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Bdad

'63 Riv chrome wheel opening moldings

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My chrome wheel opening moldings are a bit pitted and appear to have road tar and other wear. Anyone with experience either cleaning them (trying) or replacement options?

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  The wheel lip moldings are stainless which will never corrode and can be straightened and polished.

  That is one of the nice features about choosing a Buick for an antique project. There is alot of repairable stainless as standard equipment versus some of the other GM divisions which used cheaper aluminum which cant be restored.

Tom Mooney

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5 minutes ago, 1965rivgs said:

  The wheel lip moldings are stainless which will never corrode and can be straightened and polished.

  That is one of the nice features about choosing a Buick for an antique project. There is alot of repairable stainless as standard equipment versus some of the other GM divisions which used cheaper aluminum which cant be restored.

Tom Mooney

Suggestions on what to use to clean/polish and by hand or power?

 

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My favorite for cleaning road tar of non-painted surfaces if Brake-Kleen.  Spray it on, let it work, scrape it off.  Without actually checking it out, there are probably lots of videos on YouTube that show how to straighten and polish stainless.  I remember getting a vidoe from Eastwood sometime time ago about doing this as well.  Of course Eastwood will want you to buy their products to do this.

 

Ed

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If you joined the Riviera Owners Association, as I'm sure has been recommended, and if not I'll recommend it now, the latest issue of the Riview, Nov/Dec 2018, has a GREAT article about "Stainless Trim Polishing."

 

Another very informative and thorough contribution from the desk of MR JZRIV!

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1 hour ago, Bdad said:

Suggestions on what to use to clean/polish and by hand or power?

 

There are tar cleaners on the market with an added fragrance but turpentine works well.

Tom

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9 minutes ago, Rivman said:

If you joined the Riviera Owners Association, as I'm sure has been recommended, and if not I'll recommend it now, the latest issue of the Riview, Nov/Dec 2018, has a GREAT article about "Stainless Trim Polishing."

 

Another very informative and thorough contribution from the desk of MR JZRIV!

I just pulled out the Nov/Dec mag and read the article. He didn't comment about removing road tar and other build up. I'm hoping there is cleaner to get the tough stop off before I start working on compound use and a buffing wheel. My preference is to keep the SS on the car to clean it so I don't damage the wheel opening moldings.

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42 minutes ago, Bdad said:

I just pulled out the Nov/Dec mag and read the article. He didn't comment about removing road tar and other build up. I'm hoping there is cleaner to get the tough stop off before I start working on compound use and a buffing wheel. My preference is to keep the SS on the car to clean it so I don't damage the wheel opening moldings.

See post #6...use the turpentine with #0000 steel wool

Tom

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1. You sure don't want to put the wheel to the molding if it still has tar on it.  That's a good way to fill your buffer with grit.

2. It may not be advisable to put the wheel to the molding while it's on the car, either.  One slip of the buffer and you're either going to have a nice skid mark across your paint or all the dirt from the wheel well imbedded in your buffer.

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In your original post, you stated that the moldings were pitted.  Usually pits only appear in pot metal, not stainless.  Do mean that they have dents in them?  If so, you'll have to remove the moldings to fix them.  

 

If you're just worried about the tar for now, not the dents, I'd recommend 3M Generl Adhesive remover. Get the quart can, not the aerosol.  And a bunch of old white towels.* I used it to remove tree sap off a car and it did nothing to harm the paint. Take your time, let the product work, and make sure your elbows are well greased.

 

* I went by a  local 'cut rate' motel and ask the housekeeper for old towels and she gave me a big batch of them. With tar in them, you're not going to wash them or reuse them so don't use anything good.

Edited by RivNut (see edit history)

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For cleaning, Tom's suggestion above is probably the best way to go, turpentine and very fine steel wool.

 

If you want to either clean or polish them on the car you can protect the paint around them with masking or painters tape. If I'm doing any of that near a painted surface I use 2" tape, at least two layers, and tape around whatever I'm working on with that to protect it. If 2" isn't enough, or you want more protection, go out further with the tape. You will still need to be careful doing them on the car, but that would be one way to do it. 

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In `96 we bought a new, two tone Suburban which was black on top and gold lower. When the truck was about a month old I came home from work and there was an all black suburban in the driveway. I asked the wife why she was driving a loaner..."was there a problem with the truck?" Turned out she ran thru FRESH road tar at what must have been 40 or 50 mph ! It was sooo bad the tar was thrown up to the top of the side windows! A full weekend and 2 gallons of turpentine later I had the exterior just about finished. Her and the kids had it all over the light tan carpeting in the interior. Dont ask me how `cause I couldnt tell you...and neither could my better half. And I hate cleaning cars! Believe me...it works!! Probably the most inexpensive way to go too...have fun,

Tom

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Turpentine + OOOO steel wool = removal of tar and other junk from the wheel moldings

 

Then a bit of Mothers paste hand rubbed in to get the surface cleaned up and = much better

 

Rear mouldings were much worse than the front. Need more work but looking much better.

 

Thanks for the guidance. And, what I thought was pitting works out to be more little tiny dings and some light scratching which I hope will improve as I work on them some more.

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GM and i think Ford coated the SS on some of the high traffic areas (wheel well moldings) with a hard like anodizing coating (not sure what it is).  This clear coating, in the past, i removed by sanding until this coating was removed (not easy but necessary prior to polishing).  I've read recently that oven cleaner will melt this coating right off!  This could have saved me hours.  Anyhow, there are some pretty good videos online of people removing dents, sanding (100-600 grit) and polishing SS.  There are companies you can send your stainless to and they will handling all the details work etc. for $$$.  I 'm a little cheap so i figure hey labor is like free on my own stuff.  Either way you get them polished this details work really pays off on the look.

 

Post pictures when finished!

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That anodizing your talking about is USUALLY applied to the lessor costly aluminum trim like Chev's & Pontiac's.  Buick "Flash" chromed some wheel opening moldings on some cars, which is a costly proposition.

 

Tom T.

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Tom,   I'm not talking about a color its the stainless trim with a clear coating on it to help protect it.  I have run into on both a 67 GS 400 and my 63 wheel well moldings. I'l try to find the article i read about the oven cleaner to strip it from the stainless.

 

Gary L.

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Tom,

 

As usual your RIGHT "Flash Chrome" not anodize.  Anyhow it comes off (i've only sanded it off) and allows the stainless to be polished.   Mind you my trim had to be worked to smooth out, fix dents etc.  I then sanded smooth and yes removed this coating and polished.  

 

From Hot Rod:

 

"Actually, there are corrosion issues with some kinds of stainless parts, and there are some that don’t respond well to polishing. Early automotive stainless was of very high quality, and it restores well, but as a result of the Korean conflict in the early ’50s, quality stainless became in short supply. So the car makers were forced to make due with stainless that contained a high amount of iron. This inferior stainless can have rust on either side, and a magnet will have a mild attraction to it. Making restoration of these parts even harder, they were flash-chromed to prevent rust. this causes a problem similar to what we have with anodized aluminum. Anything that compromises the thin chrome veneer-a stone ding, a slight scratch, and so on-allows water, salt, or whatever to get at the stainless and cause rust and pits that can create a hole right through the piece. With some flash-chromed trim, the more you try to polish it the worse it looks. If you over-polish it, it can take on an orange-peel-like appearance because of the iron content. I’m sorry to have to say this, but not all stainless can be restored to like-new appearance, even if it is straight and has no dents"

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I`ll further muddy the waters,Remove your moldings, get a heat gun , Set it on low, soften the tar and scrape off tar.Any residue left can be removed with lacquer thinner or acetone I use a green 3m scrubbie and lots of paper towels. I used an old 1/4 hp motor and attached a mandrel on it so I could run a buffing wheel. Get a bar of stainless compound and buff til your happy. 

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The thin lower body panel trim from rear qtr to front wheelwell. was flash chromed. never saw wheelwell mouldings in themselves flash chromed. But who knows

A pro polisher would send out those strips to chemically remove the chrome and get the stainless polished like a mirror and leave it like that.

Steve

 

 

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3 minutes ago, gungeey said:

The thin lower body panel trim from rear qtr to front wheelwell. was flash chromed. never saw wheelwell mouldings in themselves flash chromed. But who knows

A pro polisher would send out those strips to chemically remove the chrome and get the stainless polished like a mirror and leave it like that.

Steve

 

 

I was thinking more a DIY solution (Deep pockets, short arms)

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2 hours ago, Scott Mckenzie said:

I`ll further muddy the waters,Remove your moldings, get a heat gun , Set it on low, soften the tar and scrape off tar.Any residue left can be removed with lacquer thinner or acetone I use a green 3m scrubbie and lots of paper towels. I used an old 1/4 hp motor and attached a mandrel on it so I could run a buffing wheel. Get a bar of stainless compound and buff til your happy. 

From some of the things I've read, you don't want a buffer running at the fast rpm's that a grinder runs at.

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3 hours ago, Scott Mckenzie said:

I was thinking more a DIY solution (Deep pockets, short arms)

 

Hey I get it, me too!!

I also think it takes more than a buffing pad and some compound to get tinks and dents out of these pieces

I know I've tried it MANY times and  times nevr been happy with the results. 

The cheapest way is to buy used that matches the "patina" of the rest of the car..

 

 

 

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It's actually fairly easy to hammer, dolly, file, sand, and buff dents out of stainless.  Of course it takes some specialized (yet inexpensive) tools, but you get a real sense of accomplishment when you're finished.

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You can't buff out a dent.  Can't often sand one out either.  By the time you bring the surface down to the level of the dent, your dent has become a hole.  You need raise the dent.

 

For small pieces like the wheel well moldings, clamp a tack hammer or ball pien hammer in a vice.  Use that hammer as an anvil.  Position the dent on top of it (back side up), and use another small hammer to flatten it out.

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I just spent 800 on a complete set of stainless that came off an already nice car front/rear windshield, belt line mouldings upper and lower, wheelwells and vinyl top trim.

I thought it was a bargain. I know I cant get those little dents out of those tiny little corners lol

 

Original poster wanted to know how to get rid of road tar lol

Edited by gungeey (see edit history)

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