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Body Side Molding Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Body Side Molding Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$200

Talent:

**

Tools:

Plastic prying tool, socket set (10mm)

Applicable Models:

BMW E46 3-Series (1999-06)

Parts Required:

Body side molding, molding clips

Hot Tip:

Have extra molding clips on hand in case they break when removing

Performance Gain:

Visually more appealing

Complementary Modification:

Paint the trim to match the body color

The body side molding is usually the first piece to get damaged from impact by a runaway shopping cart in a grocery store parking lot or by the swinging car door of the careless person that parked next to you. What happens is, the attaching ridges for clips break and the trim begins to come loose and dangles or just falls off on the freeway somewhere. 

If you own a two-door (coupe or convertible) version of the E46, the door glass has no frame but instead fits in the rubber door trim when the door is closed and the window is up. When you open the door, the glass drops a slight amount (about 1/4-inch) to allow the door to open unobstructed. The placement of the window regulator inside the door cavity makes this slight window movement possible; it is important that when the door is closed the window jams firmly but not too forcibly into the rubber door trim in order to prevent water leaks and wind whistles in the vehicle interior. To precisely adjust the window regulator for this function, you have to remove the door molding and reach inside the door cavity. 

In this article, I will go over the steps involved with replacing the molding and molding clips. Oh and you can breathe now, this is one of the easiest DIYs you will encounter.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you are working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Vehicle models change and evolve as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Using a plastic prying tool, gently lever out the body molding piece.
Figure 1

Using a plastic prying tool, gently lever out the body molding piece.

Release the molding slowly down the entire length, disengaging each clip.
Figure 2

Release the molding slowly down the entire length, disengaging each clip.

Once the molding has been removed, inspect the rubber body inserts and replace as needed (green arrow).
Figure 3

Once the molding has been removed, inspect the rubber body inserts and replace as needed (green arrow).

Inspect the molding clips for damage or wear.
Figure 4

Inspect the molding clips for damage or wear. To replace the clips, snap off the molding using a small flathead screwdriver, then clean the area the clip installs on and snap the new clip into place. Once the molding is removed, inspect the body for rust. The area behind the molding can rust and is sometimes hard to notice when the molding is in place. If you spot rust, now is a good time to repair it while you have it apart.

When installing the new molding, align the clips with holes in body and snap into place.
Figure 5

When installing the new molding, align the clips with holes in body and snap into place.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Vic Comments: I had seen your technical informative on the removal and re-installations of A-pillar on newest BMW models,mine is a BMW 318i, 1995, A - pillar on the front left and A-pillar on the rear right were no longer on their right position. When I checked, I found that the part of the moulding inserted to the clip were broken. Can I purchased these two pillars from you ? I will appreciate if you can give me an answer on my request. Thank you
August 14, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We can get you the parts you need. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Fri 8/18/2017 02:23:48 AM