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View Full Version : How To: Permanently repair warped a-pillar trims



TTait
08-11-2011, 01:44 AM
The A pillar trims in my car were replaced years ago when I put in a new windshield and have the vinyl captured by the glass, but on my wife's car, they were just wrapped around the trim and free to warp and separate from the A pillar. One was badly warped and pulled away from the fiberglass by several inches at the middle.

Last week I pulled it out and tried to repair it with a heat gun, but the fix was rough and the trim just pulled back to its warped shape pretty quickly. That didn't work well.

Yesterday I picked up a sheet of 22 gauge steel from Home depot (I got 6" X 18" for about $5 - yours might be longer depending on the repair needed.)

I pulled out the trim, peeled back the vinyl, and cut away the warped plastic section with my dremel. I then cut a larger piece of the steel that more than covered the removed section, and glued it to the plastic trim , on the outside surface of the plastic, between the plastic and the vinyl. I used a gorilla type glue and let it sit overnibht with clamps.

I then took a cue from Chris in Fresno and used some of my new magnets that I got for my door trims (see this thread http://dmctalk.org/showthread.php?762-A-new-Idea-for-Attaching-Upper-Door-Panels ) and glued them to the A pillar in the car where the steel would mate up. I let everything dry overnight and installed the trim this morning.

I installed it and it looks great. because the steel is between the remaining portion of the plastic form and the vinyl, the seam is very minimal where the sheet metal ends. I considered putting in a thin sheet of foam to cover that, but its nearly impossible to see.

Its held tightly in the car, is still removable, and should never warp again.

Thanks to Chris for the inspiration on this one.

Tom

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Ryan King
08-11-2011, 03:17 AM
Hey Tom,

So did you have any trouble getting the A-Pillars out of the car? My driver's side pillar is quite torn from the heat...

TTait
08-11-2011, 03:27 AM
Hey Tom,

So did you have any trouble getting the A-Pillars out of the car? My driver's side pillar is quite torn from the heat...

It barely came out without having to remove the front headliner, but it did... Turned out the trim was inserted under (above) the headliner. I think the PO did that to help hold the warped and sagging trim in place. It may have only come out because it was so warped and compromised.

The entire project (1 trim) took about an hour of work split between evening and the next morning (letting the glue dry). Most of that time was cutting the steel with cheap cut off wheels (I went through about 10), and letting the rust-oleum on the steel dry enough to glue it in place.

Ryan King
08-11-2011, 06:46 AM
It barely came out without having to remove the front headliner, but it did... Turned out the trim was inserted under (above) the headliner. I think the PO did that to help hold the warped and sagging trim in place. It may have only come out because it was so warped and compromised.

The entire project (1 trim) took about an hour of work split between evening and the next morning (letting the glue dry). Most of that time was cutting the steel with cheap cut off wheels (I went through about 10), and letting the rust-oleum on the steel dry enough to glue it in place.

Were you able to just pry it off? Or did you need to use a heat gun?

DMCMW Dave
08-11-2011, 10:54 AM
[QUOTE=TTait;12831]. because the steel is between the remaining portion of the plastic form and the vinyl, the seam is very minimal where the sheet metal ends. I considered putting in a thin sheet of foam to cover that, but its nearly impossible to see.
Tom


Before installing the trims, if you de-glue and (carefully) paint the fiberglass post black up to the glass, you'll never notice the gap.

The "wrapped edge" technique is actually how the factory did this on early cars. Gluing the edging under the glass was the later fix since that crappy plastic warps. That's probably why yours were different - is one a very low VIN?

If your plastic pillar trims are beyond repair, DMC California sells them in fiberglass (already trimmed in black or grey). They will never warp either.

TTait
08-11-2011, 11:35 AM
Good to know there is an upgraded part available.

When I was writing about the seam where the sheet metal ends, I was actually referring to the ridge in the vinyl where it is laying over the steel sheet, and then the sheet ends and there is a 0.03" ridge where the vinyl is now laying against the plastic rather than steel. You can feel it as you run your finger back and forth, but its not easily seen.

I considered painting the edge of the fiberglass a pillar as you suggested, but I didn't have the proper materials to do it. Yes there is still a visible problem there, but the good new is that once I pull back the weatherstripping the trim piece just pulls away easily now.



Ryan, as far as removing the trim - two things could be going on there. First off, I'm sure the PO reskinned this piece with vinyl at some point. It may have originally been held in place with some adhesive that still has a grip on yours. Similarly a PO may have glued yours in place at some point even if the factory didn't.

The only thing holding mine in place was the mechanical capture of the top being inserted above the front headliner, and the bottom being jammed into the corner at the bottom. Mine already had some flex and bow in it as it was pretty warped. Without that I would have probably had to either bend it myself, or take down the headliner, which is a bit of a pain. The sun visor mounting screws (x4) are very awkward to get at. I did not need a heat gun in my case.

On my other car the trim sits outside of the headliner, and the indentations in the headline in this corner suggest to me that that is the intended way to have things sitting, but I can't say with certainty. It looks good with the trim laying against the headliner rather than jammed above it.

bluscreen
03-26-2012, 06:40 PM
Are DMC Cali's different than DMC houston's? I didn't see fiberglass a-pillar coverings on their site. =(

TTait
04-08-2012, 04:13 AM
Nobody is going to process your order on Easter Sunday either way, give CA and or Houston a call Monday AM if nobody here knows.

DMCMW Dave
04-08-2012, 11:24 AM
Are DMC Cali's different than DMC houston's? I didn't see fiberglass a-pillar coverings on their site. =(

Houston's are NOS plastic which are fine if you are replacing the windshield. California has them in Fiberglass. I get them from there when I need them for a car in the shop but I don't normally stock them. The fit is not quite as perfect as the NOS version but they do hold their shape a lot better in a non-glued installation.

FYI - the factory did that rolled-edge install on the early cars, but switched to glueing them under the glass somewhere in the 1000s. Due to the warping issue I'm sure.

bluscreen
04-17-2012, 04:09 PM
Nobody is going to process your order on Easter Sunday either way, give CA and or Houston a call Monday AM if nobody here knows.

I posted way before then =P I did email CA though, but no response.



Houston's are NOS plastic which are fine if you are replacing the windshield. California has them in Fiberglass. I get them from there when I need them for a car in the shop but I don't normally stock them. The fit is not quite as perfect as the NOS version but they do hold their shape a lot better in a non-glued installation.

FYI - the factory did that rolled-edge install on the early cars, but switched to glueing them under the glass somewhere in the 1000s. Due to the warping issue I'm sure.

Thanks for letting me know the differences Dave, I appreciate it! Mine were so incredibly warped and stained they were beyond help-- and they had been glued under the glass (so I guess that didn't help much). Is the fit of the fiberglass ones really that bad? Would you ever recommend them and/or use them yourself? Like I said, I couldn't get ahold of DMC CA by email and they don't have that part listed. I guess I'll give them a call depending on the consensus of the part. Thanks again.

DMCMW Dave
04-17-2012, 08:40 PM
Thanks for letting me know the differences Dave, I appreciate it! Mine were so incredibly warped and stained they were beyond help-- and they had been glued under the glass (so I guess that didn't help much). Is the fit of the fiberglass ones really that bad? Would you ever recommend them and/or use them yourself? Like I said, I couldn't get ahold of DMC CA by email and they don't have that part listed. I guess I'll give them a call depending on the consensus of the part. Thanks again.

It is not quite as good a fit at the bottom where it joins the dash. Depends on how picky you are I guess.

They do better with phone calls.

bluscreen
04-18-2012, 12:04 PM
Ok, I'll give 'em a call.

If you don't mind one more question-- how is it secured in place? Is it still glued to the a-pillar? Does it wrap under the weather stripping still?

This counts as one question, right? =p

bluscreen
04-27-2012, 03:53 PM
For anybody curious, they're exactly the same as the plastic ones, just fiberglass instead. So they have fabric that is supposed to wrap underneath the front glass, and other fabric that is glued under the weather stripping.