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Weatherstripping Installation - Replace Your Weatherstripping

Put the kibosh on leaky, rattling doors as we show you how to replace your weatherstripping

By , Photography by , Terry McGean

"I feel a draft." Girls hate it when a blast of cold air and rain conspire to flatten their 'dos. Combine that with the lack of aesthetic charms presented by our '86 Chevrolet Caprice, and it looks like we're never going to get a girl to ride in it. It needs all the help we can give it. Fixing the weatherstripping is a good place to start.

Unlike for our '91 Firebird, which also repels women like dog breath, finding new parts is no picnic. It's a mid-'80s, fullsize coupe with a very small following apart from Midwestern geriatrics who have relocated to Florida, the lowrider and donk crowd, and nostalgic cops. Square Caprices are a dime-a-dozen here in the junkyards, but 99 percent of them are sedans. And though many sedan parts will work on the coupe (headliner, carpet, and more trim and molding pieces than you'd think), those parts have long been rendered unusable because of years of fleet service. So rather than packing the void in the door seals with strips of foam rubber, we performed a lengthy search on the Internet that turned up some options.

The door weatherstripping was not much of a problem. SoffSeal sells a kit for the coupe, so a call was made, and the box arrived within a week. The door-seal strips and window channel posed more of a problem. GM discontinued them, and any N.O.S. stuff that had been sitting on a dealership's back shelf cost too much. Eventually, J.C. Whitney came to the rescue for half the price.

We were a little freaked when the boxes were delivered. J.C. Whitney actually does sell replacement body parts, trim pieces, and mechanical items, some of which are custom-fit. You never know what you're going to get from the universal parts bin, but we were pleasantly surprised when the window channel and door seals turned out to be high-quality pieces. The rubber was good, the felts were soft and flexible, and the pieces fit the car perfectly.

So, while it may be dubious for a Caprice of any vintage to grace the pages of Car Craft, the process of replacing its weatherstripping with a generic brand is applicable to a variety of popular cars. Follow along as the Caprice gets its door seals tuned up.

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