Fix: Rear Slider Window Louver Leak – in 10 complicated steps (1 Viewer)

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Oct 7, 2016
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601
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This write up is about as detailed as I can make it, it was a pain in the A$$, but worth it. Water inside your truck has no business being there. As proof this worked, it rained 12hours last night, a hard driving pacific coast rain, and there was zero ingress. I found a few very helpful thread on this: so thank you for those that came before me!!!


Symptoms: How do you know you’ve got this leak: a) you’ve got a damp carpet in the rear corner near the tail gate, b) the third-row seat belts are damp (I’ve deleted mine so that was not a tell for me), c) and most obvious the bracket the jack stand is has a puddle in it (like mine).


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The Cause:

The rear louver trim behind the third-row window are held on by two little plastic clips, and a stud that passes through the skin of the cab, these ingress points were protected by tiny little neoprene like gaskets, but overtime 1-3 of them will have degraded to the point where they have the water permeability of Wonder Bread.

Gear and supplies list:
  • 10mm deep socket on an extension (don’t need the rachet)
  • Trim levers
  • Thickish PET plastic 3”x1.5” (scrap from some packaging)
  • VHB tape (I used about 20” of ¾’, but that was a PITA see below)
  • Xacto Knife
  • Goo Gone
  • Toyota FIPG
  • West System G/flex (if you brake your louver bits like me)
  • Interior trim clips
  • Louver trim clips
  • A bucket of patience
  • Something for the gasket on the lower louver stud (I used 1mm EVA, but prob too thick) YMMV…prob a better material out there.

Step By Step:

  • Remove the gasket around the rear hatch. Remove the interior plastic quarter panels on both sides. You’ll probably break a trim clip or two in this process. Have these on hand. They are not perfect, and they will self-destruct when you remove them next time, so have two bags in your spares stash. The brown clips are usually the ones the break vs the red ones.
  • I bought this trim lever kit a while ago, it really helps to remove the trim clips AND it was indispensable to this repair as you will see later…
  • Remove upper third row belt mounts, and the plastic trim behind them.
  • Use a 10mm deep socket to undo the bolt on the stud via the access hole (it’s about an inch in diameter under the rear corner of the window)
  • NOTE these are really only hand tight, I just used the socket on an extension w/o a rachet to remove and reinstall
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  • Now go to the outside and GENTELY pry the louver up and away. NOW. I SNAPPED both of the clip retainers on the louver itself. Not to worry. If you do, find the little black pieces that fall off. One dropped straight down, that was easy. The other flew across the driveway and I was lucky to find it. (I might try to use some painters tape to fashion a little catch damn under the louver next time)
  • Someone else may have a better technique….I hope.
  • The one the broke on both sides for me was in the middle.
  • It is a funky design…. the upper clip retainer on the back of the louver is an ‘n’ and the other one (in the middle) is a ‘u’. If these were both an ‘n’ shape you could slide the louver up and free from the clips, which would stay in their holes in the skin….oh well, snap snap.
  • I fixed the clips with west systems G-Flex and a little bit of micro spheres as fill to make it more of a putty. I register the broken clip retainer back onto where it broke off, if you get the consistency of the epoxy right it will not sag or slip, and you can also make filets with it… (not an epoxy tutorial, but handy skills to have and practice (I repair boats and surfboards…a lot). (prep the area with denatured alcohol or equivalent. Mind you these broken bits are about the size of a fingernail, so they are fussy. I rubbed a bit of wd40 on the new white plastic clips to also help register the repair, and also allow me to remove them since the epoxy won’t stick to them, this proved invaluable as I made a mistake when reinstalling the louvers and one broke off in the hole (more on that later). Let this set

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Note: I ended up putting a little filet of epoxy around all of these, broken or not!! Can't hurt.
  • G-flex?….hell yes. But a $30 kit from West Marine. I could give you a billion examples of how this stuff as saved $$$ in plastic and aluminum repairs – most relevant I used this same repair to repair the clip retainers on my fender flares after I ripped one off. 4 years later, they are still in place.

  • A pause for diagnosis: To test whether or not this was the culprit of the leak I got out my trust half gallon pump sprayer and systematic worked from the lowest point to highest point. And all around the rear quarter window. I had a waded paper towels tucked up under the windows and in the pillar.
  • I covered any HOLES left by the clips with duct tape.
  • Check and clean the drain holes in the slider channels. (dribbles after cleaning)
IMG_8749.jpeg


Since one of the clips stayed in the skin, I was able to test ingress by spraying water on this…. this leaked into the cab almost instantly.

IMG_8767.jpeg
 
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Joined
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Continued:
  • I popped that clip out…. WARNING THIS SUCKER POPPED OUT at high velocity on both side of the vehicle, I used the big blue pry tool in that kit and it shot about 15’ vertical. WEAR SAFTEY GLASSES.
  • Cover that hole with duct tape, repeat the water test.
  • With that hole now sealed temporarily, I retested with the sprayer. NO water ingress.

  • The miserable fussy, super tedious part.
  • Around the louver is some rubber-like trim. It was originally applied with a VHB tape. As you can see from the pic, mine were only attached by a few points along the louver, and without much coaxing, they were completely detached.
  • I decided to clean the old VHB out of the tiny ~2mm track. To do this I laid in a lot of goo gone and I made a scraper tool from one of the blue plastic trim tools.

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  • With that and a lot of patience, and several applications of goo gone I clean it out. Took about 1.5 hour for both louvers. I washed these gaskets in dawn and water, dried them, then clean with denatured alcohol again.
  • I had a remnant roll of 3/4” 3M VHB tape. I hand cut with a sharp Xacto knife 2mm strips (this sucked and was slow). It has to be done on the roll since this stuff is stretchy.
IMG_8774.jpeg


  • Then lay down the fine strips of VHB back into the track on the louvers…this was painstaking and fussy and I made a few mistakes and had to recut more tape.
  • At the tips, for the last inch I used regular 3m double sided tape, because it tapers down there, and it looked like the OEM tape did the same. This wasn’t very strong, so I used a couple globs of super glue gel to reinforce. I don’t know how long this took, but it was worth it. LET THESE SET UP OVER NIGHT IN A WARM AREA. VHB tape seems to like this approach, vs just going to install.

IMG_8777.jpeg


  • Putting it all back together.
  • As I said before, I made a mistake on this step. LEARN FROM ME.
  • FIRST, you need a gasket for the stud on the bottom of the louver.
  • The first gasket I made for the stud was not great. I used a 3m product used to make gaskets around electronics (VHF radios) when you panel mount them in a boat. Great stuff, it is adhesive backed with rigid plastic back and very compressible foam on top, but its 3mm thick. But when used here, that extra thickness caused the lowest part of the louver to flex out from the body when installed. Had to pry out the louver again…fortunately, my gflex repair held, and the clip stayed in the hole, sparing me from having to repair the louver again.
  • I made a second gasket seen below out of 1mm EVA…frankly it was also too thick but flex out was “acceptable” and I didn’t want to rip everything apart again.
IMG_8787.jpeg
 
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Continued:
  • To install you need WD40 and a piece of flat PET cut from packaging, I found a thicker piece and cut like a 1.5” x 3” piece and rounded off the corners.
  • Install both clips in louver.
  • Get your trusty FIPG….I was also considering using 3M 4200 (5200 is the sealant of the gods, but not removable…ever, ask me how I know).
  • I applied a decent amount around each hole.
  • EDIT: I also applied some around the air flappy vent.

IMG_8786.jpeg


Next, nose in the louver under the window gasket, and used that PET tool I made to lever up the window gasket as I went to get the louver under the gasket, wd40 helps. (note, if I found a part of the window gasket that was diving under the louver, start from the top and work you way back down to the rolled piece. Just forcing in the PET tool cause that area to roll under too.


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  • Keep working it…..At some point the lower stud goes in the hole, as well as the two trim clips. A little palm strike sets the clips.
  • Repeat on the other side.
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IMG_8792.jpeg

The top of the louver came out really nice, but you can see a little bit of flex out at the bottom...This is because of the 1mm gasket on the stud, it was really absurb with the first 3mm gasket I made, and zero flex out with no gasket installed. Oh well.

To finish: tighten the 10mm on the stud inside the cab, but all the trim back together.

Step 10: Yer’done…have a beer, I'll be pouring out some for those who've already posted on this subject. Thank you Mudders!


(after last night's rainfall, and the inside was dry as a bone!)
IMG_8794.jpeg
 
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Joined
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Outstanding narrative! I just went through this myself last summer, when I replaced the sliding window frames and seals. I had to replace the louvers, because the body shop FUBRed them when they removed and reinstalled them after painting.

Not the most enjoyable repair I've done on my truck, but to be sure, it was worth the effort in the end.
 
Joined
Oct 7, 2016
Messages
601
Location
Alameda
Outstanding narrative! I just went through this myself last summer, when I replaced the sliding window frames and seals. I had to replace the louvers, because the body shop FUBRed them when they removed and reinstalled them after painting.

Not the most enjoyable repair I've done on my truck, but to be sure, it was worth the effort in the end.
Agreed! I thought this would take a couple hours, snap in a clip or two and done. Nope, it ended up being intermittent work over 3 days - about 6-7 hours all together. Figured I should write this up to memorialize this, and thank you!! (i could probably do it in 5.5 hours next time :grinpimp:)
 
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Nice write-up. When I did mine I also discovered that I had a leak at the air flap assembly gasket....just a heads up to check this while in there for future viewers. I also had leaks at the slider window belt-molding fasteners, the tail light bucket and the running light!
 
Joined
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Messages
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Nice write-up. When I did mine I also discovered that I had a leak at the air flap assembly gasket....just a heads up to check this while in there for future viewers. I also had leaks at the slider window belt-molding fasteners, the tail light bucket and the running light!
Good call, I forgot, I did lay some FIPG around that air flap too were its gasket met metal, but I did not detect any leaks there myself.
 
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...Now if I could only figure out why my sunroof tray gets overwhelmed and dumps water out of the tray, and I know it's not the drain lines or debris in the kick panels!
 
Joined
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Messages
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...Now if I could only figure out why my sunroof tray gets overwhelmed and dumps water out of the tray, and I know it's not the drain lines or debris in the kick panels!
Im chasing the same problem.... I found it informative to take something small and flat like a ty-wrap and probe the seal of the window when it was closed...I had areas (mostly near the front corners where the window frame has some kind of uneven construction under the gasket) that were significantly wider than the average. I am guessing that just too much water gets in for the drains to handle. I have read of the inner tube fix but instead I used strips of metal flashing sandwiched in the gap behind the leading edge of the seal....this pushes out the seal for a tighter fit. I have not 100% confirmed it works since I have the rig garaged for the winter. I will definitely post when I know.
 
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Any idea what the part number for the VHB tape is. I cant seem to find 2mm wide tape for this
it is a consumable, I don't think Mr. T supports that.

I used this: Amazon product
but cut it down to width myself....I'm not even sure it is 2mm....that was a guess, I eyeballed it when I cut it. It's not the greatest, but it worked. (Clean and prep before you lay down new tape :)

Part Diagram for ref:
BTW: the new vents 62905&6 are still avail for about $50ea at partsouq....

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