Problem: The boot of my 1996 Golk mk3 VR6 has been leaky since I got it last year, and this autumn and winter it’s beginning to get out of hand and make the car all stinky and damp!
Solution: After removing every piece of trim and carpet in the boot area, it was clear that water was getting in around the tail light cluster / unit seals. The part number for these seals or gaskets is 1H6 945 191, and they can be ordered from a VW dealer parts desk for about £20 a pair. I wanted mine a but quicker than the dealer could do it so went to a Trade Parts Specialist who ordered them in for me next morning by 8:30am.
Here’s how to fit them…
1) Likely both tail light seals need to be replaced, but in this one we’ll concentrate on the Offside / Righthand one. The tail lamp unit is covered by some boot carpet. It can be unhooked from the plastic trim surrounding the ‘hatchback’ and folded back a bit. Don’t be too harsh, old carpet can split.
2) Remove the 3 Yellow Zinc Plate nuts that bolt the taillight unit to the body. There is one below the units – shown with a socket and extension attached to it in the picture here – and two above the unit. Take care not to drop the nuts down behind the central locking airpump (housed in polystyrene).
3) With the rear light cluster removed you can see the wet seal / gasket and markings where water has entered . The gaskets are made from a Closed Cell Foam or Neoprene and get compressed over time and loose their ‘bounce’.
Remove the old seals by simply pulling them off the plastic bolt bosses and one locating pin.
4a) The bodywork behind the removed gasket will likely show clear signs of water ingress, and in my case, a load of grime and Algae had build up behind and around the seal.
4b) Clean the body work so that the new seal when fitted can make perfect contact with the plastic one side and paintwork the other. If there are any lumps of grime or Algae – as in my case – these should be removed gently by soaking with washing up liquid or something else suitably inert but detergenty.
5) Fit the new gasket / seal by gently pushing it over the captive bolts and their plastic bosses. The foam is quite thin, and can tear. The ones I bought have a cut in them already that has been glued during manufacturing, and this is a weak point. (What would posses a firm to cut and re-glue foam sheet this small? Why not die-cut?)
6) Re-fit the tail light unit to the car. ‘finger tighten’ all three nuts to make sure that the gasket is perfectly flat against the bodywork, then tighten them up nice and tight, in turn, watching the unit hug closer to the body work gradually. Apparently the nuts should be tightened to 8NM, but I’ve only picked that up from a forum post somewhere so don’t rely too heavily on that figure. I tightened mine until they ‘seemed’ right 😉
A warning about water in lights:
When I washed the body work in step ‘4b’ above, I also gave the removed light cluster a wipe over too. It seems that I accidentally got some water inside the lense, which would have stayed there for months until it evaporated out in summer I imagine. Take care not to do this too.
To fix this problem I had to remove the unit once more, and use wife’s hairdryer to get the thing nice and dry again.
Please let me know if this how-to was useful, just one click, thanks!