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BMW 3-Series and 4-Series Forum (F30 / F32) | F30POST > 2012-2019 BMW 3 and 4-Series Forums > General F30 Sedan / F32 Coupe / F36 Gran Coupe Forum > Creaking Doors - Replace window guides or try something else?
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      08-21-2021, 08:06 PM   #1
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Creaking Doors - Replace window guides or try something else?

Now on my third 3 series and, as expected, the doors are starting their decent into creak 'hell' just a couple of months after the warranty ran out. Perfect timing. Of course I have applied gummi pfledge (useless), carbaflo (which is also useless when the weather is hot and humid), silicone remover (which removes silicone but not squeaks), 'teflon' tape (to be honest I used the cheap knock-off stuff, not 3M's US$200+ per roll magic tape) which worked for a little bit then . . . useless, paint sealant (ineffective after a short while), so now looking at replacing the window guides. The part is number 1 in the diagram below

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I asked the dealer to give me a quote for the two rear doors and got back a number so high I thought selling the car and buying something else would be cheaper. The dealer is asking roughly $500 per door, pre-tax.

I read over BMW's instructions on how to replace the rear window guides and it is indeed involved. No one step being too difficult but all adding up to an epic adventure of taking most of the door, except the handle and glass, apart. BMW references another magical chemical call G14 lubricant, which is applied to the back of the seals. I wonder, would getting G14 and re-lubing the back of the top of the seals work? Has anyone here heard of G14? It has a LOT of warnings attached to it. I'm starting to think it's not the seal/guide that dries out but the G14.
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      08-22-2021, 12:31 AM   #2
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Yeppp. This driving me nuts. For now I'm just trying the easy path of cleaning/conditioning the seals, which seems to help, but only temporarily.
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      08-22-2021, 01:55 PM   #3
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It would be hilarious if all this time, tapes, cleaners, solutions, etc all applied to the outside of the gasket were all in vain when in fact it might have been the G14 lubricant applied to the inside of the gasket that dried out.

G14 isn't exactly something you get at the local big box store. It's about US$70 or roughly 51 euros for a 900ml bottle which could probably do about a 100 cars. Still tempted to try it along the top of the gasket through. It seems I could avoid the whole door disassembly just to reapply to the top only.
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      08-23-2021, 04:47 PM   #4
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If I pull out the window/channel guide, do I need to remove the weather strip first to put the guide back in again? Or can I use a prise tool to push it back in?

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Last edited by casualDIYer; 08-24-2021 at 03:10 PM..
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      08-24-2021, 04:12 PM   #5
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Problem 1 solved. BMW refers to these outer seals as Windows Guides or Window Channels. But neither term is widely used more likely these are called Windows Seals. Haven't yet found any F30 videos but did find E90 and E39 videos explaining the process. The parts look a lot a like

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TSwoDTHSp0


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFxgutoSXiE


Another proud owner of a perfectly fine automobile whose beautiful silence is ruined each time his car drives over a pebble and the doors creak. Lovely.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq8t2vP7064
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      08-24-2021, 04:45 PM   #6
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Easy fix if this is what your experiencing. I did the cleaning and seal conditioning repeatedly but the door irritating seal creaking keep coming back after 3-4 car washes. I found this video which solved to issue completely:



Tape used from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/J-V-Convertin...9836934&sr=8-1
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      08-24-2021, 07:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Runner340 View Post
Easy fix if this is what your experiencing. I did the cleaning and seal conditioning repeatedly but the door irritating seal creaking keep coming back after 3-4 car washes. I found this video which solved to issue completely:



Tape used from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/J-V-Convertin...9836934&sr=8-1
Thanks for the video. I have indeed tried that tape and . . . after a while it too failed. An added bonus was the tape was hell to get off leaving behind a sticky residue that took effort to remove. There is also a 3M tape which also works well but it too has a time limit.

In looking into the issue in detail, from what I can tell, it is the material of the window guide / window channel / door seal that degrades not the door frame or trim or even inner seals. I spoke to an engineer friend who works at a plant that makes these seals. The material is a kind of rubber plastic combo, a kind of a holy grail material for a car maker. Rubber is almost like a super material. The modern world would be a lot less modern without it. The problem is it's price, practically 20 times that of plastic. A combo, combining the benefits of rubber but at the price of plastic would be fantastic. The hard part of making such a material is tight environment control, especially temperature.

The outside seal is exposed to the sun, rain, external contaminants, etc. Depending on each car, where that car lives most of it's life, that issue may happen in a few years, or many years.

Ultimately, I believe once the creaks start, temporary mitigation can be found with reasonable low cost solutions but ultimately, the seal becomes too damaged to be saved and needs replacement.

Now I remember why I enjoyed leasing . . .
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      08-25-2021, 08:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casualDIYer View Post
Thanks for the video. I have indeed tried that tape and . . . after a while it too failed. An added bonus was the tape was hell to get off leaving behind a sticky residue that took effort to remove. There is also a 3M tape which also works well but it too has a time limit.

In looking into the issue in detail, from what I can tell, it is the material of the window guide / window channel / door seal that degrades not the door frame or trim or even inner seals. I spoke to an engineer friend who works at a plant that makes these seals. The material is a kind of rubber plastic combo, a kind of a holy grail material for a car maker. Rubber is almost like a super material. The modern world would be a lot less modern without it. The problem is it's price, practically 20 times that of plastic. A combo, combining the benefits of rubber but at the price of plastic would be fantastic. The hard part of making such a material is tight environment control, especially temperature.

The outside seal is exposed to the sun, rain, external contaminants, etc. Depending on each car, where that car lives most of it's life, that issue may happen in a few years, or many years.

Ultimately, I believe once the creaks start, temporary mitigation can be found with reasonable low cost solutions but ultimately, the seal becomes too damaged to be saved and needs replacement.

Now I remember why I enjoyed leasing . . .
Thanks for the heads up on the longevity of the tape. My cars are garaged when not in use. So far it's been a NE year with the tape and it's still holding up for me. I did have to replace one section of the tape due to the tape lifting off the dogleg corner for the rear door trim. My bad in stretching the tape too much and/or not cleaning the wax off the trim piece well. But to your point the glue from the tape was a PITA to clean off with isopropyl alcohol.

All cars have their warts. I buy my cars outright and tend to hold on to them for 10 or more years. I do 80%+ of the repairs and servicing myself. I've owned domestic, Asian and European cars over the years and keep going back to BMW's due to the plethora of online information and parts available which works for my OCD tendencies. I only have the dealer do warranty repairs and service if it's cost effective and convenient for me.

Last edited by Runner340; 08-25-2021 at 08:25 AM..
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      08-25-2021, 08:22 AM   #9
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Hmmm... mine creaked like a mofo when the car was new, and it was the weatherstripping against the shadowline trim. One treatment of gummi pfledge (left the doors open so it could dry), and I've no issues for the past 3.5 years.

But yeh, pretty annoying if it's still happening.
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      09-03-2021, 12:29 PM   #10
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I went ahead and lubed the back of the window guide / outer door seal with Carbaflo. I also lubed the window channel itself, and for now, the creaking has come to a complete stop.

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I also discovered a detail about the seal

EPDM + TPE

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (artificial rubber) + Thermal Plastic Elasomer (it's rubber but acts in some way similar to plastic)

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A lot lubricants, including silicone, are fine as lubricant for EPDM. Unfortunately from what I've found, silicone can degrade TPE. It turns out TPE is used for 'adults' toys (type it in Google and get a surprise). I take it the users of these products are not advised to use silicone but water based lubes. This makes makes finding a lubricant for dried out seals somewhat more difficult as it needs to work with both EPDM and TPE. Carbaflo seems to work but I've noticed in using it in the past it doesn't last long. It may be slightly water soluble so something else may be in order.

I wonder if BMW's mysterious G14 is a miracle lubricant. G14 eventually evaporates according to BMW's instructions.
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Last edited by casualDIYer; 09-04-2021 at 10:14 PM..
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      09-03-2021, 12:42 PM   #11
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Looks like Krytox will fit the bill. Compatible with EPDM and TPE

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Last edited by casualDIYer; 09-05-2021 at 01:34 AM..
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      10-21-2021, 01:58 AM   #12
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Went ahead and tried Krytox. It does work but only for a little while. It seems if the window guides are exposed to silicone, it seems the TPE in them will begin to break down. The only option now is replacement and the use of BMW lubricant G14, the only lube BMW authorizes for window guides. I will go this route but may take a break until the spring. As the weather gets colder, the problem seems to diminish, or at least is quieter.
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