Nothing lasts forever, especially the window seals and weatherstripping on old cars. The sun and air take their toll, turning originally soft and pliable material into hard, cracked, and crumbling components.
One of the more susceptible strips on C4 Corvettes is the lower door window seal, commonly called a “dew wipe” for obvious reasons. These crack and chip apart on cars that have spent plenty of miles (and years) in the sun, resulting in an unsightly appearance. Fortunately, replacing them with fresh seals is a relatively quick and easy project that even those with modest wrench-turning experience can accomplish with terrific results.
It's also an inexpensive job. The seals can be had for about $60-75, and no exotic tools are required. All that's needed are a screwdriver, a nut driver, and a pop-rivet gun—and if you don't have the latter in your tool box, this project makes a great excuse to get one. They're inexpensive and oh-so handy.
In a nutshell, replacing the seals involves removing the old ones, and that requires the removal of the door panels. That's the most time-consuming aspect of the job, because there are several hidden fasteners to get at, while the removal of the seals also requires drilling out a few rivets. That's where the pop-rivet gun comes in, because you'll have to secure the new seals with rivets supplied with the kit.
Our seal kit happened to come from Corvette Central (www.corvettecentral.com), but comparable kits are available from most Corvette restoration-parts suppliers.
Starting in the driveway on a Saturday morning, we were able to accomplish the job in just over the time it took to listen to a replay of Car Talk on our project car's radio. And for the record, not a curse word was uttered, nor a tool thrown in anger across the front yard. It was a simple, effective, and high-value project that gave our '90 coupe a renewed appearance.
If only every DIY project could be so easy. Trust us, you can "dew" this one!
One of the other quick fixes we accomplished with our '90 project car was the replacement of the shift knob. It seems simple enough and almost hardly worth mentioning, but it was one of those details that should have been taken care of by the previous owner before he sold it.
When we found the car, one of its few demerits was the shredded leather knob, along with the generally dirty appearance of the interior. A replacement knob only costs about $40 and swaps out for the original faster than you can say “power shift.” It literally took us about 5 minutes to do the change.
We spent another 45 minutes or so applying some cleaner to the dash and console, along with a liberal dose of leather conditioner for the seats. Thanks to those simple steps, our Corvette's cabin looked nearly new.