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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 01-10-2014, 12:52 PM
AllesklarBMW AllesklarBMW is offline
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Leaking doors!

I tried to look but, can't see my exact issue.

My rear doors on my 2002 530i leak during heavy rain storms (or high pressure washes).

I had the gutters blown clean, I had the inside door panels tightened to get more pressure on windows against outter seals, and still they can leak into the cabin floor carpeting.

When I open the doors after a rain, alot of water drains from the holes bottom of door meaning...they are clean. It seems the water can't get below the door and out to the street as it is perhaps contained between inner and outter seals.

Do I need new outter window seals?
Cut a slot in lower outter door seals?
Need a new car??!

This is my only issue (besides a slight rack-pinion drip in RH seal). My car, after 1000's of dollars of rework...is running like a top. Have over 100,000 miles and is spotless inside and out.


Help?!
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  #2  
Old 01-10-2014, 01:23 PM
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matt540 matt540 is online now
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Your vapor barriers are leaking, its a pretty easy DIY. There are a couple DIY's on this forum and on youtube that are very helpful.


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Last edited by matt540; 01-10-2014 at 01:24 PM.
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  #3  
Old 01-10-2014, 01:40 PM
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AnotherGeezer AnotherGeezer is offline
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Mine still leaked even after doing the whole nine yard thing on the vapor barriers.

Happens mostly at the car wash now.

My solution: Weathertech Laser-cut floor liners. Any fluid that enters the rear doors ends up in the liner, not the carpet.
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Old 01-10-2014, 02:07 PM
edjack edjack is online now
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Poor solution - get the leak fixed. If the front passenger fuse panel gets wet, you in a world of hurt.
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  #5  
Old 01-10-2014, 04:50 PM
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AnotherGeezer AnotherGeezer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
Poor solution - get the leak fixed. If the front passenger fuse panel gets wet, you in a world of hurt.
Not a poor solution so far. The interior is bone-dry.

And the leaks are limited to the rear door only. The front carpets never see a drop of water. They do see the occasional snow falling from the roof but no deluge of water at any point.
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  #6  
Old 01-11-2014, 12:08 AM
AllesklarBMW AllesklarBMW is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt540 View Post
Your vapor barriers are leaking, its a pretty easy DIY. There are a couple DIY's on this forum and on youtube that are very helpful.


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Hmmm...I checked out the vids on youtube and I am not sure this is my issue (but may be).

When I wash car or it rains...the water doesn't come right in. It "pools" in the bottom and doesn't get out the drain hole. When I open the doors, the water comes rushing out the rear doors drain (located in forward lower door area). I'd think if the vapor barrier was shot...the water would be immediate?
It seems like the door when closed is "sealing the drain hole" and the only relief is to either open door (tuff to do when driving lol) or allow seepage into cabin.
Note; front door are perfect...only rears.

If you guys think it is the vapor barrier...ok, I'll do it.
If this sounds like something else...I'm all ears.

Once again, I have had a shop blow out every drain hole in the car.
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  #7  
Old 01-12-2014, 01:45 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Vapor barrier adhesive leaking
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See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #8  
Old 01-12-2014, 01:54 AM
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gibo58 gibo58 is offline
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wet floors

It's the vapor barriers for sure. My 530i leaked just like yours, took the rear door trim off and sure as sh@t the vapor barrier had come away in a few spots. I redid them with the BMW vb tape and all was good.
I have since had to re-press a small section on the passenger rear again and after washing the car today it appears I need to do it again, but the drivers rear has been good.
I might use the wifes hairdryer next time to soften it up first, I really don't want to have to do the whole door again, but will if necessary.
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  #9  
Old 01-12-2014, 01:23 PM
AllesklarBMW AllesklarBMW is offline
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Ok blubee and gibo58....thanks.
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  #10  
Old 01-14-2014, 11:22 AM
RLJett RLJett is offline
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This may be the same on your rear doors, in addition to the new tape, there are two plastic factory plugs on the bottom side of the door that sit below the bottom of the vapor barrier. You need to seal these off as well. I used the butyl tape on one door, silicone RTV on the other and neither door has leaked since, so I guess either method is acceptable. Re-sealing the vapor barrier is a start but you need to address the plugs as well. It will become more clear once you remove the door cards.
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  #11  
Old 01-14-2014, 12:36 PM
theWalkinator theWalkinator is offline
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Same thing with my rear passenger door, yesterday found out floor was flooded and today it is raining again, so I need to wait a sunny and warmer day to fix vapor barrier seal. AutoZone or Advanced Auto Parts should have the sealant, right?
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  #12  
Old 01-14-2014, 01:28 PM
rdl rdl is offline
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The symptoms match up with vapour barrier leaks. Don't be mislead by the water drainage when you open the door. Mine have always done that: both before and after resealing the vapour barriers. I now have zero moisture on the carpet, although I still have drainage when opening the doors after a car wash or rain.

There are lots of DIYs. For me, the charm after having both rear doors "re-leak" was to use new butyl rope with lots of heat and pressure during the resealing. There are reports that new vapour barriers can help. The old/orginals tend to warp and then pull away from the door structure over time; new ones are flat and easier to get a good firm seal.

You can check the vapour barrier seal before replacing the door trim panels. Use a hose to flood the window (outside ) with slow stream of water for several minutes. You will see lots of water streaming off the ourside door skin and from the drain holes. But if the seal isn't perfect, you will also see a dribble(s) of water on the inside of the door at the edge of the vapour barrier.
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  #13  
Old 01-14-2014, 01:56 PM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
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you want to find out where your leaking? take the door panel off.. close the door.. water the out side of the door and then open it.. when you open the door it will be running out from where ever its leaking at..

and or have someone water the door while you sit inside with a flash light...

Its pritty eazy..
although i admit. i had to put the door on and off about 5 times before i got it all right
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  #14  
Old 01-14-2014, 03:08 PM
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matt540 matt540 is online now
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My passenger side rear is leaking so i have to do it.


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  #15  
Old 01-14-2014, 10:09 PM
waehrik waehrik is offline
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I would highly recommend 3M "Windo-Weld" urethane for sealing the moisture barrier to the door. It is compatible with the existing adhesive and will bond to what is already there. You'll never be able to remove the old adhesive from the door, it's bonded too strongly to the paint.
It comes in tubes that fit in caulking guns for easy dispensing. Just wear gloves! It's very sticky and will take a couple days to wear off your skin. One tube is enough to do three doors. I know because I resealed both of my rear doors when they were leaking and had to go back in a few months later when one regulator went on me. If you leave the plastic tip in place the urethane will harden in it and create a plug so the rest is preserved.
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  #16  
Old 01-25-2014, 02:27 PM
AllesklarBMW AllesklarBMW is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waehrik View Post
I would highly recommend 3M "Windo-Weld" urethane for sealing the moisture barrier to the door. It is compatible with the existing adhesive and will bond to what is already there. You'll never be able to remove the old adhesive from the door, it's bonded too strongly to the paint.
It comes in tubes that fit in caulking guns for easy dispensing. Just wear gloves! It's very sticky and will take a couple days to wear off your skin. One tube is enough to do three doors. I know because I resealed both of my rear doors when they were leaking and had to go back in a few months later when one regulator went on me. If you leave the plastic tip in place the urethane will harden in it and create a plug so the rest is preserved.
Ok I was wondering what adhesive to use, thanks.
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  #17  
Old 01-26-2014, 12:20 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllesklarBMW View Post
Ok I was wondering what adhesive to use, thanks.
This is what is in the bestlinks, under /adhesive ...
- How the vapor barrier works (1) & the problem with front & rear door vapor barrier adhesives which allow rain water to wet the carpet (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) & what adhesives to buy (1) & what sizes for the adhesive beads (1)
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See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #18  
Old 01-26-2014, 02:58 PM
NZ BMW NZ BMW is offline
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http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...897&highlight=

This is exactly what happened to me, I couldn't understand how it was the vapor barrier until I popped off the door cards. I siliconed mine, which is not what most people recommend in case you have to get in there again. Given the age of them and their relatively low cost if something has to get replaced in there the barriers can be done again. The tape is certainly the more versatile/correct solution.
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  #19  
Old 01-26-2014, 03:22 PM
theWalkinator theWalkinator is offline
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I fixed my rear passenger door last week, I used 3M black super weatherstrip and gasket adhesive, it was cold when I was doing it, so I have to use heat gun to get the adhesive tacky before I put vapor barrier back, hope I fixed it for good so I don't have to do it again.

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  #20  
Old 01-26-2014, 03:48 PM
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matt540 matt540 is online now
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Originally Posted by AllesklarBMW View Post
Ok I was wondering what adhesive to use, thanks.
I used black silicon adhesive on mine last weekend.


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  #21  
Old 02-16-2014, 12:42 AM
AllesklarBMW AllesklarBMW is offline
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Update; after playing around I noticed a related issue attributing to the "leaking back doors".

The outside face of the rear window (electric) had a 'larger' gap with the blade seal than did the front windows.
I could not slide one sheet of paper down the front seal however...up to 3 sheets for the rear.
I think that either whomever owned the car before me when tinted windows or myself, when I re-tinted (darker) was left by the shop without a spec tight seal.

My local shop had to re-install with correct clips and associated parts to ensure the windows have that (paperless-tight) seal corrected.
This will mitigate the cascading deluge of water into the door.
Then I sealed the vapor barrier in addition.

Raining hard in Seattle and zero carpet wetness.
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