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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 Roadster, Z3 coupe, Z3 M Roadster and Z3 M Coupe talk with our gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 01-09-2008, 07:15 PM
FastWoman FastWoman is offline
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Lightbulb Common Water Leak Source on Z3 Apilar Seal??

Hi all,

Some of you were so kind as to help me with a leak problem at the A*****ar seal on my 2001 Roadster. The possibility was raised that the rubber had shrunken and needed to be restored with Gummi-Phlege (sp?) or something similar. I did that, with only modest improvement in the situation. Then I followed another recommendation of tightening the roof latch. That apeared to "fix" the problem, at least for the moment.

Then I got my new/used hardtop and fitted it to the car. I got slow leaks at the A*****ar seals on both sides. This time, I KNEW that I had good, tight contact between the rubber on both sides, so the problem had to lie elsewhere.

When looking at the problem further, I discovered the problem. I'm thinking it's got to be a problem on other cars too -- probably even a common one.

If you look at the A-pillar seal on the windshield side, it looks like this...



See the almost triangular-shaped rubber recess in the middle of the thing? That's actually a rubber plug. Take note of it.

Now look at the top side of the seal. In this picture, notice the rain groove, just forward of the seal above the windshield. It communicates with a recess in the A*****ar rubber. An overflow (?) hole exists just next to it. You can put a probe in one hole and see it through the other hole...



These holes both connect to the interior of the weather stripping in the door jamb, such that water flowing into these holes flows around the door and exits through weep holes in the weather stripping in the step plate area...


(pardon the focus)

Now, look back up at the rubber semi-triangular plug. That's what stands between the convoluted aquaduct system and the A-pillar seal.

This is the other side of the A-pillar seal (on a hardtop)...



Note that if the water gets past the plug, there is nothing to keep it from flowing into the interior of the car. In fact it is actually diverted in that direction.

AND HERE IS THE PROBLEM...



The glue/adhesive fastening the plug in the hole had given way, allowing the water to leak from the grand aquaduct, into the A-pillar seal, and ultimately into the interior of the car. I was able to verify that water came out from around the plug when I poured water through the drainage hole on the outside of the car. And yes, this had happened on both sides of the car. (Please note: I verified the leak before actually poking anything into this area!!)

Exploring further, I poked a screwdriver into the hole and found that the adhesive came apart VERY easily all the way around -- again, on both sides of the car. So I applied an adhesive to the gap between the plug and the surrounding rubber. It's curing tonight. I can only presume this will solve my leakage problem.

I *think* that may also solve the leakage problem of at least one other list member as well -- new ragtop, new leak. I think the leak can show up when a different amount of compression on the seal causes the gap between the plug and surrounding rubber to open up.

I hope that helps a few other folks!

Peace,
Sarah

Last edited by JonM; 05-28-2009 at 07:45 AM.
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  #2  
Old 01-09-2008, 07:37 PM
postalZ3 postalZ3 is offline
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Very nice write up. What type of adhesive did you used?

Tony
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  #3  
Old 01-09-2008, 07:51 PM
FastWoman FastWoman is offline
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Thanks!

I tried Gorilla Glue. I once gave some to someone to repair his golf shoes (detached sole), and the repair has held up well. I've also used the stuff to fabricate hose reductions, with great success. It reacts to water (the catalyst) by foaming, and the resulting foam retains some flexibility. It's also very strong and durable stuff. To apply the glue, I cleaned the area inside, wet the surfaces, applied/spread Gorilla Glue with a disposable eyedropper, let the stuff foam, and cleaned up the tiny bit of ooze with a small screwdriver tip as it came out.

Peace,
Sarah
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  #4  
Old 01-09-2008, 09:30 PM
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Randy Forbes Randy Forbes is offline
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Nice work!

Given the amount of niggling little problems on our cars, looks like you'll get lots of photography practice (A+ on composition and depth of field).
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  #5  
Old 01-10-2008, 03:56 AM
The Other Tom The Other Tom is offline
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Very Nice. Thanks for the detective work and posting.
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  #6  
Old 01-10-2008, 06:39 AM
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rjcoston rjcoston is offline
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Thanks for the write-up and pictures.
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  #7  
Old 01-10-2008, 07:11 AM
FastWoman FastWoman is offline
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You're quite welcome!

Any other leaks out there?

Randy, these are just "out of the camera" snapshots -- wide open at ASA 3200, and into JPEG format. I'm using a very nice lens (Canon EF 17-70 f/4L), but the camera settings I used almost guarantee awful photos. I need the high ASA because I'm shooting black parts in a dim garage. I could use flash, of course, but then there are weird shadows and reflections, making the photos unclear. Besides that, the lens is so huge, it's hard to use flash for anything at such close range. (The lens casts a shadow.)

Peace,
Sarah

Last edited by FastWoman; 01-10-2008 at 07:18 AM.
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  #8  
Old 01-10-2008, 01:57 PM
FastWoman FastWoman is offline
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AND THE VERDICT IS IN!

I left my car out in a fairly stiff downpour, and the interior is as dry as the back of a Texas Horned Lizard at high noon. Woohoo!

Peace,
Sarah
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  #9  
Old 01-10-2008, 06:04 PM
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CarlM CarlM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FastWoman View Post
Thanks!

I tried Gorilla Glue. I once gave some to someone to repair his golf shoes (detached sole), and the repair has held up well. I've also used the stuff to fabricate hose reductions, with great success. It reacts to water (the catalyst) by foaming, and the resulting foam retains some flexibility. It's also very strong and durable stuff. To apply the glue, I cleaned the area inside, wet the surfaces, applied/spread Gorilla Glue with a disposable eyedropper, let the stuff foam, and cleaned up the tiny bit of ooze with a small screwdriver tip as it came out.

Peace,
Sarah
Genericlly know as Moisture activated Urathane(sp) The Gorilla glue formulation has a wider working window to cure than others. We use a 15 minute cure to bonding 0.019 aluminum & styrofoam sheets to aluminum square pipe. To avoid the foaming we turkey bag and hold 8 psi of vacumm on the parts. The stuff is great. Always wear rubber gloves nothing removes it from skin except time & abrasives. It also will turn yellow when exsposed to the UV in sunlight.
Nice write up- I have a hardtop leak that I'm going to see if your fix is the cure
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  #10  
Old 10-21-2008, 06:56 PM
Tawni~ Tawni~ is offline
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Gosh if I had only typed in a question and found this place before. I too have struggled with this leak for three years trying everything including paying others to make the rubber newer and to adjust the top several times with the same result...the leak got worse and then the second side started leaking. I have tons of gorilla glue here and will re-read in detail your instructions and let you know how it works...it rains HARD in Texas...alot.

Thank you so much.
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  #11  
Old 10-21-2008, 09:45 PM
Bmwcat Bmwcat is offline
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Great info, Ive got to get some GummiPhledge first and see how that works.
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  #12  
Old 11-07-2008, 05:53 AM
jab4822 jab4822 is offline
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A -Pillar leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by FastWoman View Post
Hi all,

Some of you were so kind as to help me with a leak problem at the A-pillar seal on my 2001 Roadster. The possibility was raised that the rubber had shrunken and needed to be restored with Gummi-Phlege (sp?) or something similar. I did that, with only modest improvement in the situation. Then I followed another recommendation of tightening the roof latch. That apeared to "fix" the problem, at least for the moment.

Then I got my new/used hardtop and fitted it to the car. I got slow leaks at the A-pillar seals on both sides. This time, I KNEW that I had good, tight contact between the rubber on both sides, so the problem had to lie elsewhere.

When looking at the problem further, I discovered the problem. I'm thinking it's got to be a problem on other cars too -- probably even a common one.

If you look at the A-pillar seal on the windshield side, it looks like this...



See the almost triangular-shaped rubber recess in the middle of the thing? That's actually a rubber plug. Take note of it.

Now look at the top side of the seal. In this picture, notice the rain groove, just forward of the seal above the windshield. It communicates with a recess in the A-pillar rubber. An overflow (?) hole exists just next to it. You can put a probe in one hole and see it through the other hole...



These holes both connect to the interior of the weather stripping in the door jamb, such that water flowing into these holes flows around the door and exits through weep holes in the weather stripping in the step plate area...


(pardon the focus)

Now, look back up at the rubber semi-triangular plug. That's what stands between the convoluted aquaduct system and the A-pillar seal.

This is the other side of the A-pillar seal (on a hardtop)...



Note that if the water gets past the plug, there is nothing to keep it from flowing into the interior of the car. In fact it is actually diverted in that direction.

AND HERE IS THE PROBLEM...



The glue/adhesive fastening the plug in the hole had given way, allowing the water to leak from the grand aquaduct, into the A-pillar seal, and ultimately into the interior of the car. I was able to verify that water came out from around the plug when I poured water through the drainage hole on the outside of the car. And yes, this had happened on both sides of the car. (Please note: I verified the leak before actually poking anything into this area!!)

Exploring further, I poked a screwdriver into the hole and found that the adhesive came apart VERY easily all the way around -- again, on both sides of the car. So I applied an adhesive to the gap between the plug and the surrounding rubber. It's curing tonight. I can only presume this will solve my leakage problem.

I *think* that may also solve the leakage problem of at least one other list member as well -- new ragtop, new leak. I think the leak can show up when a different amount of compression on the seal causes the gap between the plug and surrounding rubber to open up.

I hope that helps a few other folks!

Peace,
Sarah
I just want to let you know that I did use the glue on the A pillar plug and it worked 100%. BMW wanted to charge me to replace all the gaskets for $1,600.00 I just wanted to thank you so much for help.

Jack
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  #13  
Old 11-07-2008, 02:14 PM
Bmwcat Bmwcat is offline
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I think I have the same leak. I did the Wurth treatment this week, but Ill check that seal also. Great detective work Sarah!!
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  #14  
Old 07-27-2009, 12:46 PM
richlrob richlrob is offline
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You are a genius, Sarah! I just bought a '97 Z3 and this was the first thing I had to deal with. Fortunately, I found your solution BEFORE I tried anything else. This fix alone is worth the price of admission to the fest which is, er, nothing, now that I think of it! Thanks!
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  #15  
Old 07-27-2009, 12:53 PM
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Randy Forbes Randy Forbes is offline
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Where's Sarah (last post 10/18/08)?
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1957 Austin-Healey 100/6 Wine Red
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1999///M Coupe Estoril Blue Eurosport Twinscrew S/C
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  #16  
Old 07-31-2009, 05:03 AM
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Tiffs car was in a pretty steady downpour yesterday and the carpet is wet behind the seat. I dried it out as best I could with towels. Both of these little plugs are completely unsealed. I can pull them out pretty easy. So I will have to re-glue them in place.

However, I can see light between the top seal and the A pillar on the passenger side. Its just a slice about as wide as a credit card. How do I adjust the top to be a hair tighter on that one side?
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  #17  
Old 07-31-2009, 05:40 AM
Doc Holliday Doc Holliday is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpire View Post
Tiffs car was in a pretty steady downpour yesterday and the carpet is wet behind the seat. I dried it out as best I could with towels. Both of these little plugs are completely unsealed. I can pull them out pretty easy. So I will have to re-glue them in place.

However, I can see light between the top seal and the A pillar on the passenger side. Its just a slice about as wide as a credit card. How do I adjust the top to be a hair tighter on that one side?
Did you try tightening the latch on that side? Just shorten up the latch hook a bit.

Edit to say that I used Gummi Phlege on the side seals on my Z3. It helped a bit but it didn't cure the leak. Mine leaks right where those two seals come together.

I also used it on me E46 because the door seals on the E46 are notorious for drying out and getting noisy, and it didn't really do much at all. I've had much better luck with rubber treatment from Griot's Garage.

Last edited by Doc Holliday; 07-31-2009 at 07:05 AM.
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  #18  
Old 07-31-2009, 07:17 AM
espressomiata espressomiata is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpire View Post
Tiffs car was in a pretty steady downpour yesterday and the carpet is wet behind the seat. I dried it out as best I could with towels. Both of these little plugs are completely unsealed. I can pull them out pretty easy. So I will have to re-glue them in place.

However, I can see light between the top seal and the A pillar on the passenger side. Its just a slice about as wide as a credit card. How do I adjust the top to be a hair tighter on that one side?
According to the issue I'm currently having, wet carpet behind the seats = water coming in around the rear window. Mine is pretty bad but I'm working on it and getting a hard top this weekend. That water flows down through that carpet on the rear deck, down behind the seats, pools under the seats then gets soaked up by the carpet foam. Stick your finger through the hole under the seat (driver and passenger) where the wiring harness comes through and make sure it is dry under there. If not, the seats should come out (again!) to make sure the foam dries.
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  #19  
Old 07-31-2009, 11:58 AM
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Well, the rear window needs to be replaced. It has lost the rubber lit seal that goes around the rear window. I have a new window, but I do not have the time to put it in just yet.

Where can I double check to see if water is coming in around the rear window?

It was a pretty heavy rain that came down yesterday, but it was only damp, not soaked like I have heard before.
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  #20  
Old 07-31-2009, 01:33 PM
Doc Holliday Doc Holliday is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpire View Post
Well, the rear window needs to be replaced. It has lost the rubber lit seal that goes around the rear window. I have a new window, but I do not have the time to put it in just yet.

Where can I double check to see if water is coming in around the rear window?

It was a pretty heavy rain that came down yesterday, but it was only damp, not soaked like I have heard before.
Can't you just put the top up, get inside, and have someone soak the rear window with a garden hose?

This thread is getting confusing...
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  #21  
Old 11-19-2009, 02:44 PM
mray44 mray44 is offline
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The Judge

Good write up. However, there are a couple of method that drastically reduce time to solve this leak problem. I too have exactly the same leak you have well documented. I have the following two solutions.
1. Each side seal attached to the convertible top leaks right at the A-Pillar as noted. I found that opening the top, grasping the side seal rubber and carefully slide it in the direction needed to close the gap seems to work for me. One can also do this by disconnecting the seal and moving it and then reinstalling the screws that hold it in place.
2. One can get a piece of paper and make an outline of the side seal where it meets the A-Pillar. Then transfer this area design to a piece of rubber, such a flat inner tube from a firestone or other store. Most will simply give the tube away if they have them. Using scissors, cut the tire tube to the area you have taken from the side seal. Glue with, as noted Gorilla seems to work, to the side seal. Let set up and the fix is done and it doesn't look like some non professional did the job. In fact, unless you're looking for fix #2, one cannot tell the fix has been done.

Also, I agree that the plug on the windshield does need to be reset with glue of some type.

I hope this works for you folks. It did for me.
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  #22  
Old 02-28-2010, 12:47 PM
Tap's-Z3 Tap's-Z3 is offline
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Thumbs up Common Water Leak Source on Z3 Apilar Seal??

FastWoman,

Thanks for the great insight. This became a problem for me a few days ago. I was quoted
$230.00 to fix it. My first stop was youtube.com "BMW DIY" section. Great advise for 3-series convertible tops but not for the Z3. Then I came across your thread through google search. Great job with the step-by-step process with pics. I was able to complete the task today in a matter of minutes. Now, I have to wait until Tuesday to see if it will hold through the rain.

1997 BMW Z3
Montreal Blue
Beige Top
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  #23  
Old 03-02-2010, 10:55 PM
Tap's-Z3 Tap's-Z3 is offline
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Well today was test day for leaks and she passed with flying colors. Thank you.
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  #24  
Old 11-01-2010, 12:43 AM
johnivy johnivy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FastWoman View Post
Hi all,

Some of you were so kind as to help me with a leak problem at the A*****ar seal on my 2001 Roadster. The possibility was raised that the rubber had shrunken and needed to be restored with Gummi-Phlege (sp?) or something similar. I did that, with only modest improvement in the situation. Then I followed another recommendation of tightening the roof latch. That apeared to "fix" the problem, at least for the moment.

Then I got my new/used hardtop and fitted it to the car. I got slow leaks at the A*****ar seals on both sides. This time, I KNEW that I had good, tight contact between the rubber on both sides, so the problem had to lie elsewhere.

When looking at the problem further, I discovered the problem. I'm thinking it's got to be a problem on other cars too -- probably even a common one.

If you look at the A-pillar seal on the windshield side, it looks like this...



See the almost triangular-shaped rubber recess in the middle of the thing? That's actually a rubber plug. Take note of it.

Now look at the top side of the seal. In this picture, notice the rain groove, just forward of the seal above the windshield. It communicates with a recess in the A*****ar rubber. An overflow (?) hole exists just next to it. You can put a probe in one hole and see it through the other hole...



These holes both connect to the interior of the weather stripping in the door jamb, such that water flowing into these holes flows around the door and exits through weep holes in the weather stripping in the step plate area...


(pardon the focus)

Now, look back up at the rubber semi-triangular plug. That's what stands between the convoluted aquaduct system and the A-pillar seal.

This is the other side of the A-pillar seal (on a hardtop)...



Note that if the water gets past the plug, there is nothing to keep it from flowing into the interior of the car. In fact it is actually diverted in that direction.

AND HERE IS THE PROBLEM...



The glue/adhesive fastening the plug in the hole had given way, allowing the water to leak from the grand aquaduct, into the A-pillar seal, and ultimately into the interior of the car. I was able to verify that water came out from around the plug when I poured water through the drainage hole on the outside of the car. And yes, this had happened on both sides of the car. (Please note: I verified the leak before actually poking anything into this area!!)

Exploring further, I poked a screwdriver into the hole and found that the adhesive came apart VERY easily all the way around -- again, on both sides of the car. So I applied an adhesive to the gap between the plug and the surrounding rubber. It's curing tonight. I can only presume this will solve my leakage problem.

I *think* that may also solve the leakage problem of at least one other list member as well -- new ragtop, new leak. I think the leak can show up when a different amount of compression on the seal causes the gap between the plug and surrounding rubber to open up.

I hope that helps a few other folks!

Peace,
Sarah
hi sarah, may i ask how do you tighten the roof latch? thks much..
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  #25  
Old 11-01-2010, 09:10 AM
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Mpire Mpire is offline
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Allen screw on the hook, then turn the hook to tighten, then set it again with allen key.
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