Replacing window seals

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I'll describe the process I used to replace my window seals on my 1988 Vanagon Westfalia. The process should be substantially similar on all other Vanagons, but I'll denote where differences may occur. This guide assumes you're installing the "euro" look seals that do not have the chrome trim components.

Prior to starting this process, you should order the seal sets from your favorite Vanagon vendor. The full set for each door includes:

  • Vent Wing Seal
  • Upper/Rear Guide
  • Inner Scraper
  • Outer Scraper
  • Guidepost Felt

Bus Depot has a great diagram that explains the window seals.

Set aside about three hours each window if this is the first time you're doing this. Once you've done one window, the second will probably take a bit less time.

Required Tools & Parts

  • Philips Head Screwdriver
  • Small Flat-Head Screwdriver
  • Door panel removal tool
  • 10mm Socket
  • Hacksaw
  • Scissors
  • Knife
  • Thread Lock (Blue)

Removing the Door Panel

Removing the door panel is a simple process that can be done in about 5 minutes. On my Westfalia, I have power windows, but not power locks. Those with power locks may differ slightly.

Before starting, reattach the window crank and roll down the window. We'll remove the window once most of the main seals are out.

Removing Old Window Seals

The upper/rear window seal simply pulls out. When it was first installed, it was likely glued in place, but the glue is likely completely useless at this point.

The inner/outer window scrapers pull straight up and out. Beware of the 6 clips per door (3 per scraper), as these may fall into the door. Should they fall into the door, simply retrieve them (since the panel/trim has been removed, it's easy) and place the clips back into their holes.

At this point, your main window should be sitting loosely in its channel.

Removing the Main Window

Carefully roll the window up, making sure that you guide it carefully using the front guide (as you've removed all the others). Roll the window down slightly until you can see a 10mm bolt through a hole in the door metal, and use a 10mm socket to remove the two bolts holding the window to its channel. Once this is done, you can lift the window and tilt it up and out of the door. Take the opportunity to thoroughly clean the window, and store it someplace safe.

Vent Wing Window Removal

Vent Wing Window Removal

Unscrew the two torx screws holding the vent wing window to the attachment points. Once the vent wing window is unscrewed, unlatch it and remove it. Store it alongside your main window.

Vent Wing Seal Removal

Since I was replacing the vent wing seal, I simply started tugging on it to get it out of its position. I used a knife to cut away pieces of it at a time, which made the process easier.

Vent Wing Guidepost Removal

Here comes the first surprise of the process - the vertical guidepost is attached at two points, and has a triangular wedge of aluminum attached to it that the wing seals attach to, so the wing seals must be removed prior to removing the guidepost.

At the top of the vertical guide channel, there is a small philips head screw on the outer rim of the door, probably hidden by door weatherstripping. Peel back the weatherstripping, and unscrew the philips head screw. At the bottom of the guidepost is a 10mm bolt (probably beneath the plastic weather barrier on the door - either cut a notch in the plastic barrier or pull back the barrier from the top); unbolt this.

The guidepost and wing seal support frame can then be pulled slightly down and towards the back of the door. Look into the door hollow, and note the bracket at the bottom of the guidepost. I had the best luck removing the guidepost and bracket just behind the front-most set of clips, twisting it slightly to get out through the slot where the window lived.

Once the guidepost is out, simply pull out the felt in the channel.

You're now ready to reinstall everything.

Reinstalling the Seals

Wing Seals and Window

Main Window Seals and Window

Reinstalling the Door Panel