1979 Holden VB Commodore wagon rubber seals repairs - Our Shed

By: Glenn Torrens - Words & Photos

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Glenn Torrens guns down some annoying wind whistles from the windows of his VB Commodore wagon

MY VB Commodore SL station wagon is what we could call a ‘rolling restoration’. Built in Holden’s Dandenong, Melbourne factory (in August 1979; apparently the Commodore wagon’s first month of production) and reportedly sold new in Queensland, I bought it four years ago.

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1. I won’t bore you with all the gory details, but yes, the doors’ interior trims need to be removed to replace the door felts. But thankfully the doors’ glass can remain in place

The mighty 3.3-litre six-cylinder engine and Trimatic work seamlessly. As I’ve shared here on the pages of Unique Cars over the past couple of years, I’ve rebuilt the suspension (replacing a bent front crossmember, all four dampers and some key suspension bushes), refreshed the brakes, rebuilt the air-conditioning system so it ladles out plenty of frigid air and restored the engine bay. There are fresh tyres on restored 14-inch original-type steel rims, after I cruised it on some SL/E 15-inch alloys for a while.

| Read next: VB Commodore wagon engine bay clean-up

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2. I bought the new seals from Old Auto Rubber in NSW. Mail order was easy … and necessary during That Virus

With those tasks done, the car now drives great but displays its patina with pride!

But one thing that annoyed me – especially since I fixed the air-con - was the shabby condition of the door and window seals. Cruising around on nice sunny days with the windows down, the draughty seals didn’t matter. However, with my expensively rebuilt air-con pumping-out luxuriously cold air, I’m driving my car more often with the windows up, which has highlighted annoying wind noise from the tatty seals.

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3. After four decades, many of the old rubbers become hard and brittle. The resulting cracks and damage creates wind noise

The doors’ main rubbers were an easy fix. Thankfully for Commodore enthusiasts, there is a growing supply of brand-new restoration parts available but instead of replacing my door rubbers with new, I scrounged four terrific second-hand ones from my local wrecker.

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4. Cleaning a spare set of rubbers before storing them for another project

But the window felts (or bailey channels – the soft fuzzy-finished strips the glass runs in) and belt-line rubbers (the ones that seal against the outside of the glass) don’t fare so well with age, so I bought new.

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5. After 42 years of harsh Aussie sun the door seals have seen better days

With each door glass sitting snug and rattle-free in fresh felts and the cabin of the car well-sealed, my Commodore wagon is now draught-free and far quieter inside.

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6. After a soapy pressure-wash, I wiped these good second hand door rubbers with a ‘vinyl-revive’ product bagged ‘em until needed

My intention is to eventually re-do the oh-so-70s Sandalwood metallic gold-brown paint. But right now, I’m happy to enjoy my time-warp cruiser wagon just the way it is!

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From Unique Cars #452, April 2021

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