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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm guessing that a lot of you are in the same boat I am, in regards to the exterior trim on your Escort.

The beltline mouldings (these are the strips that run directly underneath the windows) often dry, fade, crack, and peel. On my '93 LX Wagon, the beltline moulding on the driver's side was cracked and peeling; on the passenger side it was faded to a medium dark grey and starting to crack. I bit the bullet and ordered replacement beltline mouldings all around. Not cheap, but a good investment for a sharp looking car -- your local Ford parts department can order these for you; I paid $55.00 and change apiece for the front door mouldings and $45.00 and change apiece for the rear door mouldings. Yeah, a couple hundred dollars all the way around, but it looks -really- sharp now! :)

...in fact, so nice that the moulding on the roof of my wagon became all the more obviously faded, and ArmorAll didn't seem to help very much. A friend of mine suggested another product, Mother's Back-To-Black (which, despite its name, works on any color vinyl/rubber parts). I have to say, this stuff is incredible!!! In just one application, the roof moulding went from "obviously 10+ years old and fading" to "Hmm.. did he buy new roof moulding, too???" -- I'm serious, they look brand new. At the local auto parts store, Back-To-Black runs $4.00 and change. If you've got faded bumpers, side mouldings, roof mouldings, pillar mouldings, or beltline mouldings... I'd heartily recommend this stuff. It's just incredible.

...and, yeah, I know I need to (still) update my photo... now, more than ever. ;)
 

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Turbo, great tip!

I've heard of that stuff, but haven't seen that exact product on the shelves. I'll look harder now, because someone (may have been me before I knew better) waxed the roof rails at some point.. and now they're .. very very light gray.

How hard were the beltline mouldings to replace?
 

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What a difference to a car those 'Back-to-Black' type products make. I use Maguiar's products and particularly the 'detailing gel.' It blackens the most faded of trims and most importantly, it LASTS. It's also pretty good for detailing in the engine bay too. They also do a tyre gel which also lasts for ages. All these products are worth the extra they cost, especially when bringing an older car up to a high (looking) standard. Btw, I don't work for Maguiar's. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Beaverboy said:
How hard were the beltline mouldings to replace?
Actually, not that difficult at all, really. They're held in with little plastic clips, and I would venture a guess that they're supposed to be uninstalled by reaching inside with needle-nose pliers to release the clips one at a time. Since I wasn't interested in preserving the original mouldings, I used a screwdriver to pry up the outboard end then just yanked it off. Most of the clips broke during the removal, and those that didn't had to be broken to remove them from the door. The new moulding comes with new clips already installed on the strip, so there was no need to preserve the old ones.

Once the old moulding was off, I did a quick wash/dry of the door where the moulding used to be (there was a bit of road grime, dirt, etc). The new mouldings snapped into place. For the front doors, you need to remove the rear-view mirrors, but that's no big deal. The whole replacement job (all four mouldings), from start to finish, took less than a half hour.

Foxy said:
I use Maguiar's products and particularly the 'detailing gel.' It blackens the most faded of trims and most importantly, it LASTS. It's also pretty good for detailing in the engine bay too.
I've heard of Maguiar's, but have never used them. Mother's products have a pretty good reputation here in the US... Back-To-Black is the first Mother's product I've used, and I have to say I am quite impressed. This stuff lasts quite well, too -- we've had some rain since I applied it to my roof rails, and I see no degradation. I'm going to try it on the side moulding on my wagon, probably this weekend if the weather cooperates. (My body side moulding is colored green to match the car, and this stuff is supposed to work on colored pieces as well as black...)
 

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Turbo, if you ever get the patience and can live without them.. I reccomend removing the side moulding all together. It's just glued on w/ 3M double sided tape and the hard part is getting the last bits of the adhesive off the paint. I've got it off on one side (I got lazy after laboring over the passenger side for an hour with a heat gun) and it looks great. My side mouldings had kinda yellowed from whatever laquer/urethane is on top just weathering and aging. I decided it would be worth it to remove them since my car is lowered and most other vehicles these days are too tall for their carelessly opened doors to even hit the moulding. I'll finish up on the other side one of these days.

Since we're plugging products, I'll mention the new Turtle Wax Tire Gel. I imagine it's much like the back to black stuff, but it doesn't seem to last as long on the trim as the Meguiars and Mother's are made to sound like by you folks. It does do a great job on the sidewalls though, and you can apply it so it's shiny or soft in texture. It's pretty thick stuff and seems to soak into the sidewalls instead of just getting flung off onto the bodywork and tread. I've put it on (careful not to put it on even the lowest edge of the treadblock) the night before autocrosses several times and it's never ended up on the sticky parts of the tire (which is a good thing, cause it's very slick stuff).

You can check out my Car Showcase to see a pic of my car sitting in the paddock at the Bele Chere race this year (sitting next to BMW 320i) after I'd been up half the night detailing her. I got some serious complements on her that day. :D One lady doing tech inspections just ignored several hot cars around and started pacing around my car just talking about how cool it was (she must have owned a scort wagon before) while the guy with her did the actual inspection. My buddy w/ the 320i seemed a little dissapointed that his car barely got a glance. :lol: Sorry to brag.. but dang.. I don't get many opportunities. :p
 

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Ya Turbo, for real...lose the side panels lol. I think I am about the only person in the world that didn't use a heat gun to take them off, but honestly, its not that hard without it!! Ok...well, it does a MAJOR JOB to your thumbs, but seriously, its WAY WORTH it. Just take a flathead screwdriver and wedge it between the panel and the glue. Just pry it enough so that you can get a grip on the panel. Once you can get a grip on the panel, you can just pull it off with your hands. THE ONLY THING is, the adhesive is almost a half inch thick, so you slowly have to roll that off with your fingers, unless you have some like...maybe a putty knife, that won't scratch the paint, and will take the adhesive off. Its not very hard, but well worth it!
 

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Sorry if I seem rather ign'ant, but what side mouldings are you talking about? Could you perhaps find a pic of an escort and circle what you're talking about and post it for us :)
 

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I'm assuming the 'mouldings' in question are the side 'bump strips' along the side as in my enlarged pic below. They vary in size/shape/additional metallic strip, depending on the model. They can be the very devil to remove and are fixed with very strong double-sided tape (at least mine are). A hair-dryer can be useful, followed by a "sticky stuff" type remover or a petrol product (not white spirit of course). The only problem can be if there is a dodgy paint job underneath. Can need re-spraying in the worst case scenario - so take care. :D

http://www.feoa.net/albums/album24/Eric_The_Escort.sized.jpg
 

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Yeah, that's what we're talking about, Foxy... the bumpstrip.
Of course, Turbo was talking about the trim around the windows originally, but we've moved onto the strips down the middle of the doors.

sighcojeff said:
unless you have some like...maybe a putty knife, that won't scratch the paint, and will take the adhesive off.
You can get plastic razor blades at autobody specialty stores, and maybe some home improvement warehouses or even some auto parts chains. They're shaped just like razor blades, but are made out of a firm plastic. I used to detail cars for a Honda dealership, and whenever they'd bring us 'new' used cars the first thing we'd do is break out a plastic razor blade and the heat gun and take off the decal the last dealership placed on the vehicle. Then we'd use a little 'Varsol' on a rag to remove any adhesive left over. If you can find the plastic blades.. you'll save your thumbs.

Edit:

There are several places that come up w/ a Google search that sell a box of 100 for $5.
 

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Just another little tip for your fishermen out there - the UK boys use fishing line to slide under the pre-heated strips.
 

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im glad that there's something out there that will help that from happening. when im at work and go outside to retrieve shopping carts for our store, i see a lot of other escorts. many of which have their moldings either heavily torn, or non-existent. i was thinking that whenever that was going to happen to my car, i was going to just have to paint the exposed metal with some flat-black rustoleum. :lol:
 

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I have used the TURTAL WAX TIRE WAX. If you want a nice shiny dash and trim on the inside use it. I have put it on my dash just one time and 3 months it still shines. It was slippery for about a week. (it even has a UV blocker) To help get the glue off go to a paint ahop and ask for a little MEK. they should know what it is. I have used it. All it takes is a little on a rag and a little eblow grease. I got the glue off the the hole car (emblems and all) in about an hour. Had a good buzz after words too. lol[/b]
 

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i was looking at my runners along the top of my scort awhile ago and NOTHING has really helped.. it seems to all wash off or wear off in a couple days.. so ima go search for this stuff so they can look all pretty again.... my paint job kinda sucks right now.. needa be waxing it more... but time n $$ is VERY low right now.. considering my rent is late today! arg.... not very good for the first month being on my own.. but that damn lease agreement was so confusing!..... ne wayz sorry just had to vent!

Laci
 

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the ford dealership by me told me 20 bucks for each of the side mouldings, and 25 for each roof rail. i think on the gt i am going to shave them! or you can pull the black off, and polish the metal i have seen that done on the roof mouldings and the door mouldings!
 

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turbo said:
I'm going to try it on the side moulding on my wagon, probably this weekend if the weather cooperates. (My body side moulding is colored green to match the car, and this stuff is supposed to work on colored pieces as well as black...)
It's only supposed to be used on vinyl/plastic parts. The side moldings on escorts are painted so you don't want to use it on those. I used the back-to-black on my mirrors, door sill moldings, antenna base, and the red part on the seat belt latches. It works excellent and lasts a lot longer than armor all.

As for glue removers, the best one I have ever used is Motsenbocker's Lift Off. It comes in a blue can with a red cap. The only place I have been able to find it is at Home Depot. It works wonders on anything at all (clothing, carpets, metal, painted sufaces, etc, etc) and it won't harm any paint, fabric, or anything else (except styrene plastics). It's 50x better than goo-gone.
 
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