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BMW 3-Series and 4-Series Forum (F30 / F32) | F30POST > Technical Forums > F30 DIYs and Coding Discussions > DIY - Creaking / Noisy Door Seals: A familiar and quick solution
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      07-01-2021, 01:55 AM   #1
casualDIYer
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DIY - Creaking / Noisy Door Seals: A familiar and quick solution

NOTE: The following is not professional nor official BMW advice. It is a diary of how I solved a problem with my car. Use at your own risk

Like many e46, e90, and f30 sedan owners, my shadowline equipped 340i sedan, barely 4 years old, began its eventual decline into a creakbox from hell some time ago. Primarily the rear doors, occasionally the fronts, the situation worsened as summer began, with temps moving up to roughly 32C. Having dealt with the issue previously on both an e46 and gen 1 f30 I knew that getting the seals replaced was going to be a significant challenge as a DIY, and an expensive trip if done by the dealer. Even an indie shop would cost hundreds of dollars for what should be a dozens of dollars repair.

I started with the cheapest solutions, cleaning the seals, applying a sealant, using some knock-off teflon tape, which turned into a sticky mess, requiring Goo Gone and a lot of patience to get rid of. Solutions would work for a day or two, then the creak-a-thon would start up. For a moment I wondered if $300 for magical 3M clear Teflon tape might be worth it, but at that price, might as well get the seals re-done. I found a thread on Bimmerpost talking about how BMW had abandoned gummi pflege on door seals because of silicone content and wondered where I might get some silicone remover. BMW sells such a product at an almost ‘normal’ price (~$11), which I bought and tried. At first it seemed to work but after a day, it too failed. Next I decided I’d go for BMW’s Carbaflo KSP 105. The magic ‘stick’ would be a wallet draining $70+, which itself isn’t a lot of money for car maintenance, but for slippery goo, it seemed somewhat excessive. Applying it to the frequently mentioned bottom portion of the flocking material gasket (the outer most gasket the runs only on top of the door) and to the shadowline itself, all doors went quiet except one. The HMS Creaks-a-lot continued to groan as if it were a tail ship sailing the Atlantic, not a luxury sedan plying the streets of suburban Canada. I thought, either figure out the problem or sell the damn car. This is ridiculous.

Looking at the door, I couldn’t quite understand why the flocking material gasket would cause so much squeaking against the frame. It’s not uncommon for cars to use rubber seals with painted door frames. I noticed at the top of the door the inner door gasket and flocking material gasket clearly had to rub against each other when the door was closed. Perhaps this was the cause? I focused cleaning the area between the two seals. On the squeakiest door my microfibre got quite dirty cleaning with water alone.

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When no more dirt could be cleaned from between the two seals, I cleaned the top and edge of all seals, including the main seal around the door, the flocking material seal, and the chassis side seal. I also cleaned the shadowline frame (on the door entrance) with water and a microfibre. Once a cleaning was done with water and my microfibre stop turning black, all seals and the shadowline frame were cleaned again with BMW’s silicone remover. if you are curious why water was used initially and not a cleaner, this was done to make sure I wasn't adding new chemicals (either than water) to the materials involved.

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KSP 105 was then applied between the seals. Using a gloved finger, Carbaflo (KSP 105) was spread between the seals. It is important that all surfaces where the seals come into contact with each other are lubricated. KSP was not applied to the shadowline frame that runs along the top of the door frame (on the chassis, not the door itself) nor other seals. It was only applied between the seals at the top of the door as that is the only location where two rubber seals will actually rub against each other. Upon application, creaking from any door, especially the rear door, came to a complete stop. Good-bye creaky doors!

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Testing has only gone on for a couple of days but hoping this will finally fix the problem for more than a few weeks. It may not fix all cars, but it may fix yours. It will certainly be cheaper than changing cars.

Now it’s on to fixing the rattling the splash shield. It makes the door problem seem simple.
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Last edited by casualDIYer; 09-04-2021 at 09:52 PM..
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      09-04-2021, 11:34 AM   #2
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An update

The creaking went away for a while, then came back. Just as bad. It seems as the summer heat rises the creaking goes into hyper creak mode. It may be the car is cursed to be a shrieking creakbox from hell but before I totally give up and buy 4 new seals (at $125 Canuk bucks each) + $100 for the mysterious G14 lubricant and do it myself I just can't give up just yet.

I had considered getting the dealer to do it but they quoted me $500 a door. $2 grand for door seals? BMW has made many mistakes (like the hideous nose of the G80/82) but 2000 bucks for seals is really over the top. I guess they have so many customers they need to get rid of a few so maybe it does make sense.

What's the deal with the seals?
IF the seals were made exclusively of EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) they can be lubed with anything from a cheap can of silicone lube for $8 at the autoparts store to high tech crap you can find for $50/ml. But the seals are made of EPDM + TPE (thermoplastic elasomer). Silicone will degrade TPE so do not use it. Try typing TPE into your favourite web search site and you'll find a surprise and quickly understand why silicone is not / not a lubricant for TPE but coconut oil is.

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I decided to lube the back side of the seal (as in the part of the seal that fits inside the channel of the door meant to hold the seal in place) using Carbaflo, a EPDM + TPE approved lubricant. Without taking the seal completely off the door, I pulled out the top most part and lubed that.

Do not / not use metal tools for this work. One slip could be very costly. A door repair kit, made of nylon and often sold where you find car audio systems, is cheap and is designed for this kind of work. Find it on Amazon as well. $10 is not an uncommon price for these tools.

1. Roll down all windows. Note for the rear door, because you cannot roll down the quarter window, attempts to pull out the seal over the quarter window will be difficult. In my case, I did not / not remove that part of the seal. The creaking is heard mainly at the top of the door so only that part was pulled out and lubed. Additionally the vertical part of the seal on the rear door (on the hinge side of the door) is affixed with 2-sided tape (I was told) so I did not/not attempt to pull out the seal there. I only pulled out the top part of the seal between the two finishers of the rear door. With the front door, a lot of the seal can be pulled out between the top corner of the mirror and the top corner of the door at the finisher (nearest the B-pillar).

2. Pry the seal up then outward. You will feel it clear a little metal lip then start to move out the metal door channel it is press-fit into. If you wanted to remove the entire seal, on the rear doors, both finishers need to be removed. On the front door, the finisher and the mirror need to be removed. Since the squealing is mostly the top of the door I only pulled out that part of the seal, leaving a third to a half of it still in the door channel

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3. With the seal pulled out, lube the back of the seal (i.e. the portion that was press-fit into the channel). The dispenser of the carbaflo tube won't fit into tight spaces so smear the back of the seal, then used a gloved finger to get the carbaflo into any portion missed by the dispenser.

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Once completely lubed press-fit the seal back into the door channel and pull the seal over it's metal lip. Because you have not removed the entire seal you will see whether you've got the seal properly fit or not.

4. The final, very / very important step (once the seal is press-fit back into the channel) is to lube the seal (left and right) where the glass passes through it. This function of this part is to act as a Window Channel so lube the channel. My advice is to first clean the channel with silicone remover (mentioned above) then lube with carbaflo. I also very slightly lubed the seal next to the flocking material on my second try (I did not lube this on my first try) and, very important, lubed between the door and chassis seal (shown in the first post). Rubber squeaks against rubber. Give the carbaflo 20 minutes to dry, roll up the windows, test drive.

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This technique has eliminated creak. I have a feeling it will come back though. I suspect Carbaflo may be slightly water soluble (to maintain TPE compatibility) and will wash away over time. I have ordered Krytox as a backup since it is both EPDM and TPE compatible but I may leave that to only the inside of the seal. I don't want anyone touching teflon if they touch the door.

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Last edited by casualDIYer; 09-06-2021 at 12:34 PM..
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      09-06-2021, 04:52 PM   #3
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I feel your pain. Honestly, if someone's buying a BMW, they should know this going in. Interior build quality is the worst part of BMW ownership, and pretty much nothing can be done. It bothered me too at first, when you accept the reality that the car is just built and shipped this way, you learn to live with it. It's just the reality.
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      09-07-2021, 01:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarimS View Post
I feel your pain. Honestly, if someone's buying a BMW, they should know this going in. Interior build quality is the worst part of BMW ownership, and pretty much nothing can be done. It bothered me too at first, when you accept the reality that the car is just built and shipped this way, you learn to live with it. It's just the reality.
Fortunately the problem is not universal. Coupes seem to be free of the issue. I hear the 5 series does get the problem but not as often as the 3 series. The M3 also gets the problem but not to the same degree.

As for the solution, after applying carbaflo to the window channel, the creaking went away, then 24 hrs later, came back. Carbaflo was applied again, and this time most of the creaking went away. It may be carbaflo is slightly water soluble (to be TPE compatible) and hence may be affected by humidity. I look forward to testing Krytox to see if the issue will be resolved.
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      09-07-2021, 08:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casualDIYer View Post
Fortunately the problem is not universal. Coupes seem to be free of the issue. I hear the 5 series does get the problem but not as often as the 3 series. The M3 also gets the problem but not to the same degree.
From what I've seen, this issue least presents itself in the higher-end models. 1/2/3/4 series are basically guaranteed to have it, lesser on 5/6, and almost never on 7/8. Same for the X.
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      10-21-2021, 01:55 AM   #6
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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 G14. 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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