It happens to all old cars. That once-watertight weatherstripping finally goes the way of all rubber trim pieces and, before you know it, you're taking on water like the Edmund Fitzgerald. While this might mean little in the drier western states, here in Florida it rains more often than some of our staff members shower. (Of course, that may not be saying a lot.) So, what's a person to do when they find their car's carpet a little soggy? In the case of Editor Jay's '96 and its sieve-like rear hatch, the answer was simple: replace the offending rubber.
With a quick order placed to Corvette Central, one need set aside only a little time on the weekend to remove and replace this tube-shape piece of rubber. The installation takes a couple of hours if done correctly and is well within the capability of any competent do-it-yourselfer. This includes temporarily removing the hatch's gas struts. Some people bypass this step by making a simple incision in the rubber, but we ask, "What's the point?" If you want a good seal, take the extra few steps and do it the right way.
Read ahead to see how we accomplished our mission.