Side Molding / Door bumpers

Since re-assembling the 280z prior to the wedding, there’s still remains a few items to be added to the car – yesterday morning, I tackled the side molding (or if you’d like to call them, door bumpers).

These come in 6 trim pieces, each piece having 4 parts: two ends (one pointed, one squared), the side molding rail, and the rubber molding itself. They’re held on to the 280z’s body panels by simple rivets; unfortunately, putting them on initially wasn’t as simple as I had thought!

The information out there on rivet specs for attaching the side molding is scarce. But hopefully with this post, it’ll be a lot easier for someone else to tackle the easy-once-you-have-the-right-info task. Let’s take a look:

Here’s what I used:
Arrow RL100 rivet gun – pick up at Home Depot or Amazon
1/8″ – 1/2″ (3mm-12mm) rivets – you can get an assortment of rivets on Amazon cheap, or you can make life easier and just purchase the rivet tool and rivets in one kit!
A little nut or spark-plug screw head – this will be used to help distance the rivet tool from the rivet head
Painter’s tape – if you don’t have a spare hand to help you, Amazon
#0 and #0000 Steel wool – to clean up the aluminum molding, Amazon

Since the side molding is all metal (save the rubber part), the chromed steel ends and aluminum rail can easily cleaned up with #0 and #0000 steel wool. The ends can be pulled off for further cleaning (there can be lots of dirt underneath). Additionally, Mother’s Aluminum and Mag polish can be used to restore them to a clean shine.

Cleaning the side moulding

Steel wool does the job very well!

Cleaning the side moulding

If you don’t have a spare hand, painter’s tape works well holding up the side molding as you put in the rivets. That way it doesn’t swing on you, and you don’t scratch up that Z car’s paint!

Holding the side moulding with tape

Through some trial / error, I figured out that you need to use the right rivets in order to have a tight hold:
Type – Use the aluminum ones. Since the steel ones are NOT stainless, nor galvanized, they’ll eventually rust on you. Use the aluminum ones.
Ends –  Diameter: 1/8″ (3mm), Grip: 1/4″ (6mm) or 1/2″ (12mm)
Middles – Diamter 1/8″ (3mm),  Grip: 1/8″ (3mm) or 1/4″ (6mm)

Note that for the Ends because they’re thicker, you have to use either the 1/4″ (6mm) or the 1/2″ (12mm). Because the middle portions are thinner, you can use 1/8″ (3mm) or 1/4″ (6mm).

Because the rivet tool head is too large to fit into the channel of the Z’s side molding rail, you need to use a spacer (something to extend the rivet tool head without losing the grip on the rivet stem). I used the head off a spark plug, and it worked great. You can probably also use a small nut. Find something that has a hole large enough to fit the stem, but not too large that the rivet head pulls through. Be careful not to use a spacer too tall, otherwise the tool won’t be able to grab the rivet stem. This trick will allow you to get that rivet head flush against the side molding channel, and set it snug ‘n tight!

Diagram of the side moulding rivet setup

Side molding up on the 280z.

280z side moulding is on

280z side moulding is on

Tomorrow, i’ll cut the side molding rubber to length and pop them in.

4 Replies to “Side Molding / Door bumpers”

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