When I tried to make my Nissan Patrol wheels alignment after purchasing “Michelin Latitude Tour HP” tires, it was not possible. I was told that front side lower arm assembly bushing failed, so the alignment is not possible.
Turning to Nissan service center they informed me that Nissan only replaces whole assembly together with the shock absorbers, both sides.
There are two main contributors to this failures:
- There are a lot of speed bumps and occasional pot holes in Kuwait. If you go over 20 km/h (~ 13 mph) a speed bump the shock absorbers unable to cope with the stress and got eventually damaged.
- Its exceptionally dry in Kuwait and all rubber is subject to dry rot (flaking, cracking and drying).
The dry air impacts all the rubber in your car: door seals, windows seals, boot and hood, tyres, all of the rubber in the suspension, moon roof and so on.
A big car like Nissan Patrol also flexes a lot, so its important to keep the seal and rubber supple, allowing some flexibility.
As an example, Nissan Patrol Y62 front door contains following rubber elements:
- Seal front door horizontal parting (80838-1LA1A and 808391LA1A) – 31 USD;
- Door weatherstrip (808301LA0B and 808311LA0B) – 61 USD;
- Door seal parting horizontal bottom (808381LA2A and 808391LA2A) – 32 USD;
- Window weather strip front (808341LA0A and 808351LA0A) – 50 USD;
- Glass run rubber runner (803301LA1A and 803311LA1A) – 65 USD;
- Body weather strip
- Body parting horizontal bottom
Estimated cost in rubber spare parts only is 350 USD per door. Four doors, trunk, hood and moonroof combined will lead to 2,000 USD in rubber alone. If you attempt to replace it at a Nissan service center labor will cost further 4,000 USD. This is how I justify spending 2-3 hours and 40 USD in silicone lubricants 2-3 times a year. It will costs me 70 USD (May 2022 prices) on the rubber treatment materials.
There are many different treatments and I have tried:
For the interior rubber seals, moon roof , boot and hood rubber:
- 303 Rubber Seal Protectant and Conditioner for Weather Seals – 20 USD
- Nextzett 91480615 ‘Gummi Pflege Stift’ Rubber – 25 USD
- Genuine Honda 08798-9013 Silicone Grease aka Shin Etsu – 19 USD
- Sonax rubber protectant (spray) 9 USD per 300ml can
- ATP AT-205 Seal Leak Stopper – 20 USD
- Meguiar’s G7516 Endurance Tire Gel -12 USD
- Aero Cosmetics – Rubber Care (Tire Dressing, Tire Protectant – 32 oz) – 19 USD
- Adam’s Graphene Tire Dressing – 16 USD
I bought my Patrol seven years old with low mileage but as you know from my previous posts on the Patrol previous german owner did only minimum basic maintenance. Car rubber once gone is impossible to restore, you can only preserve it.
So how to look after car rubber in the dry desert conditions? For the interior rubber seals, moon roof , boot and hood rubber the most effective way to clean it with mild soapy water and apply appropriate treatment.
First cleaning needs to be gentle, as the rubber is hard and it might start to break up. I found the there had been a lot of dirt, dust and sand under the seals. After washing some people recommend to rub the seal, to remove oxidized top layer. I did not do it.
I tried first highly recommended and rated “303 Rubber Seal Protectant and Conditioner for Weather Seals”. The applicator is not particularly user friendly, as you need to keep squeezing on the bottle all the time and after half of the bottle is used unless you keep the bottle upside down the protectant does not come out.
Its also not possible to apply it at the back of the seals and in all crevices. 303 Rubber Seal Protectant and Conditioner for Weather Seals is supplies in 3.4Oz (100ml) bottle and I just managed to cover the Patrol once.
The same experience is with “Nextzett 91480615 ‘Gummi Pflege Stift’ Rubber”. I did not find the products significantly different from one another. Both of them a water based and don’t contain silicone.
They helped to restore some of the rubber colour, soften them a little bit. After application by hands were stiff from need of keep the bottle squeezed for a half an hour. I could not treat all the seals with the bottles, due to size and shape of the applicator. People suggested to squeeze some of the product on a microfiber cloth and use it to treat surfaces.
After reading quite a lot of advice from other car enthusiasts I read about “Genuine Honda 08798-9013 Silicone Grease aka Shin Etsu”. I called to Kuwait Honda service and they could not help to obtain it, they gave me impression that they never heard of it. So I had to buy it of internet.
Recommendation is to apply it on clean seal in a thin layer and massage it into the seals. If you can, leave it overnight and then remove excess with a cloth.
The huge advantage is that you can apply it at the side of the seal touching the metal, into all crannies and cervices a door glass run rubber. Keeping your car door glass run rubber supple and well lubricated reduces unnecessary friction and prevent your electric motors from failing.
The grease is not manufactured by Honda, its made by Japan chemical company, one of the global suppliers of silicone for computer chips.
Advice to remove the excess was that the silicone will attract dust and dirt. I did not find this a correct. I left it on and its perfectly O.K. as you can see from the pictures. My rubber was very dry (evidently untreated for years), so on the first treatment for all four doors, hood (bonnet), trunk (boot) and the moon roof I used two full tubes. This after a month later after 303 and Nextzett.
After treating the rubber seals with the silicone grease, it became quieter. Some of the whistling noises disappeared, the seals are softer to the touch. After lubricating the hood (bonnet) seals, its less dusty inside when you open it after driving. I think it will also help air conditioning a little bit, keeping the air inside.
I also bought some lithium grease from AGS. I used to grease the car door locks and moon roof rails with a cotton bud. What an amazing impact it made – the doors a closing quietly and softly, same as the trunk (boot). The trick there is to reach a bud behind the lock.