Optic Armor Windows is the leading manufacturer of motorcycle and automotive racing windshields, laminated safety windshields for the construction industry, Forestry Services, Aerospace, mass transit, as well as other heavy-duty glazing applications. With that in mind, it was absolutely necessary for us to hook up with the guys over at Optic and lighten up Project DeadSpool even more.
As you know, DeadSpool is a four-door, quad cab and with all of that, that’s a lot of glass. These windows aren’t really that heavy, but the windshield by itself is. We want to strip the glass out of this truck and replace it with a more lightweight option. Enter Optic. With Optic Armor’s Lexan windows, you’re using a lightweight, strong, and safe polycarbonate that has optical clarity and resistance to scratches.
We caught up with Sales and Marketing Representative, Jim Dunham, of Optic and talked with him in regards to their product and why it is important to use a high-quality product versus a lower-quality version you may find. “It is important to choose our product because the quality is number one for us. Furthermore, our product is backed by a professional sales and customer service team,” said Dunham. “We know the truck market is growing and because of it, we have adapted. We just finished up the second-gen S-10 drop in windows, and we also offer oversized, formed windows that are formed to the factory curvature.”
Since the truck market is on the rise, direct fit windows aren’t available just yet, changing over to Lexan does take some customization. But, if you’re here and reading this, chances are, you’re already well aware of customization at this level. Although it doesn’t take a true race-only vehicle to use Lexan, that’s what we’re doing. You can use their product in virtually anything as long as you have the correct dimensions.
For our project, we went with a 20-percent all the way around. One of the biggest reasons behind this change, other than the extreme weight loss, was the fact that the windows didn’t match originally. The side windows and backglass were tinted very dark, but the windshield was clear with a dark brow. Honestly, it just didn’t look that great. So, lose weight and look a lot cleaner with Optics windows is a no brainer.
After giving Dunham our measurements, he worked with his team to get us sheets of Lexan that would require minimal cutting. The windows were very close, but we used an electric die grinder with a cut off wheel for the job. We started with the door glasses and removed them. Once the windows were removed, we traced the size of the windows onto the sheet of Lexan to ensure correct fitment and began to cut it out.
It did take a few trips of trimming to get it perfect, but once it was laid into place, they already looked great. One thing to note when cutting these sheets is to be quick, but thorough. If you set too long in one spot, the friction from the grinder will cause it to melt. We used an excess piece that was cut off for practice as this is a one-chance deal and we didn’t want to ruin one of them.
With the door windows cut out, the backglass and windshield remained. Like the door glasses, the back glass needed to be cut out. Unfortunately, the back glass came out in two million pieces which required a lot of cutting, checking, and fitting. But, after some time, we got it dialed in to where we need it. Unlike the door glasses where we will use self-tapping screws to strap these windows down, we used 3M windshield urethane.
The 3M urethane is pretty much the go-to applicant for anything automotive windows. It will securely bond the piece to the vehicle and cures in a matter of 20-30-minutes giving you plenty of time to work and set it in the place where you want.
For the windshield, it was pretty close to drop in. It was already made with the factory curvature allowing us to just drop it down and trim some of the edges to fit how we wanted it. Once we had it trimmed down and taped into place, we applied the windshield urethane again. Now, we could’ve just left the windshield alone, but just in case for a little extra security, we went ahead and put some self-tapping screws into it as well. After all, we’re going to be traveling easily north of 110-miles per hour in the eighth-mile and even more in the quarter.
With doing a project like this, there may a few questions you may have. In fact, there are a few frequent questions that the guys at Optic get in regards to their product. What is the weight savings you can expect? Well, with a muscle car, typical weight savings are between 40 and 50-pounds when replacing the front and rear window. The polycarbonate is 50-75-percent lighter than glass depending on the thickness of glass you get. “Depending on the application, vehicle and windows replaced, savings can range from 20-lbs to over 100-lbs,” said Dunham.
Do you need to have bracing behind the glass on a windshield? Optic Armor recommends no thinner than a 3/16-inch windshield and anything faster than 160-MPH should have sort of bracing system. The last thing you want is it to fly out at that speed. With MPH in mind, at what MPH should you use screws in a windshield? Well, they have tested these glued in windshields at 150-MPH and everything worked fine. But, just for extra security, it doesn’t hurt.
Can you use these types of windshields and still obtain windshield wipers? Actually, you can. Optic tells us that you can, in fact, use wipers, but they will bead up water almost like Rain-X. To ensure you don’t gouge the surface, be sure and make sure there is plenty of water to soften any dirt or debris that may be on the glass.
If you’re not interested in installing these glasses yourself, any standard automotive glass shop should be able to install Optic Armor Windows. Once it is complete, and you’re wanting to clean the windows, Optic recommends any standard glass cleaner such as Windex to clean them with a paper towel.
Stay tuned as we take Project DeadSpool out very soon to see what it will do with all of its new weight loss. With all of this weight taken off, we can expect some serious gains on the dragstrip. For more information about Optic Armor Windows and to order your windows today, be sure and check out their website. Stay tuned to Diesel Army for more industry news and the latest in the performance products category.