Installing 2002 rear side glass seals
Updated: Jan 27, 2019
Ouch! My hands hurt!
Rear pop-out windows are the bee’s knees, right? Sure they are! Until you have to take them apart and renew the rubber seals. This task takes some patience and more importantly: careful observation skills. Replacing the rubber seals is a good project for the intrepid do-it-yourself 2002 owner and yields immediate gratification - and you have to savor those kinds of repairs. Do one window at a time, using the opposite window as a reference if needed. The vertical seal is sandwiched between the glass and the metal "hinge" rail, and can be confusing to the uninitiated. Special thanks to our customer Tim C, for taking the time to photograph the major portions of the operation for us!
The old original main framing seal pulls right out. No glue. No fuss. You DO have to remove the glass first, however. If you're removing the glass for the first time, here's where to start: Remove the rear latch from the C pillar / headliner via 2 screws. You can leave it attached to the glass for this entire operation.
Moving to the "B" pillar, carefully peel back the edge protection strip along the inside of the car. This will reveal the vinyl (as it is glued to the body.) You can then carefully pry the inside edge of the vertical rubber back outboard slightly, revealing four tiny 1/4" long Phillips screws. That's all that holds the glass assembly to the car. Carefully remove these screws, being mindful of our old friend, Mean Mr Gravity - and the tendency of glass to shatter as it skitters across the paint of your car and hits the garage floor. If you're crafty, you can do this solo, by holding the glass with one hand as you remove the last screws. try not to drop them, as they can disappear behind the rear upholstery. A magnet helps retrieve them. Remember: They’re short little buggers! Pull the glass assembly toward the rear of the car with gentle but firm effort. Set the glass and hinge assembly aside in a safe location.
For the framing gasket on the body of the car, start with the lower rearward corner. All alignment relies on this crucial area, as the rest of the seal is a simple channel installation, and can be pushed around to fit comfortably.
Start with the lower horizontal portion at the corner, and work your way up the C pillar. You will see the cross section of the rubber has "feet" or lips that engage the wide “U” shaped channel on the car. I seat the inboard edge inside the channel, and slowly work the outboard lip/foot in to the remaining outboard channel. I use a soft edged smooth plastic butter-knife shaped tool. Although this can be done with a dry seal, you can use a little diluted dish soap to make things easier. I steer clear of any slippery stuff that might contain petroleum or won’t evaporate, or rinse off with water. Silicone is NOT your friend, here. Working about 1-2" at a time, carefully press the outer lip into the channel. As you move along the length of the seal, look carefully for unevenness.
My mantra...and one I repeat to myself during the entire installation:
If you're not 100% sure it's in the groove, then it's NOT in the groove.
The visible edge of the seal should have a smooth level appearance without any waviness, where it contacts the paint. The portion of the seal that eventually contacts the glass may have a little waviness to it, but we're concerned with the edge/lip of the seal in this case. I use 3" long pcs of masking tape to hold the seated seal in to position, as I work along the rest of it's length. Once you get to the ends where they meet the B pillar, trim slightly, but leave it about 2mm long, to allow for a tiny bit of shrinkage.
Since the glass is out of the car and on your workbench, You can see how the seal is sandwiched and replace it. You will need to trim the overall length, while test fitting it. I let it overlap the chrome ever so slightly. If there are any cotter pins, replace them now. The B pillar rubber takes less finesse, but has a slightly counter-intuitive sandwich arrangement. Now might be a good time to remove the other window and compare them, for reassembly of the first one.
Your hands will ache for the rest of the day, but it's a rewarding repair. I promise you.
Parts required for entire repair and available on our site: www.bimmer.com
Left large framing gasket: BMW part number 51 36 7 441 112
Right large framing gasket: BMW part number 51 36 7 441 113
Vertical hinge seal (x2): BMW part number 51 36 7 441 110
Aftermarket versions are available for the above, if you’re on a tight budget.
E mail or Call us for more information! 1.800.950.2002 firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll be happy to assist you with the project! We live for this stuff.