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Beltline Trim Restoration

Mark92131

1,439 views

So, in order to get my car finished, I needed to address the beltline trim issue... buy new or restore the original pieces.  I had the original set from the car and a spare set that I purchased earlier.  Between the two sets, I had enough pieces for a relatively ding-free complete set, but far from something that was shiny and new.  I looked into having King of Trim restoring these pieces, but at $60 per piece, $600 seemed pretty steep for used trim.  I looked into buying new and the best deal I could find was around $900 from Wallothnesch after shipping.  There was also the issue with the new trim curved pieces not fitting properly for the hood and trunk.  So here's what I did.

 

I ordered new trim from Wallothnesch for all the straight pieces for about $315 shipped DHL, (the 2 curves pieces for the hood are about $200 each) and decided to restore the curved pieces for the trunk and hood myself.  So I did a lot of research on stripping the anodized coating off of aluminum and came up with a plan.  First off, I needed something to immerse the long trim pieces in a bath of Caustic Soda (Drain Cleaner)... my solution, a $9.00 inflatable kiddie pool.  I positioned the pool outside my house, half on the curb and half on the street to create a pocket for maximizing the depth of the water,  Fortunately, I have a storm drain right in front of the house to support emptying the pool after I was done.  I filled the pool with 8 Gallons of hot water and 2 cups of Drain Cleaner from Lowes to achieve an approximately 2.5% solution.  Even at 2.5%, this stuff will dissolve the skin off your bones in short order so be careful, rubber gloves, eye protection, etc.

 

I popped in all my trim and watched it bubble for 30 minutes.  After the 30 minutes were up, I dumped the water down the storm drain, rinsed the pieces with water, refilled the pool with clean water and poured in 8OZ of white vinegar to neutralize the Caustic Soda.  This was probably overkill, but I didn't want the Caustic Soda to continue to react with the now bare aluminum.  The trim was re-rinsed with water and left to dry in the sun.  The dry trim had a smooth dull white finish.  Now comes the fun part...

 

I took each piece inside and polished them with Mothers  Mag and Aluminum Polish.  The trim will turn black as the polish does its job and then can be buffed to a shiny mirror finish, just like new.  I thought about spray painting the finished trim with Clear, but decided to just wax them to keep the aluminum from oxidizing over time.  That way, I can polish and re-wax as needed, without worrying about the clear coat going dull over time.

 

I hope this helps someone else facing the same issues.

 

Mark92131

 

 

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Flushed it with Vinegar and plenty of water to neutralize the Caustic Soda, no worse than using in the house to clean the drains.

 

M.

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