1949-1954 GM Trunk Weatherstrip Installation
By Stephen Kassis
Most of the 1949-1954 GM cars used an unusual weatherstrip layout which can be confusing when installing new trunk weatherstrip. The above illustration of the trunk shows that there are two different weatherstrips used—one on the decklid and one on the body, by the back window. Note that neither weatherstrip goes all the way around the trunk opening. Instead, the seal on the body (close to the back window) runs just a few feet, turns the corners and stops. From this point, the seal on the decklid takes over and completes the ring around the trunk.
The reason for this design is that it keeps the side channels on the body open to allow water to shed easily out of the channel. If weatherstrip were installed directly in this channel, water would be held there and eventually rust would form.
When installing a weatherstrip kit on these trunks, start by removing any old weatherstrip. Next, clean all contact surfaces thoroughly in order to get the best results. 3M makes an Adhesive Cleaner 08984 to help with this process.
If there are any rusted surfaces, treat with rust inhibiting paint such as POR-15 or Hirsch’s Miracle Paint. Allow to dry completely and paint a top coat over the rust preventative paint before installing weatherstrip.
We offer two different kits. One kit has special molded corners which match up to B-161 weatherstrip. 1951-54 models had special corners 60-511 originally. If you are doing an original show car, these corners are a must. However, if your car is a driver, you can save $$$ by ordering the kits we offer without molded corners. These kits will still seal the trunk up weather-tight without the higher cost.
Begin with the piece on the body by the rear window. Refer to the illustration of B-161. You will see that the right side has a small lip. This lip should face inward to the inside of the trunk. The “C” shaped opening on the left side faces outward. This allows any water to be caught and directed away from the trunk.
To install seals on the decklid, start the seal so that it overlaps the seal on the body, just slightly, on each side. Be sure to check the fit of the weatherstrip to the groove in the decklid before applying adhesive. In the illustration of 60-411 the shorter width of the seal is glued to the decklid. Again, the “C” shaped opening should be facing outward to shed water away from the trunk.
The glue we recommend is 3M Weatherstrip Adhesive – Black 08011. To install each seal, glue the metal surface as well as the contact surface of the weatherstrip. Wait until the surfaces get a little tacky then press the seal firmly into place, let dry for a few hours. Check the fit and you are done.