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Installing Peel-And-Stick Auto Body Side Molding
Materials: Body Side Molding kit, Sharp Cutting tool, Rubbing alcohol, Clean white rag, Masking tape, Grease pencil (whose marks will easily rub off). A warm garage or a sunny day makes the whole job a lot easier.
Moldings with 3M tape are best installed at temperatures warmer than 65 degrees. Plastic moldings are more flexible, easier to manipulate and cut when warmer than 70 degrees. Smaller moldings can be easily cut with heavy sharp kitchen shears or tin snips. For larger moldings, more than 1 inch wide or 3/16 thick, a clean straight cut is somewhat more difficult. A clean sharp anvil pruner will make it easier to get a straight cut on all sizes. A carpenter's utility knife with razor blade inserts also works well, but not one with the break-off blades.
The picture at left shows the professional tool used by our installers to cut molding,
with 3.75 inch long replaceable razor blade. The Center picture shows
Husky Multi-cut tool available in hardware stores for about $20. The picture at right shows an anvil pruner from a local
hardware or garden store, it will do the same job if it is sharp and clean.
Prepare the vehicle bonding surface by cleaning it thoroughly with regular isopropyl rubbing alcohol and a clean lint-free white cotton rag or clean disposable toweling. Do not use shop rags which may have dirt or oily residues. For more professional results, use 3M brand Prep Solvent 70 or similar products available at many auto stores.
THOROUGH CLEANING removes oily or waxy residues so the 3M Peel-and-stick adhesive can bond securely. Avoid using colored cloth rags for this purpose, as dyes in the fabric may leave colored residue behind.
We do not recommend using packaged alcohol towelettes because they may contain antimicrobial agents such as Benzalkonium Chloride, skin lotion, conditioners, or other additives which could leave residues that may prevent proper adhesion of the 3M tape.
If you use packaged towelettes for one cleaning step, you should follow that by another cleaning with clean disposable toweling and alcohol or 3M cleaner. Do not re-use towels from one cleaning step to the next, since they may re-distribute residues you are trying to get rid of.
Some common automotive products, such as silicone-based waxes or surface conditioners such as Armor-All or Tire Shine. may be more difficult to remove completely. If such products have been applied to the surface any time in the past, it may require 4 or more repeats of cleaning with new clean cloth and alcohol or 3M solvent to completely remove. If you have any doubt of cleanliness of the surface, test with a small piece of masking tape to different area’s that have been cleaned. (Use a new piece of masking tape for each area tested.)
If the masking tape peels off without much resistance, repeat cleaning steps until the masking tape sticks aggressively.
We have found that 3M tape adheres better to painted surfaces than plastic ones. This is due to the inherent
smoothness of the paint, where the plastic usually has a fine textured surface
that tends to hold onto wax residues and may need more thorough cleaning.
If you do not have a ridge or line to follow on the car,
Apply a strip of masking tape to be a guide to help position the Body Side Moulding to be perfectly straight. You may want to measure up from the ground at each end to get a parallel line. Stick the masking tape at one end, and hold it a few inches away from the car while pulling tape off the roll to the other end, eyeball your line, then stick it down lightly. Step back and look to see the lines are right, change if necessary. It is easy to change the tape at this point. Once the body molding is installed and the glue sets for a few days, it does not come off!
Once the straight line of masking tape is in place to provide a guide, use pieces of masking tape to temporarily "dry-fit" the entire length of body molding in place on the vehicle.
Determine where you'll need to cut the body molding for the doors and seams for a precise and accurate installation. Use pieces of tape or a grease pencil to mark the exact locations on the molding where you'll need to make the cuts. At the door-openings, and where the molding terminates at the edge of wheel-wells, you may need to cut angles to match the vehicle lines. Allow 1/8" minimum gap for door clearance. At the hinge side of the door you may need to bevel the end of the molding so that there is enough clearance when the door is opened.
Once you've marked all the locations, carefully cut the molding. The molding is made from a relatively soft plastic. Cutting isn't difficult, but it is easier when the molding is warmer than when it is colder. Always cut chrome moldings with the blade entering the chrome side, cutting down through to the tape side.
Work with one section at a time, peel about a foot of the backing from the adhesive strips and press the molding into place. Then pull on the loose end of the backing and move along the molding, pressing it into place. After it is applied to the vehicle surface, rub the section of molding firmly with a soft clean cloth to help ensure that it is seated securely. You may want to come back a few hours later, or the next day, to give it another pressure rub to ensure the best adhesion.
Open and close the doors slowly, watching to ensure that the side molding is not touched or rubbed as the door moves.
Allow the molding adhesive to set up for at least 24 hours before washing your vehicle. Maximum adhesion is reached after 3-5 days in temperatures above 70 degrees, longer if it is cooler.