E39 Door Edge Seal Replacement

The rubber trim at the upper corner of the window tends to take quite a bit of abuse, and over time will separate from the rest of the door edge seal. I had this issue on both driver and passenger sides. I attempted a temporary fix with some black RTV, which actually did pretty well for a few months; just looked bad. So, after I saw the huge difference that replacing the windshield trim made, I decided to replace this piece of trim as well.

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A couple of observations. The first door I did, I bent all of the aluminum trim retaining clips up. This wasn't necessary. You'll really only need to bend enough to lift the aluminum trim up a bit right at the side mirrors. Regardless, do not force your aluminum trim as it will bend. And that would suck.

BMW revised the door edge seal for my '98 (and likely, all years). The updated part looks to be a better design. The newer part has moulded-in pins that push into the door at the A-pillar to hold it in place (green circle); old one had adhesive tape. The newer part also has felt on the surfaces that interface with the body. It's a nice touch and seems to have reduced (if not completely eliminated) that annoying squeak. Finally, the new trim makes the old trim look...old. So I suppose replacing the rear will be next on the list.

Do not order additional pins/plugs (BMW calls them 'clips') to hold the trim in place at the B-pillars as I did, they are included with the new trim pieces.

Overall I'm very pleased with the results, and it was a quick and easy, relatively inexpensive, job. Cost was $41.08 for each side from Crown Auto at the time of this write-up.

Part numbers for my 1998 540i:
- 512170101745 - Front Left Door Seal (supersedes old part number 51217010171)
- 512170101746 - Front Right Door Seal (supersedes old part number 51217010172)

Tools and supplies that were used for this procedure:
- Needle-nose pliers
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Silicone spray
- Towels
- Clay bar
- Wax

Disclaimer: The following DIY is provided as a general guide for informational purposes only. While this may be a simple exercise for many, I will not take any responsibility for the outcome of someone else doing the following procedure. Understand that you follow these DIY steps at your own risk. This DIY is performed on a 1998 BMW 540i|6; if you have a different year or model some things might vary.

OK, here we go...

First step is to remove the small plastic pin/plug that holds the old door edge seal to the door (passenger-side shown). A small flat-head screwdriver should do the trick. The plug is short and should come out easily.

Next simply pull up on the end and start peeling the edge seal forward toward the side mirror. Pay attention to how the trim fits into the outer channel, and between aluminum trim and weatherstripping.

Also take a look at how the edge seal fits around the corner, at the A-pillar and front fender.

Pull the edge seal loose all the way to this corner, but do not pull it forward as there is a small insert that goes behind the mirror trim plate.

Peel away the trim from the adhesive tape holding it to the inside corner of the door. Again, do not pull it completely from the door just yet.

Next, bend the clips holding the aluminum trim to the top of the door. You only need to bend the edges just a bit to get them to clear the openings in the aluminum trim.

Next, lift the aluminum trim up enough to release the edge seal rubber tab from behind the mirror trim plate. This will probably make more sense when you're in there looking at it. With the aluminum trim lifted up a bit, you should be able to tug on the rubber trim, thus releasing the tab. If not, spray a little silicon in and it'll let go.

This is a pic of the door edge seal removed, and the space behind the mirror trim plate that the rubber tab fits into.

This is a good time to clean any crud that might be in the area. I used clay bar and a coat of wax before reassembly.

OK, this is probably the trickiest part of the whole thing. While holding the aluminum trim up (it's not necessary to completely remove the aluminum trim), maneuver the leading edge of the new door edge seal over the door corner, pushing the little trim tag back into the recess behind the mirror trim plate as best you can. A little more silicon spray helps, as does a wooden skewer to push it on in there.

Once in position, push the aluminum trim back into place while tugging on the corner of the door edge seal so that the edge is seated on the outside of the aluminum trim corner. With the palm of your hand, hit the aluminum trim so that it is pushed back onto the clips.

Next, on the inside of the door at the corner, notice the two holes just below where the adhesive tape use to be.

This is where the two pins molded into the door edge seal will key into. Line up these pins and push them in, then tuck the rubber trim in behind the weatherstripping.

With a pair of needle-nose pliers, gently move the aluminum trim retaining clip 'ears' back into position.

Next, using your fingers, simply push the door edge seal into the outer channel, following it all the way to the B-pillar end.

Make sure that the seal is also seated on the inside against the weatherstripping.

Tuck the rubber trim behind the weatherstrip at the end, and make sure that the leading edge of the seal fits in the 'U' at the edge of the aluminum trim.

Go back and reseat the seal into the outer channel as needed.

Finally, push the pin back into place, wipe your fancy new trim off, and you are done.

Repeat for the other side. Wash up; and treat yourself to a delicious bowl of pho.