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Cargirl

Cargirl update & question

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The auto transport company called today and my new car will be picked up on Monday and delivered next Thursday. The countdown clock begins!

 

The question. The front bumper molding has a boob boo on it. The old owner bought the new molding and it will arrive with the car. Good deal. I will have the body shop to the repairs. Is it difficult to remove this molding? Then I was thinking, my other'91 vert had color matching moldings, this car is red with black moldings. I am tepidly comtemplating having the body shop remove all the side moldings and paint them red like the rest of the car. How difficult is it to remove the moldings, could I risk the body shop ruining the moldings and/or clips by removing them? Is this too risky? Would this hurt, help or be neutral regarding the value of the car. Like I previously mentioned, it is a 17000 mile car so I am buying it to drive it sparingly, own it with pride and possibly a good investment years from now. I am hoping a less than 20000 mile Reatta in like new condition could be worth some decent money in 10 or 20 years and if painting the moldings would hurt the future value I would pass. Sorry for the long post but this is important to me. One note, the other ;91 vert I almost bought instead of this one has matching moldings and I REALLY like that look. Thanks for your advise.

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I don't really think you should worry about return on investment on this car.  I would rather you drive it and enjoy it.

Ask your body shop person about the trim color change.  It may not be a good idea here in the Arizona sun as it could fade after a few years and look nasty.

I am no expert though!

We need pics after the car is delivered:rolleyes:

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Kevin [kdirk] or Mrack [NCReatta] would be able to give good advice about removing the trim. Painting the trim is something that could be easily reversed if the next owner wanted it that way and remember the Reatta came body color or black so either would be acceptable. 

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Removing the trim from the doors isn't too bad,  there is an acorn nut holding a stud through the door panel at both ends, the rest of the molding is held on with plastic snap clips held to the door by small metal pegs welded to the door skin (the clips have keyhole slots to slide on and off these pegs). Remove the acorn nuts, and remove the molding by gently popping it up on off from the bottom edge. Reinstallaion should place the clips on the door first, making sure that are aligned straight then pressing and snapping the moldings into place over them. Note that this is much easier in warm or hot weather (or in a heated workshop) as the plastic the strips are made of is more flexible and easier to work than when cold.

 

The front fender (short piece) is held on to the fender by two acorn nuts on the inside surface. A bit tricky to get to but can be done with the door open and a socket wrench with an extension of the proper length and maybe a universal joint/swivel. Note all these acorn nuts are some of the few SAE fasteners on the Reatta, they aren't metric, I think they are 3/8".  The rear fender moldings are held with clips like the front door moldings, and have no studs through the body .

 

The bumpers are a bit more complicated. To get the rub strips off (front or rear), you really need to remove the aluminum impact bar from the impact absorbers (4 bolts each)  and set it up on a work bench as the rub strips are retained with molded in studs mounted through the lower facia and impact bar with about 16-20 (by my recollection) 13mm self tapping nuts with captive washers. You'll need an extension to get to these with a socket wrench, and probably need to remove the center reinforcement plate from the inside surface of the impact bar. Also need to pull the front license plate holder if present as it goes on over the rub strips.

 

Be careful on reinstallation of the strip to the bumper as over tightening the self tapping nuts will dimple the outer surface of the strip, especially at the corners. As well, the studs can be ripped off the back of the strip with too much torque. Start each nut gently until it seems to thread on smoothly. Finally, reattach it from the center, working outward both directions and holding it tight against the facia and impact bar while installing one nut at a time to prevent the molding from having gaps and warping where it rests against the impact bar for a clean, tight appearance. 

 

 

Edited by KDirk
spelling/added detail (see edit history)
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Thank you so much Kevin for your very detailed description and warnings. I bet those warnings came from experience ( unfortunate experience) and the dimpling by over tightening makes total sense. As much as we love Reatta's the Reatta owners are really the best people in the car world. This site has always been such a treasure trove of info for Reatta lovers. Guys like you make that happen.

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No trouble. One other tip: if the bumper rub strips are already dimpled - as is frequently the case - use a heat gun very judiciously on the strip (with it removed from the bumper and sitting on a flat surface)  and these distortions will nearly always smooth out to like new. The plastic used for these has a memory and will return to its originally molded shape with just a bit of persuasion from a heat source, unless it has been badly damaged by an impact. 

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Good instructions Kevin. I think they might make a good ROJ tutorial.

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Ronnie, as always, feel free to cop it for inclusion there. If it needs to be edited for clarity (or brevity,  heh) have at it. 

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Thanks Kevin. I have it bookmarked and I hope to get it done soon. Good information that I didn't know.

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I agree, thanks Kevin.  I always wondered why there were dimples in that bumper rub strip.  Another summer project.

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Kevin, I'm almost finished with a tutorial for removing the body trim molding. It can be found here.

 

You may see changes or additions that need to be made to what I have done so far. If so let me know and I will be happy to do it. I think there might be a typo in the sentence below because it isn't really clear to me what needs to be done - although I think I know what you mean.  It would be helpful if you could clarify that for me.

 

On 2/23/2018 at 8:23 PM, KDirk said:

Remove the acorn nuts, and remove the molding by gently popping it up on off from the bottom edge.

 

Thanks for providing the information.

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Ronnie, that was oddly phrased on my part. The moldings snap off (and back onto) the clips, I usually try to pop the top edge loose first then pull it away and clear of the clips. Note the top edge of the clip is less likely to break than the bottom edge, due to the design of the clips.

 

It's better to do this when warm or hot as there is a ridge molded into the back of the molding that snaps over the clip. If done when cold, the flexible plastic is not as flexible and it is possible to break the ridge off the back of the molding

 

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Kevin, I think I've got it right but since I haven't seen the trim off before, it may still need changes. Let  me know if it does. Body Trim Molding - How To Remove

 

I need to get to know Reatta Owners Journal better. There is already a tutorial about removing the moldings that was written a long time ago.  Trim & Bumper Molding Removal   It never hurts to have a backup. :D

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Perhaps you could find a shop that would "wrap" the moldings to the color you want.  If at some point in the future you get tired of it, and want to return it back to original, just peel the wrap.

 

I go back and forth on whether body matched or black is best.  My Reatta is white with white moldings.  I really like it that way.  But with other color schemes I could definitely go either way.  On a 17K mile car, I would keep it as original as possible.

Edited by wws944 (see edit history)

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I am taking the car in later today for the new front molding. Great minds think alike, I decided to keep it all original. And in any case, both ways look GREAT!!  :)

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Posted (edited)

Cargirl,

 

You know I am biased, but when your car was optioned with "pinstripe delete"  the black moldings provide the necessary contrast.  Congratulations again on your purchase, you have one of the nicest and rarest Reatta in all the land!!

Edited by Nittany
Typo (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

Thank you Nittany. Your observation is so true and I had not considered it. I was looking at another 1991 red/tan with color coded molding with pin stripe. Red car, with red moldings and no pin stripe, you are so right!  I feel quite lucky and blessed to have found this car, I am still giddy :)

(saved the buyer $45 not getting the pin stripes}

DSCN1989.JPG

DSCN1988.JPG

Edited by Cargirl (see edit history)
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^Yeah ,  that's why there were 305 of them (for 91).  I'd still rather have the Reatta than the Porsche,  to be honest.

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The guy I bought the car from had this car for 13 years and replaced it with red Porsche. I agree 100 percent KD, I would rather have the Reatta. More interesting, more rare. No one ever comes up to you as a Porsche owner and asks what it is, I have never seen one before. We all get that as Reatta owners, "I didn't know Buick made a two seater.  What is it?  LOL

 

According the the book "The Buick, a Complete History," they state that although 305 '91 verts were manufactured, only 238 we available for sale. Interesting.

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Yes, some of the 91 verts had cowl shake that GM deemed too severe to be saleable. My understanding is they sorted them into three grades: A (normal),  B (minor cowl shake,  suitable for sale to GM employees but not regular retail) and F, or unacceptable cowl shake.  The letter grades are my own device for clarity,  I don't think GM actually  categorized them that way.

 

The "grade F" cars were either destroyed or donated to automotive tech schools as training mules with the stipulation they could never be titled. Hence the disparity between the number produced and those sold. A 91 Reatta roadster is about the rarest production car of the last 30 years I'd figure. You'd probably have to include customs and ultra high end stuff like the F1 McLaren to find something with fewer units built

 

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Attached is a page from a list of 1991 convertibles.   This list was sent to me by a Toledo OH Buick dealer.

Note the 4 column from the left is labeled "STATUS"....  You will see various entries...DEALER in that column would indicate it went to a dealer probably to fill an order.

SCRAP would be one of the cars actually scrapped or sent to tech schools to be used for training.

EMP indicates cars made available to employees.....some of these would be internal use cars (exec cars) and some would be the cars fell in the middle category, not SCRAP and not SELLABLE with full warranty.

On another page there are 4 convertibles with NO REC (no record?) in that column...but in the column labeled "SHIP" it says Cadillac....so 4 went to Cadillac and were probably scrapped when they finished with them.

Stan Leslie did a CarFax on those 4 cars and there is no record.

I can tell you that some of the cars on this listed as SCRAP have made it to the road........again the way we know CarFax shows them in private hands with mileage records.

 

1991 3.jpg

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I notice on my car that the window sticker says it came with California emissions since at one point it was to be shipped to Cali but on this list, the box for Cali emissions is not checked. I wonder which one is right. I do not see any unusual emissions gizmos in my engine comp. I am happy some of the scrap cars found their way to freedom, very interesting.

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Posted (edited)

Only way to tell for sure is to go into PCM data in diagnostics and see what PROM code it shows. One version for federal, a different one for California,  and they have different 4 digit ID numbers. The only other visible difference for the California emissions option would be an RPO code on the SPID label in the spare tire well. I don't know off hand what that code is.

Edited by KDirk (see edit history)

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