Thursday, April 7, 2016

"B" Pillar Weatherstrip Replacement

Like anything made out of rubber, the B pillar weather seals do not age gracefully.

The rubber hardens and as the photo on the right shows, mine has developed a couple of wrinkles that look horrible.

After four decades—as it is the case with my '76 Vette—it is a good idea to replace all weatherstripping, something that I've been doing one section at a time.

I started by purchasing door weatherstripping about a year ago, and took care of the passenger's side door. But as with many other projects, it quickly succumbed to the "While I Was There" syndrome which involved paint touch-up, cleaning and detailing, lubricating and adding sound/heat insulating material to the door.

Needless to say, these type of projects take a lot longer than anticipated, and I have yet to tackle the driver's side door.

However, the B pillar seals, also referred to as Door/Window Rear Vertical Weatherstrips, are a straight-forward deal, and when you have new replacement pieces and a tube of fresh weatherstrip glue, the job can be done in a matter of a couple of hours or less.

Here's a close-up of the driver's side seal that shows how the rubber looks after forty years. The shiny surface is an indicator of hard rubber which not only deforms but also keeps the window from sealing properly.



You can also see how the surface has deteriorated. Once the rubber seal hardens, it may also shrink and no longer fit properly. 



New weatherstrips will be pliable will look fresh. Also keep in mind that as you shop around for new weather seals, you will be faced with several options such as different brands as well as country of origin. If given the option, always buy products manufactured in the U.S. as the quality will be superior and the materials used will also be better. Having said that, if your only option is a new part made in China or another county, it will be better than an old, brittle seal.




Before you start gluing new weatherstripping on your Corvette, it is a good idea to prep the pieces so a good seal is achieved. The first thing I do is to lightly sand the contact surface so the glue will have a better "bite." I also like to wipe it down after sanding with a generous amount of Goof Off which softens the substrate which ensures good adhesion.




After the new B pillar seals are prepped, proceed to remove the old weatherstrips from the car and clean the contact surfaces.




As the picture below shows, it seems that originally there was a screw at the bottom of the seal. I can only assume that at some point the previous owner replaced these seals and failed to reinstall the screws. Since the holes are stripped and enlarged to the point of needing repair, I decided to forgo screws and, instead, I will use a generous amount of weatherstrip adhesive to ensure they'll stay put.

It is also obvious that when the car was repainted, they taped the seals since you can see the original silver paint when you pull them off.



You must remove as much of the old adhesive as possible. In order to do this, I used a thin chisel which worked perfectly to remove the old dried up glue from this area. I also wiped the area with Goof Off.



Here's a side-by-side comparison of the old and new seals (driver's side window). As you can see, the original seal shrunk quite a bit over the years.





And here's the B pillar channel ready for the new weather seal. As a side note, it is a good idea to do a dry fit of the new piece to make sure it fits well. When you're happy with it, you can start applying weatherstrip adhesive to both channel and seal.



Since I like to use 3M Black Super Weatherstrip Adhesive, I have to work fast and had no time to snap pics of the process. Suffice it to say that the stuff is excellent and it dries fast, so you cannot lollygag while doing this.

I also painted the trim piece since it had a lot of scratches. Wish it was easy to remove, since I would've liked to use texture paint.











Replacing the B pillar weatherstrips is an easy project and one that will improve the looks and weathertightness of your Vette. For a small investment between parts, adhesive and time, it's a must-do!

Thanks for reading.