As you have clicked on this article, it is safe to assume that your best tailgate seal has given up. Well, you are not the only one. We also had our one replaced a few months ago. And they do require replacement from time to time, especially if you drive your truck on rough terrains in rough environments.
Nevertheless, let us get into the main point. You are here to learn how to install tailgate seal, right? There might be plenty of guides available on the internet, but not all of them will be simple. We have installed a good number of these and know the easier process. And we will share that process in this article.
Steps to Follow: How to Install Tailgate Seal
Before we get into handling the seal itself, you need to ensure that the temperature around the car is not extreme. Proceed to install the seal only when the air and surface temperature is between 55 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything below or above that will ruin the seal.
With the disclaimer out of the way, let us get right into the installation process, shall we?
Step 1: Get the Right Tools
First and foremost, you need to work on getting the right tools in hand. Here, you would want to get yourself pair of sharp scissors, a cleaning rag, and a cleaning solution. For the cleaning solution, get 500 ml of water and dissolve a bit of soap in it. Also, do get yourself a measuring tape because that will come in handy.
Step 2: Remove the Old Seal
Once you got all of the required items, work on removing the old seal. Here, you might have to use extreme force to get the old seal out of place. However, if the adhesive has given up, the whole removal process can get a bit easier. But we would certainly recommend taking things slow.
By being a bit gentle in the removal process, you can lower the chances of tough residues. And working with those residues can get a bit difficult when you are trying to install a new seal.
Step 3: Clean the Area
Now that the old seal is out of place, start the cleaning process. Thoroughly clean the area with the soap solution and the cleaning rag. Do make sure that the rag is not abrasive, or else it might leave scratches on the body. Also, ensure that all of the old adhesives are off the surface.
If you happen to leave some of the sticky residues behind, the new adhesive will not settle in properly. And if the new residue does not stick properly, the seal will not be proper. You will find dust and water getting inside the bed even with the new seal installed.
Step 4: Attach the Seal to the Sidewalls
Before removing the protective tape from the seal, measure the old tape first. Here, the measuring tape will come into play. First, work on the left sidewall. Cut according to the measurement. Remember, cut once, measure twice. You would not want to waste seal tapes, would you?
Once the tape is cut according to measurement, open the protective tape and gently place it on the sidewall. When you are near the top of the sidewall, gradually rotate the seal to about 90 degrees in the counterclockwise direction. This will ensure a flush installation. Apply light pressure to make the adhesive stay in place.
On that note, if the placement is not correct or if the measurement is a bit off, you need to take it off before applying the pressure. Also, do note that you can only reposition the seal up to three times. Removing it from the place more than that will weaken the strength of the seal.
However, you can only remove the seal once if the temperature is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if you do manage to mess the position the first time, be a little careful the second time. And once you are done with the left sidewall, repeat the process for the right one.
Step 5: Install the Tape on the Upper Sidewall
After the sidewalls are taken care of, move into attaching the tape on the upper side of the sidewall. Here, repeat the same process as the sidewall. Take the measurement from the old tape and cut the seal accordingly. After cutting them, apply the seal flush to the upper sidewall.
Like the previous application process, you should rotate the seal about 90 degrees counterclockwise to get a flush application. Check the positioning and reposition the seal if required. Then apply light pressure on the seal and let the adhesive sit in. We would recommend not repositioning the seal after applying the pressure.
Step 6: Attach a Small Piece on the Side of the Tailgate
Depending on the truck, you might have to attach a small piece of seal on the side of the tailgate. For our case, the truck was a Chevrolet Colorado 2015. And we had to cut a 3 inches seal and apply it on the side of the tailgate. However, your truck might not require this small piece of tape.
That being said, apply this seal like the previous methods. Position the seal properly and then apply light pressure. Do ensure that you are not pushing too much on the seal. That will only ruin the positioning, and you might have to reposition the seal again.
Step 7: Attach Seal to the Tailgate Gap
Once you are through step 6, close the tailgate. Now, you might notice light coming through the sidewalls. If that happens, reposition the seals of the sidewalls accordingly. But there might still be light passing through. And if that happens, the seal is not proper, and dust will still manage to get inside.
However, there is a solution. Cut small pieces of the seal. Attach them to the position where the light is coming through. Do not attach any excess adhesive to these seals.
Instead, rely on the adhesive that they might have and put gentle pressure. Close the tailgate again and check the seal. You should be all good at this point.
Step 8: Apply Final Pressure
Now that all of the seals are in place, open the tailgate again and check the position of all of them. If they require any repositioning, do it before moving forward. However, if the positioning is right, apply firm pressure throughout the entire seal. But do not apply extreme pressure because that might make the seal move a bit.
After applying the final pressure, leave the tailgate open for half an hour. But if the temperature is under 50°F within the next 24 hours, you might have to leave the tailgate open for up to a day. That will give the adhesive enough time to properly settle and create a proper seal.
Learning how to install tailgate seal is definitely not learning rocket science. The process is easier than it looks. And we hope that we were able to keep the steps simple and each of them was easy to follow.