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Repairing quarterlights

Quarterlight frame
The quarterlight frame extends down into the door and forms the front guide channel for the main window. After the top and bottom fastenings have been released you can remove the frame complete with the glass.

Quarterlights are now rarely fitted by manufacturers so you mostly find them on older cars. It is a segment of glass next to the main pane, which may or may not open.

Originally they were fitted to increase visibility and because it was difficult to make the main pane an irregular shape, especially if it was a window that opened. Now the expense of making the window in two parts has overtaken that of making one irregularly shaped pane, so quarterlights have gone out of fashion. They are also an easy target for thieves.

If your car has quarterlights you probably find them troublefree. However, you may need to remove one if the glass is broken or the hinge or catch is damaged.

You can make some repairs without removing the entire quarter-light frame but because replacement parts are not always available, you may have to remove the complete unit and replace it.


Once the window has been removed from the hinges, carefully scrape off all the old glue. Mark the position of the glued areas on the glass with a felt-tip pen.

Most opening quarterlights have two hinges - one at the top on the forward edge of the frame and one at the bottom. These are often glued to the glass and can become unstuck.

Clean up the hinge faces where they will contact the glass, using wet-or-dry paper if necessary.

If only one hinge has become unglupd, gently tap around the other hinge with a piece of wood until the glue seal of that one is broken. Carefully withdraw the glass.

Use special metal-to-glass glue to stick the glass back into position on the hinges.

Carefully scrape all the old glue off the glass and mark around the area to be glued with a felt-tip pen. Clean the surfaces of the hinges where they fit against the glass with wet-or-dry paper.

Using a glue that bonds metal to glass, refit the glass back into position in the hinges. Gently clamp the hinges to the glass using a G-clamp. You may have to use a couple of pieces of wood in the G-clamp to reach around the door frame.

Removing frame

If the quarterlight glass is broken it will probably be easier to remove the entire frame and either fit a new glass to it off the car or else replace the whole unit.

The rear member of the quarter-light frame extends down into the door and forms the guide channel for the main window. Remove the trim panel from the door, then find and release the securing bolt attached to the lower end of the quarterlight frame. If necessary, soak the bolt first with penetrating oil .

Now find how the top of the frame is secured. It may be riveted or screwed in and the fixings may be hidden under the weatherseal or they may be on the outer edge of the door frame. If they are located under the weatherseal, carefully prise away the seal with a screwdriver to gain access to them. Drill out or unscrew the fastenings.

The frame should now be loose and with the main window at its lowest position you can withdraw the frame over the top corner of the main window.

With some models you may find you have to remove the main window to get the quarterlight frame out.

Replacing glass

You may not be able to buy a replacement glass on its own and you may have to fit a new or secondhand frame complete with glass instead. Check with your dealer or workshop manual to find out whether you must replace the whole quarterlight.

You may be able to find a secondhand quarterlight frame at a scrap-yard which will be considerably cheaper than a new unit. Or if you have difficulty finding a replacement glass you may be able to fit a piece of Perspex as an alternative.

Prise out the remains of the broken glass.

If you are replacing the glass, use a screwdriver to remove any fragments of glass that may still be in the frame. If the glass was glued into its frame use a special metal-toglass glue to fix it back in. If the glass fits into a weatherseal inside the frame, you can carefully ease it back in using a spoon handle. Lubricate the seal with a little vaseline if the glass is reluctant to go in easily.

Lubricate the weatherseal with vaseline.

If the quarterlight is attached to its inner frame you can screw it back on to the hinges attached to the main frame.

Hold the seal back while you fit the new glass.

Replace the frame in the reverse order to removal. Remember you will need a pop-rivet gun to replace any rivets you have drilled out.

Removing the frame

Release the frame rail bolt.
Undo the top mounting of the quarterlight frame.
Pull out the frame, working it over the main window.

Remove the door panel and find the securing bolt holding the bottom end of the frame rail and undo it.

Release the top mounting of the frame — it may be screwed or riveted to the door frame. Rivets will have to be drilled out and replaced when refitting.

Lower the main window fully and withdraw the frame out over the top forward corner of the main window.

Window removal

Release the frame rail bolt.

In some cases you may find that the quarterlight frame cannot be removed without first removing the main window.

The glass will usually have to be turned inside the door before it can be pulled upwards out of the door.

Release the lifting mechanism from the window lifting channel on the bottom edge of the glass . The glass will usually have to be turned inside the door before it can be pulled upwards out of the door.

Any weatherseals fitted to the door panel may have to be removed to allow the glass to come out.


The hinges fitted to a quarterlight vary from model to model. Some types are repairable while others have to be replaced. First, examine the hinge.

A hinge that pivots around a rivet can be repaired quite easily. If you can, remove the hinge from the frame. It may be glued on one side and riveted on the other or it may be held with screws or rivets on both sides. If it is difficult to remove the hinge, you can replace the pin with the hinge in situ.

Carefully drill or file out the old rivet from the hinge. If you have a pop-rivet gun you can replace the old rivet with a new one. The original rivets are often very small so if you cannot find one of the same size, enlarge the hole slightly using a rattail file to accept a bigger rivet.

If you don't have a rivet gun you can fit a small nut and bolt in its place. This makes an effective repair but doesn't look as neat. Remember to apply a few drops of oil to the hinge at regular intervals to keep it free from corrosion.

Another type of hinge consists of two cast pieces of metal that turn inside each other. It cannot be repaired, only replaced. You often find this type fitted to quarterlights that have an inner frame around the glass. To remove the hinge you need to drill out the rivets holding it to the frame - take care not to break the glass while you do this. Fit the new hinge, and use your rivet gun to attach it firmly in place.


The catch holding the quarterlight shut can also break or come loose. If the catch glues to the glass it can be repaired in the same way as the hinge, as already described.

The catch may consist of a plate riveted to the quarterlight frame with a locking handle mounted on it. If it is not possible to remove this handle from the plate you will need to fit a complete new catch assembly. Again, drill out the rivets to remove the catch.


Some catches are fitted to the glass itself. A small spindle passes through a hole in the glass and the locking handle is fitted on one side. The spindle is held to the glass by a locking ring or screw.

To replace the spindle first remove the handle. This may be held with a small pin that passes through the spindle. Knock it out gently with a small hammer and punch. If the pin goes in from one side and cannot be punched out, you will have to drill it out.

When the handle is removed, you can remove the spindle. Hold one side of the spindle with a pair of self-locking pliers while undoing the screw or locking ring.

When the fastening is removed the spindle can be withdrawn from the glass. Refit the spindle in reverse order but remember to replace any rubber seals that were fitted.


Some catches are spring-loaded . You can remove the spring once the catch spindle has been removed and dismantled. If the spring is weak, fit a replacement or pack out the spring by fitting a small washer behind it.

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