How to restore/refurbish the side molding on your 79-84 Mustang or Capri
*Note: Although the car used in this tech article is a Mustang, Mustangs and Capris shared the same 'soft' moldings from 1979-1984. Because of these shared parts, this article does apply to 1979-1984 Mercury Capris. Also note that 1984 Mustang GT350s and Mustang SVOs did not have this type of side molding, therefore, this article does not apply to those vehicles.
Restoration performed and documented by Peter "Hissing Cobra" Slaney.
This article was put together after numerous requests. I hope it helps everyone here in regards to restoring their bodyside molding (which we know is not reproduced for the '79-'84 Mustangs & Capris.) This is meant for the rubber molding only and will not work on the plastic corner pieces of the '85-'93 models (though it may work on their rubber moldings.) NOTE: I have received a few responses from owners of the '85-up cars, stating that their moldings have shrunk from this method. I have not received any responses from the '79-'84 crowd reiterating this. For you '85-up owners, proceed with caution!
This article is meant to be used as a guide to help you through the restoration process and is by no means the "be all" and "end all" of rubber molding restoration techniques. This method worked for my molding and produced factory fresh results.
This article can be copied for personal use only and cannot be sold, nor published without first contacting myself (Peter J. Slaney) or Skye (owner of www.foureyedpride.com) and getting written consent. I am not (nor is www.foureyedpride.com) responsible and hold no liability if your molding is damaged during your restoration. Remember, careful execution and perseverence is the key to a good job. Good luck!
Assemble all of the tools that you will need to remove the molding and its metal backed adhesive strips. These will include the following:
1 Pair of Vise Grips (or Pliars)
1 small chisel bladed putty knife (1" wide)
1 small flathead screwdriver
1 can of lacquer thinner
1 torch (with can of Mapp Gas)
4 cotton cloths
Take the 1" chisel bladed putty knife and begin to pry the molding away from the body of the car. When enough has been pried away, gently pull the molding away from the car until it's no longer attached. HINT: A little heat from the torch (using Mapp gas) will aid the removal by softening the glue. Be very careful!
Once the molding is removed, it will be bent and twisted. This is normal and is the direct result of the metal backed adhesive strips that are on the back. Once they bend, they will not be able to be straightened and must be removed. Once removed, the rubber will go back to it's natural state of flatness. Here's a couple of pic's of the bent rubber molding.
Place two of the cotton cloths on the vise (one on each side, effectively covering the teeth) and insert the molding into the vise, tightening it enough to hold the molding without moving. The cloths will prevent the vise from damaging the molding.
Take the Torch (equipped with MAPP Gas) and gently wave it over the edge of the molding to soften the glue. Care must be taken so that the rubber does not melt or catch on fire. After a moment of heat, insert the chisel bladed putty knife or the small flathead screwdriver behind the metal backed adhesive and pry up enough so that you can grab it with the Vise Grips or pliars. Attach either and begin to pull (applying heat with the torch as you go.) If you're good and the molding adhesive is not brittle, you'll be able to pull each strip in one shot.