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Old 02-18-2014, 06:11 PM   #1
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Question Mystery #1

I just completed a 4K mile/ 7 week wander of several western US states. And before I get to the point of this post I want to say it again; we live in a simply fantastic, beautiful country!

Now for the mystery (#1 of 2; the other one will follow soon): early in the trip we were traveling south on Hwy. 97 just north of Weed, CA moving at about 65 mph as I recall. All of a sudden, there was an intense BANG! It was one of those things where a few milliseconds passed before I determined I had not been shot and had not had a blowout. Then we saw the windshield. Right in front of me (in the drivers seat) was a nice round circle of cracks in the glass about 5" in diameter. There was a larger circle surrounding the smaller one and an assortment of cracks radiating out to cover much of the left side of the windshield. See the attached jpg. I remain very puzzled by this. As a 73 year old, I've driven a few miles; I've had numerous bird strikes and rock strikes and I'm pretty sure this was not a bird or a rock. We stopped almost immediately and there was no sign of bird feathers or juices anywhere near the center of impact. Nor was there even the smallest sign of a rock chip. The impact was a very intense, loud BANG; not anything like the softened thunk/thump you get from a bird strike. And it wasn't like the sharp focused sounding crack you get from a rock strike. This section of hwy was 2 lanes each way with a narrow divider strip. There was no overpass. We saw nothing at all at the time of the hit; nothing like the flash of a bird just before the impact. I'm just speculating here but I imagine you would see this kind of damage from something like a softball hitting the windshield.

Can any of you wizards speculate as to what would cause this? Or, has anyone experienced this before?

Thanks in advance,
Wayne

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Old 02-18-2014, 06:18 PM   #2
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Not an impact but a stress fracture?? Just guessing here...
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Old 02-18-2014, 06:21 PM   #3
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Almost the exact same thing happened to me - but I was in heavy traffic and had just pulled away from a toll booth. A large dump truck in front of me dropped it's whole drive shaft. One of the bolts flew back and hit my windshield - almost totally flat I think. It looked like a circular glass cutter had made the damage. I didn't have all of the radiating sub fractures yours does.

I also remember thinking I'd been shot - but it was fairly easy to see what caused the problem as the car next to me ran over the drive shaft. The truck was accelerating and fully loaded when everything let go so perhaps whatever loose part hit my windshield was spinning at high speed causing the circular damage rather than the normal spiderweb looking cracks.

Did you see anything in front of you? If not, any reports of aircraft losing a tire? Or ET phone home?

Glad you weren't hurt, Paula
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Old 02-18-2014, 06:45 PM   #4
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My call is that it is a stress crack due to a relatively large section of the lower corner mounted under stress. Tempered glass fractures in very strange ways compared to regular plate. I feel your truck was born with this defect.
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Old 02-18-2014, 07:43 PM   #5
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I agree that it could be a cracked windshield due to stress. I've seen a lot of windshields (firefighter) with impaled objects, damage from other vehicles, rocks that cause people to get in wrecks and this doesn't look like anything that may have come from the road. It looks to be a possible defect? Did you get a quote on how much that would be to fix? I would imagine a windshield repair business might be your best source of knowledge on this one...They may have seen this before.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:33 PM   #6
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I assume there were other vehicles including trucks around you. With a narrow divider strip it could have been something from opposing traffic.

Agee it looks like something round hit your windshield. I seen stress cracks and they didn't look like your damage.

Last April I took a hit from some unknown object off a flatbed truck ahead of me on the Ohio Turnpike. It only took out my headlight and didn't hit my windshield.

The repair shop my be able to give you an educated guess.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:35 PM   #7
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Forgot to ask.... What is Mystery #2?
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxster1971 View Post
Agee it looks like something round hit your windshield. I seen stress cracks and they didn't look like your damage.
I have to disagree. Impacts on windshields or just about any other panes of glass don't cause a spiral pattern of cracks; the cracks radiate outward from the point of impact, like a spiderweb— that happens with tempered glass, too, but once the glass shatters into tiny cubes, how can you tell? Corps of Engineers ERDC had spent a lot of time and Government money researching how glass breaks while studying ways to protect buildings from snipers and bombs. One really neat thing they did way use ultrafast movie film, hundreds of frames per second, to record glass breaking in slow motion.

Besides, windshield glass isn't tempered like the side windows. It's laminated, two panes of glass with a thin film plastic in between. The plastic holds the broken glass pieces together. Your cracking is characteristic of stress cracking, where the inner and outer panes of glass moved in different directions relative to each other; in other words, a failure of the lamination.
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Old 02-21-2014, 07:27 AM   #9
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Actually windshields are laminated and tempered, but the middle sheet makes it shatter differently and cling together.
I have seen these types of stress cracks before. Boxter, I agree....if this were a flat piece of glass, one would not see the spirals, but rather, straight lines. However, in the area of the cracks, there are compound curves in the glass which, when stressed to the breaking point, will run in curves and circles. I still think the area of stress is the lower corner of the glass, but over a relatively large area.
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Old 02-21-2014, 08:04 AM   #10
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Sorry Protagonist....I must correct myself. Windshields are not fully tempered, but rather heat treated and laminated. I am not too sure of the exact difference, but heat treating is not fully tempering.
Many vehicles are now using heat treated and laminated side windows as well for sound deadening. For GM, Buick started it as a component of their "quiet tuning" package. Most recently, the new 2014 Silveradoes and Sierras are standard with laminated side windows.
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Old 02-21-2014, 09:16 AM   #11
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Years ago I was riding in the jump seat of a Ford Ranger with a solid rear window. We were going downhill pulling a boat. Another pickup passed us going the other way, neither of us were going more than about 15-20 mph. Just as that truck passed, there was a solid "bam" and I had a lap full of glass pieces, nary any glass left in the frame at all.

I'm sure the other truck didn't throw anything. Nothing hit the window so I'm sure it was just stress / torsion from the truck cab, although we were going straight. Glass can do funny things.
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Old 02-21-2014, 07:12 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the input everyone! Maybe it is a stress fracture; i'll see what the glass buy has to say. Sure hope I can find a good one, I've seen some really botched up windshield replacements in my day!

BTW, Mystery #2 is in the Sprinter and B van forum.
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Old 02-21-2014, 07:29 PM   #13
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From someone who does ballistic impact testing for a living, that looks like a classic impact to the windshield to me. I have seen this type of fracture pattern on IR window materials used on missiles. It is a stress fracture from an object hitting the window. I expect it was moving pretty fast. It could have been a bird. It looks like it was something soft that hit the window moving at high speed.

Perry
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Old 02-21-2014, 07:37 PM   #14
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From someone who does ballistic impact testing for a living, that looks like a classic impact to the windshield to me. I have seen this type of fracture pattern on IR window materials used on missiles. It is a stress fracture from an object hitting the window. I expect it was moving pretty fast. It could have been a bird. It looks like it was something soft that hit the window moving at high speed.

Perry
Impact has been my feeling from the beginning. But, like I said, I've had several bird strikes over the years and with every one of them there was some sort of trace of the bird left behind at the point of impact; blood, guts, feathers. This time there was nothing there at all.
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