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Old 01-25-2021, 04:03 PM   #1
Drives: 2008 Yaris Hatchback
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 199
Low temp sealant for leaking tail lights?

Hello everybody,

I have a significant water leak causing water to pool in my spare tire well and wetting the rear carpet and underlying pads as described in other recent posts I have made.

I want to seal in the area of the gaskets & screw/bolt holes for the tail light housings. One sealant recommended on this forum is a 3M butyl rubber product, Window Weld ribbon sealer 08612 see Amazon here to be used as described on Youtube here . Based on reading on this forum and others, this butyl rubber product has the advantage of being reusable/removable if the tail light assembly needs to be removed. So this looks like a good strategy, BUT, I called 3M and they say the product should be applied at a temperature that is persistently 50 degrees Fahrenheit or above. This 50 degree temp is apparently true for all 3M products. I do not have a heated garage and the temp here will only be a high of 44 degrees Fahrenheit for the foreseeable future. So I am looking for alternative sealing strategies.

QUESTION(S): Is there a material I can use for sealing that will work at lower temperatures?

Silicone rubber sealant would undoubtedly work, but it seems that it might be a significant problem to remove the tail light housings if necessary in the future. This seems to be true because you cannot get to the dried silicone rubber and insert a bladed tool like a dull knife or screwdriver to "separate" the seal by working around the seal. The same could be said for various caulking materials and other sealants. See attached screenshots of the removed tail light assembly and gasket from this youtube video on removing the tail light housing here on youtube .

Plain old grease might work, but might well not be very permanent. And might be messy to clean up in the future if I want to go for a more permanent solution in the future.

One other solution might be to just heat up the car and make a "tent" with tarps or plastic to drape over the back of the car to get to persistent 50 degrees Fahrenheit for application of the 3M Window Weld Ribbon Sealer.

Any other comments will be appreciated.





Last edited by RMcG; 01-25-2021 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 01-28-2021, 02:20 PM   #2
Drives: Yaris T1
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: South Africa
Posts: 38
Fish tank marine sealer
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Old 01-28-2021, 04:25 PM   #3
Drives: 2008 Yaris Hatchback
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 199
Thanks Mister,

I have actually done some more work on this problem since my last post. I took both taillight housings out of the car -- they are in my apartment and the gaskets appear to be in good shape. So I have decided to use something like you suggested, just plain old silicone rubber cement. I have cleaned up the gaskets and housings and applied silicone rubber to the "lip" in the housing the gaskets sit on to create/recreate a good seal.

I realized the bulbs can be changed without taking the housing off. So I can also use silicon rubber cement to create a seal between the car metal and the gaskets. But, if I do want to remove the housings, I can separate the gaskets and the metal/silicone rubber using a flat screwdriver from the inside of the car before removal. And I can paste a note to the inside of the plastic grills at the tail light access (in the rear of the car) to remind myself that the silicone rubber was applied-- and I need to be careful if I want to take the housings off.

I have returned the 3M Window Weld product. But, if I wanted to use the 3M Window Weld product, the gaskets are redundant and in fact detract from the seal. So if I went that route, I would remove the OEM gaskets and fashion a ring of the Window Weld buyl rubber along the ridge in the taillight housing at room temperature -- the tail light housings are in my house at room temperature.

I used duct tape to tape an old Amazon bubble wrap envelope to the metal empty socket area for the tail light housing on the car to create a kind of small heated "tent" when the interior of the car is heated up; see attached picture. And if I heat up the car, the metal temperature goes up significantly compared to other outside surfaces. I would sit in the car with the tail light housing with the Window Weld previously applied. After the car and metai in the empty socket got good and warm under the "tent," I would remove the tape/envelope ("tent") and apply the housing with the Window weld so it would be applied at higher temperature. I might run the car heater for a while after application too.

I can also use the same strategy to apply the gaskets with silicone rubber cement to the metal in the empty sockets, since the silicone rubber cement cures better at higher temps.




Last edited by RMcG; 01-28-2021 at 11:47 PM. Reason: for clarity
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Old 10-11-2021, 05:58 PM   #4
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Drives: Toyota
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: usa
Posts: 3
Does sealing the tail light with 3M "Fluid" give you a seal? As you wrote, it'll just be a patch. However, I suspect that 3M won't be supplying this sealant for the next few months. I use it as a fallback alternative and pick up analogs from other adhesives as needed.
Suppose you want to do it more thoroughly and completely insulate the backside. In that case, you can try the following: Clean the gasket area, clean the area around it with a cleaner, and then let it dry. Add some glue around the edges to glue it to the surface of the flashlight. If you are using an adhesive that is not strong enough, you can add some if needed. Remove the lantern and glue it back on. Allow it to dry.

Last edited by Mindinnen; 10-12-2021 at 05:52 AM.
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Old 10-12-2021, 02:56 AM   #5
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Drives: 2008 hatch
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Roseburg, OR
Posts: 6
This is what worked for me:
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Old 10-14-2021, 01:14 AM   #6
Drives: 2008 Yaris Hatchback
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 199
Hi thanks for your replies Mindinnen and Signats,

I have been waiting to give an update on this thread. Since you guys have posted recently though, I will post an update.

My last post was in January. I waited for months until the weather got warmer and parked the car under a canopy roof so that water would not get in the car. Fortunately I had another (non-leaking older used) car to drive until the weather got warmer and I was able to work on the leaking car (Yaris) under more favorable conditions. I did indeed use Clear Silicone rubber (as I recall it was GE or 3M that was shrink and crack resistant) between the two tail light (old OEM) housing gaskets and the metal mounting surfaces.

I also put a note as described in my last post (written in magic marker on plastic cut from an old milk bottle) inside the tail light grill that is inside the car. The note says that the gasket is affixed to the mounting surface with silicone rubber, so the gasket has to be freed carefully to remove it. On the other hand, it is not necessary to remove the housing to replace the bulbs.

I also sealed up some other areas that could potentially be leaking with 3M Dynatron Seam Sealer. These other areas are described in one or more other threads that I or others started. See, e.g., this thread link , especially Zoidberg's posts and pictures and this thread, especially Yaris X's post & pictures.

I had previously cleaned the roof channels and black rubber strips that fit in those channels. And I re-attached the rubber strips into those channels with silicone rubber. After the leak developed, I cleaned the two little troughs on either side of the re-attached rubber strips. And I then ran a bead of silicone rubber in these troughs and smoothed out the beads with a gloved finger. See this forum post here. Attached is a picture that shows (pretty well) one of the black rubber strips with the silicone rubber holding it down and dried clear silicone in the two little troughs on either side of the re-attached rubber strip; not the prettiest, but it seems to be working.

In any case, after I did all this work, and the seam sealer and silicone rubber cured, I tried to test my work by dumping a lot of water on the car with buckets. (It was the dry season and there was no rain.) And then I checked to see if there was any leaking. There was no leaking. In addition, the rainy season has started here and so far no leaks. So I think I am ok.

When the rainy season really gets going, and I am increasingly certain there is no leak, I will try to post some more pictures and updates to the other posts I made about my water leak problem.



Last edited by RMcG; 10-24-2021 at 01:58 AM. Reason: To add picture
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