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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Restoring window/door trim: Brat, GL, Loyale

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#1 BeefaRu


    Eat, Live, Breath Subaru

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 11:13 AM

For restoring non rubber "trim" (rack, mirrors, black column trim, wipers, restoring bumpers etc) I'll post a thread on how I did those.

For window door trim this worked well for my restoration project. Its a lot of work, but the result is impressive.

150, 200, 300, dry or wet sand paper
Scotch Bright 7448 ultra find hand pad
600 grit wet sand paper
0000 steel wool
3M Perfect it III rubbing compound: #051131-05933

Sand paper and steel wool can be found many places.
Scotch bright I used was picked up from local car body paint supply place. Same for the 3M product.

The main idea is to take off the oxidized damaged rubber and take it down to the good rubber so it can be fine sanded/steel wooled and buffed.
If your window trim is too far gone you either won't have any good rubber left, or not enough for restoring.

Easiest shortest method is to use trim you have and do on-car restoration. Longer way is to upgrade trim with junkyard finds, restore, remove your trim, then use urethane to mount restored door trim, and/or get identical double sided tape from local body shop supply but that tape isn't cheap. Urethane gets messy fast and easy when mounting so it's good to have a whole roll of thick paper towels and a can of solvent to wipe off excess that may spooge out. Don't get it on your hands. Lots of solvent burning the skin or black hands is the result.
Window trim below rolling windows just pushes on, window trim on wagon cargo windows (above rear wheels) is clipped in. Plastic clips my break but can had at junk yard if there's enough donor cars.
Door trim is one of two types.... thinner tends to be glued/taped on. Thicker is clipped in through holes in the door and taped on with double sided tape. Remove the interior door panel to see if it's clipped or not. If clipped, squeeze clips with needle nose pliers while using a pry tool on the trim to detach it from the door. For installation the clips have small washers around each clip to keep water out. Good luck finding those, and you'll probably do better urethaning around each clip for that water seal. I'd recommend double sided tape on the rest of the door trim for a less messy install.

Back to restoration method:

If doing on-car restoration, cover all car paint at the trim with masking tape or you'll be sanding your paint job.
Depending on how thick the oxidation layer is, use the more abrasive sandpapers first, then go down in grit. The more abrasive, the more work it'll be to get it smooth. You'll get a feel for the fastest sequence/paper type for your job. Sandpaper doesn't clog if wet sanding. Get wet sanding style paper (black paper) if choosing to wet sand. Sand down, then use a finer grit to see if you're down to smooth non-oxidized rubber. If not you'll still see fine cracks and rough surface. If so, then move down in grit to 600, scotchbrite, 0000 steel wool until you have a great smooth finish. Steel wool used with a light touch will give it that finished non-scratchy look.
And FINALLY.......using a rag, apply the 3M rubbing compound and buff away. You'll be blown away at how factory new 20-30 year old trim can look, but you're not done yet. After buffing, let the buff job settle in for a day or two, then apply a rubber vinyl protector to that naked rubber and you're good to go.
Good luck!

No closeups, but there are some photos of the restored look in this overhaulin' album

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