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i just posted some notes and photos from my leaking rear door vapor barrier repair. enjoy.

vapor barrier repair

The 3M Windo-Weld Ribbon Sealer worked well for me. Here are the parts I used:

3M# 08612 - Windo-Weld Ribbon Sealer, 3/8" x 15' round bead
ribbon sealer

3M# 03618 - Adhesive Remover - 12 oz aerosol - helps remove tar, attachment tape, and bumper sticker adhesive
adhesive remover

best regards,

jim
 

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i just posted some notes and photos from my leaking rear door vapor barrier repair. enjoy.

vapor barrier repair

The 3M Windo-Weld Ribbon Sealer worked well for me. Here are the parts I used:

3M# 08612 - Windo-Weld Ribbon Sealer, 3/8" x 15' round bead
ribbon sealer

3M# 03618 - Adhesive Remover - 12 oz aerosol - helps remove tar, attachment tape, and bumper sticker adhesive
adhesive remover

best regards,

jim
Have you tried spraying some water from the outside at the door with the door open to see if the seal is actually working? I did all 4 of my doors with the window weld the same way you did and 24 hours after installing it, the seal had completely failed at the bottom and water was just pouring out on the inside (good thing I did it with the door open). I ended up having to silicone mine with GE Silicone II to finally fix mine. Has worked great since.
 
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I did this a few weeks ago. Couldn't locate the 3-M seal but managed to buy an identical looking butyl bead sealant from my local glass shop ($6 for 25 feet). I went through the brutal task of cleaning off the old sealant really well, then applied the new. Used a hair dryer to soften the sealant before adhering the barrier. Tested in several rain storms with no issues.

I can see having issues if you don't totally clean the dirty old sealant off, or it you don't heat it to really adhere the barrier.
 

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I did this a few weeks ago. Couldn't locate the 3-M seal but managed to buy an identical looking butyl bead sealant from my local glass shop ($6 for 25 feet). I went through the brutal task of cleaning off the old sealant really well, then applied the new. Used a hair dryer to soften the sealant before adhering the barrier. Tested in several rain storms with no issues.

I can see having issues if you don't totally clean the dirty old sealant off, or it you don't heat it to really adhere the barrier.
I did both clean all the old stuff off and heat with a heat gun on low. Acted like it didn't do anything after waiting 1 day.

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I did both clean all the old stuff off and heat with a heat gun on low. Acted like it didn't do anything after waiting 1 day.
Could your vapour barrier be torn?

After installing my vapour barrier, I went all around, rolling the edges away to make sure the butyl was well adhered to the door and the barrier. I knew my seal was good because the stuff was was "well smooshed". If you still have leaks, inspect closely and see if you can identify the leak point.
 

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Could your vapour barrier be torn?

After installing my vapour barrier, I went all around, rolling the edges away to make sure the butyl was well adhered to the door and the barrier. I knew my seal was good because the stuff was was "well smooshed". If you still have leaks, inspect closely and see if you can identify the leak point.
It wasn't torn. The seal wasn't stuck to the metal of the door anymore. It was nice and smushed though. I have since siliconed it, no leaks now.

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Let me restate, the seal was perfectly stuck the night I did it, but unstuck from the metal the next day. I lightly pulled on the barrier and it was just flapping next to the door and the butyl was still stuck to the barrier just fine.

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Could your vapour barrier be torn?

After installing my vapour barrier, I went all around, rolling the edges away to make sure the butyl was well adhered to the door and the barrier. I knew my seal was good because the stuff was was "well smooshed". If you still have leaks, inspect closely and see if you can identify the leak point.
I used 3m adhesive remover, but used denatured alcohol afterwards as the remover left a residue that kept the butyl from adhering. You can use silicone, but it's a [email protected] to remove down the road. The butyl serves two purposes: 1. wide temperature adherence and 2. noise absorption. #2 is bigger than people realize when it comes to doors.
 

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I used 3m adhesive remover, but used denatured alcohol afterwards as the remover left a residue that kept the butyl from adhering. You can use silicone, but it's a [email protected] to remove down the road. The butyl serves two purposes: 1. wide temperature adherence and 2. noise absorption. #2 is bigger than people realize when it comes to doors.
Which butyl do you use the caulk type or ribbon? If ribbon did you heat it before you replaced the vapor barrier?
 

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Which butyl do you use the caulk type or ribbon? If ribbon did you heat it before you replaced the vapor barrier?
I bought the ribbon from Amazon and yes, you have to heat it as you go with a hair dryer or something like that, so it becomes gooey and adheres better.
 
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Discussion Starter #13
failed seal

Have you tried spraying some water from the outside at the door with the door open to see if the seal is actually working? I did all 4 of my doors with the window weld the same way you did and 24 hours after installing it, the seal had completely failed at the bottom and water was just pouring out on the inside (good thing I did it with the door open). I ended up having to silicone mine with GE Silicone II to finally fix mine. Has worked great since.
I made the mistake of trying a tube of silicone that had been opened for a number of years and partially cured. It made this gooey mess of slime on the closed cell foam vapor barrier. I went back into it last night and hit it with my heat gun on low. I may have to start all over if I am unable to get adhesion on the closed cell foam vapor barrier.

What kind of solvent would remove slimy silicone funk without melting it and making napalm? If I can get the butyl to seal, I feel like it would work well with heat gun. Otherwise, I may follow your lead and get a new tube of silicone. Silicone always worked for me when I repaired aquariums and other things.
 

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I would advise against silicone, it won't suppress noise, won't last as long, and as you've noted, it's a b*tch to remove down the road. Butyl is chosen by nearly all auto manufacturers for a good reason.
 

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I would advise against silicone, it won't suppress noise, won't last as long, and as you've noted, it's a b*tch to remove down the road. Butyl is chosen by nearly all auto manufacturers for a good reason.
I have the butyl I had already applied and just siliconed around it. As long as your window regulators and door lock actuators are in good order, it should be fine.

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On my 2003 540, I tried totally cleaning off the old butyl & using new 3MWeld butyl with a hair dryer, but that didn't hold for long.
Finally I tried sillicone with new vapor barriers (both sides, rears only) and it's held fine now for over 5 years (no leaks, and I check every time I wash my car). At the same time I installed new rear door lock actuators. It's not very often anyone rides in the back, so the window regulators are OK still. I didn't want to have to go back inside the doors again soon.....

But, for anyone who is reading this thread, so some further research here & other e39 boards. you'll find a lot of info on vapor barriers, and lots of suggestions on how to fix them. Everyone has their own preferences, but I haven't read about anyone that used silicone & had to go back in (yet).
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Whether butyl or silicone, I just wish I could find strong solvent to clean closed cell foam vapor barrier. Adhesion is the problem I have.
 

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+1 on the GE silicone. done four E39's with it and no issue in years. i have not tried to remove it yet though so can't comment on how hard that would be...
 

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Having tried the silicone approach and now having to remove it, I strongly advise against going this route. The seal is great, no doubt. However, if you have to remove the barrier for repairs or body work, it is a huge pain because you have to remove all of the old silicone. Nothing will stick to it and you are left with a tedious cleanup task.
 

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I bought a new foam vapor barrier and butyl when I did mine on an M6. The new vapor barrier wasn't pricey as far as I recall. I also used a heat gun to heat the butyl seal before pushing the vapor barrier on. I don't think a hairdryer would be enough to get the butyl properly hot.
 
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