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cwmyoung52
07-08-2012, 04:46 PM
So, searches have led me to the understanding that lower cladding is painted. Does this lead one to the maintaining regimen is the same as the procedures for the body? Seems the lower cladding is a flatter finish that may require a different procedure? Thanks.

gerryvz
07-08-2012, 06:29 PM
The main issue with the lower cladding is that it tends to chip in the areas that get "attacked" by rocks. Also the front spoiler scraped by curbs, etc.

It is a relatively flat/matte finish as compared to the body color. The color of the lower cladding is also tied to the body color (at least, for stock colored cars). The color codes for the lower cladding that correspond to body color are in the wiki color chart.

In terms of "maintaining regimen" I'd do the following:


Use Tar remover to remove any bugs, road tar streaks, other crap
Wash lower cladding as appropriate
Use regular wax that you use on the body paint


When cleaning the cladding, you may want to be cautious as to the sponge/mitt that you use, as the cladding can pick up crud that could scratch the paint if you use the same washing sponge. At the least, perhaps wash the cladding separately maybe AFTER washing the body paint, rinsing the sponge/mitt out well after you're done using it.

Also, washing the cladding is also a good time to spray a hose into the wheel well area to dislodge the small rocks/stones/dirt that tends to gather in the crannies behind or ahead of the wheels and behind the cladding in the wheel well area. You'd be amazed at how much stuff gets picked up and carried in there over time. You can dislodge a lot of it just by smacking the cladding with a closed fist before washing it, but it's also a good idea to hose the area out as much as possible when washing the car. I've had piles of tiny pin-sized stones and dirt as much as an inch high on the ground after cleaning these areas out. Seems to be a big issue on all 124s, and if you live in a rust belt state (or where salt is used on the roads) that area is a natural incubator of potential rust/rot when loaded up with crud.

Cheers,
Gerry

sheward
07-08-2012, 07:12 PM
I recently went over all the lower cladding on my car after a 1500 mile trip with tar and bug remover. I was amazed at all the really small crud that had accumulated. Time well spent.

drew

Jimbo
07-10-2012, 03:10 PM
The cladding is indeed painted, yes, but no clearcoat like the metal body parts.

DO NOT take a high speed buffer to any of it....like you would to painted metal.

Bug and tar remover and a cleaner wax by hand is all it needs a few times a year. If you are ambitious...take off some of the lowers and remove the sand that gets in there....I bet the car will be a pound or 2 lighter !

MBZ 500E
08-16-2012, 04:03 PM
Clay also works well to remove the surface contaminants from the cladding.