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MSA Weatherstrip kit review

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Parked outside in the rain for the first time and it's apparent that I should deal with the weatherstripping asap to keep this thing rust-free =)

 

Someone here mentioned that the MSA weatherstrip kit has had mixed reviews. Anyone have some stories to share about successful or dodgy installs? 

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Many posts on this subject.  Search "door seals" and/or "weatherstrip" in the interior and body forums.

 

My experience with MSA weather strip kits (2) was that the windshield seal had gaps in the upper corners, the hatch seal was malformed in one corner and the door seals were too thick to allow the doors to close.  I used Nissan OEM winshield and hatch seals which fit perfectly. For door seals I used parts store materials.  

 

Search as all of these problems have been documented with solutions.

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My stuff from "Black Dragon" was as Miles says: Gaps in the window corners (but sealed) and door seals thick and multi-piece crap....apparently they have fixed the door seals.

 

These usually all come from the same place..with the same results. Oliver at Z Man of Washington had kits when nobody else did. Veritable information fountian there if you get him on the phone on the subject of what happened with the aftermarket seals available here in the USA these days.

 

Nissan seals would have been the way I went if I was thinking.... my last weatherstrip replacement was in 1985, and those door seals did not hold up like the Nissan Pieces did for the first 22 years. Windshield and hatch never leaked, and the gaps are there up front... But they sealed.

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Hmm - I bought the MSA full weatherstrip kit when my car was repainted back in 1997. Still have them and they're mostly still in good shape. 17 years and 100,000 miles has taken it's toll on them to some degree. Replaced the windshield twice during that time-frame so not sure what I have in there now. Had the glass shop provide the seals.

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From my build notes:  http://forums.hybridz.org/topic/83080-new-weatherstrip-alternative/page-1

 

The kits sold by MSA and Black Dragon were made by a company called "Precision". The fitment problems with the windshield, door  and hatch glass  were known for years, but  MSA and Black Dragon continued to sell them.  The two 240Z  kits MSA sold me (12 years ago and 5 years ago) was actually for a 280Z so it had some extra parts in it that  the 240Z does not need. I was was told that the 280Z door seals would work in the 240Z, but they were obviously too thick.  I used cheap Pep Boys door seal instead. The above link gives a p/n for a McMaster pinch seal that works and is cheap.

 

Except for the windshield, door and hatch fitment problems the rest of the Precision kit seals worked fine.

 

There is another company (Vintage Rubber)  that is making 240Z/280Z  seals:  http://www.vintagerubber.com/

Edited by Miles

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The story of the Precison Parts in Thailand is an interesting one, have Oliver tell it to you sometime.... it's endemic of MBA Corporate Mindset and how it affects product availability, and how cross-cultural miscues compound an issue to people with money on the brain.

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^That story is a long story, Oliver sure is knowledgeable.

 

I installed the MSA kit, had the same problems, echoing as above gaps in corners, but sealed from the inside, the customer service insisted it was the lack of the chrome trim, I added that to not much improvement still had gaps, ended up adding seam sealer to bridge the gaps.

 

Rear hatch to body seal did not fit quite right, definitely deteriorating where the hinges are.

 

Door seals were thick, so thick that I had to really force the door closed, hard enough that I ended up shattering my driver side window. I bought the Kia Sportage stuff from a junkyard for the doors for I think 10$? Closes much easier.  

 

Car still leaks if left out in the rain too long, have not installed the bottom door seals and such so I can't blame the kit quite yet.

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"Door seals were thick, so thick that I had to really force the door closed, hard enough that I ended up shattering my driver side window."

 

You Too? Mine happened at MSA Auto-X one year after the seals were in for quite some time and numerous adjustments of hinges and latches just couldn't overcome it. Tried to close the door quietly several times, then finally SLAM-CRASH! Guy walking by gave me the classic "WTF's your problem, bud?" look thinking I was somehow P.O. and slammed the door so hard ON PURPOSE that I shattered it...

Edited by Tony D

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We had a '75 280Z here several months ago.  It was driven 4500 miles by it's Datsun Dealership Owner owner and then put in a Museum.  It's the most complete / original Z Car I've ever seen.  I'd never really seen original weatherstipping so we were all over it, checking out the seals.  It's amazing how good the original door seals were AND how wrong Precision got the reproduction part...  (the 280 doors closed with a finger, the seals were soft and pliable...)

 

I too checked out the Kia door seals years ago and found they're actually just a "side bulb" type seal that you can buy new at a slew of places.  The Kia seals do have a 90 degree corner molded in - not quite as tight as the 90 degree on the Z, but close.  With the "side bulb" I just make them start and finish at that tight 90 degree corner and cut the two ends at a 45 to mate with each other.  There are 3 or 4 stores nearby that carry this type of weatherstrip.  It's very common.

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I was rather lucky with my MSA kit.  I bought it 8 years ago and just go around to installing it in February 2014 after the car was painted.  My door seals are a little thick but nothing like what I am hearing from seattlejester or Tony.  The rear glass and inner hatch strip are fine as are the quarter window panels.  I do have a gap with the front windshield gasket on the upper corner of the passenger side.  Other than that they worked out very well for me.

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Guy walking by gave me the classic "WTF's your problem, bud?" look thinking I was somehow P.O. and slammed the door so hard ON PURPOSE that I shattered it...

 

Had something very similar happen, first time parking on the street, late at night, decided I didn't want to leave the windows down as I saw people walking by. Rolled them up, got a good windup and threw the door as I usually did, then realized, I hadn't tried with the windows up, started reaching for it, but too late, slam, smash. The people walking by just kind of shook their heads. Probably thought I had a bad day.

 

According to Ollie, there was an internal shift, so the precision kits made from a while ago are good, the new kits not so good as they changed suppliers, he said he tests the kits for precision as they are trying to get back to selling good kits instead of restructuring etc, and if you can get them just absolutely perfect, it has the best seal and the most satisfying of closing actions as it just catches. He said it takes roughly 4 hours to install the rear hatch seal and adjust the stops and the hinges to give an estimate of how long it takes to get perfection.

 

Definitely concur, for the door and hatch seals, I would consider the weatherstripping from mcmaster carr or somewhere of the like, Vintage Rubber apparently has better fitting gaskets, but they are very pricey.

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Funny... I was just alerted to this thread. I installed both the Precision kit from ZCarSource on my hatch and doors. (I bought the complete kit). The hatch is definately thick but closes and seals fine. The tail light seals are real good as well.

 

The door seals not so good nor the quarter glass seals.

 

http://forums.hybridz.org/topic/119765-door-opening-weather-strip/?p=1121911

You can see the door strip pops the door out a bit and its a tough to close it. Im hoping that it just needs to be compressed for a while, and then it will be fine. I read some reviews and some people have said that after a week or so they were fine. Otherwise Ill pull them out and go down the kia route.

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Im hoping that it just needs to be compressed for a while, and then it will be fine. I read some reviews and some people have said that after a week or so they were fine. Otherwise Ill pull them out and go down the kia route.

Old hotrodders trick to accelerate this was to remove the door cover panels and use a ratcheting strap to pull the doors inward. Haven't done it with the Z, but perhaps you could give it a go?

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Wow. Lots of great info here. And thanks for all the suggestions for search terms. I'm really surprised to hear how many window-shattering stories you guys have. That's definitely something I'd like to avoid =) 

 

I already replaced the rear hatch seal with the MSA seal (purchased just a few months ago) with good results. It's a tad puffy but the weight of the hatch counters it really well, and it cured my exhaust fumes issue instantly. Currently it's my door/window seals that really need some attention. I think I'm going to check out the Kia Sportage situation first, and if that doesn't go well, the mcmaster carr 1120A333 is only $2.03/ft.

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SO... the strap trick worked after almost a week of sitting... door closes fine now and its sealed real good with no leaks at all... I suspect to get it to be a super light close instead of a moderate slam it will continue to take some time for the rubber to break in. But it no longer pops the door out now. I still have some more rubber work to do on the car, but so far so good. Yea the Hatch seal was super puffy, but like you said it compresses it down because of its weight. Similar thing needed to happen with the door.

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SO... the strap trick worked after almost a week of sitting... door closes fine now and its sealed real good with no leaks at all... I suspect to get it to be a super light close instead of a moderate slam it will continue to take some time for the rubber to break in. 

 

Sounds like the latest version of these seals is better, I guess then.  When I restored my Z in 1994, I bought my door weatherstrips from MSA.  They were Precision...  I fought with them for more than two years... even went so far as to bend the spot welded lip around the door circumference inward to make more room between the door and the seal.  That helped, but I still had to slam my doors crazy hard.  Also, the seals put a crazy amount of stress against the stainless window/door frame part... so much so that the lower most bolt that attaches that frame to the rear side of the door developed stress cracks...

 

I cut a cross section of the Precision seal and a factory one to show the difference on my z website that I was going to create someday to show others all the things I found out the hard way...  The Precision seal is (was?) both much thicker and also much denser than the factory seal.  Sure, it compresses a bit after you put it on, but it never compresses nearly enough. 

 

While we are on the subject, I found out something else during one of the many times I revisited the poor door shutting behavior of my z.  The latches and strikers have to be working properly.  Both the latches and the strikers do wear.  The rounded groove the latch interlocks with widens over time... causing a bit of looseness.  

 

I solved my issues by scrounging some OEM seals off of ebay.  Here is a short video (not very entertaining, I must say) of how well my doors shut.  I have also sprayed sound deader on the inside surface of the outer door skin, and I have applied dynamat to the metal inner door panel... thus the sound difference you might perceive from other z doors. 

 

 

http://youtu.be/QYgN1KnnAQw

Edited by inline6

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