Submitted By: EY8s
August 26, 2011, 02:29:49 PM
Another How-To for installing screening underneath the cowl. This is a great mod for keeping leaves and other things from clogging up your cowl and HVAC system.
Cowl Screening How-To
I first learned about this mod from a guy I bought some parts from who did it to all of his trucks. I've since seen a few people here on RCC with this mod. Basically there's two ways to go about this idea. One is the way I'll go through where you attach screening to the underside of the removable cowl. The other is to remove the cowl and install screening around the cowl openings on the cab or tub itself. My opinion is that screening the underside of the cowl panel itself is better because it prevents anything from getting past the cowl where the other method could allow debris build up between the screening and underside of the cowl panel.
I've seen cowl screening attached with screws and rivets. This is a sound method of attachment but I didn't want any exposed fasteners so I chose to use epoxy.
1 roll of aluminum window screening
5 minute epoxy (I may have used 2 ounces or so)
Heavy duty scissors
Exacto knife or razor blade
Clothes pins and small weights or objects (see photos)
+ tools to remove/replace windshield wipers and cowl panel
Note: It's possible to perform this modification on a finished cowl panel. This would actually be preferred for the cleanest look since the screening will hardly be noticable. I did this pre-paint so I'm thinking after the screen/cowl is painted it'll be a bit more noticeable. Either way I'm sure it'll take a double-take to notice this mod.
1) Remove your wiper arms. There's a special tool that'll make this a snap but I don't have one. I put a rag down, use a rubber handled screwdriver as a fulcrum, insert a tiny screwdriver in between the shaft and wiper "tang", then take two other screwdrivers with the heads under each side wiper to shaft connection and pop it off. If you have nice paint put a towel around the area to prevent the airbourne wiper assembly from chipping paint.
2) Next you need to remove the cowl panel with a phillips screwdriver. Make sure you remove all of the screws. The top of the cowl panel wedges in underneath the windshield rubber so you have to ease it out by pulling the cowl forward. You can line the exposed fender edges with a layer or two of painters tape for scratch/chip protection.
3) Once you have your cowl removed, wash it thoroughly (especially under the cowl slots) and dry it off.
4) With the cowl upside down on a suitable work area, unroll your window screening over the cowl and rough cut a piece that runs at least 2" past the edges of the cowls slots. I made my initial cuts pretty close to where they needed to be but you want to leave some margin for error when you make your "positioning crease".
Note - I recommend using metal screening as opposed to "pet" screening because of the positioning crease that will be made in it
5) Once you are satisfied with the screen piece use your fingers to make a crease in the screen at the inside front edge of the cowl. It's important to hold the screen in place while you do this, otherwise your "positioning crease" will be off and you'll have an ill-fitting screen.
6) After you make your crease position the screen where it needs to be and mark/cut to it's final shape. Keep in mind that the cowl slots or "louvers" protrude down from the top of the cowl panel so you'll want to leave the screen edges about an inch or so from the slots for attachment with the epoxy. You also need to mark the area around the wiper stud hole and cut it out using an exacto knife or razorblade. Don't worry about the washer nozzles until you install the cowl, then you can trim the screen as necessary.
Note - Be sure that there will be no interference issues with the edge of the screen and any mounting hardware, attachment points, etc.
You're now ready to epoxy the screen to the cowl
7) Use the clothespins and other objects to hold the screen in place. Mix up small batches of epoxy and apply to the screen working from the middle section of the screen out to the sides. With small batches I use toothpicks to mix it up and apply it. Use whatever you feel comfortable using.
Tip - Whenever I attached clothespins or used something to hold the screen down I applied epoxy to either side of these things so the screen would stay in place until the expoxy cured. After I moved around and had the screen in place with the expoxy I went back and filled the spaces left.
Note - after thoroughly mixing the epoxy and hardener you'll only have a couple of minutes to put it where you want it. If you've never used epoxy before - EXPERIMENT with it first so you'll know how it works and the time window you have to work with it. It's better to waste some then to work it too long and get messy with it
Make sure the screen is inbedded within the epoxy all around. Trim or sand off any excess epoxy that will interfere with mounting.
Your newly screened cowl panel should be ready for installation
This is a pretty easy project. It took me about 4 hours to do taking my time and waiting for the epoxy to dry between applications while doing other things around the house. The epoxy should hold up well and corrosion should be a non-issue since there's no drilling and the screening is aluminum. I would say the hardest part of this project is being careful not to scratch anything up during the R&R of the panel itself and getting out-of-shape with the epoxy. I'll give it a 2 out of 5 bloody knuckles just because the cowl can be stubborn to get in/out from under the windshield rubber.