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Trunk Leak!

Old 01-03-2019, 06:20 AM
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Trunk Leak!

I've googled around a bit and searched the forums, but can't quite pin this down. My trunk is leaking just above the keyless entry box in the back of my '99 SE on the passenger side. The leak is coming from *somewhere* and then running down onto the keyless entry box.

I opened the trunk after driving through rain and as water ran down the area around where the passenger side trunk hinge exits the trunk (or the "gutter" around the weatherstripping near the top right of the trunk) I saw the leak start dripping more rapidly.

I've stripped away the upholstery and searched for the source of this leak but I'm really not sure. Open to suggestions!


Even with the plastic bag over the antenna gasket the leak persists. Replacing the antenna nut and gasket this weekend.




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Old 01-03-2019, 07:09 AM
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Unscrew and pull up the lower/bottom portion of the rear glass trim ... see what's happening under there.

Has the rear glass ever been replaced?
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Old 01-03-2019, 07:39 AM
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I don't know if the windshield has been replaced. The former owner's family bought it new and there's no damage on the rear end, but I'll check. I'll try to take the trim off this weekend.

Safe to use penetrating oil on that or do I risk damaging the rubber gaskets?

Last edited by Shrout1; 01-03-2019 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 01-03-2019, 07:47 AM
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If the car has a sunroof, you might also wanna locate the sunroof drain line for that corner, ensure that it's properly routed and that it's not clogged.

I'm not sure what penetrating oil is gonna accomplish.
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Old 01-03-2019, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Turbobink View Post
If the car has a sunroof, you might also wanna locate the sunroof drain line for that corner, ensure that it's properly routed and that it's not clogged.

I'm not sure what penetrating oil is gonna accomplish.
Would the sunroof drain back up to there? I see a Y connector at the bottom of the trunk (looks a little rusty) but it doesn't *seem* to be the source of the leak.

I love me some penetrating oil when I'm taking apart a 20 year old car Always seems like rusty Philips head screws never cooperate...
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Old 01-03-2019, 08:00 AM
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Did you pull up the rubber seal yet? Normally when there's a leak, the weld right there in the corner is culprit, could be under the weather strip where there's actually a hole. Short of that, as was mentioned, a weld under the window seal may be rusted out, you can't see it. That would suck. My opinion if under the window rust, it's 20 years old, trade it in on a nice dry day. Not worth trying to fix that sh!+ when the car is only worth maybe $1000 running.
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Old 01-03-2019, 08:08 AM
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A 5 gallon bucket of colored water (food coloring) comes in really hand about now ...
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Old 01-03-2019, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by MadMax07SL View Post
Did you pull up the rubber seal yet? Normally when there's a leak, the weld right there in the corner is culprit, could be under the weather strip where there's actually a hole. Short of that, as was mentioned, a weld under the window seal may be rusted out, you can't see it. That would suck. My opinion if under the window rust, it's 20 years old, trade it in on a nice dry day. Not worth trying to fix that sh!+ when the car is only worth maybe $1000 running.
If I can seal it up well enough to keep her on the road for a few more years then I'm not too worried about it. So long as the weld isn't in an A pillar or something involved in absorbing the force from a crash then I'm good with band-aiding it for a little while.

This just happened to the front pinch weld on my '04 Pontiac Vibe; we're going to be getting rid of it. I don't need a car payment though, and I'll baby this Maxima for a little longer if I can.
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Old 01-03-2019, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Turbobink View Post
A 5 gallon bucket of colored water (food coloring) comes in really hand about now ...
I haven't tried that yet either... Still investigating. I need to pull up that weatherstripping when it isn't actively raining outside.
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Old 01-03-2019, 01:47 PM
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Dug out the FSM and found reference to the part in question in the "Body & Trim Section".

BT-22 has a diagram of the rear of the car and I think part "18" is the molding in question:




Is there a place that I can order a new "Rear Window Lower Molding" and, furthermore, how does one deal with the Urethane adhesive? I'm going to go pull some screws out of it tonight and take a look.
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Old 01-03-2019, 02:48 PM
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My guess is a leak from around the rear window. There just aren't many other ways in the car back there. If the rubber trunk seal is intact and seals properly, what else is up that high? Maybe the seal for the antenna, but that's further back on the car, so that's probably not it. It's not coming from the tail lights! As Turbobink already mentioned, clogged sunroof drains are very common, so if you have a sunroof, make sure all the drain tubes actually drain onto the ground and don't disappear into the car.

I tried to look up part numbers on the Nissan website for the rear window moldings, but the site sucks and wouldn't show anything. I called up my local Infiniti dealership and was able to get part numbers and pricing. The metal lower molding that has the 6 screws is $155 and the PN is 7977240U10. The rubber molding that goes around the three other sides is PN 7975240U10 and is $79. Double check they're the same for a Maxima, but they should be.
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Old 01-03-2019, 03:14 PM
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Well... If it isn't the wildman from Ol Ababammy!

You can't just keep using us like this. You have to stop in more often. And bring us some of that great food from down there.

Your wife hasn't sold the car from underneath you yet, or took you for a long ride to nowhere? LOL

You might as well just tell her this is going to be a regular thing from now on! No truer words ever posted.

Let's start cheap... The main seal for the trunk lid is a bulky rubber seal with metal in it so it clamps on the sheetmetal around the opening. Many times after this many years, it corrodes and loses it's tight grip. I'd buy some 3M or other quality automotive weather seal adhesive and remove the top, and sides and put in a healthy amount . Enough that you know no water will ever get past the adhesive. Help with many clamps, especially along the top run. Wait until it's cured before removing the clamps. Put it in the weatherstrip so as you push it on, no mess pushes the adhesive to where it will be seen.

Let me know when you're ready to sell me the nose! LOL

Hope all is well!

AND.... What? Can't tell us what you did about the antenna? I need to know! I'm right there with you. My trunk just started leaking, My antenna doesn't retract fully and now my car is getting water inside and smells GREAT! Why do I keep doing this to myself? MONEY! That's why! OUCH!

Take Care. It's good to see ya again!
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Old 01-04-2019, 05:08 AM
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I've got a passenger side leak starting from an aftermarket spoiler on the 99 model. It doesn't properly seal with the trunk lid. I need to figure out how to install a gasket. Possibly made from an old bicycle tube.
I've had the following problem on two Maxima's. It destroys the antenna motor when water backs up into it from a clogged Y-pipe. The 98 model I have already switched to plastic but the antenna had already been destroyed. I need to do the plastic conversion to the 99 and the Q45 as my next project.






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Old 01-04-2019, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by 95maxrider View Post
My guess is a leak from around the rear window. There just aren't many other ways in the car back there. If the rubber trunk seal is intact and seals properly, what else is up that high? Maybe the seal for the antenna, but that's further back on the car, so that's probably not it. It's not coming from the tail lights! As Turbobink already mentioned, clogged sunroof drains are very common, so if you have a sunroof, make sure all the drain tubes actually drain onto the ground and don't disappear into the car.
I am going to have a friend help me blow it out this weekend, we'll see!

The odd thing with this leak is that it doesn't seem to be coming from an end point of the drain hoses... I've looked at the FSM and it seems like it might be draining into the interior if the sunroof was clogged. Some hose tests I ran a few weeks ago drained appropriately, but I'm going to blow the line out anyway.

You can see where the drain hoses are in this BT-39 diagram; I've made a gaudy red arrow pointing at the approximate location of my leak. PLEASE NOTE: This image does not show the passenger side, and my leak is on the passenger side.




Originally Posted by 95maxrider View Post
I tried to look up part numbers on the Nissan website for the rear window moldings, but the site sucks and wouldn't show anything. I called up my local Infiniti dealership and was able to get part numbers and pricing. The metal lower molding that has the 6 screws is $155 and the PN is 7977240U10. The rubber molding that goes around the three other sides is PN 7975240U10 and is $79. Double check they're the same for a Maxima, but they should be.
You are the man! Thank you so very much for doing that; that's just above and beyond. Can't tell you how much I appreciate that call you made; if you ever come to Huntsville, AL let me buy you a beer (or some super hipster coffee if you don't drink ).

Originally Posted by KP11520 View Post
Well... If it isn't the wildman from Ol Ababammy!

You can't just keep using us like this. You have to stop in more often. And bring us some of that great food from down there.
KP this is what I live for; using you. It's just an abusive relationship. The car uses me, I use you and the cycle continues forever. The good thing is that I have so many problems with this car you'll never be rid of me. Reassuring? Perhaps? Questionable?

Originally Posted by KP11520 View Post
Your wife hasn't sold the car from underneath you yet, or took you for a long ride to nowhere? LOL

You might as well just tell her this is going to be a regular thing from now on! No truer words ever posted.
Oh... I think she knows... lol. I'm still waiting for that long ride to nowhere, but you'd think that she'd be kind enough to let me fix the leaky trunk before stuffing me in it

Originally Posted by KP11520 View Post
Let's start cheap... The main seal for the trunk lid is a bulky rubber seal with metal in it so it clamps on the sheetmetal around the opening. Many times after this many years, it corrodes and loses it's tight grip. I'd buy some 3M or other quality automotive weather seal adhesive and remove the top, and sides and put in a healthy amount . Enough that you know no water will ever get past the adhesive. Help with many clamps, especially along the top run. Wait until it's cured before removing the clamps. Put it in the weatherstrip so as you push it on, no mess pushes the adhesive to where it will be seen.
Thank you for the suggestion! The main seal is holding on quite nicely except down near the passenger side tail light. No water is coming through there though, so I'm not sure that the seal is the culprit. I will, however, keep this in mind as I slowly go crazy. Or fix the car. Whichever comes first.

Originally Posted by KP11520 View Post
Let me know when you're ready to sell me the nose! LOL

Hope all is well!

AND.... What? Can't tell us what you did about the antenna? I need to know! I'm right there with you. My trunk just started leaking, My antenna doesn't retract fully and now my car is getting water inside and smells GREAT! Why do I keep doing this to myself? MONEY! That's why! OUCH!

Take Care. It's good to see ya again!
I haven't swapped out any parts for the antenna yet as the antenna wrench I ordered doesn't fit :P Found that out last night. Need to order the correct one...
Looks like this antenna socket set should do it Looks like this antenna socket set should do it
; just ordered it on Amazon. Otherwise, I ordered a new base and nut for the antenna, though neither of those seem like they will seal all that well.

Part No.: 28216-40U00 (Antenna Base)
Part No.: 28219-50Y05 (Antenna Nut)

There are some knock off antennas out there that sell for like $175, also an OEM antenna from nissanpartsdeal that sells for like $330. I'm not sure where the "gasket" is that needs to seal this thing, but I know my primary leak is probably coming from the rear windshield. So I'll deal with this guy next...

KP: Good to see you too! I hope that you had a nice Christmas / Hanukkah / Kwanza / Whatever it is that you might celebrate


I also took two screws out of the rear molding and got some pictures yesterday:





There's not really any rust under the molding that I can see. All the discoloration in the photo is just dirt; I tried to wipe the gutter clean a bit. Everything is quite firmly attached and it's hard to believe that this is the culprit.

I may just end up taking this car to Safelite and have them replace the rear windshield; that's not a thing that I have any experience doing. Guessing it won't be cheap either...

One other thing to note, I spoke with the original owners of the car (family friends of ours) and they said that the windshield is original. Perhaps I can just have Safelite take it out and reseal it.

Last edited by Shrout1; 01-04-2019 at 06:37 AM.
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Old 01-07-2019, 07:45 AM
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Ok so I found a local glass place and they told me to try a body shop first. The fella at the glass place didn't think that he could reseal the rear windshield without replacing it. He also figured that the molding would get damaged during the replacement so it would be necessary to buy new molding for it as well.

Soooo that's about $500 I don't want to just go spend without knowing that it's the issue... I still need to blow out the sunroof drains, but the hose tests I did don't indicate that they're clogged. Will double check.

Not sure what a body shop is going to see... If there's a leak somewhere it's probably hidden underneath the windshield...
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Shrout1 View Post
I may just end up taking this car to Safelite and have them replace the rear windshield; that's not a thing that I have any experience doing. Guessing it won't be cheap either...
I just did an online estimate at the Safelite website ... $319.99 is the cost I got for back glass replacement in my area of Florida (Tampa).


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Old 01-07-2019, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Turbobink View Post
I just did an online estimate at the Safelite website ... $319.99 is the cost I got for back glass replacement in my area of Florida (Tampa).


Thanks! I ran an estimate on it here in Huntsville and it came out to $389. I'm assuming that the Safelite guys will end up arriving at the same conclusion; they will probably need to replace that trim. With the trim added to the deal it could increase the price by $100 due to parts markups. We'll see! I'm going to blow out the drain lines tonight to be doubly sure and continue hosing the car down one more time...
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Old 01-07-2019, 06:17 PM
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I am curious on how to access the top of the drain hoses to blow them out.

And can the rear drain hose crack somewhere above where the water would drip to where he is seeing it?

Last edited by KP11520; 01-07-2019 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 01-08-2019, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by KP11520 View Post
I am curious on how to access the top of the drain hoses to blow them out.

And can the rear drain hose crack somewhere above where the water would drip to where he is seeing it?
I'm actually curious about that too... All 4 drains were still working; the front passenger side was a littler slower than the others but everything was draining just fine.

I pulled the rear windshield bottom molding yesterday and took a look. Quite a lot of dirt built up, but no corrosion.

Before a bit of wiping



The body isn't corroded at all.

I'm wondering if the dirt was backing up the water into the screw bracket there... Ran a hose on the sunroof and the rear windshield for about 20 minutes; no leak in the trunk. The only trouble is that I've never been able to induce the leak myself, only after driving the car have I seen it. So I need to wait for another rainy day...

I don't believe that the windshield is the candidate now though, as 20-30 minutes of water on the suspect areas produced no water at all. The urethane on the bottom of the windshield appears to be in very good condition too.

Now we wait for rain!
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Old 01-08-2019, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by KP11520 View Post
I am curious on how to access the top of the drain hoses to blow them out.
Turns out that no one else knows how either:
https://www.nissanforums.com/a32-199...rain-hole.html
https://maxima.org/forums/4th-genera...of-drains.html

Nissan says that you have to remove the headliner (BT-39):


Here are some additional diagrams from BT 35 and 36:


So that sounds a bit painful.

Is the headliner glued in place?

Also an old TSB about the rear drain from one of the old 4th gen stickies: http://www.jatan.net/tsbs/056829.pdf

Last edited by Shrout1; 01-08-2019 at 06:48 AM.
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Old 01-08-2019, 07:51 AM
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Did you peal up the trunk seal yet??? Can't rule that out, under that is rough metal, if it wasn't painted perfectly, a small spot of exposed metal could rust right out. Just pull it up, so what if the goo undernieth get's ripped up. you can always get some more at the parts store...
Originally Posted by Shrout1 View Post



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Old 01-08-2019, 07:53 AM
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That said, even the seal itself may not be puffy enough, driving allows just enough air under to push up on the trunk lid, thus exposing a low spot in the rubber. 20 years old, that rubber is probably stiff and formed...no puff. That would explain why you can't duplicate the leak with the car sitting still at least...
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Old 01-08-2019, 07:55 AM
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I had an older car with a bad seal (again, no puff), never got water in it, but went down a desert road one day, kicked up a hell of a lot of dust (rear wheel drive) and the entire trunk was full of the powdery dust, no sand, just dust that got past the seal as dusty air was rushing around in that crevasse under the lid but outside the seal.
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Old 01-08-2019, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by MadMax07SL View Post
I had an older car with a bad seal (again, no puff), never got water in it, but went down a desert road one day, kicked up a hell of a lot of dust (rear wheel drive) and the entire trunk was full of the powdery dust, no sand, just dust that got past the seal as dusty air was rushing around in that crevasse under the lid but outside the seal.
That is definitely a thought! No water snuck past when I ran the hose on it, but it's possible that air is doing something. I'm going to wait for the next rainstorm and see. It also seems like wet roads cause the leak, just the spray off the road is enough to get it going.

Thanks for the suggestion!
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Old 01-08-2019, 03:16 PM
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Please detail dropping the headliner!
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Old 01-09-2019, 05:08 AM
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I'd recommend that you clean that truck sill up real good and check the seal on those plastic trim fastener anchors.
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Old 01-09-2019, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by KP11520 View Post
Please detail dropping the headliner!
Piece of cake! :P




Originally Posted by Turbobink View Post
I'd recommend that you clean that truck sill up real good and check the seal on those plastic trim fastener anchors.
Thanks! The gutter area has been thoroughly wiped out (really cleaned it up when we took the rear molding off) and the trim anchors are good everywhere except a tiny bit around the bottom right corner of the trunk. The piece stays in place though and I haven't seen any water come through there, ever.

I think I just have to wait for the next rain storm to see if I got it! I'm hoping it was as simple as that build up of gunk under the rear molding, but we'll find out...
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Old 01-13-2019, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Shrout1 View Post
I'm going to wait for the next rainstorm and see. It also seems like wet roads cause the leak, just the spray off the road is enough to get it going.
Well, it leaked again yesterday . I drove it around town in the rain for about 30 minutes; it seems to leak the most when the road is wet, regardless of the rain. So I just gotta keep digging.
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Old 01-13-2019, 10:06 AM
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Then take the hose and blast every part of the wheel well. Centrifugal force is sending the water up from wet roads and it's getting in from somewhere compromised via that avenue.... (Get it? LOL).
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Old 01-13-2019, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by KP11520 View Post
Then take the hose and blast every part of the wheel well.
Yeah I ordered an endoscope today on Amazon - looks like you can get them for like $25. Hopefully I can probe around / record or have someone watch while driving and figure this thing out. What a PITA.

Originally Posted by KP11520 View Post
Centrifugal force is sending the water up from wet roads and it's getting in from somewhere compromised via that avenue.... (Get it? LOL).
Har har har you kill me
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Old 01-14-2019, 02:26 AM
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Nissan told me they climb in the trunk with a light. Then have someone put a hose on it.
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Old 01-14-2019, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by krismax View Post
Nissan told me they climb in the trunk with a light. Then have someone put a hose on it.
Thanks!!

I've thought about climbing in there I've run a hose on the trunk for around an hour and I can't get the leak to happen. It seems to only happen when I'm driving and the road is wet. So it *might* be splashing from a hole I don't know about (ugh...)

This endoscope thing I bought has an app for my phone and I should be able to anchor it in the trunk (gotta figure that out) and then connect to it wirelessly. If I can find a willing passenger then a drive in the rain will hopefully show me where the leak is coming from (with some troubleshooting / changing around of the camera).

I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
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Old 01-19-2019, 09:13 AM
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Ok looks like the passenger side tail light gasket is bad; got a bit of a leak there:


Didnt get the leak center frame when I opened the trunk.

Can we still order tail light gaskets or do I need to make a new one? I think this might be one of multiple leaks :P
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Old 01-19-2019, 09:57 AM
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IIRC, nissan does not use a gasket. They use a thick sealer similar to putty or silicone. But DON'T USE SILICONE! You will never be able to remove the tail lights again.

I use something that is intended for sealing windshields. You want something that is thick and will not run. My Lexus has a tail light leak also and I am going to try Permatex Black Rubber Sealant # 80338 in an orange package. Do not get the black package version, it is a glue.

When you take the nuts off of the tail light assembly, it will not fall off, It will seem like it is glued on. Do not pry or pull on the plastic from the outside of the car. You have a 99+ % chance that it will break. Put the nuts back on the ends of the studs and use the socket to push with. It will probably be very difficult.

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Old 01-19-2019, 09:59 AM
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^^^^^^^
Good work! The last time I removed some taillights the seal was Butyl Sealant.
Morimoto RetroRubber Butyl Sealant Black
https://www.rallysportdirect.com/par...iAAEgK6E_D_BwE

Last edited by CS_AR; 01-19-2019 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 01-19-2019, 10:32 AM
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Talk about chasin' your tail........ LIGHT!

Butyl works BeaUtiful!

All the retro fit light projects use it as it is also used in the factory when they are manufactured.

If you need to open any junctions to replace the Butyl, heat the assembly in an oven @ 270 f degrees for a bit to soften what's holding it together. Clean it all out and replace it all new, Clamp and heat.

Lovely weather!
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Old 01-20-2019, 07:36 AM
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Ok! Looks like BT 26 has a little bit of info regarding removal of the rear taillights.


Should I get a hair dryer or a heat gun for this job? I don't want to damage the light housings I know the advice was "Push Hard", just wondering if I should be heating too. Also, should I be cleaning up the old butyl with some kind of chemical?

I see two bolts protruding through the trunk lid that appear to be connected to the tail light assembly. Are these the bolts that I need to push out? Are there more than just these bolts?


Is there some official butyl tape that I should be buying? I found some OEM Nissan tape on nissan parts deal:

https://www.nissanpartsdeal.com/part...553-89915.html

The website seems to think that it isn't compatible with the car... I've never done this before! Appreciate the assist from you guys!
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Old 01-20-2019, 09:42 AM
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The only time I removed tail lights was in the hot summertime at a salvage yard -- like +95 F I remember having trouble until I figured out the butyl tape was holding the light assemblies into the body. You don't want to melt the plastic. But I think a warmer temp on the surrounding metal will help.
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Old 01-20-2019, 05:47 PM
  #39  
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Old 01-20-2019, 05:59 PM
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Don't use the stuff from autozone, it won't like the bends you will need to make. I'm sure the stuff on nissanpartsdeal would work, but the price is up there. Plus you will have to pay for shipping, making it even more expensive. Either go with the stuff that CS_AR linked to or the stuff I suggested. Be advised that you will need to be filling a quarter inch gap or so in some spots.

Last edited by DennisMik; 01-20-2019 at 06:01 PM.
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