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BMW DIY How To – Windshield Trim (Gasket) Replacement – Late Models With Glued-In Windshields – E39 E38 etc.

November 11, 2010

BMW started using urethane adhesives to install their windshields in the late ’80s to early ’90s (depending on specific models).  With these models, the outer trim that covers the area between the windshield edge and the body, is just that …. a trim.  Many people refer to this as a gasket, but there really is no gasket in these applications, unless you consider that the trim is keeping water and debris from running into the channel (or gap) between the window edge and the body panels.

Starting with the E36 3-series, E39 5-series and the E38 7-series (as well as the newly introduced 3, 5, 6, 7, X and Z models), the windshield trims are a plastic/rubber type that clips onto the edge of the glass and into the gap between the glass and the body panels.  These trim pieces do not age all that well and start to deteriorate and come apart.  This not only looks ugly, but can create wind noise as well.

We commonly hear of BMW owners who have been told that the windshield must be removed in order to replace these windshield  trim  moldings.  Of course, this presents a healthy bill for the repair.  Well, we have found that it is not necessary to remove the windshield.  The trim moldings can easily be replaced at home, with our non-marring pry tool sets and a bit of time and patience.

Follow along as we replace the trim on an E39 5-series model.  Note that the various BMW models will have some differences in how the moldings specifically install, but the basics are shown here and this should allow you to determine if you’d like to replace your own windshield trim moldings.  When you are ready to tackle the job, you can order the tools and the moldings at www.bavauto.com or call our agents at 800-535-2002.  If you have questions on the installation for your BMW model, just email me at otto@bavauto.com or call us at 800-535-2002.

Non-marring pry-tools:


Windshield and body trim and gaskets (click below, then ID your model to narrow the list. If your model is not shown, please call us at 800-535-2002):

Windshield trim molding replacement procedure, shown on an E39 chassis (5-series 97-03):

1)  Start at one of the upper corners and use one of the tapered pry-tools to work the corner up and out of the channel.

2)  Use the wide pry-tool to loosen and push the trim back from the edge of the windshield, along the “A” pillar.

3)  Pull the trim up and out of the “A” pillar channel.    Do both sides before removing the top section.

4)  Use the wide pry-tool to loosen and push the trim away from the glass, along the upper roof edge.

5)  Use the tapered pry-tool to work the upper corner away from the glass and out of the channel.

6)  Pull the trim up and out of the upper channel.

7)  Clean the perimeter of the glass with a razor blade or “X-Acto” knife blade.  Also clean out the channel between the glass and the body panels, using one of the smaller non-marring pry-tools.

8)  Position the new trim over the windshield.  Carefully center the trim (measuring and marking the center of the upper trim and the middle of the windshield, is a good idea).

9)  Use the various non-marring pry-tools to push the trim down into the channel and around the edge of the glass.  Start at one of the corners and work across the top, then work on the sides.  Finish by using the wide tool to push the trim snugly against the edge of the glass, by pushing the trim toward the glass from under the outer lip of the trim.

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