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Discussion Starter #1
Sorry if this has been discussed before - I tired a search and the system stalled. My 3 year old Abarth, which has been pretty much perfect until now, is starting to show some signs of wear. The black background on the rear emblem has peeled off, and I am awaiting a replacement. More worrisome, I noticed this weekend that the side skirts have both started to separate from the body of the car up near the front. I know other people have encountered this much earlier in the lives of their cars. What's the fix? I'm hoping this will still be covered under warranty, but I'm not sure about that. I'm at 38 months and 34,000 miles.

Does the dealer pull the whole skirt off and reattach it (yipes!) or do the use an adhesive or tape to get the peeling areas re-stuck?
 

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If you can get the dealer to do it under warranty by all means have them do the work. Sure.... there are stories about dealerships doing crappy jobs but just point out the poor work and have them do it again.
In my case they had to buy new skirts and paint to match. They "baked" them after painting which causes issues (warping)..... after a couple replacements they decided "maybe we should not bake these things".... all good since that final no-bake replacement.
 

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My Dealer messed them up twice:( 3rd time was a charm I did them myself and no problems after that:) Mr Ed got a good point if they are still under warranty let the dealer do it and learn.:D:D
 

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Had my dealer do mine a few weeks back with no problems. It is covered under warranty. Took about 2 hours. Probably wouldn't have taken that long if everyone w
hadnt been freaking out over the recent recalls on other Chrysler products, lol
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies. I'll see if I can get the dealer to take a shot at it. I'm hoping this is covered....
 

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Mine are separating just in front of the rear tires. It's lowered 2" and that's enough to prevent even a low profile floor jack from clearing it. One stroke of the jack and its peeling away.


-motofabio
 

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Don't let them use a two part adhesive. I asked them to tell me what they were going to do before doing anything, but they broke it, then glued it, then filled the crack (badly) and finally and worst of all they tried to play it off like they had done nothing. Stick to your gut feeling and fix it yourself.. imo
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Oh, man, on a white car, no less. That's just wrong. I have some super strength double face trim mounting tape. I may give it a try.
 

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Honestly fix them yourself with the double sided tape and forget about it. I did them myself and they stayed on just fine on a black Car in the AZ Heat.:)

A trip to the Dealer is fine if you after yesterdays Pastries:D:D
 

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I think I've read almost every post about the "side skirt" issues, but I'm sure I missed a few. Anyway, it seems obvious to me that aside from the initial irritation at first discovering the problem, most of the real grief comes from failed attempts to fix it (and most of those by service departments). The worst of those (glues, epoxies, and screws) stemming from trying to save time and/or money by not wanting to remove, fix, and replace the trim.

Of course we could go into why there has been no concerted effort to inform or train dealer service departments on how to deal with what is obviously a very common issue. But whether we fix the problems ourselves (that's what I am planning to do), or take it in for warranty work, I think there's a better way to approach solving it.

If you look carefully at the back of the side trim, it will be obvious that the problem lie in the design. The trim is injection molded as one large piece, and it is relatively thin in many places. The original designer of the parts did not adequately take into consideration the shrinkage that ABS will experience as it ages. Plastics continuously polymerize over time...that's why they get brittle and shrink as they age. Anyway, the designer(s) didn't place mounting clips high enough to keep the upper thin sections from pulling away from the body as the panel shrinks and warps. Thus the separation over time.

Whether it's a DIY job or a dealer service department doing the work, I would not want to use screws (OMG), or apply any kind of glue or epoxy (risk damaging paint and attacking the ABS plastic in the trim). I'd say make sure the service department understands this before letting them at your vehicle (they are not all experts). Do not let them drill holes or apply glue and/or epoxy!

If the panel isn't too badly warped, I think the best way to fix it is to do what others have recommended, and just use a little automotive molding and trim tape to try and hold it down. I think the molding tape, if neatly applied, is the best approach as long as it holds. You won't risk damaging the vehicle or trim with that approach, and it seems to work for many.

There isn't a very big flat spot on the molding on which to attach the tape, so it might not be strong enough to hold forever. If that fails, you (or the dealer) could replace the trim altogether. But unless the new trim is re-designed (I haven't heard anything, but that could be the case on 2016s or later) the new trim may already be warped or will just warp again later.

Whether the warp is minimal or severe, I think there is a "best" approach to fixing it. I want to remove the trim completely, and then use a heat gun to slightly reform the ends of the panels so they have a tendency to curl toward the vehicle body near the clips at the front and rear. Thay way, when the panels are snapped back on, they should have a tendency to hold themselves tight to the body panel with no help. Once I get the replacement clips (the ones I will surely break in the process), I am planning to give this a try and report back.
 

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I would have kept the side panels off for good but sadly if you do so you have to fill the 5 or 6 holes per side and repaint/color match etc etc ..I always like the look of the Ab without the side panels better it was just too much darn work to keep them off.:D
 

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I wonder if there is any thinner, generic trim strips that could run along the hole pattern and just cover them all up? I have roll of corrugated side trim for GM pickup in the garage. Hmmm....

On a related note, since you have completely removed yours before, do you have any advice for getting them off? I know about the run of screws coming up from the bottom surface, but how to get the hole clips free without cracking the plastic? Do you just pry outward, or is there any trick to it?

Thanks!

On another

I would have kept the side panels off for good but sadly if you do so you have to fill the 5 or 6 holes per side and repaint/color match etc etc ..I always like the look of the Ab without the side panels better it was just too much darn work to keep them off.:D
 

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I've been trying to figure out why my experience has been so different from owners with issues like "separating skirts", clutch/transmission issues, peeling spoiler, delaminating badges, etc... 29K miles in nearly 40 months of ownership. No issues at all. I drive the car like it's meant to be driven, but do keep it garaged out of the elements except for the one day per week I drive to my office 102 miles RT. Nothing but smiles and fun with my 2012 Abarth.
 

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I've been trying to figure out why my experience has been so different from owners with issues like "separating skirts"...
At least as far as the side skirts on my Sport go, same with me. There was one instance where I pinched the front of the passenger side when I put my car up on a lift. I had about 1/8" of an inch separation. When the car was back down on the ground I pushed on it and it snapped back into place. That was it. Hasn't moved since.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I've been trying to figure out why my experience has been so different from owners with issues like "separating skirts", clutch/transmission issues, peeling spoiler, delaminating badges, etc... 29K miles in nearly 40 months of ownership. No issues at all. I drive the car like it's meant to be driven, but do keep it garaged out of the elements except for the one day per week I drive to my office 102 miles RT. Nothing but smiles and fun with my 2012 Abarth.
Up until recently I was in the same place with my 2012 Abarth. 34,000 miles with no problems. Then my rear emblem started peeling and now my side skirts are separating. To my mind these are minor issues and do not significantly diminish my love of this car. None the less, this stuff shouldn't happen.
 
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