View Full Version : Weatherstrip - Aftermarket v. GM

04-03-04, 07:44 PM
Well I thought I would pass on my success and failures with weather-strip replacement on my 1996 LT1 coupe. I avoided GM OEM as the price was just too high and I thought I could get by with aftermarket. For the most part, the aftermarket stuff worked pretty well but buyer beware is the lesson I learned.

Rear hatch seal - aftermarket off eBay - worked well but I'm still trying to seat the lower corners where the 90 degree angles are located. The seal is really well made and has reinforced corners. I'm sure I need to pull it back off and retry the placement but my initial try was in very cold weather. Oddly enough there was just a lot of lithium type grease on the edges so the remaining seal went on with no problem. I would recommend the aftermarket seal, it was a Soft Seal brand and seems to be a quality product.

Door seals - same deal, did the eBay thing from a different seller but the seals were Soft Seal brand and went on in a matter of minutes. You need to make sure you test fit and ensure you're not off a clip as removing the seal will just tear away from the clips. Trying to remove the smaller plastic clips is near impossible with the standard weather-strip tool. The quality of the seal is fine but the ends are not as well made as the OEM stuff and use no plastic reinforcement. I don't see any real issues other then I wonder why the OEM has the long reinforcing plastic substructure and will the aftermarket hold up without it? Time will tell but the cost would allow me to replace the door seals three times over before buying one set of OEM.

Targa top ends - eBay, unknown brand but worked like a charm. My only issue was getting all of the old seal out of the track. Even use the 3M adhesive remover still required a lot of work to get all of the crude out. Lots of time to clean but only 20 minutes to install the seals; nice and soft, fit was perfect, just like the doors. Aftermarket wins again.

Luck running out just about here......

Windshield header seal - eBay again, I was on a roll :-) 1A Auto, which as I remember I bought the door seals from as well. I only mention them because I want you to avoid the seal, not the company. They did refund the full cost of this seal after one phone call. The seal was not a Soft Seal brand but some unknown from Taiwan and it really smelled. I wished this seal would have been as trouble free as the rest but after four hours of removing the old seal, cleaning the tracks and cursing the very creation of the Corvette I finally installed the header seal. One side was a little too long, the ends just didn't seem to align with the two plastic rivet holders but the remaining parts went into place with no problem. I thought it was going to work out but the material was thinner and ultimately the windows didn't seal. I looked at adjusting my glass but they both go sufficiently to the top and square up to seal if the seal itself were better made. I finally pulled a chunk of my original seal and compared the dimensions. The aftermarket seal was almost a quarter inch smaller in outer lip and less foam density or depth to make a good seal. I've let it setup for a few days hoping the sun would work the edges down a little but ultimately this seal sucks and just doesn't cut it. It was also lacking the firm plastic ends of the original seal which would have made installation a lot easier. Aftermarket was not the way to go and I'm now ordering a GM version.

Just an FYI that I checked a few places suggested by the forum but I found that the GMPartsDirect.com was cheaper, even with the shipping charges the seal was $195.00 for the windshield header.

B Pillar Last one to do, purchased a GM one for that as well. J

Bottom line was not all seals are created equal and while I like the Soft Seal brand, I'm not willing to risk it on the header seal.

04-03-04, 10:45 PM
Awesome write-up. Thank you for taking the time to fill us all in! The seals will become an issue for all C4 owners at one time or another.


04-03-04, 11:09 PM
I agree-

You really have to be careful when purchasing weatherstripping. I went thought the same issues when I replaced my C3's seals. Ughh. I hated it.

There are only two grades of weatherstrip: "correct" (mostly!?) and just plain wrong.

I'd like to expand upon the concept of GM vs. AFTERMARKET with another issue: not all "GM restoration" parts are a recipe for success. I puchased a door pin swith and the contacts were off just enough that the FACTORY harness pins would not fit inside the female ends. Frustrating.

04-04-04, 09:31 AM
I too fell prey to the aftermarket door WS, I bought them from CC and they are suposed to be an upgrade over the original, well they SUCK. The pin holes were in a completlely different place and the ends did not have the hard plastic pieces.

Maybe they will fit a later model C4, but not the earlier ones, off I go to order GM parts.

I also had an issue with the door ajar switch, it had male pins on it, I had to use the old connector end and crimp it on. (also from CC)

This is not a rant against CC, they are pretty good I have purchased other stuff that has been great, thier door panel carpet and floor mats were a perfect red colour match.


04-04-04, 07:35 PM
I too bought the header seal from 1A and it does not look like the original and I can't get it to fit right. I can't even close my doors with the windows up and when I put up the windows with the door closed there is quite a gap. As for the targa top molding that I purchase from another E-Bay seller, I now can't get the top on without a serious struggle. Maybe it's me but I am seriously thinking I got cheap because they are cheap!

04-04-04, 08:41 PM
I agree with Zixxer!!!!

I have the Soft Seal hatch Weatherstripping, fits very well and reinforced at the corners. For an Aftermarket piece this will not leak.

I also have the Soft Seal door WS. it fits good, does not have the plastic reinforcements but seems to seal well, take a little more umph to close the door now.

As for the B pillar and Windshield, when I get ready to replace them, I will go with OEM GM pieces, I have heard the same thing on the aftermarket stuff on the Windshield.

04-10-04, 05:18 PM
Well I finally had a chance to install the GM WS on the A and B pillar....WOW, what a difference. At first I was kind of worried because the real stuff feels so spongy and a little hard to install in the grooves but it's a perfect fit.