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Remove black moulding?


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How do you go about removing the moulding on the doors and fenders and such? I would just like to take them off and disassemble them to repaint them. Does anyone know how to do this? On a side note, What kind of paint (preferably spray paint) should be used? Thanks in advance!

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The pieces on the front doors and rear quarters are held on with snap-clips (the molding snaps over the clips that are held to the panel by means of studs welded onto the panel). these are removed carefully by prying starting at one end (use something to protect the paint under the pry tool) and once it comes free of the first fastener, the rest of the molding can be removed [gently] by hand.

Alternatively, you may be able to slide the molding sideways (towards the front of the car if memory serves) and remove it with the clips still snapped into the back side of the molding. This method lessens the chance of breaking the clips, which are hard plastic and prone to break from age-induced brittleness. The clips are then removed for re-installation on the car, latching over the studs.

The bright work along the top edge is held on by little bend-tabs that go through slots in the molding. These are carefully bent up and then the brightwork can be removed from the molding. The "Reatta" emblems are held on by push on speed nuts, and usually need to be split to remove the emblem. New speed nuts are then used when the emblems are reinstalled. Any good auto parts store should have these in a blister pack.

Note: the short moldings on the front fenders are bolted on with two acorn nuts from the inside of the fender panel. Only way to do these is to remove the front wheels and then the wheel well splash guard panel to access the inner portion of the fender. I don't think they can be accessed from underneath. Brightwork on these two pieces is the same as the rest.

Finally, the front and rear bumper pieces are held on with self-threading nuts over plastic studs molding into the back side of the rub strips. These need to be removed very carefully, as bending or twisting too much will remove the whole stud, leaving a spot on the molding that cannot be fastened. This will leave a gap between the rub strip and bumper on re-installation.

When re-installing the door/rear fender pieces, make sure the plastic clips are slid firmly over the welded-on studs then snap the molding over the clips. Latch the bottom edge of the molding up over the bottom edge of the clips first, then press the top into place until it is flush against the panel. If you have any "waviness" in the molding, it didn't snap on to the clip correctly.

For paint, (if you are staying with black moldings) a good gloss black automotive paint in a spray can will work, but proper prep and technique is important. Also, being summer, do not paint outside in high humidity. It will take much longer to dry, and may not cure correctly causing variations in the sheen. If you are going to do body color moldings, you will need to have paint custom mixed for a proper match. This is much better shot on with an HVLP spray rig if you have one, else a body shop should be employed to do the work.

Hope this makes sense without any illustrations, as I haven't any to post.


Edited by KDirk (see edit history)
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Wow Kevin, that's a perfect explanation. Thanks a ton. :) When I get around to doing the job, I'll take pictures and maybe we can combine the two to put on Ronnie's site.

If I break a clip for the door, do you know where I can buy a new one?

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BTW - always remove and reclip the mouldings from the top (clips are asymmetric, top ledge is shorter) and think the only one that should move sideways is the rear shorties, others have studs so after the nuts are off must come straight off

Edited by padgett
to correct my misteak. (see edit history)
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And my mind is on backwards because I just did them. You are correct, anways pry, push fron the TOP. Hanging on the top and pushing on the bottom is a quick way to dent the door.

Just fixed the other post.

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Guest Mc_Reatta

I pulled a broken clip from an 89 that was missing the short piece of molding from just behind the passenger door.

Part number molded into the plastic (nylon?) is 20689360 AZTEC.

Could not cross it with any GM part place or body shop supply company.

Would like to know if anyone can figure out a replacement clip.

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thanks for all the replies. When I remove the moldings from the door, and take the Reatta emblems off, is there a way to restore the emblems? Like, to re-do the black outlining, yet still keep the letter's chrome?

I thought I had heard something a while back about painting the whole thing black, and then using lacquer thinner and a q-tip to take the paint off of the part you still want to be chrome. is this the way to do it?

Thanks for the help!

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I just did this while my car was getting painted. It was very easy and they turned out great.

1) Remove emblems from trim/car

2) clean completey using Pre (or prepsol) solvent to remove all wax etc..

3) gently remove any loose paint using a brass brush.

4) clean again

5) paint with auto grade trim paint. I have used Eastwood, SEM, or Napa house brand all with the same result.

6) once dry to the touch use a single edge razor blade to remove the paint from the "face" of the emblem. Work slowly and carefully from one end to the other.

7) you will most likely nick a few spots you didn't intend to.

8) assess spots that need touch up. Cover face with masking tape and touch up.

9) allow to cure for a day before putting them back on the car.

10) I'm not sure how well this will hold up over time. They look great now after two washings. your results may vary. ;-)

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I found another way to repaint the drop shadows on the emblems. I used Rustoleum outdoor enamel, comes in pint cans from Home Depot or other hardware stores. I went to a hobby shop and bought a pack of micro brushes. These are plastic handle brushes, with a small "fuzz ball" at the tip, rather than bristles.

Using this type of brush with the Rustoleum paint (it is oil-based, and thus flows nicely, so fills the crevices easily without being sloppy) gave near perfect results without any masking at all. I did use a good razor blade to clean any paint that got onto the chrome face of the lettering. Of course, a steady hand and patience both help when doing the painting.

I redid mine with red outline, since I have a white over red car I thought it would look better than the black outline. I've been very happy with the results. I should add that this was done over 18 months ago, and many washes later they still look great.


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