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Exterior Molding Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Exterior Molding Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$2 to $200

Talent:

*

Tools:

Trim removal tool, T20 Torx driver

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W203 (2001-07)

Parts Required:

New Molding

Hot Tip:

Get some replacement clips before you start

Performance Gain:

Better looking car

Complementary Modification:

A good wash and wax

The Mercedes W203 comes with color matched body molding. The front bumper and both door molding can easily be removed and reattached to the car. It is a good idea to order a few extra body molding clips if you are planning on performing this work as you will want to replace any clips that are broken or break while working and you don't want to have to wait to put the molding back together because of a single clip.

This article breaks the molding down into sections; the front bumper, front and rear doors. There is no molding on the rear bumper as it is all one piece.

Front Bumper

Our project car came with a front bumper that was already in pretty bad shape, but you are going to want to put some tape where the trim meets the bumper to protect the paint. You want to begin removing the molding at the front center part of the bumper. The trim pieces are held in by a friction fit and you will be applying a fair amount of force to get them loose. Insert your wide trim removal tool and using the bumper as a lever point lift the lower part of the trim up and out from the lower bumper. Perform the same work on the upper part of the trim down and away from the bumper.

On the right side of the bumper you can pop out the tow hook cover by pressing down from the top.

Once the first clips have been released from the bumper you can just use hand pressure to bend and wiggle the remaining clips out.

The end of the molding that sits by the fender and contains the turn signal has two hooks that sit in slots in the bumper. You will need to remove the front part and then pull the molding forward out of the slots. The bulb is a simple twist turn replacement and the signal housing sitting in the molding by two prongs and a tab at the rear. Push the tab towards the prongs and remove.

Doors

Both door moldings are held in place by a series of friction clips and a single T20 Torx screw. The retaining screw for the front door is located on the doors trailing edge and the screw for the rear door is located on the leading edge. Remove the screw and pull the molding trim piece straight back towards the rear of the car. There is a series of cut outs in the sheet metal the plastic clips in the molding fit into. It is a good idea to have a few extra clips as the plastic is known to break.

Installation is the reverse of removal

Front Bumper:
Our project car came with a front bumper that was already in pretty bad shape, but you are going to want to put some tape where the trim meets the bumper to protect the paint.
Figure 1

Our project car came with a front bumper that was already in pretty bad shape, but you are going to want to put some tape where the trim meets the bumper to protect the paint. You want to begin removing the molding at the front center part of the bumper. The trim pieces are held in by a friction fit and you will be applying a fair amount of force to get them loose. Insert your wide trim removal tool and using the bumper as a lever point lift the lower part of the trim up and out from the lower bumper (red arrow).

Perform the same work on the upper part of the trim down and away from the bumper (red arrow).
Figure 2

Perform the same work on the upper part of the trim down and away from the bumper (red arrow).

On the right side of the bumper you can pop out the tow hook cover by pressing down from the top (red arrow).
Figure 3

On the right side of the bumper you can pop out the tow hook cover by pressing down from the top (red arrow).

Once the first clips have been released from the bumper you can just use hand pressure to bend and wiggle the remaining clips out (red arrows).
Figure 4

Once the first clips have been released from the bumper you can just use hand pressure to bend and wiggle the remaining clips out (red arrows).

The end of the molding that sits by the fender and contains the turn signal has two hooks that sit in slots in the bumper (red arrows).
Figure 5

The end of the molding that sits by the fender and contains the turn signal has two hooks that sit in slots in the bumper (red arrows). You will need to remove the front part and then pull the molding forward out of the slots. The bulb (blue arrow) is a simple twist turn replacement and the signal housing sitting in the molding by two prongs (yellow arrow) and a tab at the rear (green arrow). Push the tab towards the prongs and remove.

Doors:
Both door moldings are held in place by a series of friction clips and a single T20 Torx screw.
Figure 6

Both door moldings are held in place by a series of friction clips and a single T20 Torx screw. The retaining screw for the front door is located on the doors trailing edge. Remove the screw (red arrow).

The screw for the rear door is located on the leading edge.
Figure 7

The screw for the rear door is located on the leading edge. Remove the screw (red arrow).

Pull the molding trim piece straight back towards the rear of the car.
Figure 8

Pull the molding trim piece straight back towards the rear of the car. There is a series of cut outs in the sheet metal (yellow arrows) the plastic clips in the molding fit into (red arrows).

It is a good idea to have a few extra clips (red arrow) as the plastic is known to break.
Figure 9

It is a good idea to have a few extra clips (red arrow) as the plastic is known to break.

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