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Rubber running board cover rejuvenation?

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  • Body / Glass: Rubber running board cover rejuvenation?

    The original rubber running board covers on my recently acquired '35 Dictator are in pretty good shape for their age but are very dirty with years of ground in grime, tar, some paint dribbles, and some stuff that I have no idea what it is. They are also dried out. Any suggestion for cleaning them? I was going to try Dawn dish detergent and a soft scrub brush. Is there a product out there that will help nourish the old dried out rubber and bring back some its luster instead of just making it look pretty (i.e., tire black spray which you'd likely track into the car, anyway)?

    Thanks.

  • #2
    The running boards on my '37 Dictator were also very dirty when I got my car, with the rubber being very hard and some areas the rubber was missing. I cleaned them as good as possible with soap and water. I used POR15 on all the exposed/rusty areas, then filled all the cracks and areas where the rubber was missing with fiberglass jelly. Once dry I sanded the fiberglass to match the surrounding contours, then sprayed the complete top of the board with truck bed liner. It doesn't look as good as new rubber, but only cost around $20 and a little time. I did this about 5 years ago and it has held up very well.
    George Cagle
    North Alabama Chapter

    1937 Dictator
    1947 M5
    1948 Commander
    1963 Avanti

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    • #3
      Here's the deal. Clean them as best you can. Try Westley's Bleche-Wite. That will certainly get all the dirt out. Keep the Westley's off painted surfaces. Then wipe down with a solvent designed for plastic and rubber. Spray with a flat black paint designed for flexibility.
      If you would really like them to look like they just came from the factory, for $600 you can get a set of freshly manufactured rubber covers from Shrock Brothers. Their work is absolutely first class.



      http://www.shrockbrothers.com/studeb...ts.html#covers
      "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

      Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
      Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
      '33 Rockne 10,
      '51 Commander Starlight,
      '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
      '56 Sky Hawk

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      • #4
        Thanks for the suggestions. I wish Shrock Brothers would offer the ends only. That's the only rubber that's broken off and missing (on the radius lip of the board). I do need to order replacement rear bumper brace grommets (completely missing from my car) and the hood corner pads (there but crumbling). Maybe I'll them ask if they'd sell just the running board ends at that time.

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        • #5
          I bought a set of Shrock Bros. running board covers in 2004 (or was it 2005?)...
          Today, they look like I put them on yesterday.
          I don't baby them, or anything...
          Great quality product from a good vendor.
          Jeff
          HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

          Jeff


          Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



          Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

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          • #6
            The cracks could be filled using black butyl caulk but getting it to dry smooth would be hard; you'd almost need to make some kind of die that matched the surface perfectly do that you could clamp a piece of waxed paper between the die and the rubber until the filled area dried. Then you'd need to get the color consistent. Got a portable sand blaster? Try blasting the underside with walnut shell media to see how the surface reacts. If it cleans them but doesn't do damage, blasting the filled surface with the walnut media might blend the repair and the surface perfectly......or not.
            Mike O'Handley, Cat Herder Third Class
            Kenmore, Washington
            hausdok@msn.com

            '58 Packard Hawk
            '05 Subaru Baja Turbo
            '71 Toyota Crown Coupe
            '69 Pontiac Firebird
            (What is it with me and discontinued/orphan cars?)

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            • #7
              Harbor Freight has a liquid type rubbery stuff that is used to dip handles of wrenches, pliers and such so as to have a rubber like coating. It comes in black and I'm sure it would be sprayable once thinned or reduced down with a solvent. Might do ya. A good brand of rubberized undercoat may also work for you. cheers jimmijim
              sigpicAnything worth doing deserves your best shot. Do it right the first time. When you're done you will know it. { I'm just the guy who thinks he knows everything, my buddy is the guy who knows everything.} cheers jimmijim*****SDC***** member

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jimmijim8 View Post
                Harbor Freight has a liquid type rubbery stuff that is used to dip handles of wrenches, pliers and such so as to have a rubber like coating. It comes in black and I'm sure it would be sprayable once thinned or reduced down with a solvent. Might do ya. A good brand of rubberized undercoat may also work for you. cheers jimmijim
                That sure sounds like Plastidip, which is available in aerosol spray cans.


                Before I bought my Hawk I had a 2011 Mustang, and Plastidip is the "best thing since sliced bread" to the late model car customizers. It creates a rubberized coating that can be peeled away at seams so masking is not required... plus it can be peeled away totally if you change your mind.

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FchIWF8Vi2Y
                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNY9Dx617N8

                It's $6 a can at Lowes or Home Depot. But I don't think that it would stand up on something that you walk on regularly (i.e. running boards). But once again, peel it off if it doesn't work.

                It's also available in colors besides black, and (if nothing else) is fun to play with!

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                • #9
                  Sorry to be so late with another possibility. I have used Turtle Wax Trim Restorer with good success on rubber and plastic parts. You can get it at most auto supply stores. Put it on heavy and let sit a long time to absorb. Reapply until the rubber is as good as you think it is going to get. The product seems to soak in and rejuvenate rubber and plastic.
                  Norm

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                  • #10
                    Thanks to all for the suggestions. I haven't gotten around to this yet, so I'm still open to suggestions. Still working on bringing the paint back to life.

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                    • #11
                      FYI, I used the Wesley's whitewall cleaner followed by the Turtle Wax Trim Restorer. Very satisfied with the results. Thanks again for your input.

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