Defender Side Window Seal Replacement

The off-side sliding side window developped an annoying occasional knock from the upper forward corner (in other words, the piece of glazing closest to my ears – typical).  It was the sliding glass pane rattling against the curved corner of the frame.  The cause is the thinning of the felt in the glass’ track, due to age or wear, and is a common Defender window issue.

Woolies Trim sell 8mm velvet covered rubber window channel by the length and it has been very favourably reported as working well as a substitute by several users on internet forums, so I gave it a go.  It’s quality is fine, and its semi-rigid nature allows for fitting without the removal and complete disassembly of the side window units.

The first step was to remove the old felt.  The bottom end was prised out of the track with a screw driver, after which the felt was teased away by hand.  Don’t tug too hard as you’ll just tear the felt into sections – it’s best to get it all out gently in one section.  The track was then cleaned with a scraper and then a brake cleaning fluid soaked rag.

With the windowfully open, the new seal was fed in from the front of the glass to fit the top edge first.  As the seal went in, it needed pushing along with a blunt screwdriver to get it started.  Once the seal had been pushed along as far as it will go, the glass was slid forward while holding the seal staionary.  Once the glass was as far forward as it could travel, it was pulled aft again while pushing the seal along with it.  By working the window back and forth several times while holding or pushing the seal as appropriate, I was able to get the end of the seal past the back of the glass pane.  From this point, its easy to pull the seal through the track space to the end of its void.

I glued the seal in place along the top of the frame, and then once set, trimmed the sections of seal where it went around the curved corners of the frame – if you just bend the seal into place, the sides bunch and make closing the window impossible.  Removing small V sections at 1/2″ intervals allows the seal to bend without this bumching.  Once cut to fit, the remainder of the seal was glued in place and the windows shut to hold the seals in place.

One problem that is very significant initially is that the lips on the vertical section of the seal tend to fold in on themselves as the window is closed, preventing the glass from sliding the last 1/16″ and preventing the lock from engaging.  Careful use of tools to hold the seal lips in place while closing the windows finally allowed proper closure, all be it a really fiddly task.  By then leaving the windows shut for several days, the seals have settled in their new form and no longer present this problem, even though there are a couple of very small sections of folded lip.  On the plus side, that lip sits between the edge of the track and the glass, making rattles an impossibility.

I think the reviews I read about the seal for this application were over-rated, but it does work if you have a little patience getting the windows shut the first time after fitting, it does avoid the work of removing the windows from the vehicle and should stand up better to age and wear than the original felt.

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Comments

  1. DANIELE CALONACI says:

    Hi
    Can you say me where i can buy that:

    “Defender Side Window Seal Replacement
    December 4, 2011”

    Best regards

  2. Hi Daniele,

    I bought the channel from a UK online retailer called Woolies, at http://www.woolies-trim.co.uk . It works well, but I’d suggest keeping the standard felt strips in the corners and the vertical front edge of the frame, using this channel only for the horizontal sections, as it is tight on the glass and also tends to fold over as the glass closes into the front edge, making it difficult to fully close the windows.

    The channel did briefly help with reducing rattles, but I have subsequently found the glass is rattling in the lower rigid plastic channel. I’ll replace that too at some point, but for now have cure the problem by wedging black cable ties between the channel and the main frame section to close the channel up a little.

  3. Tony Armstrong says:

    On the woollies site and the smallest they do is the 10mm. Whats the story?

  4. They may have changed their product line, Tony, or just changed the description of the product. Still, they supplied it.

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