Replacing Window Trim Strip

By: Tom McCandless []


Here’s another “how to”.  I have to give credit to this “tip” to Chris Miller at Bentley Publishers.  I had posted the question of how to do this on the Technical discussions.  What is funny is that I didn’t bother to check back for the answer until AFTER I had figured out how to do it for myself.


But because Chris answered before I “figured” he gets the kudo.



In it’s previous life as a “leaser”, my 99 528i CPO must have spent considerable time at Sonic drive-ins because the window trim strip on the driver’s door was scratched quite a bit and needed to be replaced.  After getting a replacement trim strip here’s how to do it.


Inside that “chrome” (actually it’s polished aluminum) strip is a rubber “U” channel combined with the outer window “fuzzy”.  The “U” channel portion slips over a flange that is formed by crimping and welding the exterior and interior door sheet metal together.


Get a thin strip of wood about a quarter of an inch thick and an inch or so wide.  Cut two pieces off about four or five inches long.  Keep the cuts as square as possible.  Take one of them and bevel the end of it at about a 45 degree angle so it ends up looking like the cutting edge of a wood chisel.  Make it smooth and straight.  I used the side of my grinding wheel to do the final sanding.  These are all the tools you need for the trim removal.


Use masking tape (I use the blue stuff ‘cause it’s not so sticky.) and tape off the top two or three inches of the door sheet metal next to the trim strip.  Also tape three or four inches of the black painted vertical door edge.  This is called “Oh $*#+!” protection.  Put a couple of layers on.


Lower the window.  NOTE THE ALIGNMENT OF THE STRIP TO THE DOOR.  Take the wood strip with the square ends and using the end of it, gently push the trim up at the edge of the door.  Don’t try to lift it too far.  Just enough that you can get a finger under the end of it.  Now take the wood strip with the bevel on it and holding the bevel down, hook the sharp edge under the edge of the trim about six inches from the edge of the door.  DO NOT PRY DOWN AGAINST THE DOOR SHEET METAL!  Just hold the strip level and lift up on the trim strip.  Keep going back and forth across the door and work the trim up until it’s at about a thirty degree angle.  The front end of the strip goes in and under the other plastic and rubber seals at the front of the door so it won’t come up but once you get the rear of the strip raised up the whole strip will just slip back and out.


Examine the removed strip.  The steel reinforced rubber insert is held in the trim by “latches” cast into the rubber.  It makes for easy installation but difficult removal.  I got it out by clamping a tiny corner of the front end in my vise and simply slipping the trim end ways off the rubber.  I suspect that a good pair of needle nose pliers would have done just as well.  Or you could have bought a new rubber piece too and not have to worry about it.  Use a soft rag and wipe the dust and dirt off.  Pay special attention to the interior of the “U” where it slips over the door flange.


Slide the rubber into the new trim piece.  Now take some silicone grease and LIGHTLY lubricate the flange at the top of the door.  Slip the front end of the assembled trim strip into the front of the door and work it back down onto the flange.  Don’t push it down ALL the way until you are sure you have it aligned correctly.  I had to remove and replace it a half dozen times before I got it lined up correctly.


That wasn’t too bad, was it?


Thanks to Chris Miller of Bentley Publishers ( for the tip.