Front Side Window Trim
>How do I remove the front side window trim? I have heard that one
>must remove the interior door panel to remove the rubber. It looks like the metal
>might pry away. Of course, how to do the prying is the big question.
>The potential for cracking up paint seems high.
This is long, but hey.....it's my job!
Assuming you are talking about the door glass trim, the black reveal cover surrrounding the outside exposed edge of the window opening in the doors?
It is three pieces - one that fits around the upper part of the opening, one wider piece that fits across the bottom edge of the opening, and the little 'angle bracket' that fits at the foremost bottom of the opening where the two other pieces meet.
The little piece in the front corner must be removed first as it's primary role is to hide the joint of the other two pieces. It is formed aluminum with a single pin welded or otherwise affixed. That pin fits into another
plastic trim piece riveted onto the door. Everyone I talked with warned me, and I proved, that the little trim piece could not be removed without breaking that pin, requiring purchase of new pieces for both sides. Be warned, they are about $40 each. You may get lucky and be able to remove without destroying it (breaking the pin).
I used small piece of wood and carefully worked the top piece of trim off of the door opening. There is a place above the door handle where the lower and upper pieces butt together. Start with the upper piece at the front of the door now visible without the little bracket in place. The trim sits in place by clamping onto the door shell. Once you weasel the edge of the trim, you can use a very tender but firm grip to pull the trim away from the door. You may have to use the wood piece to gently tap along the way until
you can get the whole piece away. You are correct to be very careful here as it is easy to deform the piece such that re-installing the same piece may be impossible.
The last piece is the one that goes along the bottom edge of the window opening. The rubber outer window seal is seated into that trim piece and must be carefully removed. A replacement seal runs around $100, so travel at your own risk. I used a large flat-head screwdrive from the inside of the car to pry the edge of the reveal trim enough to break it's grip on the door. Keep working until you can lift from door being carefull not to bend it too much.
Obviously, things go back together as you'd imagine. I will add one warning (taken from 'Beer Can Mechanic' archives!). I used a rubber mallet to assist getting the trim pieces reseated onto the door opening. The bottom piece is beefy and required a lot of urging. I got it properly in place, but managed to pound away so hard that the teeny channel into which the rubber window seal fits became slightly squished together. Enough together that it was impossible to get the seal in place, and I had to carefully go up and back the channel with a flat blade screwdriver to widen the gap. This is potentially disasterous as it is easy to put little kinks in the trim making the whole operation obvious even to a casual observer. Mine came out fine.
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