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· BMWCCA HPDE Instructor
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23,564 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I've had my '98 328is for around a month and a half. The things I noticed upon my first drive in it were A) wow, this car is MUCH more engaging to drive than any of my previous cars, and B) damn, the interior rattles and squeaks something fierce. Since I took ownership, I have addressed and eliminated every single squeak, creak, and rattle, and my car is bank-vault silent now. By far, the most annoying creaks were coming from the rear parcel tray. Every bump, every dip, and every driveway that caused the chassis to flex also caused a terrible sounding creak from the rear seats. It was really embarrassing to be driving a car that was in otherwise pristine condition, but that made such dreadful noises inside. After locating the source of the creaks (by driving with the seats down, and then with them up, but with a bed sheet in between them and the parcel tray), I arrived at a logical and inexpensive solution to my troubles. It turns out that the creaking was caused by the seat backs rubbing against the hard plastic trim piece at the top of the trunk opening (from the cabin). If you have this problem, and I suspect many of you do, here's what you will need to say goodbye to rear parcel tray creaks forever:

1) Scissors
2) Razor blade, X-acto knife, etc.
3) Painters tape
4) Newspaper or paper shopping bags
5) Enough felt to cover the plastic trim piece above trunk opening (from cabin)
6) Permanent marker (to mark your cuts on the felt - I used a Sharpie)
7) Spray adhesive or other adhesive suitable for bonding felt to plastic.

I bought the felt and spray adhesive from Jo-Ann Fabrics, and my bill was less than $10.00. I already had everything else (knife, scissors, tape, etc.).

Also, it should be mentioned that this may be quicker if you remove the trim piece altogether and perform the job on a workbench. The plastic fasteners holding it down didn't want to come out on my car, and I didn't feel like buying new ones if I broke them, so I just left the trim piece installed in the car. All told, this took me about 30 minutes to do, and it has revolutionized my driving experience.

Step 1 is to remove the side bolsters and measure the length and width of the trim piece. Also measure where each of the plastic rivets and seat back retainer clips (along the top edge) will be on your felt. Once you have marked it all out, cut your felt down to size and remove the material from each of the rivet & retainer clip locations with scissors.

The photos:


I found this synthetic felt at Jo-Ann Fabrics, and it's pretty much an exact match to the material BMW used in the trunk at the factory. Score!


The offending item; this trim piece was the source of so much creaking! As mentioned above, remove the side bolsters by prying them off with your hands from the top.


Step 2: Mask off entire surrounding area. You don't want any glue over-spray. Also, after I took this photo, I realized that I hadn't masked off the seat back retainer clips. Don't forget these!


Step 3: Beginning with the top edge, carefully glue the felt to the trim piece. I did about ten inches at a time until I had gotten to the other side of the car. Then with the top of the felt anchored, I lifted it up from below and began gluing the main flat surface from one side to the other in stages.


Step 4: Everything is now fully glued. Remove masking.


Step 5: Trim off excess material by running along the lower edge with a sharp razor.


Step 6: Reinstall the side bolsters and you're done! Only the most discerning E36 nut will be able to recognize that it isn't OEM.

Step 7: Drive in silence! No more rear parcel tray creaks!
 

· Just living MY dream
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5,675 Posts
Sweet write up man! This looks great! :thumbup:
 

· Humble E34 lover
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5,634 Posts
YOU ...... DA ........MAN :bow:

Seriously though, great write up, with pics no less!

It contributions like this that make me love the Fest. I will be looking at mine this weekend.
 

· BMWCCA HPDE Instructor
Joined
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23,564 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah, for some reason my car was very creaky back there, especially when pulling into driveways at an angle. You didn't have to listen very closely to hear the massive creaking and groaning from the parcel tray. It was pretty impossible to ignore. Anyway, I thought there might be others with this problem who could benefit from an easy DIY fix.
 
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