Category: DIY

How To Install Better Trunk & Hood Seals In Your Vintage Volvo

The Extra Long Alternative Hood Seal for Volvo P1800s available on eBay, pictured in Chapter Coordinator Dylan Osborn's 1967 1800S after install.

If you own an 1800, 122, or other truly ‘vintage’ Volvo and drive it in rainy conditions (or just wash it), you may be aware that modern cars have come a long way when it comes to sealing out water. The trunk lid on 1800s in particular is more or less horizontal, so water can pool around the trunk lip and then spill over into the trunk. Water = eventual rust = bad. What’s more, the “stock” trunk and hood seals available from most aftermarket suppliers are (like Volvo’s original seal) made from foamy rubber that has to be glued on. Over time the glue dries out, the seal comes off, and it never fits or looks that good anyway. If you are interested in improving your vintage Volvo a bit and looking for a trunk/ hood seal that fits better, looks better, and is easier to install, it’s worth considering this Alternative Trunk or XL Hood Seal available on eBay (if the link fails, just search eBay for a similar listing from user dunk-r). The seller also informs me that he sells many vintage Volvo products on his Volvo Solutions website. Volvo Sports America is not affiliated with the maker of these seals, this article is simply a DIY install guide and product review. Let’s begin:

1.) Order the alternative trunk and hood seals if installing both. Remember that eBay is not a professional marketplace and you may need to email the seller/ wait a couple weeks to get your seals. The seal material is PVC rubber over a flexible metal skeleton, more heavy duty than the sponge rubber seals the 1800 came with.

2.) Gather your tools. The hardest part of this job is actually removing the old seal and all the dried glue from the painted metal lip of the trunk/ hood. Necessary tools include a good plastic brush, Goof Off, Goo Gone, Engine Cleaner (pictured from Griot's Garage, but any household cleaner should work), rags, tin snips to cut the new seal to the right length, razor blades for really stubborn glue, and maybe some tape to pick up the bits. Gloves will help too.

3.) Remove the old seal. Chances are it will come off pretty easily, leaving behind plenty of grungy weatherstrip glue residue to remove. If it sticks, start applying the Goof Off (toughest of the 3 solvents pictured) into the trunk lip as you pull. If you are installing the new seals with your Volvo fresh out of the paint shop, consider yourself lucky!

4.) Remove the old gunk from the trunk or hood lip using Goof Off, then Goo Gone. Use plenty of solvent in the metal lip and scrub away with your plastic brush. In this picture you can see the right side has been cleaned, the left has not. Keep scrubbing and you'll get there! If you have to get a razor blade involved for stubborn glue, be very careful with your paint.

5.) Clean the trunk or hood lip before applying the new seal. Using the engine cleaner, spray and wipe down all around. It wouldn't hurt to get the vacuum involved too, so the whole area is clean and free of little glue bits.

6.) Start at one end and begin pressing the new seal onto the trunk or hood lip. For the hood, you should start next to the radiator support, and work your way around to the same point on the other side. For the trunk, you will need to start in the center above the lock (see below). The method that worked best for me was positioning the new seal above the lip, then turning it down onto it and applying pressure. You will feel the seal snap on bit by bit. After that, it helps to take a hammer and gently tap at the seal over the trunk lip to make sure it has seated properly. No glue here!

7.) Take extra care in the corners. To make the seal turn the corner, you'll need to really push it into the corner and tap with the hammer as you slowly make the turn. Once it's in, you can proceed down the next side.

8.) For the trunk, you'll need to spread out the ends. On 1800s, the metal box which the trunk lock attaches to is flush with the trunk lip- so you can't put the seal over the lip in its regular shape. Just take two pairs of pliers and spread out the metal skin of the seal until it is shaped to that box. Then attach the seal all the way around the trunk lip, and do the same when you return to the box. Finally, take your tin snips and cut the end of the seal off (it will be too long). If you do it carefully, you can make a pretty snug join above the trunk lock and water won't get in there. When cutting the seal, it helps to snip both metal sides, then the soft top part of the seal (three snips). With the hood seal, you'll need to cut it once you reach the final radiator support for symmetry.

9.) Ta da! Your trunk or hood will look much newer, and water will have a much harder time finding its way in. To keep all your seals looking new, periodically wipe them with an automotive rubber protectant (sold by Griot's Garage and other auto care companies). Thanks for reading and good luck with your install!

Got a tech tip or DIY install experience to share with your fellow Volvo enthusiasts? Write it up on the SoCal VSA Forum’s Technical section!

Share

WordPress Themes