any super rush because the existing repaired chips were still holding. They had been repaired in May, as well as seven other repairs in the past. One spot was spreading but not too bad yet. Of course, at any time, it could crack the entire windshield. That is why Safelite recommended replacing both of the windshield pieces on each side because they are so compromised.

We arrived early for our appointment at Tri City.  We chatted with a worker, and then with the supervisor, and they told us where to park to wait until it was our turn to pull around back into the loading dock. That was the only facility door that was tall enough to accept us.

We were sitting in a shady area with the generator running and the AC conditioner on the roof going. It was getting very hot but we were quite comfortable inside with the dogs. Steve finished his second cup of coffee with me and headed off to work so I was on my own.

The workers at Tri-City were very nice I am not trying to diss them by writing this. They are only doing what their boss tells them to do. They came over and wrote up a report, and inspecting any pre-existing damage and making sure that they wouldn't get blamed for any old damage to the front of the rig.

From there I was instructed to drive the rig straight on into their shipping and receiving bay. A worker helped guide me in and we got it placed in a good position so they could work on it.

This is where things got a little goofy. I was talking with their supervisor and he was informing me about the process. I asked him pointedly--- "Are you going to measure the new windshields before you pull out the old ones to make sure they are an exact replacements?" I feel like my question was sluffed off and didn't have any credence or value.

We had been forewarned that the rig would have to stay overnight at the lot. We had been making arrangements about where to park in their small lot afterwards.... We couldn't stay in the shipping bay around back because they had more trucks coming in.  The workers were trying to find a spot that we could plug in and not be in the way of their regular automotive bays. There was another motorhome along side the building getting worked on and they hoped we could move into that spot once the work was done. They don't have a lot of room on their lot, so we were a bit concerned.

I didn't want to have to run the generator in the high heat.  I was worried about a 20amp plug not being enough to run at least one roof air.

But, now I was nicely informed that we would NOT have to spend 24 hours on site for the seal to cure, because the seal is the type that doesn't need adhesive.  That was good news. So this set my mind at ease about not having to sit there for 24 hours in the heat with the dogs.

Little did I know, that should have been the least of my concerns.  LOL

I went back over to my rig and snapped a few photos with permission from the workers.  Joking with one of them who also happens to work with our son at the Green Bay plant. I went inside only to find the workers already removing the windshield. I had assumed their boss had instructed them to measure the new windshields before removing the old one, ya know, like I had asked.

It was kinda nice being able to stay in the rig anyhow rather than sitting in a waiting room.

Little did I know...

Well, they got the window out and inspected the rubber seal. We were hoping to reuse the same seals so we didn't have to adapt new ones to all of the curves. It looks good. They soaked everything down with a spray to soften the seal and proceeded to put in the new windshield.  I REALLY liked the dark blue sun visor section, which will match nicely with our rig.

Everything was looking good until they realized the new piece of glass was TOO WIDE!!!! The entire windshield was fitting top to bottom but the side to side was about three to four inches too wide!

The guys scrambled and measured and fitted and then went and told their boss what happened.

This is where we are extremely fortunate and why I am not overly upset. Why? Because --- luckily ---the original window had not broken while they were removing it nor had the seal been destroyed.

These two guys worked really really hard to get the original window back into place in the seal all back where it needed to go. I even helped in some parts by holding the windshield wiper out of the way or helping to guide the seal into place. I even held the flashlight for a while to see up underneath the edge of the overhang for them to finish tucking the seal back where it belongs. They worked really hard and got it all back into place. Fortunately no additional cracking or spidering of the chips.

They went back and forth with their boss a couple times trying to figure out what to do, and the boss was on the phone back and forth with the other companies involved in the chain of command! LOL

I got apologies all around from them, and the Safelite company, and our insurance company. The only ones being a bugger are the actual third party windshield suppliers themselves. They are trying to point fingers at everybody else --- but they were the ones supplied with the exact replacement number printed on the original windows.

The two hardworking guys packaged up the two new windshields to be shipped back to the company.

The manager was very apologetic and was going to try to force the issue with the supplier and get two new windows shipped there of the correct size overnight and I could wait for them. Seeing as we are due for hot miserable horrible weather I said don't push it. Get the right windows. And let me know. And I will come back. Now that we know we can fit nicely into their loading dock bay and the work will be done by these two very hard workers.  I drove the rig back home to our yard, safe and sound.

I did ask my great insurance gal Sarah what would have happened if the original window would have been broken and unable to be put back into place?   Just curious. We assume it would have been a huge hassle with forcing them to secure our rig at another location in a weatherproof storage facility and have it towed ($$$) because it would not be safe to drive with a windshield missing!  Or else tow it all the way back 30+ miles to our house and let us tarp and tape it all off with plastic until the new pieces would arrive?  Either way, it would have cost time, trouble and bad feelings all around.  Sooooo glad the original was able to be put back in!

I just wish they had listened to a woman first.


  1. Oh my goodness! What an ordeal! I am sorry you had to deal with that, but thank God that they were able to reinstall the original windshield until the correct sized one comes in. I guess the company that sent the wrong sized windshield will have to eat the cost of shipping back and reshipping and not charge for the wrong windshield. Since AMFam knows what is going on I am sure they will make sure there is no double-dipping. Maybe it will be a bit cooler the next time.

  2. What is that old saying? Measure twice so you only have to do it once. Of course they new better, right?

  3. Good Grief! So happy it all worked out in the end. Lets hope he listens to you the next time.

  4. Yes what happened to the old saying "Measure twice cut once"? The windshield gods must have been looking down on you. LOL


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