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From Sun Nov 11 19:56:39 2001
From: "Dan Cordray" <>
To: <>
Subject: E39 (528i) Door Seal Replacement
Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2001 22:05:45 -0600

I recently purchased a 1997 528i. I guess no matter how diligently you inspect a used car, deficiencies always exist.

In my case it was both body-mounted seals for the front doors. The tubular rubber portion of the seals on both front doors was worn through in two separate places on the vertical portion of the seal at the rear edge of the door. I could not understand how this wear occurred until I noticed that if the seat belt were draped as if it were closed in the door, the webbing would contact exactly in these two areas of the seal. I have carefully examined the seat belt webbing and I can find absolutely no damage to the webbing itself. The belts appear to be original (1997 date on the tags).

I ordered two new door seals (P/N 51-72-8-259-913) from my local dealer (surprised to find these at only $44 each).

I had been stymied to install these because of the difficulty to remove the plastic sill covers at the bottom of the opening. I tried all nature of tools to raise this cover without breaking it, to no avail. Finally I found a brick chisel with a wide cutting edge and approx 8" length. I was able to place the wide end of the chisel under the sill cover, directly adjacent to the front or middle retaining clip (three clips are used). I used an adjustable wrench on the hex of the chisel to apply torque to the chisel to pry upward on the sill cover while using the other hand to hold the chisel in position. Using this tool and procedure, I could release the front and middle clip from the sill. Either the clip released (or broke) from the plastic sill cover, or the clip released from the hole in the body. The plastic sill covers remained undamaged (in my case). With the front and middle clips released, the sill cover can be slid forward to disengage the rear clip without actually removing the clip from the body. Of the six retaining clips for two sill covers, I broke one of them such that it could not be reused. I would recommend purchase of a few of these clips before attempting this job. One or more are likely to be broken in the process. The sill cover clips are P/N 51-47-1-928-808 7-CLIP, and the current price is $.39 each.

Actual installation of the rubber seals was a bit anticlimactic after my struggle with the sill covers. I used a bar of motel soap to apply a small amount of soap to the channel of the seal that engages the lip on the body. This lubricant helped a lot to facilitate pressing the seal into location. The seal itself incorporates a rubber "release string" that releases the rubber inner flange of the seal to cover the edges of the adjacent interior parts. I installed the seals by starting at one end and progressing around the circumference of the opening, and then trimming the seal to fit at the joint between ends (trimmed approx 1" from each seal). As I think about this, next time I might try to install the seal without trimming it, by installing the "joined" ends first and then working the seal into the circumference of the opening by working in both directions. I am not sure how BMW recommends making this installation.

I am thankful for your web site. I hope this experience will help someone in the future.

Thanks and regards,
Dan Cordray
Peoria, Illinois

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