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Wow major discovery for me today: the taillight lenses and bulb sockets. After 40 years, the likelihood of fumes getting past the lenses and then through the bulb sockets is huge. And the taillight gasket doesn't cover that area. The lenses normally screw down and seal right up to the housing. The bulb sockets twist into the housing with O rings, but over time both areas warp and develop leaks. I noticed slight warping in the lens mounting, and more importantly, looseness in the bulb sockets, after years of being seated in the same position and possible shrinking of the O rings. So, I have a solution. I can't find the O rings on the normal parts sources, I'll have to bring one around to local auto outlets and try to match. But whether you use new or old ones, try this: when you screw in the bulb socket into the housing clockwise, go all the way to the stop and then back off (go counter-clockwise) 1/8 to 1/4 inch or so, you'll feel it seat in much more snug and no rattling. Hope it's not doing anything bad, it seems so much more tight this way. It's just a suggestion, but now I know this area is a culprit. Pics coming. If/when I find replacement O rings I'll give a link. Sounds nit-picky, but whatever it takes to have Sister Golden Hair come sit herself back on down into that empty passenger seat.
Replacement o-rings are available at o'reilly auto parts (I just got em a few weeks back). Of course don't ask for our car specifically. I just pulled off one of the old o-rings around a bulb and asked them for a match. They brought up a big segmented box of o-rings and they had ones of the same size that work perfectly despite not having the flat spots where the bulb meets the lens housing.

They were however $2 each which surprised me.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Replacement o-rings are available at o'reilly auto parts (I just got em a few weeks back). Of course don't ask for our car specifically. I just pulled off one of the old o-rings around a bulb and asked them for a match. They brought up a big segmented box of o-rings and they had ones of the same size that work perfectly despite not having the flat spots where the bulb meets the lens housing.

They were however $2 each which surprised me.
That's really good to know, thanks. You weren't kidding about fumes from the actual lights after all. Yep, $2 each does add up when you need 8 or more and it's just a plentiful O ring. But I can respect their function now. Just look at how the wires attached to the sockets are covered in those insulated rubber housings. Seal is the word.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
And I hope with some version of Sister Golden Hair along for the ride (or should I say, who will FINALLY ride in the car again now that she's not gagging on the fumes. LOL)
Just had to reference this for its utter truth. For, if "Sis" approves the fumes repair, perhaps she will then understand my need for late night tinkering. Perhaps not, but oh well thank goodness I don't have to explain it to my forum compadres.
 

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went through this over the weekend. After years of using a bright light inside the car in a dark garage to try to find cracks, I broke down and got a smoke machine. there were still a ton of leaks a lot from the seams and areas I thought i had gotten. I used to vacuums. I got a can a flex seal clear and sprayed areas I could not reach. I am not 100% fume free but very close.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
went through this over the weekend. After years of using a bright light inside the car in a dark garage to try to find cracks, I broke down and got a smoke machine. there were still a ton of leaks a lot from the seams and areas I thought i had gotten. I used to vacuums. I got a can a flex seal clear and sprayed areas I could not reach. I am not 100% fume free but very close.
Is there a specific brand or type of smoke machine? I've heard so many good results with them, and if all I'm doing now doesn't now cure it, I would go that route. When these cars were new there wasn't the exhaust fume issue. I am lucky (due to age I guess) to have driven a couple nearly new Z's way back in the '70s with never a whiff of exhaust back there. I will never forget the feeling of those cars, the sheer thrill, even sitting, idling or crawling along. Kinda what I'm trying to get close enough to today. By the way that Flex Seal is some seriously effective stuff. Worth the $$.
 

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Ok I put 2 vacuums in the window. yes I elevated the smoke machine moved it around. Hope you are limber, I had to get in the car have someone else close the hatch and then find where the smoke was coming from. you'll be surprised
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Ok I put 2 vacuums in the window. yes I elevated the smoke machine moved it around. Hope you are limber, I had to get in the car have someone else close the hatch and then find where the smoke was coming from. you'll be surprised
Marvelous technique. I noticed Amazon has smoke machines starting around $40 and up. Well here's the latest update, see pics: I finished removing the old adhesive and now the new seal is dry-fitted in place awaiting gluing. Just wondering: 1) Was your door a bit hard to close after the installation as mine seems it is and 2) This is not an OEM seal it's an aftermarket made by Precision, and it looks a bit different than the original, but is beefy and seems to be good. Is that ok or should I return it and get the OEM which is 3 times the price ($180)? 3) Disregard the bubbling in the lower corners I'm aware and hoping I can wire-brush it and refinish decently, as I have felt underneath, and the metal still seems ok. Regardless I may bring it up in a separate post. Getting close to the first aroma test....
 

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Marvelous technique. I noticed Amazon has smoke machines starting around $40 and up. Well here's the latest update, see pics: I finished removing the old adhesive and now the new seal is dry-fitted in place awaiting gluing. Just wondering: 1) Was your door a bit hard to close after the installation as mine seems it is and 2) This is not an OEM seal it's an aftermarket made by Precision, and it looks a bit different than the original, but is beefy and seems to be good. Is that ok or should I return it and get the OEM which is 3 times the price ($180)? 3) Disregard the bubbling in the lower corners I'm aware and hoping I can wire-brush it and refinish decently, as I have felt underneath, and the metal still seems ok. Regardless I may bring it up in a separate post. Getting close to the first aroma test....
To answer your questions in order:
1) if you are talking about driver/passenger door weatherstripping and not the hatch door - get rid of that stuff - its gonna be slam city. Go to the scrapyard and get the sportage door stripping, no slamming required
2) the aftermarket ones i had would not stay glued at the top and would sneak out - only the OEM one (which is thinner) stayed glued - but that could be my hatch. If they didn't work for other folks they wouldnt be selling them
 

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Discussion Starter #31
To answer your questions in order:
1) if you are talking about driver/passenger door weatherstripping and not the hatch door - get rid of that stuff - its gonna be slam city. Go to the scrapyard and get the sportage door stripping, no slamming required
2) the aftermarket ones i had would not stay glued at the top and would sneak out - only the OEM one (which is thinner) stayed glued - but that could be my hatch. If they didn't work for other folks they wouldnt be selling them
I should have specified hatch instead of door, but man that's good to know about your Kia seal recommendation for laying down better in the doors. This is because it's a much bigger pain to keep slamming a door shut, as opposed to the hatch which I'd probably open less than once every couple months. Besides, unlike the door, I don't have to slam the hatch, just put a little more well-placed weight on it with hands when closing. Also thanks for the heads up with gluing the top area, I'll go over that carefully, if I stick with the aftermarket hatch seal. It's dry-fitted right now and seems all in there ok, maybe my upper hatch is shaped right. I'd prefer using the OEM as you did, but the savings is so huge, and in my case I've got more parts to get (ah, do they ever stop, noooo). Pardon being so indecisive, but I want to get the hatch really right, so I'll look it over yet again before gluing. The thought of having to pull it off again, scrape all the adhesive again, throw away the unreturnable seal and then in fact buy the OEM after all that, well.....so I'm going to look it over once more. If the downside is only a bit of difficult hatch closing, hmmm... And maybe the hardness dissipates in time. Like you say, it must be working for enough people out there somehow, some way. But right now, still processing, processing....
 

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I should have specified hatch instead of door, but man that's good to know about your Kia seal recommendation for laying down better in the doors. This is because it's a much bigger pain to keep slamming a door shut, as opposed to the hatch which I'd probably open less than once every couple months. Besides, unlike the door, I don't have to slam the hatch, just put a little more well-placed weight on it with hands when closing. Also thanks for the heads up with gluing the top area, I'll go over that carefully, if I stick with the aftermarket hatch seal. It's dry-fitted right now and seems all in there ok, maybe my upper hatch is shaped right. I'd prefer using the OEM as you did, but the savings is so huge, and in my case I've got more parts to get (ah, do they ever stop, noooo). Pardon being so indecisive, but I want to get the hatch really right, so I'll look it over yet again before gluing. The thought of having to pull it off again, scrape all the adhesive again, throw away the unreturnable seal and then in fact buy the OEM after all that, well.....so I'm going to look it over once more. If the downside is only a bit of difficult hatch closing, hmmm... And maybe the hardness dissipates in time. Like you say, it must be working for enough people out there somehow, some way. But right now, still processing, processing....
Well, even with the oem seal, I still need to slam it. Do know though that the rubber needs to be trained to sit in the right spot regardless, just less so with the OEM in my experience. This happened to me WITH the oem seal not going flush (one again) with the top of the hatch — which let fumes in just as bad as before. So what I did was grab a credit card and just run it between the hatch and rubber up top to straighten it out and make sure it sat flush, which fixed the issue.

I need to do this every time I open/close the hatch, but to a lesser extent each time as the rubber adjusts.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
Well, even with the oem seal, I still need to slam it. Do know though that the rubber needs to be trained to sit in the right spot regardless, just less so with the OEM in my experience. This happened to me WITH the oem seal not going flush (one again) with the top of the hatch — which let fumes in just as bad as before. So what I did was grab a credit card and just run it between the hatch and rubber up top to straighten it out and make sure it sat flush, which fixed the issue.

I need to do this every time I open/close the hatch, but to a lesser extent each time as the rubber adjusts.
Good to know that when comparing. I haven't heard that info before. So it's a matter of deciding how much is too much pressure to close it, and whether it's all sitting the right way, knowing over time there will be some improvement if the "training" is done. Whatever it takes.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
The gluing has begun. Man that weatherstrip adhesive is some finicky brew. Lessons learned: for me it's at least a 3 or 4 day operation to do it right. This is because I must let it fully dry after bonding each section, preferably overnight, because it takes a long time to really set. Making a bead with the glue, then smoothing it down to a thin strip, and adding some to the inside of the seal before joining and securing snugly with clamps/tape. Even after it's tacky within a few minutes, join the surfaces and leave them alone, but it's not like contact cement, it's not done yet. Wait, a nice long evening, go back and check and re-glue troublesome areas. I'm in my second day, and the first day was a messy nightmare because I didn't LEAVE IT ALONE. I just had to check and see if it was bonded, and disturbed the whole thing. So, now it's getting much better and I do a few sections and pull myself away for a night and come back for more. Oh, and you can lay strips of tape right alongside the edge of the seal on the lower deck to catch the excess and make it look a lot neater without scraping. Whether or not you use gloves, well in this case they are very helpful. I feel crude and careless, but I'm keeping a handle on her.
 

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Good to know that when comparing. I haven't heard that info before. So it's a matter of deciding how much is too much pressure to close it, and whether it's all sitting the right way, knowing over time there will be some improvement if the "training" is done. Whatever it takes.
Nah, slam it shut and leave it. Then do the adjustments from the inside (if necessary).
 

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Discussion Starter #36
REPORT: Well, the aftermarket hatch seal is all glued in, and though it took a few days of re-checking and re-gluing sections, it's done! The weatherstrip adhesive can be unforgiving and difficult, and some sections required re-doing. In hindsight I should have cleaned the rubber maybe with light alcohol, but it was not too bad. I test-drove the car twice. And....no fumes! It's gratifying. Big step forward in the resuscitation of this machine. So, all told it was hatch seal, taillight gaskets, hatch plugs and hatch deck lid panel re-sealing. Yes, closing the lid takes a bit more weight but that's because of the beefier seal, and it's wayyyy worth it. Glad to be on to the next issues!
 

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REPORT: Well, the aftermarket hatch seal is all glued in, and though it took a few days of re-checking and re-gluing sections, it's done! The weatherstrip adhesive can be unforgiving and difficult, and some sections required re-doing. In hindsight I should have cleaned the rubber maybe with light alcohol, but it was not too bad. I test-drove the car twice. And....no fumes! It's gratifying. Big step forward in the resuscitation of this machine. So, all told it was hatch seal, taillight gaskets, hatch plugs and hatch deck lid panel re-sealing. Yes, closing the lid takes a bit more weight but that's because of the beefier seal, and it's wayyyy worth it. Glad to be on to the next issues!
congratulations, glad to hear it
 
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