Rear door water channels - good sealant or replace?

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Thread: Rear door water channels - good sealant or replace?

  1. #1
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    Rear door water channels - good sealant or replace?

    I thought I had my rear door finally waterproofed, taking special care when replacing the regulator panel (lock mechanism repair). 3 doors finally are opening again, and on the first pull! (thanks Andreas for all the tips!). But, after torrential rain yesterday, I found water all along the edge of the door (below where the latch is located) and car frame (at/below the strike plate), which had eventually pooled on the sill. What is it with these cars and water? I want to just RTV the whole car, entry only available from the trunk! The leak is absolutely not coming from the regulator panel - I verified that with buckets of water.

    So, it became obvious after additional tests that what I believe is called the water channels (aka waterproofing, water routing - the spongy, rubbery, black material that lines the edge of the rear doors), the seal with the door had started to develop small gaps. The other door is doing the same, although not as bad. I didn't really think about it before, but when you pull the channel back to expose the torx bolt (which releases the lock cartridge cap - allowing you to dislodge the external handle cable for regulator panel removal), you pretty much begin to break the seal. Over time, and repeatedly pulling on that area during door repairs, the seal gap extends. Heat and the elements start to develop other small gaps, and eventually you have enough openings that a significant amount of water can seep behind the water channels and into the side-of-the-door metal, which runs down to the sill. Obviously, this can eventually lead to a flood if you get enough rain in a small amount of time. Came pretty close to that yesterday, with tornadoes and horizontal rain coming through the area, so it was a good thing I was coincidentally looking for leaks from the newly installed panel.

    So I'm curious if anyone has resealed these channels and, if so, with what sealant? I can't imagine many chemicals, glues, sealants will stick to the channel material. Perhaps flowable silicone, like I've used for the sunroof? Doubt it. I tried some of the GE silicone caulk, recommended by Andreas for the panels, but I kind of doubt that will work well. It's curing now, but I really think it will fail (if not immediately, in very near future), especially since I just tried to apply to the inside edge and push into the gaps. Maybe it could work if I pulled off the entire water channel, cleaned both surfaces, and applied a consistent bead and had a good way to apply pressure. Sounds like a PITA, but I want a solid fix and not have to worry about another flood.

    Andreas mentioned that if actually replacing the channels, use the far superior OEM parts available via VW, ECS, etc (I think it's $60 or so) because the adhesive/sealant and material is much better than aftermarkets (ebay, etc). But, my channels are in excellent shape, minus the failing seal, so if there's any way to reseal them, that would be ideal. Just looking for ideas. Thanks.

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  3. #2
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    Local VW dealership can't even find the part in his system - says it's likely discontinued.

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    I will look for ETKA No later

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    what about the drains at the bottom of the door itself ,clear?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cchief22 View Post
    what about the drains at the bottom of the door itself ,clear?
    Yep. Definitely clear, and was definitely on my checklist when repairing/replacing the lock mechanisms.

    I think I found the part# 3B5867368KMGT.

    My confusion - it doesn't appear the new OEM replacement, which ECS sells, has any sort of adhesive strip or means of sealing to the door. So, is this weatherstripping simply a tight fit, and uses compression to form the seal? It sure seems like large portions of mine are actually sealed to the door to prevent water incursion.

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    AKL 450 005 05
    ETKA No. Seal behind the regulator panel

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    Quote Originally Posted by captainfantastic View Post
    AKL 450 005 05
    ETKA No. Seal behind the regulator panel
    It's not the regulator panel that is leaking. The regulator panel is sealed shut (and I mean SEALED). The water is getting behind the spongy rubber seal that wraps around the edge of the door.

    Take a look at the 2nd diagram - that shows the seal (again, attached to the door itself, not the car frame):

    https://www.vwpartsvortex.com/oem-pa...-3b5867368kmgt

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    Ok, this post probably deserves it's own thread, in case others encounter these symptoms, but I didn't want to clutter the forum. Maybe add to that water ingress master checklist floating around somewhere.

    I think I figured out the (primary) source of the leak, and it wasn't the seals/channels that rim the inside of the door - although those are probably letting a little water inside during very heavy rain. This morning, doing some targeted water pour tests, I started to see that the water seemed to be originating from the manual child lock access slot, and the latch, all part of the door lock mechanism. I'm thinking, how is this possible? It's never leaked there before, at least not obviously. So, I carefully poured only towards the rear of the window (but only on the window), and no leaks. Then I carefully poured behind the window, where the trim meets the black plastic/metal bar, and sure enough water started pouring down and out the lock mechanism. On close inspection, there is a gap where the trim meets the door. I think this is the problem. It needs to be sealed. I tried the same test on the opposite rear door (a door I haven't worked on in years), and exactly the same result - leaks immediately through the lock mechanism. It also has a gap. The front doors don't seem to have this gap (yet). Pics below.

    So, I've never seen anyone post about this particular water incursion area, but obviously it could turn ugly with enough rain. AND, it gets the entire lock mechanism, moving parts, grease, etc, WET - which may account for some failures. It could also account for the failure of the one microswitch that is external to sealed electronics housing. Who knows. Water should not be hitting the lock mechanism, other than some spray and a few drops. It's designed to be somewhat exposed to the elements, since it's on backside of the regulator panel, but it's not designed to get drenched during every downpour.

    I'm off the Advance to get some flowable silicone, which I think will work quite well for this application. I'll report back with results.

    Pic 1 - Rear Passenger's side gap in trim.
    Pic 2 - Rear Driver's side gap in trim.

    Passenger Side, Rear Gap.jpg

    Driver's Side, Rear Gap.jpg
    cchief22 likes this.

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    I just did all the doors with the flowable silicone. Did my best to try to clean the gaps with a thin piece of cardpaper, paper towel, and rubbing alcohol, without further widening the gap. Tight fit, but I think cleaning, if possible, is just as important as the type of sealant. Permatex flowable silicone is great cit. Worked wonders on my Camry's sunroof leak. Let's hope it's magic works again! Praying this finally fixes the leak, for good, and I can be done with these doors (I know, we're never really done with the doors!).

    Driver's Rear Door Silicone.jpg

  12. #10
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    and they built U-Boats.......without silicon sealer and duct tape, go figure
    LineInTheWater likes this.

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    I'm about to wave the white flag. Passat = water nightmare. I can't count the number of hours I've spent dealing or trying to prevent water issues on this car.

    I went out, quite confident in this being the final fix (but not 100%), and did the pour test in the same area. Sure enough, it starts leaking out of the door lock mechanism again. WTF, over???!!

    I'm somewhat convinced it has something to do with either (or both):

    (1) the door seals (the one attached to the door, and the one attached to the car frame) are not creating a water tight seal when the door closes (there's some evidence that the inner seal is pulling away, unsealing, from it's original position). When I pour straight down the normal gap between the rear door and the car frame, water appears near the door latch mechanism.

    (2) water is getting in when poured directionally towards the rear of the car, on the rear of the back window. This could be effectively the same issue as above if the water is eventually routed to those channels.

    I've freiken had it. It's probably easier to install water sensors in the car, and have a quick response time!!

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    Took a breather after x10; went out with my syringe for "pinpoint" water injection. Don't know if anyone will find this helpful in the future, but here's some more details.

    So, if I aim the syringe directly down the main vertical water channel (between door and car frame), from the top of the door, I get normal drainage without leakage inside to the door frame and sill. But if I back it out slightly, and hit that gap annotated in the pic below, it goes right inside the door and down to the sill. So, this is definitely a contributing leak. The waterproofing seems to have aged (shrunk) and doesn't have a tight seal with the rear triangle window rubber (car side) with which it is supposed to be snug. I think I'm going to try putting in some Black Silicone Gasket all along the rear triangle rubber vertical edge to close that gap, so the door weatherproofing is snug again. If that doesn't work, I'm guessing I'll need new weatherproofing / channeling along the door.

    Rear door opening (annotate).jpg

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    Well my car has wax paper stuck (over newly applied Gasket maker) between both rear door seals now. Not sure how this will turn out, but rain is in the forecast for tomorrow, so can't wait or think it through. I thought about leaving the wax paper out of the equation and permanently sealing the rear doors ... I reeeeaallly thought about it!

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    I know your frustration and you're probably about ready to suck on the business end of a shotgun, but I'm willing to bet you that coughing up the $60 to get the replacement weather striping from ECS Tuning will solve your problems.

    I also understand you don't want to drop any money on the car, but considering all the headache and heartache you've been going through the last few weeks is worth something.

    Here's what you do,
    Go to ECS Tuning website, put weather striping in shopping cart, pay for item(s) in shopping cart, patiently wait a couple days for box to arrive, peel open box and gaze in amazement at that new weather stripping, go out to car, open rear door, pull old weather stripping off, put new weather stripping on, close rear door, go back to your living room and reward yourself with a nice ice cold beer, and say to yourself, "another job damn well done! I think I'll have another beer."

    It could be that easy buddy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndreasPassat View Post
    I know your frustration and you're probably about ready to suck on the business end of a shotgun, but I'm willing to bet you that coughing up the $60 to get the replacement weather striping from ECS Tuning will solve your problems.

    I also understand you don't want to drop any money on the car, but considering all the headache and heartache you've been going through the last few weeks is worth something.

    Here's what you do,
    Go to ECS Tuning website, put weather striping in shopping cart, pay for item(s) in shopping cart, patiently wait a couple days for box to arrive, peel open box and gaze in amazement at that new weather stripping, go out to car, open rear door, pull old weather stripping off, put new weather stripping on, close rear door, go back to your living room and reward yourself with a nice ice cold beer, and say to yourself, "another job damn well done! I think I'll have another beer."

    It could be that easy buddy.
    LOL. It's that easy? Don't forget, it's both rear doors. $120 min. But, if my custom sealant job doesn't work, I'm on board, especially the beer part (or two, or three).

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    For those that care, Permatex Ultra black actually bonds to wax paper. I'm going to let it heat up throughout the day, and try again, but it looks like this attempt was a failure and I'll need to rip it out.

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    possibly try the Reynolds wrap (one side teflon) release aluminum foil ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cchief22 View Post
    possibly try the Reynolds wrap (one side teflon) release aluminum foil ?
    That's like their special "non-stick" version, correct? Thanks, I'll consider it if I attempt another run at the Gasket solution.

    Andreas is probably correct, and I should just replace. Earlier in the thread, I posted the part# I thought was for the seal, but now I'm getting conflicting info. I don't know. Problem is, it's not one of those things you can just "get to it when I have time" - rain is coming, hours away, and it rains here pretty much every day as late May rolls in. Do I think it will ride up over the sill and flood the car anytime soon? Doubt it. Clearly this leak has been developing, unnoticed, independent of my door work. Those with garages don't know how lucky they have it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LineInTheWater View Post
    It's not the regulator panel that is leaking. The regulator panel is sealed shut (and I mean SEALED). The water is getting behind the spongy rubber seal that wraps around the edge of the door.

    Take a look at the 2nd diagram - that shows the seal (again, attached to the door itself, not the car frame):

    https://www.vwpartsvortex.com/oem-pa...-3b5867368kmgt

    My bad

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    Wow, I spent 3 hours getting the Permatex Ultra Gasket off. What a PITA! I was actually starting to think I wouldn't be able to get it removed. Had to use all kinds of tricks, including rubbing off a few layers of skin, to get it off with minimal damage to the triangle window seal. I can't say much about my approach to the problem, but that stuff works amazingly well on the rubber around the windows.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cchief22 View Post
    possibly try the Reynolds wrap (one side teflon) release aluminum foil ?
    I picked up the non-stick Reynolds. Running a test right now to see if it peels away from cured Permatex Ultra Black. I need to do small repairs to the dings, seam, in the rear triangle window molding, so I need something that works regardless. Will report back later on results.

  24. #22
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    Wow, this Gasket maker is amazing ... not even teflon coated Reynold's wrap can be removed!!

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    I think I figured out the real reason for the leak during very heavy rain. We had two heavy rains here in Houston and both times the left rear carpet was wet below the left rear floor mat. I used this forum to diagnose the issue and came across this thread which led me to inspect the seals around the left rear door. The seals looked new so I closed the door to see if it was making a tight seal and it wasn't. After close inspection of the closed door I noticed it was not flush with the body. It was sticking out about 1/8 to 1/16 inch. I looked at the door jamb and noticed the strike plate is adjustable. I happened to have the right tool for making the adjustment. I loosened the two bolts, one of which was already loose, and made minor adjustments until the rear door was flush with the rear quarter panel. Now the left rear door is flush just like the right rear door which doesn't leak. I'm about 99% sure this will fix the issue, but will have to wait until the next heavy rain to be 100% sure. I also checked all the other bolts and both the right front and left front had one bolt each that needed 1/4 turn to be as tight as the others. So, I believe the issue is that over time the doors need adjustment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smitty40 View Post
    I think I figured out the real reason for the leak during very heavy rain. We had two heavy rains here in Houston and both times the left rear carpet was wet below the left rear floor mat. I used this forum to diagnose the issue and came across this thread which led me to inspect the seals around the left rear door. The seals looked new so I closed the door to see if it was making a tight seal and it wasn't. After close inspection of the closed door I noticed it was not flush with the body. It was sticking out about 1/8 to 1/16 inch. I looked at the door jamb and noticed the strike plate is adjustable. I happened to have the right tool for making the adjustment. I loosened the two bolts, one of which was already loose, and made minor adjustments until the rear door was flush with the rear quarter panel. Now the left rear door is flush just like the right rear door which doesn't leak. I'm about 99% sure this will fix the issue, but will have to wait until the next heavy rain to be 100% sure. I also checked all the other bolts and both the right front and left front had one bolt each that needed 1/4 turn to be as tight as the others. So, I believe the issue is that over time the doors need adjustment.
    Yeah, I've seen posts along this line. It could conceivably address my problem by pulling the door inward, and closing the weatherproofing gap (shown in my pic above). But, I believe the by-the-book (albeit probably expensive) fix is to get new weatherproofing. But so far, as Andreas can attest to, it is not clear on part# or cost (which may be prohibitive). I'll keep this idea in mind, thanks. It sounds pretty straightforward to at least test it, and I have the tool.

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    It's a 2 minute fix. Since my B5.5 has been in the garage its entire life the weatherstripping around the doors and trunk are like new. Can't say the same for under the hood though as that weatherstripping has split.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LineInTheWater View Post
    But so far, as Andreas can attest to, it is not clear on part# or cost (which may be prohibitive).
    Well big surprise ECS Tuning never got back to me today like they said they would.


    Here the ETKA part numbers:

    RUBBER SEAL THAT WRAPS AROUND OUTSIDE OF DOOR / ON DOOR ITSELF THAT'S HELD ON BY PLASTIC CLIPS
    3B5 839 431 AB - LEFT
    3B5 839 432 AB - RIGHT


    INSIDE TRIM/SEAL / THE SEAL THAT IS GOES AROUND THE DOOR OPENING ON THE BODY ITSELF (GREY FABRIC STRIP ON IT)
    3B5 867 367 F - LEFT
    3B5 867 368 F - RIGHT


    ECS Tuning claims they have to go back to VW of A to find out what the part numbers really are, as they (ECS) have inaccurate info.
    After talking to couple different people today it also seems as though there is discrepancy on price. All the way from $62 to over $300.

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