Fit and Finish Tip...


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Fit and Finish Tip...
Submitted by Jack Giannosa
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Now that your "GOAT" is stored for the winter you may be doing restoration projects involving body trim or other types of detail work. If so, a little trick I came up with recently may be of some help.
I was adding new reproduction door glass weather strips to my "just polished" stainless steel door reveal moldings, photo #1. I was not happy with the crummy fit and appearance once the rubber piece was attached to the molding because there was a gap along the top edge between the weather strip rubber and the molding. The 1965 A-body reproduction weather strips are "ok", (if that..) and I realize it’s all that's available today but I still tried to come up with a way to make it look better once attached to the reveal molding.
Close inspection indicated the reason the weather strip wouldn't sit "flat" against the molding was due to the lack of a relief area at the mounting tab location, photo #2. If there's no relief in the weather strip the raised portion on the stainless molding will prevent the weather strip from lying flat against the molding, photo#3, this will result in a gap all along the top "finish side"
First step: The repo weather strip "out of the box" has the little mounting tabs slightly bent over. The first thing I did was carefully straighten them out with small needle nose pliers. You want to avoid bending these little tabs too many times however, otherwise they'll break off. The reason for straightening them out is to allow easy trial fitting to the reveal molding when inserting the tabs into the slots without harming them. Also, because the die cutting process is not too "clean" in these reproduction parts all the tabs may not align too well with all the slots in the reveal molding so you may have to slightly bend some tabs. In addition, the rubber coating on the back of the tab interferes with the fit as well. To help the "fit" carefully cut away the rubber backing on the tab with an xacto knife.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Second Step: Photo #4 shows how I added a little "relief dent" to the weather strip. Place a small 1/4" drive socket under the weather strip, (I used an 11/32") and a 3/8 bolt, or equivalent tool, on the other side - the same side that lays against the molding. Place the bolt close to the tab-against it. A tap with a hammer on the bolt puts a little "dent" into the weather strip to accommodate the embossed section of the molding. With a little relief area added to the weather strip the "hump" on the molding will fit inside this area and allow the weather strip to sit flat against it. Avoid hitting too hard…the metal core of the weather strip is somewhat soft and easily bent.
Once all the "dents" have been added to each tab do a trial fit to verify an interference free fit at each tab location. If there are any gaps between the tabs then carefully and gently bend or "arc" the weather strip outward between each tab so when attached it'll be under a slight bit of tension and held against the molding surface when the tabs are bent over. Again, the metal core of the repo weather strip is soft so it can be easily bent with your fingers. If it all looks good..no gaps..nice and straight…insert the weather strip into the molding - add some pressure with your fingers and squeeze the weather strip against the molding as you bend the tabs over and your done. 
It may not seem like much but if you're gonna spend time restoring any part of your "baby" ya might as well make it look as good as you can. Mine came out real good, no gaps, clean straight appearance. It was worth the effort. Hope this will be of some benefit. 

Take care, 

Jack

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