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Painting Plastic Pieces

 
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Old 15 Jun 2010, 02:32 pm
War_Eagle's Avatar
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Default Painting Plastic Pieces

I am wanting to change the color of the air bag cover, the gauge bezel and the radio pod cover. I have the tan interior and the silver plastic looks second rate. What is involved in taking all of these pieces off, so I can get them sprayed? My biggest concern is the air bag cover and seeing that I have never attempted this before any advice or knowledge would be greatly appreciated......I have read the post on painting them just need to get them off.
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Old 15 Jun 2010, 07:14 pm
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Default Re: Painting Plastic Pieces

Removing the center bezel is covered in this posting -
Speakers removal HOW TO

I've never taken off the other 2 pieces...
I'm sure someone else will chime in.
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Old 15 Jun 2010, 07:18 pm
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Default Re: Painting Plastic Pieces

Oops, I just noticed the year on your PT - maybe this will be closer for your center bezel:

How to: 2007 stereo removal and dash speaker install.
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Old 16 Jun 2010, 04:59 am
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Smile Re: Painting Plastic Pieces

Hey their War_Eagle,

I am not as familiar with the newer dash verses the old one, but I might be able to get you going in the general direction to getting these pieces off for you.

"A" PILLAR COVERS

First you are going to want to remove the covers from the A Pillars (plastic covers on each side of windshield) which should just pop off, but be sure to remove with care as to not snap the very fragile body clips.

CENTER BEZEL

Next You will want to remove the center bezel. Their are two screws, one in the top of either AC Vent. Simply rotate either vent to see the screw and remove. Then very gently pull the bezel off which is held again by fragile clips so be very careful. You will need to remove the power window switch plug, and the clock plug from the back which are held in by electrical connection clips. Once again, be very careful, and work slow as to not break any clips or connectors.

DASH TOP COVER

Next is the dash top. This is also held in by clips at the forward edge so be careful. Gently pull the dash towards you, and it should pop out.

PASSENGER AIR BAG COVER

Next I would do the passenger side air bag cover first. Here is where we are going to start winging it, and I will most likely be off to some degree with where the screws are, but hopefully you should be able to roughly locate them. First off, remove the positive terminal from your battery, wait five minutes for the left over resistance to dissipate out of the electrical system, and then tap the brakes twice just to make double sure as a fail safe that the system has no juice left over which could potentially pop the airbag off.

Now, start by opening the glove box, and you should hopefully be able to push the sides of the glove box in and it should drop all the way down to give you better access. Now you will want to remove the right end cap which is the dash piece covering the right side of the dash directly by the right side of the glove box. This should also be held in by clips, and should pop off, but if it feels like somethings holding it firm, do not force it, but rather take a good close look and make sure no screws are holding it in place.

Now you should be able to see all screws holding the passenger side air bag in place. Their should be 2-4 on the bottom, likely 2 on top, and possibly one on the right side. Once all screws are out, you should be able to pull the piece free.

GAUGE CLUSTER COVER

Now on to the gauge cluster. This one will be the most involved. First, you should be able to pop open the panel directly under the steering column, and hopefully drop it to the floor. Then drop the steering column to its lowest position. Next, you are going to need to remove the right side end cap as well. Remember, if it feels like it is firmly held in place, look for any screws that might be holding it in place, and then once all looks to be good to go, try to pop it off carefully not to snap any clips in the process.

After that, you should have enough exposed to see where the screws are located hopefully to remove the gauge cluster cover as well.

Now, since these parts you are wanting to re-spray a different color are already done in a good base acrylic enamel, followed by an acrylic urethane clear which was baked at higher temp in a proper booth for a nice decent finish, my personal recommendation would be to take your parts in and have them properly prepped, and primered using the correct materials for the specific materials used in these parts only, and then have them professional painted with a high grade water borne 2 - 3 step paint system depending on what kind of paint, and color you are looking for.

I realize the real downfall to having them done professionally is the high cost, as to do the prep, paint, and polish on a re-spray for parts like this, for me to shoot them including the materials, paint, and labor, would run you right around $230.00 - $250.00 to do them right with a nice high gloss professional finish, no problems, and good as new in a full booth clean room environment, with proper equipment to spray, and bake the paint to perfection. .

While the alternative being to go with possibly spraying the parts with a spray can, unless you are extremely well skilled in paint, 99.9% of the time it will just not come out right, and the painter will not be happy with the end result. Spray cans can leave splatter, runs from inconsistent air source at the tip, dirt from a non clean room environment, possible insect contamination, and a long list of other problems that may arise causing even a great paint job to become ruined in a heartbeat. This is why I pretty much try to talk anyone wanting to DIY their parts to not do it.

Should you decide to do them on your own, I always suggest heading to your local body and paint shop supply store for your paint and prep supplies. You will get far more, and far better paint, and related products over trying to use any type of OEM touch up paint. Also since your dash pieces are made from a specific type of material, they require a specific type of primer surfacer, and specific paint system to work correctly and not have problems down the road. If you opt to paint by spray can, you can get the Paint Supply Store to custom mix a large spray can of whatever type and color of paint you want for around $15.00 per can. From their if you should decide to DIY this project yourself, I can give you a shopping list of supplies you would need to do it.

And last but not least, I know you mentioned you have already read up on it, but here is my post on painting the center bezel on an older PT, but the basic process is all pretty much the same for the rest of the dash components as well. Here is my Link with most of the basic information on how to do a proper job.

Guide to Spray Paint your Center Dash Bezel


And just for the sake of the project, here is my dash I repainted a little over a year ago after I reworked my center bezel to house a new head unit, and equalizer into the stock radio slot. I wound up sanding all three parts down thoroughly. I even sanded the ABS, and PT Cruiser logos down smooth on the passenger side air bag cover to create a smooth look. Then after I prepped them, I shot some good primer surfacer, and then shot 4 coats of my custom mix of House of Kolor Kandy Tangerine Pearl, followed by 4 coats of House of Kolor Urethane Clear, baked them, let the paint cure properly before I carefully color sanded them out, buffed them by hand, glazed, and waxed to perfection using my way high content white carnuba wax to a perfect smooth as glass finish. By far the center bezel was the most difficult out of the three due to it having not been painted prior so it required way more work to provide a good surface to spray. And the reason I opted to paint all three parts was due to my having previously re-shooting my entire PT in the same House of Kolor Kandy Tangerine Pearl, and wanting to get all of the dash to properly match the exterior correctly. Anyways, here is a pic of the final project.



So, for better or worse, I hope I at least was able to help provide some assistance with your question. Should you need anything else, please let me know and I'll try to do my best to answer anything I can, or help in any way. Otherwise, you go easy, I wish you the very best of luck in whatever decision you choose, and I'll catch ya later.

Candyman
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Old 16 Jun 2010, 08:11 am
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Default Re: Painting Plastic Pieces

^^^That's what I call 'chiming in'.
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Old 25 Jun 2010, 10:24 am
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Default Re: Painting Plastic Pieces

Thanks so much for all of the information. I feel a lot more confident tackling this job.....you guys are great
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Old 20 Sep 2010, 01:46 am
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Default Re: Painting Plastic Pieces

Hey Candy! Thanks for you suggestions, it might be a good idea to use.
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Old 21 Sep 2010, 08:19 pm
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Cool Re: Painting Plastic Pieces

OR...you could buy a Dash Kit overlay for all the areas.
I did mine in Real Rosewood. But, they have all kinds of colors too!
Dash Kit Specialists
American Truck 'N Auto Accessories
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