It's all about keeping the wind, dirt, dust and moisture out of your car, and in the process making the job of climate controlling the interior of our Road Tour car easier. This is important because without the proper climate control inside the car our own Jerry Dixey could have a "bad hair day," and nothing is worse than a mullet gone bad.
Since our bright red '59 Chevrolet recently rolled out of the paint booth at Hot Rods by Dean, the body is now buffed and ready for rubber. Unlike early cars of the '30s where weatherstripping was almost an afterthought, by the late '50s Chevrolet had actually designed weatherstripping into the body design of the car. Channels to hold the rubber were stamped in the body panels and formed rubber gaskets were designed specifically for each vehicle. A lot of engineering goes into designing a rubber profile to keep the air out of a vehicle and also channel water properly away from doors, windshields, and decklids. That's the good news; the bad news is all rubber has a limited lifespan and now some 55 years later what was once supple and effective is now brittle, broken, and ripped.
Happily SoffSeal manufactures virtually every piece of rubber for our '59 Impala, from the front glass to the trunk seal. They use factory-style attachment methods for the formed rubber and when installed properly you have a nice tight vehicle. And of course the look of brand-new rubber around door a nd decklid openings goes a long way to giving your car that detailed look.
Installing the weatherstripping is like many tasks on old cars, simple but not easy. Installing the rubber is well within reach of any home hot rod builder but it takes patience and some knowledge to do the job properly. We followed along with the professional staff at Hot Rods by Dean to clearly illustrate the proper installation of the pre-formed SoffSeal rubber products. Since we are working with a freshly painted car we have what we would consider to be a "new" installation. If you are replacing the rubber on an old car there will be hours spent cleaning off the old rubber residue before you can successfully install the new rubber. As always it is the initial preparation that makes the difference in the final product, so spending time on prep will save you time later and ultimately make for a perfect seal, actually in our case a perfect SoffSeal.
1. Our 2014 AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour '59 Chevy is taking shape. Dean Livermore and Wesley Zeller, of Hot Rods by Dean, are preparing to install the Classic Industries glass using SoffSeal rubber.
2. Every piece of rubber needed for our '59 Impala was sourced through SoffSeal. Note the factory-style mounting pins formed into the door seal. This ensures a perfect installation.
3. Starting with a nice, freshly painted car is the perfect way to begin installing weatherstripping. Sean Rosic began with the installation of the door rubber. By working carefully around the bottom of the door and then up to the top each plastic pin pushed into the factory drilled holes. There is no need for any rubber cement between the pins.
4. The door rubber is completely installed, avoid stretching the rubber between the pins, they should line up with just a slight bit of tension for a perfect fit.
5. An Eastwood plastic glass tool serves to apply pressure to the top pin as this one is a bit larger than the others and may require a little more pressure.
6. When the top pin snaps into the factory hole the SoffSeal rubber is securely anchored to the door. This piece was a complete snap-in installation with no cutting or gluing required.
7. Next up was the SoffSeal trunk seal. This piece of weatherstripping has the exact factory profile so once again it fits perfectly to the contours of the decklid opening.
8. Placing the seam at the bottom of the "V" in the decklid ensures water cannot enter the trunk and follows the natural path of water. The weatherstripping is pushed into the channel in the body. A little soapy water will lubricate the rubber and make it slide into place easier.
9. Having the right tool always helps. These nylon weatherstripping tools are available from most body shop supply stores. This particular tool is from Sptiznagel, DF-WK20 Glass Tool.
10. Using the glass tool the SoffSeal weatherstripping is carefully pressed into the channel. Work slowly and be careful not to push too hard as you can tear the rubber.
11. Sean Rosic continues to work the SoffSeal weatherstripping around the perimeter of the trunk. Slight tension is used to fit the rubber in the channel and the tool opens the profile so the top of the gasket is not inside the channel. Be careful not to stretch the rubber too much as it will lower the profile.
12. A small dab of 3M black weatherstripping cement is used at the seam and to anchor the ends of the weatherstripping. This will both cement and seal the only joint in the trunk weatherstripping.
13. With the doors and decklid sealed Zeller begins fitting the SoffSeal windshield rubber onto our Classic Industries tinted windshield.
14. The windshield rubber is fitted to the glass dry, with special care taken to fit the formed corners to the corners of the windshield. Be certain the glass is all the way into the channel on the rubber.