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 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.