A-Body Window Trim Clip Stud Options
When replacing rusted window channels with new patch panels you are faced with also replacing the window trim clip studs that were welded on by the factory. In many cases, these studs have been lost to rust with much of your original channel. The good news is that there are a number of options on the market today that vary in degrees of authenticity and ease/cost of installation.
The most “correct” replacement of these studs is to weld on new studs. This level of authenticity comes at a price as it requires the use of a stud welder – something many do not have and can be expensive. There is another alternative and that is an Aluminum pop-rivet stud. While the studs themselves are relatively expensive, they require only a drill and pop rivet gun for installation which many people already own. There is a technical drawback to this solution as this puts Aluminum in contact with steel so there will be a slight degree of galvanic corrosion occurring over time which may be an issue for some people.
By far the most common solution today is the screw-in stud. These are both cost-effective and easy to install. A Phillips head screwdriver and a drill are the tools required for installation. The key to a good install is ensuring the hole size you drill is correct. For the #4 -24 screw thread you should use a 3/32” drill bit and no larger. There is a concern by some that screwing a stud into a hole can present a path for moisture to migrate and cause rust. For this reason a variant is offered that has a plastic-coated thread. In actual practice, this plastic falls away while the screw is threaded in, so its effectiveness is somewhat questionable.
Perhaps a better practice is to install all of the studs first and then prime and paint to seal the interface. There is a clever trick to this painting – cut small pieces of plastic (or rubber) tubing and place over the stud, but up from the sheet metal surface about 1/16” before you paint. This allows paint to flow around the stud, but does not foul the shoulder so that you don’t have to go back and clean each stud (and risk nicking the new paint). If your stud locations are unknown due to them being lost by corrosion, we also have diagrams for both the perimeter location of studs as well as the distance from the sheet metal surface (available by CLICKING HERE). Note that this is critical since the installed trim height is fixed by the height of the stud in the channel, so for a proper trim fit to your glass the stud must be located properly. So pick your method, measure twice and install once!