The SS Degenerate Press

Trim replacementon my 1971 Chrysler Newport CE

Pictures of this operation are coming soon!

Various pieces of exterior trim on my car were missing. Others were bent or had sheet metal screws holding them on. In searching for trim I found that there were about three different trim options for the 1971 model. The Royal model has flat, wide trim with a plastic insert that is higher on the car and starts at a Newport logo on the front fender. Other models came with no trim. Mine has the the thin, stainless steel trim that runs the length of the car and follows the lower body line. It's fairly susceptible to dings and is held on with plastic trim clips that get weaker with age. If anyone knows of a place where I can find these clips please contact me!

I've found trim parts all over (see the Newport home page for details) and paid anywhere from $5 to $25 per piece, depending on who was selling them. If you find a car in a pull-it-yourself yard here's how to get the side trim off: slide the trim forward or backward. On the back of the trim is a wide spot that the clips can slide out of. As you slide the trim pull the end away gently and it should come off easily. If that doesn't work I've been told to use a dull screwdriver to pop the trim off clip by clip. Note: on the rear fender trim is a clip in the middle that is attached like a bolt through the fender into the trunk! Unscrew the nut inside the trunk to remove that trim.

Under the trim are plastic clips attached to metal posts - get those clips! Unless you've found a source for them you're going to need them. In fact, you might want to get as many as you can while you're there. Your car may not have them, or they may be cracked (many of mine were.) I have seen similar clips available on line, but not exactly the same type.

Attaching the side trim is pretty simple. The clips slip onto the metal post. Line them horizontally, then just gently pop the trim onto them. As mentioned, the rear fender trim has a bolt-like clip that goes into the trunk compartment.

If you can't find trim clips Frank over at Mopar Restos said a friend of his had problems finding clips for some random Mopar. So he used a silicone compound (I'll look up the exact name again soon.) He used a few blobs of the stuff for each piece, attached the trim to the (cleaned surface) car, cleaned up any excess that had oozed out, taped it in place and let it set for 24 hours. Franks's buddy couldn't pull the trim off after it had set, even when he wanted to later. The compound stays rubbery - never hardens - so to remove the trim again he took a fishing line and ran it behind the trim, slicing the adhesive. The trim popped off and he was able to do whatever body work he needed. He applied a touch more of the compound to the trim and reattached.

Trim on the front of the car, around the grill, comes of much easier - just give it a light tug and the clips will snap in half and the trim will come free. I'm sure there's a way to do this without damaging these clips but the clips on all the cars I've seen are so thin and so aged that they're not of much use anyway. I've had to scavenge 5 cars for a complete set so I'm sure I'm not the only one who's had problems keeping the stuff on. In fact two of the cars I looted had wire and sheet metal screws holding the trim on. It's obviously a design flaw. I have yet to find clips even vaguely similar to these so I may have to go with the silicone adhesive route. Details when I get to it, as well as detailed photos of the above operation coming soon!

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