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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Kind of a long read, but I wanted to put the info out there for reference.


A few months ago I got a crack in my windshield from a rock kicked up on the highway. It was too large to repair, so I started searching around the boards for advice and knowledge. I Read up on the wind noise issues and the proper install procedure to be used. Also read up on the comfort IR glass option,(51317059699), and calling the dealer to see who they farm their work out to. I got all the info I needed and called the dealer to see who they used to install their glass. They gave me the contact info of a small family type owned company and I called them up. We had a discussion that I wanted the comfort glass, did not matter if it was OEM or aftermarket,(it's the same I was told), no problem there. They then told me to call my insurance, (Liberty Mutual) and they would give them the approval. I did so, no problems. I called the glass company back to verify that they would install it per the BMW TIS in regards to wind noise. The phone rep was not comfortable with this, and transferred me to the manager. The manager and I spoke, and he indicated that he had never heard of any specs! THIS company installs all the glass for the dealership! I had printed the TIS and told him that I could give it to the installer, but he wanted no part of it. When he understood that I wanted it done correctly per the spec, he decided that he did not want my business! I was not being unreasonable by any means, but apparently he did not think that he could meet my expectations and did not want to deal with me. I had a few choice but mostly polite words for him, and ended the conversation.

I then called up Safelite, who I should have called in the first place.

From the get go they insisted they would do it correctly, and if I was not happy, they would make it right. So I had an aftermarket IR windshield put in with an aftermarket molding. On the ride home I noticed tons of wind noise, not sure if it was the bad fitting molding, the glass, or the install. The installer used the correct procedure and also had the measurement tool, so I chalked it up to the crappy molding. At this point I called Safelite back and said I wanted a new OEM molding put in. Since it had to be ordered, I noticed after a few days that the glass had some bending type distortion on all of the edges about an inch or two wide. The distortion was bad enough for me to have them get a new piece of aftermarket glass to see if it was just a one off defect, or if all the aftermarket glass had this. New glass came in and had the same distortion. I know for a fact that my OEM piece did not have this, so I called the insurance company to see about getting an OEM piece. No problem whatsoever, a new piece of OEM IR glass was ordered from Germany. About a month or so later, it arrived and was installed. Result: Zero wind noise, and no noticeable distortion, so I am a happy camper, I got an OEM IR windshield for the price of my deductable. I have to give props to Safelite for being courteous and professional throughout the entire process. They stood up to their promise and in the end did a great job. I would not hesitate using them again.

One point I want to make sure is clear, the aftermarket glass is NOT as good as the OEM stuff. All the windshield replacement companies swear up and down that it is the same exact glass but without the pretty BMW logo on the bottom. This was not true in my case. The distortion was so bad that I was willing to pay the difference if it absolutely came down to it.

I hope this helps others make a decision when the time comes to get new glass.
 

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When I had my windshield replaced last spring I insisted on BMW glass and I paid the $70 difference.

Zero problems.
 
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Thanks for the post Brian. What does the comfort glass do or how is it different than non-comfort glass? Im assuming the IR you used is for Infrared, what does IR have to do with glass?

School me please because this is something Ive been meaning to find out anyway.
 

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Thanks for the post Brian. What does the comfort glass do or how is it different than non-comfort glass? Im assuming the IR you used is for Infrared, what does IR have to do with glass?

School me please because this is something Ive been meaning to find out anyway.
Does it not block out the IR rays from the sun? Making the car less like a greenhouse on hot sunny days.
I think it also blocks the GPS signals, but then I would expect most of us use the built-in GPS.
 

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Realized mine has aftermarket when I noticed the wavy-ness... Stay with OEM if the different is not that great!
I had a windshield replaced on my E92 and noticed immediately how bad the aftermarket glass was. I swore next time I'd ask for OE.

Now in my brand new F10, the OE (factory) glass is wavy and looks almost as bad as that E92 did.

I heard reports back in my Mini days of how a lot of OE glass was substandard and would crack simply from chassis stress. So I think it's rather a crap shoot these days. Everything is cheaper, thinner, lighter, and less expensive. Quality sometimes suffers.

But I'd agree; generally we're better off asking for OE, and as the OP mentioned, that includes moldings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the post Brian. What does the comfort glass do or how is it different than non-comfort glass? Im assuming the IR you used is for Infrared, what does IR have to do with glass?

School me please because this is something Ive been meaning to find out anyway.
Does it not block out the IR rays from the sun? Making the car less like a greenhouse on hot sunny days.
I think it also blocks the GPS signals, but then I would expect most of us use the built-in GPS.
bono is correct, it blocks the infrared rays from the sun, decreasing the heat inside the car on sunny days. It is a coating on the glass that has a slight purpleish/blueish tint to it, but not noticeable inside the car. You can see it on other cars on the road if you keep an eye out for it. It will block radar signals and EZ pass type devices also, so windshield mounted radar detectors will not work low on the windshield. There is a cutout on either side of the rearview mirror to mount these devices, not sure if a radar detector would fit up there though. Luckily I have the remote mounted Passport 9500ci radar antenna in the grill, so this wasn't an issue for me.

I'm looking forward to the summer to see how much cooler the car is after sitting in the sun all day.
 

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I am confused....

You said you should have called safelite in the first place, yet they installed a crappy aftermarket glass, and did it wrong.

You got very lucky that one location agreed to fix it- MANY others simply do not know enough to demand it, or are unsuccessful.
 

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I am confused....

You said you should have called safelite in the first place, yet they installed a crappy aftermarket glass, and did it wrong.

You got very lucky that one location agreed to fix it- MANY others simply do not know enough to demand it, or are unsuccessful.
He said that after he complained about the glass to Safelite they rectified the problem with OEM glass. Yes it took time but it had to be ordered. What more could you ask for?
 
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Thanks for this, Brian. My windshield isn't damaged, but I've been considering having it replaced due to the insane amount of micro-chips I have on mine in only 57K. Even at 46K when I purchased it, I noticed that it was very pitted. Strangley, my paint is not in the same condition as my windshield and I'm certain it hasn't been resprayed. Driving into the sun is downright annoying. My DD is an '08 Tundra currently with 51K and has virtually no chipping. Soft BMW glass?
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I am confused....

You said you should have called safelite in the first place, yet they installed a crappy aftermarket glass, and did it wrong.

You got very lucky that one location agreed to fix it- MANY others simply do not know enough to demand it, or are unsuccessful.
I believe that the initial install was done correctly, just using sub par materials. I ok'ed the use of the non OEM parts, so that is on me. They never once balked at re-doing it, even with another windshield, so I never felt put out, nervous, or uncomfortable. That is why I was very happy with the experience, even though they had to do it twice.

Based on the conversation with the dealer's installer, yes, I did feel kind of lucky that they made it right.
 

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I've had cracked windshields on both the ///M5 and the 540iT with different results...

Both replacements were handled under Progressive and both were performed by SafeLite. I am happy with the results of both. Both SafeLite installers were very professional and let me nag and observe them without issue.

However, for whatever reason when the glass was replaced on the ///M I was allowed a German replacement glass [not OEM, but just like it] but for the 540iT I was given Chinese glass. I was never certain if this was because one was the ///M and the other "just" a 540 or just luck.

I had a little chat with the Safelite installer about it, glass-wise there were no differences *if* there were no waves or imperfections in the glass and noted that were were often such. I inspected the glass before he mounted it and it seemed as I may have been fortunate enough to have gotten a shield that had no [visible anyway] imperfections. Just makes me nervous given typical Chinese QA on their products compared to German manufacturing.
 

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Thanks for posting this story! I'm about to have my very badly chipped windshield replaced soon and if I hadn't read this I'm sure I would have ended up with a bad non-oem glass and wind noise... Cheers! :cheers:
 

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Safelite does NOT USE OE INSTALL METHODS OR MATERIALS.

I had an insurer that insisted on using them, so I drilled down and found that they could not certify that their INSTALL METHODS actually met BMW standards and did not impact BMWs safety certification. Note that this is not about the GLASS, but rather the methods.


They hack out the old glass, cut away the OE seal, squirt in their 'proprietary' sealant and slap the glass down. They do not use OE spacers or jigs.

Now, in regards the OPs case: if you want to say "it was my fault for OKing aftermarket stuff" fine- but I disagree that this constitutes a glowing endorsement of Safelite as "the place to go" for glass! For every install that turns out like yours there are 20 where owners are too stupid to know the difference.

It takes some time to find a shop that understands OE install methods, but when you find they they will not be 'scared' of the process.
 

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I had mixed results with Safelite on my wifes X5.

They said they used OEM replacement windshield and materials, but the first one whistled like crazy. The glassed looked good, but the noise was bad. They came out and resealed it (cheap fix). While there I noticed the last guy broke 2-3 plastic clips for the shroud around the bottom of the windshield. They tried to blame that for the noise and agreed to replace the clips. After those came in and didn't fix it, they agreed to replace the windshield with OEM. That did the trick.

I guess the point is, they certainly did not get it right the first time but they were willing to correct any issue and get it right. I would still consider using them for my M5 if needed.
 

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My windshield has a crack that started out over the winter (actually mild winter here in NY) on the lower passenger side and is now almost in my view. I have been meaning to call my insurance company which covers the glass 100% or so they say. My concern is about any leakage into the LKM. My boss has a 02 4.6is and had his windshield replaced, though not sure if it was aftermarket or OEM and soon after that water leaked into his LKM. Also, think I should have them come to my driveway for replacement, this way I can watch over the installer like a hawk or leave the car with my indy so therefore he may be able to view the job and review the work before the installer leaves? I believe Safelite is the company of choice for most insurance companies in my area and reading the above posts that they don't use OE methods/materials has me somewhat concerned.
 

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This has turned in to a nightmare for me. I called around 15 shops and explained to them that I had the dealer printed TIS for the job and I requested that they follow OE methods. Most of the shops gave me ridiculous responses like: "In real life we don't have to do that" or: "I'm not having anyone look over my tech's shoulder while they work". I explained to the shops that I just want the instructions followed, and that I would pay for their time and any special tools needed. They refused and insisted that their installers have been working with BMWs for 20 years and are licensed and insured (pretty much the same exact response from everyone). I'm not trying to look over anyone's shoulder or order them around while they install my windshield. I just want an explanation as to why they don't need to follow OE guidelines. I even spoke with a tech in person and he had no reason, he just assured me that I would be happy with it but it could never be like it was from the factory because they use "special machines".

I called my insurance company (Geico) and explained to them that I couldn't find a shop in the area I felt comfortable with and asked what they recommended. They said I should just take it to any of their installers that are certified by the SGC Network (the very best according to them) and be done with it.

I eventually caved and set up an appointment with the shop that my local BMW dealer sends their cars to thinking my luck would be the best there. I was told by a high end shop in the area to request a certain tech and had everything ready to go including OEM glass from Pilkington. They sent a different tech and after I spoke with him I felt even worse about getting this done and just cancelled the appointment.

grrrrrrr

That crack isn't so bad....
 

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There is absolutely NO magic to the BMW TIS procedure for installing the windshield - it consists of using rubber spacers, tape, foam blocks and a measurement tool. In fact, your local BMW dealer completely ignores it :eek: and I bet they have won plenty of BMW service awards. Someone should probably report their gross misconduct to BMW USA.

There are millions of cars (a rough estimate is over 270 million passenger cars in the US) and how many of them have windshields? Have they all been installed using the BMW TIS procedure and magic foam blocks? What is it about the e39 that requires special procedures? The answer is nothing.

The windshield is bonded to the body using urethane adhesive, just like every other modern car. The shape of the channel is not unique, the profile of the glass is not unique, the relationship of the windshield to the body is not unique. The specs for the location of the windshield are of course important and any installer should be making the windshield fit properly.

A poor installation job done by somebody following the BMW procedure will be way worse than a quality installation job done by someone who doesn't follow the BMW procedure.

I would rather have somebody who installs 10 windshields a day and will stand by their work do the install with than try to find someone who knows that I am looking for a unicorn.

Some glass folks will do a great job some will do an awful job, but that is because of the person doing the job, not some mystical procedures that are or are not being followed.

I totally understand the temptation to think that the e39 is unique, but ultimately it is just a car.

Do what you feel comfortable with and good luck.

Note that I haven't even mentioned the quality of the windshield itself, that is a whole different issue and I don't have enough time to get into that :)







PLEASE NOTE THAT I DO NOT OWN AN M5 AND THIS POST IS NOT INTENDED TO BE ARROGANT. PLEASE READ THE IMPORTANT REVISED DISCLAIMER THAT APPLIES TO THIS POST
 
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