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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I like many other 2nd Gen Escort Owners, unfortunately I have dried and cracking belt line moldings (The black trim around the windows). Now, I've read that the usual restoration process is to peel off the the plastic and then sand the metal underneath and then spray with something like truck bed liner to re blacken them.

But here's where I thought I could do something different. I recently got some aluminum alloy wheels which really spruce up the look of an other wise dull looking wagon. SO, Ive considered peeling off the plastic, but keeping the strips unpainted, with just the bare metal showing, kind of like the newer cars that have the chrome trim around the windows.

Of course, I'm not even sure what metal is underneath, or if it looks good exposed, and if it'll survive the elements that way. Has anyone tried this, or have any opinions on it?
 

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it's just aluminum under those plastic strips, remove the old cracked plastic and buff the aluminum up! won't rust cuz it's not metal! or spray paint any color you like, neon orange makes for a flashy ride, I know I did it once lol.

do what you like but you can prolly polish those up to shine at least some!
 

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Escort92Man said:
it's just aluminum under those plastic strips, remove the old cracked plastic and buff the aluminum up! won't rust cuz it's not metal!
:stupid:
 
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ok, you call me stupid but I took a wrecked escort GT and fixed the whole car up, I can't be that stupid, sure I stated the obvious but sometimes the obvious need be stated! and he had asked if it was metal that could rust so I said it won't rust.

I must defend my mad scientist rep! lol
 

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Lighten up..

Escort92Man said:
ok, you call me stupid but I took a wrecked escort GT and fixed the whole car up, I can't be that stupid, sure I stated the obvious but sometimes the obvious need be stated!
I could go on for days about that comment right there but I won't and I hate to break it to you but aluminum is a metal which can corrode and break down just like any other metal. If you're going to give advice to someone, make damn sure you know exactly what you're talking about.. Bad enough that the net is already full of idiots going around giving other people poor or misinformed advice.

;)

Back on topic!
 
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If you take care of the aluminum and polish it up every now and then or put the right type clear on it, it works good. i always polish mine up every two weeks to keep up the shine, and protect it with a coat of wax, kinda looks like chrome after your done. You can also go by some trim paint and repaint them but you will need to get a special primer that will stick to aluminum.

matt,
 

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yeah exactly aluminum can corrode just like any other metal but it won't rust on you, you buff it up and keep it polished and it'll be fine and won't corrode all that much on you.

I know the internet is filled with idiots, I guarantee you I am not one of them. I'm not a "certified" mechanic but I know what I'm doing, I took those plastic black strips off on my car and haven't even polished the aluminum yet and it's just fine, on my other escort I painted them to match the car which was a nice touch, either to match or to contrast! ;)

Jinx I was just defending myself there, I know what I'm doing I didn't type out a super long message just a short and to the point that's prolly where it was being mistaken. so I am not a n00b just wanted you to know that man.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok, I went ahead and scraped off a little of the black paint from the trim piece today, just to see how it would look. It appears there is some kind of primer underneath the black paint, and scrapping all of it off will take who knows how long. Additionally, I'm afraid Ill scratch the aluminum underneath. Is there another way to get off the black paint and primer, maybe paint thinner?
 

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oh you are stripping the paint off the door itself not just the plastic stuff that gets sun damaged and just cracks off? are you doing along the bottom of the window or around the whole door? around the whole door is regular metal, the bottom is the aluminum strip, you have a wagon so you obviously don't have a 2 door the 2 door back wing window has a chrome strip under the plastic but you don't have that so don't worry about it ha ha

under the plastic on the bottom of the windows is the aluminum strip, along the doors where you are hitting primer that's metal under that, I'd mask off the window good or whatever you do and respray it with spray paint after wiping the area you are going to paint down with a light paint thinner to clean it up. maybe pictures of what you're doing would help?! if you can.

on a side note I tinted my 2 front windows tonight :D looks awesome no bubbles! if you are at least a decent handyman I recommend picking up a tint kit and window tint. if you want to keep a bit cooler in the summers that is!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
OH, so its just along the bottom that is aluminum, that kind of sucks, wish I had known before I scraped off the paint. Im not sure what to do now...It would look sort of silly to have part aluminum and part black.

And Ive thought about tinting, it looks relatively simple, did you follow any specific set of instructions?
 

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sorry dude. but it's no big deal that you scraped the paint off, just put masking tape around the window seals, put the window down, open the door and hit it with some cheapy spray paint just watch the over spray and don't get it on your car or interior man. yeah that aluminum strip along the bottom of the window can be all polished up and it will shine pretty good if you put enough work into it man. walmart sells black spray paint for 96 cents a can and it works good just do your prep work like wipe the area to be painted down good with either rubbing alcohol or some paint thinner or something to clean it up, nice thin layers of paint and that will look good. I wish that was aluminum under the door frame paint lol.

what color is your wagon? if it's a dark color like black or a darker blue the polished aluminum will look good along the doors there contrasting. or if it's a light color it'll blend in. if you could get pics I could prolly help you out better man. I should get pics of my car that are recent!

window tinting, FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS TOTALLY, and it'll turn out great! buy the black magic window tint kit for like 10 bucks at walmart, and just watch the DVD to do it right man. that's all I did. check out this site before you start though, http://www.tintcenter.com/laws/ lots of useful info and state laws so you aren't illegally tinted! in washington I'm using 35% tint and the back windows are also 35% reflective, I like it I'll get pics when I finish the tint job!

anything else feel free to ask or talk about it! and you can PM me if you want I don't mind.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ok, so today I went ahead and got a can of truck bed liner and repainted along the door trim, except for the piece underneath the windows, which I finished scraping the paint off and started polishing. Ive got to say, I like the end result. Unfortunately, I got lazy and didn't remove the paint off the door trim, I just roughed it up with some sandpaper and sprayed away. Hopefully the stuff will last.

As for the polished aluminum, Ive still got the passengers side to do, but it looks pretty nice, polishing it gave it a little darker tone, sort of like stainless steel. Once I'm satisfied with it will I need to cover it with some clear coat spray on stuff or is it probably fine left exposed to the elements?

Oh, and Ill try to get some pics up tomorrow, wish I had done before and after, ah well.
 

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awesome!

yeah that paint along the door needed to be refreshed anyway right? ha ha. nice job though man, that aluminum polishes up like aluminum, the more work you put into it the shinier it gets! it can look like a mirror if you are crazy insane ha ha.

yeah polish it up, and then just polish it every few months to keep the shine/protective coating on it and you should be fine, I mean if it does totally corrode through you go to the junkyard and those strips do come off. not a huge deal, I took the cracked plastic off of mine and haven't polished them up or clear coated em and they are fine for now, aluminum takes a LONG time to corrode through unless exposed to salt or something. long time.

you got it right though sounds like!!

yeah pics would be cool man.

I wish I did a before and after 0 to 60 with a bent rod and with the good rod I just put in my engine yesterday/today finished but I didn't, oh well the pants dyno won't lie! :D
 

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so i'll give everyone else who is reading a good tip to save some time.

if the upper window trim, not the plastic part on the bottom but the metal part on the sides and top of the door is looking ugly but isnt actually peeled off or rusted you can just use polishing compound to remove the oxidized layer of paint.

makes a big difference going from faded looking black to a nice shiny black color.
 

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Iron Oxide = Rust
Aluminum Oxide = White Rust

Both = BAD






And that website lists the Belt Molding for 20$ roughly. It just isn't spec'ing out the belt molding for under the door windows.....just rear 1/4 windows Only :-(
 
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