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      03-18-2012, 03:34 PM   #1
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restoring chrome window trim to new?

Hi, how is it possible to restore the chrome trim around windows to look brand new? After 5 years and harsh winters it's looking a bit worse for the wear, a bit flat.

Anything that can be polished by hand with right product or need to take it to detailing shop?
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      03-19-2012, 08:50 AM   #2
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I had many scratches on mine so started with a 600 grit sandpaper and went up to 1000 grit. After that I used Mothers Mag Polish to make them shine nicely.

If they are just dull without any scratches, you may be able to get away with using a good polishing compound and some elbow grease.
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      03-19-2012, 10:19 AM   #3
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I used just regular mcguires polish/wax thing and it turned out reasonably well already. I'm planning to buy the drill (for home repair works) which with adaptor should be able to function as a polisher. That will take care of things hopefully.
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      03-19-2012, 11:34 PM   #4
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cheap material used by bmw. there is no solution other than wrapping... if you polish they will be back to looking like garbage within a couple months. im wrapping mine in black after this semesters over. theres plenty of DIY on the forum.
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      03-20-2012, 02:26 AM   #5
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I'm on the fence regarding how good the wrap will hold in our -25C winters, 5 months of salts on roads, ice rain and what have you.

I think I'd rather have it painted though I'm unsure if the surface will take paint. In past i've painted only plastic parts on my previous car (door handles) and that held for 5 years so I have hopes, but this is metal and I'm a bit unsure. At least one body shop told me it won't hold well and will peel off in few years.

Also, I don't want to wrap it matte black. It looks cheap, my old car again had matte black. If you do gloss black, you have to do the pillars and mirror trim too to get shadowline look, otherwise it won't match in full.
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      03-20-2012, 10:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by research View Post
=

I think I'd rather have it painted though I'm unsure if the surface will take paint. In past i've painted only plastic parts on my previous car (door handles) and that held for 5 years so I have hopes, but this is metal and I'm a bit unsure. At least one body shop told me it won't hold well and will peel off in few years.
what? so how do they paint cars with aluminum hoods? they tell customers it will peel off after a couple years?


the trim will hold fine if you prep and prime it properly
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      03-20-2012, 03:51 PM   #7
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I used BlueMagic to clean up the chrome on my old Harley. Haven't tried it on the Bimmer trim, but can vouch worked great on the bike.

http://www.amazon.com/BlueMagic-400-.../dp/B000BO8Z9I

The chrome trim on my E46 is still in good shape, I use Nevr-Dull to take off the water marks, and give a little shine

http://www.autogeek.net/eo104.html
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      03-20-2012, 04:39 PM   #8
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I'm painting mine, so I could post up how it turns out (should be done and installed this weekend). Just planning the standard procedure to sand, prime, sand, paint, clear, polish

It's clear coated aluminum, so the clear should polish up with the proper detailing kit if you just want to restore the original finish
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      03-20-2012, 05:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yakev724 View Post
I'm painting mine, so I could post up how it turns out (should be done and installed this weekend). Just planning the standard procedure to sand, prime, sand, paint, clear, polish

It's clear coated aluminum, so the clear should polish up with the proper detailing kit if you just want to restore the original finish
would appreciate the pics a lot! I suppose you're sanding it down for priming, then give going over it with paint. I have to see if doing this will actually be cheaper than buying Shadowline trim - i'm no painter so I can't do this on my own. Obviously this is the ultimate goal, for now though, I just want to restore it looking like new.
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      03-20-2012, 05:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
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would appreciate the pics a lot! I suppose you're sanding it down for priming, then give going over it with paint. I have to see if doing this will actually be cheaper than buying Shadowline trim - i'm no painter so I can't do this on my own. Obviously this is the ultimate goal, for now though, I just want to restore it looking like new.
Paint just came in today (~$50 for the lot of primer/paint/clear from automotivetouchup.com (great source btw)). Pretty excited about the color.

I had vinyl from bmwshadowline.com on mine for about a year and it held up very well. If you're considering OEM shadowline trim, I think it's definitely worth $30 and an afternoon to wrap it with vinyl first and see how it holds up. Just be careful not to scratch your car as you cut it around the trim!
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      03-21-2012, 01:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yakev724 View Post
Paint just came in today (~$50 for the lot of primer/paint/clear from automotivetouchup.com (great source btw)). Pretty excited about the color.

I had vinyl from bmwshadowline.com on mine for about a year and it held up very well. If you're considering OEM shadowline trim, I think it's definitely worth $30 and an afternoon to wrap it with vinyl first and see how it holds up. Just be careful not to scratch your car as you cut it around the trim!


Aren't you tucking it under the trim? For example the lower parts are fit into the rubber portion and I think will not be very easy to wrap without taking them totally out. But top part (the ones with water channel) - can't even imagine how to wrap it correctly, considering there is the outside portion but also the inside (rain gutter) which I suppose you have to wrap nicely too?
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      03-21-2012, 08:28 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Aren't you tucking it under the trim? For example the lower parts are fit into the rubber portion and I think will not be very easy to wrap without taking them totally out. But top part (the ones with water channel) - can't even imagine how to wrap it correctly, considering there is the outside portion but also the inside (rain gutter) which I suppose you have to wrap nicely too?
Removing the top sections is pretty easy - and once off, you can do a clean job wrapping them. Just held in by a bunch of small plastic clips, which you should buy a few of in case some of the originals break.

Bottom sections are pretty difficult to remove and imo you're best off just wrapping them when on the car. Carefully trim the edges and tuck in with something soft and plastic, just like you said.
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      03-21-2012, 11:23 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yakev724 View Post
Removing the top sections is pretty easy - and once off, you can do a clean job wrapping them. Just held in by a bunch of small plastic clips, which you should buy a few of in case some of the originals break.

Bottom sections are pretty difficult to remove and imo you're best off just wrapping them when on the car. Carefully trim the edges and tuck in with something soft and plastic, just like you said.
bottom sections are easy to remove too. they slide out.

there is one 4" piece that you need to take the mirror off to remove though.
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      03-21-2012, 11:54 AM   #14
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bottom sections are easy to remove too. they slide out.

there is one 4" piece that you need to take the mirror off to remove though.
Maybe ours are different?

For each door, I have a 2 piece trim on the bottom edge, consisting of the metal piece (full length of window edge) with a ridge on the bottom, with which it seats into the rubber seal piece.

Only way I could remove them was to first remove the metal pieces by gently prying with a credit card between the metal + rubber seal piece, then lifting along the edge of the seal. Next, with the window rolled down I could remove the rubber seal part by working it from the inside of the door, through the gap on top (hard).

Re-installing requires working the metal piece into the rubber seal, starting from one end and working all the way down. This for me was hardest part since it needed a ton of pressure both to keep the metal ridge in the rubber groove as well as top-down pressure to slide the thing in. Took about 2 hours actually
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      03-21-2012, 12:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Maybe ours are different?

For each door, I have a 2 piece trim on the bottom edge, consisting of the metal piece (full length of window edge) with a ridge on the bottom, with which it seats into the rubber seal piece.

Only way I could remove them was to first remove the metal pieces by gently prying with a credit card between the metal + rubber seal piece, then lifting along the edge of the seal. Next, with the window rolled down I could remove the rubber seal part by working it from the inside of the door, through the gap on top (hard).

Re-installing requires working the metal piece into the rubber seal, starting from one end and working all the way down. This for me was hardest part since it needed a ton of pressure both to keep the metal ridge in the rubber groove as well as top-down pressure to slide the thing in. Took about 2 hours actually
that is peculiar. mine top one (the main large one) unclips pretty easily. the one along the port window slides out, and so does the one on my door.

the one under the mirror is what took a little time simply because you have to detach the mirrors.

the entire removal and reinstallation really takes no more than 10-15 min per side. once you have them off, you can simply scuff them up, prime them, basecoat, then clear. there are some paints made for aluminum that don't require primer, but they're probably more prone to chipping.


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      03-21-2012, 01:25 PM   #16
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FWIW, my window trim was looking a bit dull and oxidized so I cleaned it off nicely and then I hit it with some p21s metal polishing soap and was pretty pleased with the results. It's worth a shot.
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      03-21-2012, 01:49 PM   #17
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edit: e92
yeah, I've got pre-LCI E90 so that's the difference then.

Did have to remove my mirrors to get it out (and detail the doors properly), but I've got the hard work done so just painting left.
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      03-21-2012, 03:05 PM   #18
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what bugs me with the 'wrap' idea is you don't do the proper high gloss shadow line. You can't wrap the mirror surrounds with the vinyl and you don't wrap the pillars too. I think the look is incomplete. I'm going to find out how much it costs to get the trim painted. If it's within 300 bucks I might give that a shot.
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      03-21-2012, 09:02 PM   #19
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Quote:
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what bugs me with the 'wrap' idea is you don't do the proper high gloss shadow line. You can't wrap the mirror surrounds with the vinyl and you don't wrap the pillars too. I think the look is incomplete. I'm going to find out how much it costs to get the trim painted. If it's within 300 bucks I might give that a shot.
Funny you say that, I just got gloss M3 mirrors and am planning a DIY for the B pillar and rear window trim with OEM shadowline pieces in a few weeks.

The mirror plastic isn't terribly expensive either, I think ~$45 a side for both pieces of each mirror (you'd need to take the mirrors apart and replace the plastic pieces). About $180 total for the 6 window pillar pieces.
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      03-22-2012, 01:05 AM   #20
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Funny you say that, I just got gloss M3 mirrors and am planning a DIY for the B pillar and rear window trim with OEM shadowline pieces in a few weeks.

The mirror plastic isn't terribly expensive either, I think ~$45 a side for both pieces of each mirror (you'd need to take the mirrors apart and replace the plastic pieces). About $180 total for the 6 window pillar pieces.
exactly! 180 here, 90 there, 40 for the material to wrap it, you're pushing above 300. SO it's a decision now - paint for 300 or just do all this crazy parts sourcing. Don't think I'll go the sourcing route unless I find the pillars etc from some sale on ebay in europe.
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      03-24-2012, 11:55 AM   #21
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cheap material used by bmw. there is no solution other than wrapping... if you polish they will be back to looking like garbage within a couple months. im wrapping mine in black after this semesters over. theres plenty of DIY on the forum.
I polished mine 8 months ago and they still look good after winter. They are aluminum, how is that cheap material? Have you ever polished aluminum?

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      03-24-2012, 04:37 PM   #22
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^ There's clear coat over the aluminum, which is what you (probably) polished. Without the clear it would oxidize and scratch very easily.
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