Custom Rubber Seals for Use in Classic Car Restoration
We were restoring an old car. Not one of the more popular ones to restore. This made finding some parts a whole lot more difficult. For example, if your are restoring a Mustang, then you can find parts all over the place. If you are restoring other popular vehicles such as old pickup trucks or even panel trucks used for deliveries in the 1930s and 1940s, you can find companies still making parts for them or restoring old parts. We had to get old parts restored. Things like exterior mirrors were re-chromed, but beltline weatherstrips for the windows could not be found that were in pristine shape. We had to contact a company that could manufacture new ones from a sample.
I talked with one of their technicians and sent the company a few samples of degraded window seals we had. They looked at what they were made of and how they were made, and they came up with a new design for beltline weatherstrips that was better than the original. The rubber seals on this old vehicle did not fare well. That is why there are no used parts in this category that can be put to use in a restoration project. Everything from the window seals to the door, trunk and other seals simply crumbled into dust as the car aged.
The beltline weatherstrips are the seals at the side windows that squeegee water off the glass and keep it from running down into the inside of a door when you roll the window up or down. On old cars, you can usually see them torn or coming loose after years of use and being exposed to the weather. Newer cars fare much better due to advanced chemical compositions of the rubber. Some of the old stuff was just not that durable.