Friday, April 1, 2011

Fate is Sealed

The rear d/s door was missing the entire top of its door seal, the part that goes around the window frame. This unfortunate situation allowed water to get in the car when the Seattle rains hold their daily exhibitions - not that I drive much in the rain, ha ha - so I had to do something to seal the car.

I learned that the seals were still available in Germany and so, after another interminable wait, one was delivered to my door.  I peeled off the remainder of the old seal in about thirty seconds and cleaned the channel around the window frame with a screwdriver followed by a squirt of the ever-handy brake cleaner, which took care of the residue nicely.

As a next step I carefully forgot to take a photo of the door frame ready for its new seal.

In order to place the seal, which came as one piece, I first removed the pin on the door brake to properly mount the rubber into position. I had never before messed with door brakes and I couldn't help wondering if the door would fall off the car, despite the fact that it's securely attached to the body with a hinge. My paranoia proved to be unfounded.

1) Door pin removed and seal positioned

I had purchased, against my better judgement, a tube of the black cement that is used to adhere door seals. The stuff looked and felt worthless.  So to begin, I used a small hook to secure the seal to the channel in the window frame without this glue.  I am sure it will hold up fine.

2) The seal is now firmly secured to the window frame.  You may note that in stretching the seal around the door to test its fit, the thing snapped.  Old NOS rubber, I guess. The spots on the windows are water drops - I violated my cardinal rule this morning and drove in the rain

Now it was time to apply the black cement.  The directions indicated that I should apply a thin bead around the area to be glued and wait fifteen minutes.  Instructions from a sadist.

3) Second mistake, using that glue

The stuff got all over everything, stuck to my clothes, my hands, the floor, and various parts of the car.  If the cat had been there it would have stuck to him, too.

After the allotted waiting time I placed the seal on the door.  Of course it wouldn't stick in all the important places.  Getting fed up, I retrieved a can of super spray adhesive and used that to affix the seal properly.  But a couple of issues remained.  Since the seal had broke it no longer stretched completely around the door, leaving a gap.  And I had to frantically get out the old brake cleaner to wipe up the mess I had made.  The final result looked ok and will serve its purpose, though, even if there is one spot where there is still an empty space.

4) Finished at last. You can see the gap beside the door latch. The digital camera makes the final result look much messier than it really is.  I promise... Thank goodness BMW had the foresight to install another door seal on the 2000 as a backup, outboard to the new one

I probably should have taken the seal to a professional shop and had them do it, but that would have cost around $75 and I have learned from experience that most of those places don't know much more about putting seals on a forty year-old BMW than I do.


  1. Where did you buy the door seal ? I want to buy the same one.

  2. I got it nearly five years ago from Wolloth and Nesch but my advice would be not to bother - assuming its still available. The new seals are of inferior quality as noted in the post and other owners have reported that they crack and break quickly, as the one i installed did. Better to find NOS.