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Lets talk about laminated glass retrofit for 2020 Model Y (all you need to know)

Chrushev

Member
Nov 30, 2020
35
22
CA
For those that dont want the details. Can you do the retrofit? Yes. Should you? Probably not.

Now for the details:

Here is the laminated (2 sheets of glass that are installed on 2021 and newer model Y's in the front) on the bottom and the tempered glass on top of it -
Yes, the shape is a little different, but dont worry, its a match as far as mountings are concerned. The glass is attached in 2 spots, the yare circled in red. The black pieces on the laminated glass are made of lightweight metal (I assume aluminum), and have much more structure than glass would, hence the tempered glass has more glass, to give it more structure. That extra glass is simply unnecessary with stronger metal. So dont let the small difference in shape at the bottom fool you. They are the same everywhere it matters.

So I think that answers the question of whether it is possible. Yes, definitely.

So why shouldnt you do it?

Well. The laminated glass is a little bit thicker (about 1/5th thicker, or in other words tempered glass is about 80% thickness of the laminated). here is comparison:


What does this mean?

Well, the gasket that rubs against the glass as it goes up/down will be tighter, this means stricks, sand, rocks, whatever stuck in the gasket or sitting on it will rub harder against the glass. In other words, scratches are more likely.

Additionally as the glass now has less room inside the door, it is more likely to get scratched by the stuff inside the door (quite a lot of stuff in there), if not installed perfectly and rolled down.

Now to make things worse, laminated glass is just glass, it has a sheet of plastic between the two pieces of glass, it is not tempered, this means it is not as strong and is easier to scratch than the tempered glass. When I say "not as strong" I mean the glass itself. Laminated glass is harder to break, but that is because of the plastic that holds it together. As far as scratches it is easier to scratch than tempered glass, and easier to crack.

Another part of this, glass being thicker is that is now is a tighter fit into the trim at the top when the door is closed. Which is placing more pressure on the rubber that is there. Whether this is a bad thing I dont know.

Thats point A.

Now point B. Why do you want it? For quieter cabin? It has been shown that is does not make cabin any quieter when going over 40 miles an hour... And we didnt all get a Tesla to crawl at sub 40MPH right? :)

For me personally the tipping point which got me to install tempered glass back in was the safety aspect. If your door is pinned in a car accident, you need to get out through a window (and fast if the car is on fire), it is much harder to kick out laminated glass. And chances are you wont be able to position your self in a way to kick it as you are probably pretty badly injured from the accident. Im going to stop throwing hyperbolies around, but from safety aspect laminated glass is not great. (yes its better in rollover accidents, but rollovers arent nearly as frequent with Teslas, plus if the car is upside down, and you need to get out.. it may be hard). So the solution then is to climb into the back seat, where it is still tempered and kick out those windows. Which is perhaps how those dudes ended up in the back seat in that one deadly fire accident. Dont know. But safety is one thing to consider (please check out Mythbusters episode on this).

Now I am also one of the people that is pretty sure that ending up in water in your car is very unlikely but even steel toed boots wont kick out tempered glass under water, let alone laminated. You cant wait for the pressure to equalize before opening the door (because no one can hold their breath that long), but if you are under water, the only way out is if you have a special glass breaking tool and its tempered. If its laminated you better swim to the back and do it there. (best option though is to roll is down as soon as you hit the water).

Before people brand me as anti laminated glass, Ive owned several cars that came with laminated glass, its fine, but I am not a fan from the safety perspective. Honda Clarity is one of many others to use laminated glass in the front.

Anyways if you still want to do the retrofit, its doable. Here are some more pictures and guidance.

Door panel is attached with three T30 torx screws. Get a tool (specifically a torx, NOT hex). Home Depot has a Husky one for ~$10. Two screws are under the door handle (one near the to other near the bottom) and one under a red reflector on the side of the door (use flat head to pop off the reflector). Speaker is removed by simply popping it up, do not pull sideways, pop it up carefully and dont mess up the material around it.

Once the three screws are removed and speaker is removed pop off the panel, it is held by a bunch of clips and a groove at the top. Roll down the glass stick your fingers under it and peel up, then pop off the rest of it (look at some YT videos for this, like this one here, do note that he removed just one of the 3 screws, you need to remove all 3).

Once panel is off it has some wires, I was able to position it without detaching any wires, just make sure to put something under the panel to not damage it.

You will see a bunch of rubber circles, they simply pop off. You ONLY need the following 2, do not touch any others or you may have a lot of work on your hands with the motor. You will need the glass all the way up (in closed door position) in order to get access to the bolts. You can use a screwdriver and run it through the locking mechanism on the door to fool the car into thinking door is closed. To reverse this simply press the Open Door button. CAREFUL not to close the door with glass all the way up you will damage your trim. I put a rag in the door jamb to remind myself and to make sure gravity or something doesnt close it.


There are two 10mm bolts holding the glass. Left side on passenger side, right side on driver side (closer to the front of the car) squeezes the glass, this bolt does not need to be removed all the way, just loosened.

The other bolt, one further from the front of the car is a through hole. It needs to be removed and goes into the hole that you can see on the picture of the glass. Be careful not to drop the bolt when unscrewing it. if you do you will need a long stick with some sticky duct tape on the end or a magnet to fish it out (through the top once you remove the glass).

Once one bolt is loosened and other removed you can pull the glass up and out.

Putting in new glass is the same process but in reverse. In order to adjust glass's positioning you will notice that the hole is much bigger than the bolt, this is to give you wiggle room to move the glass up/down/left/right to get it into spot.

Note the marks on the rubber around the door frame, they will tell you where your old glass was, try aim for the same location. this may take a few adjustments.

Thats it. Hope this was helpful.

PS - perhaps an obvious tip, but if you want to prevent tempered glass from flying everywhere once broken, tint your windows.
 

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Chrushev

Member
Nov 30, 2020
35
22
CA
I should add that Tempered glass is ~$230 from Tesla, Laminated glass is ~$280 from Tesla.
If you have Tesla do it, they will most likely not install laminated if your car originally came with tempered since their system says the yare not interchangeable. But they charge about $60 for labor.

And another tip, if aiming to break tempered glass, aim for the edges. The glass is superheated to hot red, the process makes the glass compress towards the center, which is what gives it the strength (with strongest point in the center). So if you are in a situation and need to get out, hit the edges.
 
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TomServo

Active Member
Apr 10, 2014
1,540
993
Belleville IL
Save your money. Now if you had to replace a broken door glass and the insurance was paying for it, then maybe I’d ask for the UPGRADE, but out of pocket - no way.
 

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