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An Effective Solution for
Noisy Door Seals


One of the most annoying things about these cars are the very noisy door seals. The seals rub against the frame of the car with every little flex and movement of the body, making an incessant light creaking/rattling noise. Cracking the window slightly eliminates the noise by moving the edge of the seal away from the frame just enough. This problem is addressed in BMW SIB 53 03 97.

After spending way too much time on this issue and trying many, many things, the only thing that I've found that actually works and works well is a felt-like material made by a large automotive supplier as shown in the following pictures.
Using this material, and after debugging a few other minor areas on the doors (door clips, armrest, window controls), my doors now are silent!!! Given that mine were some of the worst that I've heard, this is a major improvement.

Credit for finding the material goes to Tyrone Davoodian (thanks again Tyrone!). He was able to obtain a sample of the material and he provided some for me to test also (I think he was just sick of listening to me whine about my damn doors). ; ) We're attempting to get more; however, as it now stands, the manufacturer isn't interested in selling in small quantities, even at the level of an aggregated buy.

If you can find a felt- or fabric-like material that is thin enough (about 1 mm) and has an adhesive that will bind to the rubber seals and bear the weather, it probably will work in a similar manner. A thin felt weatherstripping material may work. Electrical tape, Gaffer's tape (basically, a high-quality form of duct tape), and foam rubber-based weatherstripping definately do not work, and, in fact, increase the noise. Adhesive felt like the type typically found in craft stores will not adhere to the seal.

In any case, the key for mine seems to be to keep the lip and corner of the seal off of the door frame. Other areas that appear to be involved when there is greater movement are the triangular area and the rear edge of the door which mate to the upper area of the door frame as shown below. A thin strip of material will eliminate the noise from these areas.

The specific areas that cause the noise in a particular car probably will vary somewhat depending on the alignment of the doors, how they mate to the frame, and how the seal fits against the door.

The seals shown in the pictures above are the older unflocked version that I had left over from when mine were replaced with the later flocked seals (with little improvement). I thought that these might provide a better surface for the felt to adhere than the flocked. So far, about 6 months, it's worked fine (and now I'm afraid to mess with them lol).

Below is a picture of Tyrone's placement of the same material using the flocked seals.

Placement was directly over the flocked part of the seal to raise this area and keep the unflocked portions away from the door frame.

He's added some addition coverage toward the inside the seal since these pictures were taken to eliminate some remaining noise that he was experiencing.

Between the two of us, located on opposite coasts, we've now put the material through a relatively wide range of temperature, weather, and driving conditions with great results.

As noted in the SIB, another suggestion that has been made is to use 3M Squeak Reduction Tape (3M part number 5430, 1" x 3 yards @ $13.50), available from napaonline.com, on the frame of the car in the same area where contact is made as above. I didn't have as much success with this. The tape is relatively thick and does not conform very well to the shape of the door at the rounded corner where it most needs to be placed. Also, the tape is much more noticeable in this location and makes a crackling noise when the door is openned and closed. I also question its ability to take weather and whether it will lose adhesion if water gets under it. I tried placing it on the door seal directly, but it will not adhere effectively to the rubber. The tape does work very well for eliminating noises from various areas of the interior.

Other than the above, you can temporarily reduce door seal noises by lubricating the seals with Gummiplege or other similar lube, but that gets old real fast. Seals should be replaced with latest versions (third-generation at last count), but eventually these also will become noisy as they wear and are contaminated with dirt, wax, etc. Doors that are loose and/or improperly aligned also may contribute to noise - the more movement, the more noise.

Other sources of noises in the doors are the plastic door clips that hold the interior door panels to the doors (squeaks/creaks), the tubular weatherstriping (squeaks), and various loose parts such as the controls for the windows/doors (creaks and rattles) and the interior door handle (clicks when it touches plastic at the front end). I'll post instructions for eliminating these areas as soon as I have a chance to take some pictures.

 

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Copyright © 2002 by M. Andrews. All Rights Reserved.

The information presented on this site describes modifications that I have made to my car.
Should you choose to attempt any similar modifications, you do so at your own risk.

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