Several months ago, I noticed that the front footwells in the Leon were quite wet, and began tearing the interior apart to figure out where the water was coming from. Part of the problem was a perished seal on the pollen filter housing, allowing water to come in through the fan housing. This was made worse by the fact that the drain passages on the inside of the wing were blocked.
However, the bigger problem, and main source of the water, was that the door seals were perished. It is very common for the door seals to rot on Mk1 Leon’s, so it was not difficult to find an online guide to aid with replacing them. I used this guide, and found the whole job to be simple and straightforward as a result.
Up until today, I had been placing towels on the door sills to prevent water ingress, which worked fine as long as I remembered to change the towels after a heavy rain. Work demands and bad weather meant I just wasn’t able to get to this job until now.
I woke up this morning to sunshine and temperatures of 9ºC, so I went out to the drive to tackle the seals. I was in for a surprise when I first pulled the door card off, as I discovered someone had already attempted a repair by slathering on a very generous layer of some kind of sticky, foam-type sealant.
Another surprise awaited after removing all of that junk, because it turned out that someone had also tried using clear RTV sealant prior to the foam stuff to repair the leak. This, of course, means that someone has previously attempted this repair twice, both times unsuccessfully. But alas, people doing things to cars who really have no idea what they’re doing is one of the features of the used car life. It didn’t take long to spot why the door was leaking; despite the vast quantities of sealant employed, there were small gaps all over the place.
So what should you use instead for sealant? The forums all swear by this butyl sealant strip you see below as the best thing to use to repair the seals. It’s only about £7 for a roll of this size on eBay, which will easily do all four doors.
After scraping off several layers of old sealant (by far the most time-consuming part of this job), I put the butyl seal in place and refastened the inside panel. There is now a neat and even seal all the way around.
All that remains to be seen is whether or not the new seals work. And as the weather forecast calls for rain overnight, it won’t take long to find out.
UPDATE: After a light rain shower last night, I was pleased to discover that the door sills were dry this morning. I’ll subject the car to a car wash later today, and we’ll see how well these seals really work.