Weatherstripping Replacement - Silence Is Golden
If Your Fox Mustang's Windows Squeal Like A Stuck Pig, Relief Is On The Way
From the November, 2009 issue of Modified Mustangs & Fords
By Mark Houlahan
Photography by Mark Houlahan
Fox Mustang Weatherstripping Replacement
For many of us, our daily drivers sit in our parking spot at work all day, taking a beating from the sun, wind, ozone, and other elements. Rubber-based products don't last forever in this kind of environment, and sooner or later you find crumbling weather stripping, dried out window trim, cracked window gaskets, and much more (one reason auto manufacturers went to glue in glass instead of using a perimeter rubber gasket product). It's especially rough in the Sunbelt-Florida, Texas, California, and so forth. Owners in these states know all too well how the sun, ozone, and even acid rain chew through black moldings like a termite through wood. Sure, you can use a car cover if you keep your daily driver spotless, and you can try rubber conditioners and other magic in a bottle solutions, but over the years these rubber parts simply dry up and wear out.
Here's what we started off...
Here's what we started off with; rock hard belt weatherstripping that made our glass squeal like a banshee and outer belt moldings that had dried up to the point the coating had flaked off exposing the aluminum base structure. It looked bad, sounded bad, and felt bad.
One of the worst areas for this problem on Fox Mustangs is the door glass. Being a full frame door, the glass rides and seals into a rubber channel in the door frame. Further more, the glass has "dew wipes" on the inside and outside of the glass, also called belt weatherstrip, and finally, there's rubber-based trim on the door itself and on the A-pillar leading to the large fixed quarter glass. All of these rubber parts are exposed to the elements and are not immune to wear from the window movement, and aging over time. Just think how many times your door glass has gone up and down over the last 15 or more years. Our '90 5.0L LX hatch has certainly seen better days and has a whole grocery list of troublesome fixes to tackle, but one of the most pressing, and annoying, was the fact our dew wipes were rock hard from age and the soft felt-like inner lining was completely worn away from use, causing the door glass to squeal loud enough to turn bystanders' heads our way. This moved the repair to the top of our fix-it list. The work is fairly simple, just a bit time consuming. We found everything we needed for our project at Mustangs Unlimited (and it has a lot more door items if your Fox is in worse shape than ours) and we got everything in just a few days. So check out our tool list, order up what you need, and follow along.
- 3/8-inch drill
- 7/64-inch drill bit
- 7/32-inch drill bit
- Rivet gun
- 1/8-inch rivets, 1/8-inch grip
- 1/8-inch rivets, 1/4-inch grip
- Phillips screwdriver
- Slotted screwdriver
- 1/4-inch drive ratchet and extension
- 9mm and 10mm sockets
- Pick tool
- Side cutters/dykes
- Door panel tool
The inner belt weatherstrip...
The inner belt weatherstrip is attached to the actual door panel of the Fox Mustang, so we'll have to completely remove the door panel to access it. Screw locations differ slightly throughout the years and door panel configurations, but you'll need to remove the Phillips screws in the upper sail panel and door handle trim to start.
The Fox door panel's arm rest...
The Fox door panel's arm rest is retained by two Phillips head screws at the far ends and two 10mm bolts behind the plastic access plugs found in the middle. The Phillips screws only attach the armrest to the door panel itself.
To access the 10mm bolts that...
To access the 10mm bolts that thread directly into the door structure, the plastic access plugs must be removed with a small flat blade screwdriver or pick tool. If your plugs are missing (they lose their grip with age and fall out when you open the door) Mustangs Unlimited has color matched replacements available. Disconnect the power lock/window wiring, as applicable, and remove the armrest.
Don't forget that there's...
Don't forget that there's a Phillips head screw at the bottom of the speaker grille as well, otherwise you risk the chance of cracking the grille when prying the door panel free.
Using a door panel removal...
Using a door panel removal tool or something similar, locate the plastic door panel friction clips and carefully pry them from the door shell. You must be careful (which is why we recommend the proper tool here), otherwise you run the risk of tearing the clip out of the fiber door panel backer.
At this point, the door panel...
At this point, the door panel should be free of the door shell. Carefully pull the bottom of the door panel away from the door, while lifting the panel upwards (ensure the inside door handle is free of the panel opening). Set the panel aside for now; we'll tackle the inner belt weatherstrip shortly.
To access the outer belt weatherstrip...
To access the outer belt weatherstrip you will need to remove the outer belt molding from the door ('87 and up models). You will find a lone Phillips head screw under the door shell's edge that retains the molding. Remove this screw and slide the molding rearward to remove it from the door shell.
Using a 7/32-inch drill bit,...
Using a 7/32-inch drill bit, drill off the heads of the three rivets that retain the outer belt weatherstrip to the door shell. The rivets may spin, so a small flat blade screwdriver can be employed under the head of the rivet to prevent it from spinning.
Once the rivets were out we...
Once the rivets were out we tried to remove the belt weatherstrip, but the mirror assembly has a bit of pressure on the front of the weatherstrip, requiring the mirror to be unbolted from the door shell for access. A 9mm socket is employed to remove the two retaining nuts and then the mirror is simply pulled free (you don't need to disconnect the wiring or take the mirror completely off the door).
Once we freed the outer belt...
Once we freed the outer belt weatherstrip from the door, a few minutes with some cleaning agents and a shop towel got our door shell ready for the new parts. Wow, that's what shiny paint looks like, huh?
In this comparison photo you...
In this comparison photo you can see the back side of the outer belt weatherstrip and how much more "fuzz" is on the new piece compared to the 19-year-old part we removed. It's also very flexible, while the original feels like a hard plastic part after all those years in the sun.
Carefully place the new outer...
Carefully place the new outer belt weatherstrip (PN 814523A, $49.95 pr) on the door shell lip, ensuring it's properly seated within the window channel weatherstrip and secure with three aluminum or stainless steel 1/8-inch short rivets. Our window channel weatherstrip was replaced about five years ago and was in excellent shape, but if yours is dried and cracked Mustangs Unlimited carries these as well, and now is the perfect time to install them with the door panel removed. You can reattach the side view mirror now too.
Our new outer belt moldings...
Our new outer belt moldings came as a set with new clips under PN BM87 at $72.95 for the pair. We reused most of our clips, but replaced any missing or damaged ones with the clips in the molding kit. Use the longer 1/8-inch rivets to secure these. Line up the notches in the molding with the clips and press down while sliding the molding forward onto the locating tab on the mirror body. Secure with the new screw from the molding kit.
The outer belt weatherstrip...
The outer belt weatherstrip and belt molding replacement is complete and makes the car look so much better already. All that's left is to replace the inner belt weatherstrip on the door panel and reinstall the door panel.
The inner belt weatherstrip...
The inner belt weatherstrip is secured to the door panel with staples. The best way we found to remove the weatherstrip was to wedge a screwdriver between the panel and the weatherstrip under each staple and twist the screwdriver to pry the staple out. Repeat until all staples are free and then remove the weatherstrip from the door panel.
Once removed, we once again...
Once removed, we once again compared the new and old belt weatherstrips together. The old weatherstrip had worn down to bare rubber, and was rock hard, most likely the main cause of our window squealing. The new inner belt weatherstrip is PN BM11 for '81-'93 Fox Mustang and are $54.95 for the pair.
Carefully place the inner...
Carefully place the inner belt weatherstrip onto the top of the door panel and ensure it's located properly using the old weatherstrip's stainless trim witness marks as a guide. Drill 7/64-inch screw holes and secure with Mustangs Unlimited's inner belt weatherstrip screw kit (PN PE881, $3.95). Alternatively you can have a trim shop staple them on like OE, or you can use rivets. A dab of black paint will hide the shiny screws if it is a concern.
Evenly spaced, the retaining...
Evenly spaced, the retaining screws from Mustangs Unlimited do a fine job of securing the inner belt weatherstrip to our door panels. With the inner belt weatherstrip secured you can reinstall the door panel using the reverse of the removal procedure previously outlined and move on to tackling the
One last before and after...
One last before and after shot will no doubt convince you that this is a worthwhile repair for the aging Fox Mustangs out there. Above is our driver door with new inner and outer belt weatherstripping and new belt molding. Note how the two belt weatherstrips touch, with the inner overlapping the outer. Now take a look at the yet to be repaired passenger side with ruined belt molding and belt weatherstripping so hard that when the glass is lowered a gap between them remains. For about $185 in parts we had our Mustang looking and functioning better. Of course it might cost a bit more if you need other door parts (panel clips, arm rest pad, and more).