by Dan Cameron
Originally printed 3/88

Many paint shops would rather use masking tape than take the extra time to remove the chrome trim. But in doing so a lot is sacrificed in the quality of the job. Why not take it off yourself; it is easy and it will not be all buggered up when you get it off.

Here is the procedure for removal

It is important to note that the chrome molding snaps over the heads of special pop rivets at approximately one-foot intervals with the following exception. The fastener on the furthest point forward on the front fender and the furthest point rearward on the rear quarter panel (fender) is a small special bolt with a nut holding it in place. To access these, you must remove the front wheel and reach up into the wheel well and remove the trunk side panel and reach up by the tail light assembly respectively.

As luck would have it, three out of the four will break right off. But that is okay, we have got a fix. Lift the remainder of the molding off with a putty knife. While the car is being painted, go to your local bolt shop and purchase four small 1/8″ or 3mm bolts approximately 3/8″ long. Purchase eight flat washers and four lock washers as well. I went to an industrial fastener supply house and obtained stainless steel bolts for that added protection from rust.

I took the chance and did not remove all the special pop rivets when I sent the car to the paint shop. My painter said he could work around them and did very well. However, there is some risk in doing this, so weigh your decision carefully.

With the car back from the shop, I let the paint (lacquer) cure approximately 30 days, rubbed it out, and put a good coat of wax on it prior to reinstalling the side moldings. As a result of not removing the special pop rivets, I had to carefully scrape the paint residue from them in order to pop the molding back on. On the two pieces with the bolt on the ends, place a flat washer on the bolt and slide the bolt into the channel of the molding. Place the molding on the side (fender-front or rear) of the car, position and pop on the special pop rivets in a couple of positions. From the trunk or front fender well access, place the second flat washer, a lock washer and a nut. Even though I tightened the nut rather well, the bolt itself did not turn.

Final comment on the orientation of the door side moldings

Even though I carefully identified each end front and rear when it was removed, upon reinstallation something was not right. One end of the door molding is rounded while the opposite end is wedged down. I knew the molding had never been off the car, but it did not make sense that the wedge end would be marked “rear”. A few phone calls confirmed my suspicions. The good old boys in England had it in reverse–too much fog! The wedge end does go toward the front and is essential for door swing clearance.

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