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Source for rubber trim on '96 Roadmaster wagon?


adoldfield
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I recently picked up a nice 96 Roadmaster Estate Wagon. Does anyone know of a source for the rubber trim molding pieces that go around the beltline? These are notorious for becoming loose and falling off, so the previous owner used machine screws on a couple of pieces to hold them. So, he kept the pieces from falling off, but yikes! sheet metal screws?? I would like to replace the pieces that were screwed on. Thanks for any help in tracking these down. Already looked on ebay.

Alan Oldfield

BCA #15140

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The wagons use black rub strips. Sedans use gray but they can be painted. They are hard to find. I remember getting around $300 on Ebay for the last full set I had. So consider repairing your drilled ones with Duraglass and painting them.

 

Many fell off the cars before they were loaded for shipping. Buick recommended screwing them on with short screws from the back side. The stainless is a little tricky to drill but easy to get the hang of when you drill 50 holes. When the cars were common I would see some with a row of dimples from the screws being too long from the inside.

 

I have four pieces left, the two front fenders, a door, and a quarter panel but I would need measurements to verify. $20 each for the fender ones and $60 each for the longer ones plus whatever the shipping comes out.

 

I am the '91-'96 Roadmaster tech guy in the front of the BCA Bugle.

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Those rubber strips were a mistake from day one. The rubber contracts and shrinks due to temperature changes (and eventually shrinks permanently), while the metal it is glued to does not.  When I bought my 1991 Roadmaster wagon, several attempts were made to glue it back on, but they were all unsuccessful over time. When I gave up, one of the rubber strips was more than an inch shorter than the metal it was supposed to be glued to.  I did what a lot of Roadmaster owners do, just remove the rubber strips and remove the glue residue from the metal strips and polish them. They look real nice without the black rubber strips. You will be fighting this battle as long as you own it.

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I had two 1994 sedans that were firmly adhered when they were retired due to New York State rust. The cars were 6 to 8 years old when I bought them and each had loose strips upon purchase.

 

I never took either car through a car wash after reinstalling them, that's number one.

 

Mine did not need to be drilled from behind and screwed since I kept a close eye on them. I have a large roll of 3/4" 3M double sided rubber tape that I use as adhesive. They must be completely removed to service. I used lacquer thinner to thoroughly clean the stainless trim and the back side of the strips. Thoroughly has a wide range of definitions. My definition is most stringent. Usually the strips will come loose at the leading edge so road dirt will pack deeply into the material. All previous adhesive and dirt need to be cleaned out. Most "mechanics" tend to be in the that's good enough league, it ain't. Be aggressive. Always watch for loose ends. Should they begin to peel back remove them completely and do the full job over. Just cleaning the loose end and sticking it back down won't cut it.

I did not drill the trim and use screws. Should you decide to use quick on and off trigger pulls on your drill motor for stainless. That is the best technique.

 

The maroon car was my daily driver for a few years, then when up to the North Country with my daughter in college. It ended up in Boston where she donated it to a charity. I was visiting and pulled the strips off before it was picked up. They were still tight.

The black car got too rusty and I gave it to a needy friend. He passed away after driving it for about 3 years, strips went with the car when it was scrapped. Notice the black car had strips painted black like a wagon. I liked the look.

 

They are a constant inspection item and a poor design, certainly not to be casually stuck on and taken for granted. I would say I had a combined 12 or 14 years between the cars and it was worth the effort to keep them secured.

 

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Well, when those cars were old enough to be "used cars", the earlier models' black vinyl trim started to de-laminate from the stainless steel mouldings they were bonded to.  Key word, "bonded".  There was no glue under them OEM, nor any molding tape, either.  Just a dull, unpolished area and nothing more.  

 

When an older male customer would come into inquire about a new molding piece, most of the doors were in the $150.00+ range, each.  Much more than they expected or desired to pay (most of the customers were on a "fixed income", I suspect).  They usually had the piece of vinyl which had fallen off, so I would advise them to clean both surfaces well (usually with Windex or similar), then GIVE them enough molding tape to make a few lines to stick it back on.  They thanked me and left with the small roll of molding tape in hand.  That would usually last a few years.

 

When the black vinyl moldings started to de-laminate, that's when I saw the unpolished cross-hatch where the molding was bonded to the stainless steel.  At the time, it was a very high-end way of doing things at the OEM level (just as polished stainless steel was "high-end" when compared to clear-anodized aluminum).  BUT also one that was bound to fail with time/age/heat.

 

The first few model years of those Roadmasters had black moldings, whereas the last few model years had the light gray moldings.  Didn't see that many gray moldings that de-laminated.  Either they held up past the time the black ones did or the owners did not desire to spend almost $1k for side moldings and didn't come looking for them.  Or it might have been that the temperature variatioins of the gray molding were less than for the black ones (and all that that meant)?

 

Why did the vinyl molding sections shrink or come loose?  With time/age/heat cycles, the oils in the vinyl will evaporate and the vinyl will shrink as a result.  No matter how well bonded the vinyl was to the stainless, it WILL come loose eventually.  I also suspect that even if the screw holes were drilled, they'd also need to be horizontally-slotted to accomodate such shrinkage over time.  Which is why the 3M Molding Tape makes more sense to me, as it can allow for some movement with time and can be easily replaced.

 

To me, the best long term fix would be to remove the vinyl moldings and put some wide automotive tape (black or gray) where the vinyl moldings used to be.  Still maintaining "the look", but in tape rather than vinyl molding inserts.  Very similar to what TxBuicks mentioned above.

 

Just recollections of what I remember at the dealership parts level of things, back then.

 

NTX5467

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Thanks again to everyone for their counsel and insight...my dad had 3 or 4 Roadmaster sedans back in the day, and fought the same problem, so it's new to me. But this car is nice enough to warrant keeping up the fight to keep them on.

I appreciate everyone's feedback!

Alan

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  • 1 year later...

I don't have a Roadmaster so I have not addressed the problem directly.    I had a similar problem on my 2011 GMC Sierra,  the side molding was coming loose at the top center.   

That created an opening for water to collect and cause other damage.      In the past I have had good luck with silicone sealant.    In my Corvair days,  I glued the radio speaker to the underside of the dash 

with silicone and it always worked.        On the GMC  I cleaned behind the still attached molding.   Ran a strip of painters tape on the paint in the event I got sloppy.    Used the clear silicone, spread it the best I could

with the molding still attached..   To allow it to dry,  I placed a 1x4 over the molding and with another board and a concrete block wedged the 1x4 tightly against the molding until it dried.   That has been almost a year

and it is holding great.

 

As a side note,  some cars have a problem with the emblem/logo falling off the wheel covers.   Again I use silicone sealant,  it works well because there is a lot of shock and vibration at the wheels and the silicone has

some give or flexibility.... unlike epoxy which gets hard and brittle. 

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13 hours ago, Jw22 said:

I’m looking for right side quarter panel rubber molding for my 1996 Buick roadmaster estate wagon. 

The vinyl inserts were never available separately, ONLY attached the the stainless steel they were mounted on, as an assembly.  So you will need the entire quarter panel molding itself.  And THEN hope that the "new ones" stay together for a while.

 

Regards,

NTX5467

Edited by NTX5467 (see edit history)
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Here is a link to the Impalass Forum wagon section: https://www.impalassforum.com/forums/wagons.21/

 

All GM B-body cars are basically the same. There is a buy/sell section where you might find your part.

 

I have owned two Roadmaster sedans and an Impala SS. As mentioned I am the BCA  1990's Roadmaster tech guy. I have been very deep into the workings of these cars and maintained high reliability after repairs without resorting to any modifications other than one, the attachment of the rub strips.

 

My daughter took one with her to Boston and donated it to charity when she bought a new car. I removed the strips and sold them on Ebay. I got about $250 for all from a sedan, wagons could cost more now, 10 years later. I have 4 or 5 pieces left but not your item.

 

In most instances the leading edge will come loose usually from weather or car washes. The wind from driving will keep blowing it rearward and the strip will get embedded with road grime. "People" do an awful job of reattaching the dirty strip. After a awhile it comes off.

 

I owned the Roadmasters for about 6 or 8 years each. I only reattached them once on one car, twice on the first car prior to leaning how to do it right. You have to do a full fast job. Half fast won't work. Remove the whole strip. Thoroughly clean the back of the strip with lacquer thinner as well as the stainless. I use 3/4" 3M black double side adhesive tape applied to the stainless, trimmed to fit, and press the strip up to it. All you have to do after that is stay away from cars washes.

I never found it necessary to use the small screws from the back side. If I did I would do the leading edge and maybe put three more in toward the rear.

 

I did it, it worked, and I am very critical of even my own work. It is the straight scoop.

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Ok. Thanks for your help everyone. I’ve found the two other pieces I needed. This is the last piece of the puzzle. This is a 35,000 mile car that is all original with original paint and in excellent condition. Thanks again. 

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In my opinion the rubber strips is a bad design.  The rubber expands and contracts with heat at a different rate than the metal it is attached to.  Eventually, the rubber will shrink permanently.  You will notice a lot of the rubber strips still attached are shorter than the metal strip they are attached to.

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