Every car, regardless of whether or not it is “garage kept,” must endure some level of exposure to the environment. In other words, weather. That is why it is called weatherstripping, it keeps the weather out. Forty-year-old rubber and fuzzy chrome strips typically don’t do a very good job of keeping rain, leaves, and other debris out. They have surpassed their useable lifespan, and in some cases, have become more of a hindrance than a help. The only possible cure is total replacement.
Replacing the weatherstripping is a pretty simple task, though there are few aspects that you need to take into consideration. When purchasing your stripping, bargain tables at the local car show and cheap catalogs are not always a good deal. You may end up with poorly fitting rubber that actually makes things worse than before. Cheap weatherstripping doesn’t fit the car, the attachment points are misaligned, or the shapes are wrong or distorted. They simple do not fit well. Quality weatherstripping does not cost that much more than the cheap stuff and it fits like it is supposed to.
We picked up some replacement weatherstripping for our 1965 Coupe project from DallasMustang.com. The quality of the parts was excellent and fit how it was supposed to, and had the supple feel it should. All the mounting points were accurate and the stripping installed in less than a day. While replacing weatherstripping is typically saved for after the car is painted, waiting for the next paint job may be too long as moisture can quickly ruin an otherwise nice interior. The interior on our ’65 had been redone before we bought the project, but the weatherstripping was old and torn. This allowed the carpet and seats to get wet, so we had to replace it now, as it will be a while before the car is painted.
There are a few tools needed to do the job, and while most of these tools you should already have, one specific tool that you might not have is a non-marring scraper. We use a polyurethane knife-style scraper to remove the glued-on weatherstripping while not removing the paint. Metal scraper will scratch the area around the rubber, which gives rust easy access and just plain looks bad. You don’t have to get it perfectly clean, the glue will adhere to just about anything, but you want to get as much off as possible. You will also need weatherstip adhesive, we used 3M black adhesive, but it also comes in yellow.
Another tricky area is the window. The window fuzzies on Mustangs snap in place, but the window must be rolled down out of the way. Behind the door panel is a bolt that holds the window stop. This must be loosened so the window will roll down past the fuzzy strips.
The entire job took about 4 hours. Just make sure that you keep the doors closed for about 8 hours so that the glue has time to set up, and the rubber stays in place.
1. All of the new rubber came from DallasMustang.com, and is top-quality stuff. We have new window fuzzies, door and roof-rail rubber, and quarter window rubber.
2. The original roof-rail piece was in sad shape. Several cracks and splits along its length let water and moisture in the car. The rubber had lost its elasticity a long time ago.
3. The chrome trim holds the weatherstripping in place. It literally just pulls out.
4. The new rubber has a metal tab that is supposed to screw into the windshield frame.
5. The new rubber slides into the trim retainer, with the larger side (the inner side) first.
6. Then push the outer side into the channel. This takes a little work, the rubber pops right in, but you have to do a few inches at a time, otherwise the rubber will just fall out.
7. The remainder of the rubber hangs out of the retainer inside the quarter-window channel.
8. The door strip is held in place with two push pins, one at each corner, and glue in the middle. The push pins simply pop out with a little prying.
9. The plastic scraper was used to separate the rubber from the door and to remove as much old glue as possible.
10. Under the door, the rubber is held in place with these metal strips along with a little glue.
11. The new rubber comes with new pins, but no holes, we had to punch it through ourselves.
12. With the pin in place, a little 3M weatherstrip adhesive was used to secure the floating sections. This stuff is pretty tacky and will hold on first contact. The glue was placed in the corner, so it won’t be exposed.
13. Underneath, the scraper was used to push the rubber under the metal strip.
14. The quarter window was next in line. These strips are molded around a metal bar and secured with a single screw on the bottom of the window frame. We had to remove the rotten door frame seal, which needed replacing as well.
15. The old rubber slid out of the channel fairly easy.
16. The new rubber drops inside the quarter panel opening first. Don’t drop it!
17. Then the trim was slid into the quarter window track.
18. Once the rubber was in position, the lower tab sat flush with the frame. The original screw was reused.
19. To install the window fuzzies, the door panel had to be removed. First, we pulled the arm rest.
20. Then we pulled the window crank and door handle using a 90-degree pick. Be patient, the u-shaped clips can be a bear to get off.
21. Once the panel was off, the window stop was located.
22. A 1\2” socket was used to loosen the bolt and let the stop slide down, there is no need to fully remove the bolt and stop.
23. The window then dropped below the fuzzy strips so we could pull them out. Using a flat screwdriver and a panel popper tool, the pins were popped out of the door. A little force is needed.
24. The new fuzzies simply snapped in place. Don’t install these until you are ready. They do not remove easily (the tabs break and you won’t be able to reuse them).
25. The finished fuzzy strips look good and keep the windows from rattling. If your car is equipped with rubber strips, they will also keep debris out of the door, the fuzzy strips don’t really do that so much.
A life-long gearhead, Street Tech Magazine founder and editor Jefferson Bryant spends more time in the shop than anywhere else. His career began in the car audio industry as a shop manager, eventually working his way into a position at Rockford Fosgate as a product designer. In 2003, he began writing tech articles for magazines, and has been working as an automotive journalist ever since. His work has been featured in Car Craft, Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, Truckin’, Mopar Muscle, and many more. Jefferson has also written 5 books and produced countless videos. Jefferson operates Red Dirt Rodz, his personal garage studio, where all of his magazine articles and tech videos are produced. You can follow Jefferson on Facebook (Jefferson Bryant), Twitter (71Buickfreak), and YouTube (RedDirtRodz).