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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #1  
Old 01-25-2015, 03:43 PM
jma1992 jma1992 is offline
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Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 140
Mein Auto: 2005 X3 3.0i
Vapor barrier leak... for the 4th time.

Alright so my rear vapor barriers are leaking again (fronts are leaking too ). I replaced the drivers side rear vapor barrier with a brand new one because the old one had a massive chunk missing from it the first time I did this job.

This would be my 4th time messing with them and I'm getting pretty fed up doing this over and over again.

I was thinking of tracing out the shape of the vapor barrier onto some plastic sheeting and then attaching that with some butyl tape to the door. The plastic sheeting I have is thin but stretches pretty good and takes a bit of force to tear/rip it. After the plastic sheeting is attached to the door I plan on attaching the foam vapor barrier on top of it and securing it to the door with some more butyl tape.

I also thought of just attaching the plastic sheeting over the bigger holes in the door followed by installing the vapor barrier over top of it.

Any thoughts on this method? I've noticed on several other cars they just use plastic sheeting from the factory.. Does the foam vapor barrier reduce noise inside the vehicle or something?
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  #2  
Old 01-25-2015, 06:46 PM
swampX3 swampX3 is offline
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Location: New Orleans
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 1,154
Mein Auto: X3 and 330
vast majority use plastic sheet

you are correct ...the vast majority of cars/trucks use simple plastic sheeting ....but it's almost hermetically sealed ....the uptown bmw etc brands give us a nice boost by adding a vapor barrier sound deadening material for the whole door .....it's contact area gotta be clean and sealed over the entire door....they often collect grit around the bottom....all penetrations gotta be sealed ....no short cuts....the factory original style 3m butyl ribbon stuff works very well and if you warm the seal area all round with a drier or such and use a 2 dollar wall paper seam roller it will seal for many years .....don't forget to test your work with a hose dribbled on the glass exterior before putting all the trim back

ps ....the home stores sell many good sealers...a non hardening one will help if you've gotta do it over
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  #3  
Old 01-26-2015, 04:02 PM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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Location: Upstate, NY
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 350
Mein Auto: 08 E83; '86 442; 84 GMC
Funny, my 442 and '84 GMC use cardboard for barriers, with some sound deadening insulation. Water coming into the vehicle is unheard of, on either vehicle.
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  #4  
Old 01-26-2015, 05:08 PM
jma1992 jma1992 is offline
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Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
 
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Mein Auto: 2005 X3 3.0i
swamp, I've cleaned the contact surfaces thoroughly each time I've replaced the butyl tape haha. I've got some 3/8'' x 15' butyl rope this time that I found at my local auto store and I hope this stuff works better than the 5/16'' 3M window weld butyl.

I will double up on the butyl rope on the bottom sections or use some silicone along with the butyl.

dukedkt442, honestly if the vapor barrier had a inner lip to help it seal on the edges better I don't think there would be any leaks for most people.

I'd really like to replace all the vapor barriers with brand new ones to ensure maximum seal but my local stealerships wants $70/each for the rears and $90/each for the fronts.
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  #5  
Old 01-26-2015, 05:10 PM
joylove joylove is offline
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Location: USA
 
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Posts: 1,383
Mein Auto: 08 e83 LCI
butyl tape is sold as pond liner tape too.
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  #6  
Old 01-26-2015, 06:40 PM
swampX3 swampX3 is offline
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Location: New Orleans
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 1,154
Mein Auto: X3 and 330
don't forget heat and roller

the basic design/orientation of the drain path thru several bmw models doesn't help with leaks .....they shouldda done the lip and interior angles like some successful vehicles that hardly need a vapor barrier

they lost many fans down here in the humidity/tropical rain cause it can be hell trying to dry out an interior in summer without it rapidly molding then stinking

do belt and suspenders and use the heat and roller trick to get as good a seal as poss.....leave no penetration unsealed ....test with water....best wishes
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  #7  
Old 01-26-2015, 07:31 PM
jma1992 jma1992 is offline
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Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
 
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Mein Auto: 2005 X3 3.0i
Ya I'll be picking up a good seam roller tomorrow and some silicone and more butyl. It's winter up here in Canada so it's kinda cold right now even though we barely have any snow in my area *knock on wood*.. I'll tackle all four doors in the next couple weeks.

I figure with the fresh butyl and silicone combo that this should be leak free for a foreseeable future.

I'll report back with an update and pictures.
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  #8  
Old 04-23-2015, 05:08 PM
jma1992 jma1992 is offline
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Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
 
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Mein Auto: 2005 X3 3.0i
Just wanna give an update on this as winter finally ended and spring is here.. Sorry I forgot to take pictures along the way.

So I spent around 3 days taking my time removing the old butyl tape and cleaning the door surfaces really well with 99% rubbing alcohol, making sure I got any big chunks of butyl off of the vapor barriers as well. Next, I laid a fresh roll of 3/8'' butyl tape where the old stuff was followed by a nice bead of GE Silicone II* Window & Door sealant on the inside edge of the butyl tape along the bottoms of the doors.

It's best to remove the old butyl tape when it's cold out because it is a real pain to remove it when it's warm as it just wants to stick to everything. ALSO WEAR GLOVES!! I started removing the old butyl tape without gloves on the rear doors and I had butyl stuck on my hands/under my fingernails for at least the next 2 weeks. Not fun.

Once I lined up the vapor barrier to the door, I used a 2'' seam roller to squish the butyl down. I had the doors closed when I was doing this so I could really apply a good amount of pressure to the butyl tape as it really needs to be worked over for a nice seal. Let the silicone tack up as well before installing the vapor barrier. I left the doors alone without the door panels overnight and came back in the morning and put everything back together. If you decide to add some silicone like I did, it's best to let it cure for at least a few hours.

It's also a very good idea to replace any broken clips and make sure they have the sealing washers on them.

I used 2 boxes of Pro-Form butyl tape, size 3/8'' round x 15' and 1 tube of the GE silicone and still had leftovers of both after doing all 4 doors. I probably spent around 8 hours each day with a few breaks in between on this project as I really wanted to do a good job this time.

Hope this helps!
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