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Body trim molding 1930 Chrysler : How to reattach


914bren

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My metal body trim molding is loose but, I'm not sure how to re attach. It runs around the middle of the car. 

Seems there are nails on the inside that attached to the wood internal frame.  I can not see the wood as the inside fabric hides it.  Perhaps,  I could glue it on or drill small holes in it and re nail or use small screws and cover them up and re paint.  Any ideas?

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A photo might help, but lacking one, I would say you are on the right track thinking about nailing and gluing.  In restoring these wonderful old relics, we often have to just scratch our heads, and ask: How can I do this and have it be functionally and cosmetically equivalent to the original?  

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If it's a solid cast aluminum type body molding, it was a common practice among body builders to use cast moldings that had the nail holes already cast in them and a raised edge around each hole. The holes looked like little volcanoes.

 

Brad headed nails were driven in, set about 1/8 inch below surface level with a punch, then the soft aluminum edge was hammered over to fill in the hole. Then filed/sanded smooth before painting. If you try to hammer the nails back in you'll likely make a mess of the soft aluminum. 

 

If you can push the molding flat against the body, ignore the nails. Drill in between nails and counter bore for #4 flat head wood screws. Get some chain link fence aluminum tie wire. It's a soft type of aluminum very much like the moldings and it's close to the diameter of a #4 screw head. Cut plugs of it slightly longer than the hole is deep to the screw head.  Hammer the plugs into the hole. As you hammer them in they will spread out, fill and jam into the hole so they don't ever come loose. Then just carefully file and sand the hammered plugs smooth with the molding's surface. 

 

Using anything else to fill the hole, such as epoxy or plastic body filler will eventually show through the paint because it has a different expansion/contraction rate than the aluminum. Been there and tried it. Using soft aluminum to fill the holes in the aluminum molding, will never show after sanding and paint.

 

Paul  

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)
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