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Old 03-24-2021, 12:13 PM   #1
whitedavidp
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Default Any Experience With Frost Fighter Stick-on Window Defrost Kits?

My rear window defroster wire grid is toast. I know there is power and ground. I also know that power doesn't manage to get more than a couple inches from the left side - and not even that on some wires.

So I am considering what to do and saw mention of these things (frostfighter.com/clear-view-defrosters-about.htm) which seem able to be powered by existing wires (with some modification).

Sadly, I have not been able to find reviews or much of anything, save from the maker's website. Has anyone had any experience?

Thanks
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Old 03-24-2021, 01:58 PM   #2
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Never heard of that kit. You can try repairing the grid wiring with the electrically conductive paint they sell at auto parts stores for just this kind of problem. I've never used the paint but it seemed to work well in the videos I've watched.
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Old 03-24-2021, 02:22 PM   #3
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Never heard of that kit. You can try repairing the grid wiring with the electrically conductive paint they sell at auto parts stores for just this kind of problem. I've never used the paint but it seemed to work well in the videos I've watched.
Thanks. But I basically have to replace ALL of the horizontal wires. There are 13 in all and none of them are willing/able to conduct power beyond 2" from the left (power) vertical strip beneath the tab. I haven't the patience to paint all of them nor do I think it would work adequately as a result. To patch a gap in one or two wires, certainly. But to essentially replace wires? Ugh! Cheers
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Old 03-24-2021, 02:29 PM   #4
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When I used to have a beetle. I used a small electric defroster unit that had a fan which blew the warm air on the rear window. It did the job. Made a bit of noise but wasn't too bad. Another thought is to get a rear window from another car.
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Old 03-24-2021, 02:45 PM   #5
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When I used to have a beetle. I used a small electric defroster unit that had a fan which blew the warm air on the rear window. It did the job. Made a bit of noise but wasn't too bad. Another thought is to get a rear window from another car.
When I stepped up from my 1967 beetle to the Volvo it was amazing! Defroster! Heat! Hokey smokes! But the time since my 1983 purchase has taken its toll. Considering all, the car is still pretty decent.

I got a quote for new glass - around $500! A few years back my wife's 1980 244 got some used glass installed. It works better than mine. But as mine don't work at all, that isn't saying much. It is possible though.

I have been considering items like this mounted on the rear deck and powered by the existing wiring/switch. There are a ton of them - all powered from the cigar lighters. It might work. Sadly, none of them have very decent reviews. And I worry about blocked vision, overheated glass, etc. Put it is possible and could at least be tested using the cigar lighter.

Thanks!
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Old 03-25-2021, 03:06 AM   #6
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https://classicvolvorestoration.com/...Fan&results=19
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Old 03-25-2021, 07:47 AM   #7
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Interesting. Are you saying that a fan is enough and heat isn't required? Thanks
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Old 03-25-2021, 01:21 PM   #8
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Back in the day these were more common, they were most effective once the car warmed up and the interior had some heat. Also had Frost Shields then, which worked adequately. Probably the economical choice today, short of getting a replacement rear glass is one of those grids that stick on.
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Old 03-25-2021, 01:27 PM   #9
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Back in the day these were more common, they were most effective once the car warmed up and the interior had some heat. Also had Frost Shields then, which worked adequately. Probably the economical choice today, short of getting a replacement rear glass is one of those grids that stick on.
Thanks!
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Old 03-31-2021, 10:53 AM   #10
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I've never used the one you are asking about. They look similar to the aftermarket defrosters that used to be sort of common on 122s and other cars. Those worked but were really really obviously aftermarket add on looking.

I have used the permatex paint repair kit before and it worked well on the defrost repair side but I found it very difficult to do a clean factory looking line. That was on a car where it looked like something had sliced through multiple lines somehow. It was just a couple breaks per line, but across all the lines. Managed to get the entire grid back in operation. It wasn't too ugly, but you could certainly see where I had repaired it and I wasn't happy with the look.
I have seen people more patient and skillful than myself do absolutely invisible repairs using that same paint on stuff. Mask precisely with tape and clean well seem to be the important parts.

Have you considered just picking up a used back glass from the junkyard that looks good? Cost would probably be about the same or less if you can reuse the gasket. Take a meter out and check the grid lines, then pop it out. When I had a 245 with several bad grids I was going to do that but never finished the job. Popping the glass out was not too difficult especially with a helper.
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Old 03-31-2021, 11:57 AM   #11
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I've never used the one you are asking about. They look similar to the aftermarket defrosters that used to be sort of common on 122s and other cars. Those worked but were really really obviously aftermarket add on looking.

I have used the permatex paint repair kit before and it worked well on the defrost repair side but I found it very difficult to do a clean factory looking line. That was on a car where it looked like something had sliced through multiple lines somehow. It was just a couple breaks per line, but across all the lines. Managed to get the entire grid back in operation. It wasn't too ugly, but you could certainly see where I had repaired it and I wasn't happy with the look.
I have seen people more patient and skillful than myself do absolutely invisible repairs using that same paint on stuff. Mask precisely with tape and clean well seem to be the important parts.

Have you considered just picking up a used back glass from the junkyard that looks good? Cost would probably be about the same or less if you can reuse the gasket. Take a meter out and check the grid lines, then pop it out. When I had a 245 with several bad grids I was going to do that but never finished the job. Popping the glass out was not too difficult especially with a helper.
Hi and thanks. I have decided to give the frostfighter kit a go. Once I decided to try this, I started removing the old defroster grid from the window using single-edge razor blades. Quickly I discovered the nature of the problem with the original grid. In some places, the grid wire/tape came off in spirals - king of like peeling an apple - but in MANY places (some on every wire), what came off was powder. This must have been such badly oxidized metal that it could never conduct power. So the damage was not likely repairable with the paint - even by someone more patient than I am.

My buddy Larry at Rainbow Auto Service replace the rear window with used in my wife's 1980 244 due to dead defroster a few years back. It works and doesn't leak or anything. But it doesn't work anywhere near as well as it originally did. So I decided to bypass the used glass solution and do this experiment. If it fails, I am out about $80 and could go to used glass as a fallback position. So what the heck?

I will report back on my progress here for posterity :-)

Cheers!
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Old 03-31-2021, 11:59 AM   #12
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While I have not yet ordered, no less installed, my replacement wire grid kit from these folks, I have had quite a bit of interaction with Jeff in support questions. He has been outstanding in tolerating all my neophyte inquiries and postulated install scenarios.

I wish they simply made each kit's technical spec's and install instructions available directly for download off their web site. But you must request this information be emailed kit number by kit number. But Jeff has answered every one of my requests in a speedy fashion.

At least for my own 1983 242, the decision of which kit to buy is not an easy one. Our windows vary in width and height with the flaring of the glass. And install instructions require that you meet specific setbacks from the top/bottom and edges of the window glass. And you must be aware of the amperage that your final grid dimensions will demand. My car has the rear defroster fused on a 16 amp circuit and so I really don't want to press much beyond 14.5 amps being drawn.

They do not offer any kit that is an exact replacement for what is on my window originally. But I can come close and still fall within the install and amperage guidelines. But just barely. For my car, their kits 1212-3450-L-STK and 1210-2740-STK seems the likely suspects. The former sadly has both tabs (power and ground) located on the same side (I would put them on the driver's side) and so I would need to run the ground wire either across the rear deck and up to the existing ground strap or somewhere else - still not sure where. The latter does not pose this problem, but its height is less than what I have now. However, the smaller size may make wire grid installation in the cramped and uncomfortable rear seat a bit easier. So there are trade-offs.

One thing I would encourage is that folks first make a pattern of your window's precise shape. This makes measuring, orienting, and positioning things much easier. I have gone back to re-measure about 20 times as I have considered the strengths and constraints of various kit options. I simply taped some pieces of newspaper together, taped the result a bit loosely over the window's exterior, and used a felt pen to trace the outline of the interface between the window glass and the rubber gasket. It doesn't have to be perfect or precise. I am sure I will use this again once my kit arrives to cut the precise length and shape (either somewhat trapezoidal in the case of the first kit above or rectangular in the other case).

More later. Cheers!
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Old 03-31-2021, 12:35 PM   #13
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Take some photos of the process if you can! I'm considering doing something similar for my 245. My window traces look black which I take as indication of the same sort of corrosion you saw.

Any issues avoiding scratches when removing the old defrost grid?
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Old 03-31-2021, 01:10 PM   #14
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Take some photos of the process if you can! I'm considering doing something similar for my 245. My window traces look black which I take as indication of the same sort of corrosion you saw.

Any issues avoiding scratches when removing the old defrost grid?
I shall do so and post them. When looking in from outside and comparing the grid wires in my car to the wife's 1980 w/replaced glass, I could clearly see a difference in mine. Spots that were discolored, varying thickness in the wire.

I had no troubles working the old grid off with the single edge blades. It is cramped and uncomfortable working in the rear seat and getting in/out in the 2-door for an old guy like me. But there is no alternative unless you remove the glass. I am not sure working on a 245 will be any easier or more pleasant - just different.

If you are asking if the glass got scratched-up while peeling off the original grid, the answer is no. But you have to be very detailed and go over each grid line a few times with the blade at differing angles to make sure you get it all off. Leaving anything behind but clean, clean glass is bound to mess up adherence of the new grid wire kit. I even scraped between the wires because after all these years there was a film of build up that seemed best removed this way. My final step was a good cleaning with Windex inside and out. The kit comes with some form of pre-install cleaner as well.

Be aware that even after the scraping is done, you will likely see something of a line remaining. You cannot feel it, it must be inside the glass itself. No idea what it is or why it is there. An FAQ at frostfighter.com says "The old grid will come off with a razor blade but there will be a brownish red tint in the area of the lines and that’s in the glass so it is not going anyplace." This is consistent with what I am seeing. I am a bit concerned that between these and the new grid wires there may be some reduction of "view" through the window. But I really think I am over-thinking it. We will see. There is an FAQ that speaks to installing the new grid wire by wire and that could be a solution to this. But the spacing they use for the wires is not identical to those in the car and so it is not clear this would produce results that adequately match their side bus bars and that would be a big problem. So I am plunging ahead with a "standard" install.

I also had to get access to the existing power/ground wiring. I did not want to rewire everything and to use the existing switch on my dash. The power "wires" are actually part of the tab that is glued to the window and they are not simple wires but thick, copper strips. These connect to the wiring at a connector located behind the "C" pillar covers adjacent the rear window. Ideally, I would have removed them and connect inside of there. But these plastic parts are old, brittle, and already cracked. I checked and can find no replacements for them anywhere. So I decided to leave them be, cut the copper strip as close to the tab as possible, and connect to that somehow (either soldering or some form of connector - still not sure). You can gently pull on some "slack" in the strip by slipping a small screw driver or other tool into the space where it is exposed and prying gently. I then cut through the strips using a dremel tool with abrasive disc installed. This worked well, was controlled easily enough, produced no sparks (although I was prepared for them if it had), and did what I needed done.

I now await the kit I ordered (1212-3450-L-STK). I also ordered their #2745 Tab Adaptor Wire Harness. After much special checking back with their tech support I determined that this was the most optimal kit for my use in this car. Sadly, this kit has both power and ground tabs on the same side and so I will have to deal with that somehow - not exactly sure what I will do yet. To get a result that they tell me will not overload my fuse/wiring, I will cut and install the grid in a trapezoidal shape that mimics the window's shape. This will maximize the overall length of the grid wires and this will increase the resistance across the entire grid and this will lower the current flow so as to not blow the existing 16 amp fuse and wiring. At least that is their theory/conclusion. Both of these issues can be addressed using a different kit (1210-2740-STK) but it results in a smaller grid area. This may be ok but I was striving for something more optimal.

Of course, all of this is specific to my car and a 245 will likely be different (but the same considerations will apply.
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Old 03-31-2021, 02:08 PM   #15
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Here is a photo - from the outside - of my 1983's right side defroster strip to which the tab is glued. See how pockmarked it is?

This is a photo of the same from the wife's 1980 with replaced glass. Not perfect, but obviously far less deteriorated.

From the wife's car again, here is the power supply strip. Hers has more slack showing than did mine - likely from the earlier window replacement.

And here is a severed strip from my 1983. You can see that some is left affixed to the tab on the window. It may be possible to knock the entire tab loose and work with that. But I feared damaging the glass in such an attempt.

From the outside, you can see here that even once the defroster grid has been scraped off, the lines remain and are rather prominent.

And the lines can be seen from the inside as well here.

Last edited by whitedavidp; 04-01-2021 at 07:33 PM..
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Old 03-31-2021, 03:13 PM   #16
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And here is a non-offical video that helps give an idea of the install and how it all works.
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Old 04-05-2021, 01:33 PM   #17
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To get a result that they tell me will not overload my fuse/wiring, I will cut and install the grid in a trapezoidal shape [...] this will increase the resistance across the entire grid
True. Note also, the longer traces will not be quite as hot as the shorter traces. Hard to know how much it will matter.

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From the outside, you can see here that even once the defroster grid has been scraped off, the lines remain and are rather prominent.
Holy cow. That doesn't even look like anything has been scraped off.

From the web site you quoted in Post #1, "Clear View self-adhesive heating elements come on pre-spaced rolls for easy and accurate application." Is it possible to cut them apart, and install a single line at a time? Granted, that increases the labor hours considerably, but... as for me, looking through the moiré of two spacing patterns would bug me too much to even consider doing it.

In the 80s, on a car without any defroster at all, I installed a stick-on kit. Haven't seen one in a parts store since then. Good to know this is available.
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Old 04-05-2021, 02:33 PM   #18
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True. Note also, the longer traces will not be quite as hot as the shorter traces. Hard to know how much it will matter.


Holy cow. That doesn't even look like anything has been scraped off.

From the web site you quoted in Post #1, "Clear View self-adhesive heating elements come on pre-spaced rolls for easy and accurate application." Is it possible to cut them apart, and install a single line at a time? Granted, that increases the labor hours considerably, but... as for me, looking through the moiré of two spacing patterns would bug me too much to even consider doing it.

In the 80s, on a car without any defroster at all, I installed a stick-on kit. Haven't seen one in a parts store since then. Good to know this is available.
Thanks. The folks at frostfighter did let me know but said the difference would not be that much. I had asked about getting a 15 wire kit and removing two so that I matched the 13 wires of the original. They were quite strong in advising against that saying doing so would make some wires MUCH more hot than others - which you don't want. So I ended up with a 12 wire kit. At that, they told me my grid should operate at about 140 degrees - which surprised me. I would have guessed more like 80 degrees. Not sure I will ever be able to tell.

The choice to use the 12 wire kit creates a "problem" in that they only make a compatible kit with 12 wires that has both connector tabs on the same side - whereas my car has power on the driver's and ground on the passenger's sides. I plan to place the tabs on the driver's side with power up top and that means I will have to either run a long wire from the bottom somewhere/somehow to the passenger's side OR find an alternate ground point. Not sure yet what I will do. They have a 10 wire kit with tabs on both sides. But I decided it was better to have closer to the original 13 wires. I MAY live to regret the decision.

I too am amazed by the lines left inside the glass after scraping. It does look lvirtually the same from the outside as it did before scraping. But you cannot feel anything with your finger at all. I have no idea if the glass was molded with those lines in there or if some of the metal from the heated wires diffused into the glass or what. But I was warned.

My kit has arrived and I am looking it and the detailed instructions over very carefully. I can't attempt the install now it seems as the instructions require an extended period of 60+ degrees and it has been too darn cold here in the PNW. They say that patience is a virtue and mine is being tested right now.

I found a technical bulletin on their website that says it is ok to install wire by wire and speaks to how that is done. I have not yet decided if I will do the install wire by wire or by the sheet (3 sheets of 4 wires each). I worry that I might be bothered by the additional lines making things too busy or even impeding my view. Yet, many things I have worried about over this lifetime have proven to not be as big a deal as I thought they might be.

I will follow up as I make additional progress. Cheers
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Old 04-05-2021, 02:49 PM   #19
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So here are photos of the kit's contents. Be aware that the wires are a NOT part of the kit but an optional wiring harness adapter. That was about $13 and the kit was about $60 (plus shipping).

Three strips of 4 wires each.

Pre-installation cleaner/prep.

Side one and side two of the buss bars.
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Old 04-05-2021, 03:35 PM   #20
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Bit of a long shot, but try a wet magic eraser on those ghost lines.
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Old 04-05-2021, 09:26 PM   #21
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The kit looks pretty straight forward. The original grid lines appear to be in the glass as a template for the exterior wires. I would add the wires one by one following the grid. I think 83 had the green defrost switch? It was just on/off. I think later switches had a built in or connected timer to the rocker switch, so the defroster would shut off after time/heat (I not sure which). So I think if you purchased a 15 wire and only used 13 wires it wouldn't be a problem with the later switch. Also I would think once your glass is defrosted enough to see you would turn off the grid.
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Old 04-06-2021, 02:16 PM   #22
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Compared the kits wire spacing to the original. Not sure I can live with this.

Their Technical Bulletin 111 - Defroster Replacement Grid Matching describes doing install line by line. Glad it says "The heating element spacing is not critical".
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Old 04-06-2021, 03:20 PM   #23
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I would install them one line at a time following OE grid. First do all 13 original then decide where you would put the last 2. One high and one low? Or both in the center so the window clears up faster?
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Old 04-06-2021, 03:28 PM   #24
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I would install them one line at a time following OE grid. First do all 13 original then decide where you would put the last 2. One high and one low? Or both in the center so the window clears up faster?
Thanks. I am leaning this way too. Doing some computations and trying how best to cut the 4-wire sheets. This is a 12 wire kit so no need to "freehand" any of them. Whew!
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Old 04-06-2021, 06:17 PM   #25
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Just back from measuring my existing grid wire spacing much more carefully. Using a caliper, it is easy to see that the lines in the original grid are NOT consistently spaced. I find some are the same spacing between adjacent wires all the way across the window and others spaced wider in the window's middle than at the edges. And I have found differing widths even measured only at the center. It is interesting that I find similar in my wife's 1980 244.

I am not at all sure how I can adapt to this and keep even single lines applied at a time directly over the existing lines. Hmmm.
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