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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 04-01-2010, 03:06 PM   #1
delmarco
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Cool Restore Your Scratched BMW E46 Console to Factory New for only $6! Pictorial DIY

So after my last retrofit project of installing the DCT Sport Shifter, I found that the new knob made the rest of my console look extra old and worn. My console cubby doors had the usual BMW rubber coating peeling and scuff marks from years of use.
So I went online and found that these things are about $50 (used on ebay) to $150 (brand new at BMW dealership) to replace.

I also came across many DIYs that showed folks using black spray paint on the doors and a few showing the scrubbing off of the worn out rubber coating completely to reveal the bare plastic underneath. I also saw other suggestions for plasti-dip and a DIY for using plasti-dip on the cupholders/armrest.

So long story short I became interested and got a can of Plasti-Dip at my local Home Depot for $5.98 (the paint/home/hardware sections at your local Kmart, Walmart, Target, Sears, etc... will have this or else go find it at Autozone, Pepboys, or any good Hardware store ) and I proceeded to do this DIY.



So far the Black color is the only color that Plasti-Dip seems to come in and I do wish they had BMW hellbeige/tan, or even gray for our non-black cupholders center armrest console sections.

This DIY is easy and the results are astonishing and makes you wonder why people buy these trim pieces out of Salvage Cars for tons of money to replace their worn ones when just a $6 can of Plasti-dip will make the trim new again.





The only tools I used were a razor blade and scotch tape that I found around my apartment. Screw driver and a T10 will aslo be needed to remove the trim pieces. I also used fine 150 grit sand paper on my steptronic plate trim, but found it was not necessary if your trim isn't super pitted and you are using more than 2 coats.

The most important tool will be your patience. Plasti-Dip takes a long time to dry-even when it feels dry to the touch-it will be moist and soft for up to 4-5 hours after the last coat goes on and your final coat will easily scratch and scuff if you rush to put it back in your car.

Also waiting 30 full minutes or more between coats is highly recommended. Don't ask me how I learned all this but I learned it the hard way.

Said and done, if you do mess up and the coating comes out wrong you can easily peel the coat right off and start over again. Plasti-Dip isn't super permanent like paint but more like liquid rubber.

Start by removing your console trim and gear plate. This is basic 101 DIY but the pictures below should prevent you from running into any surprises.

NOTE: If the pictures don't all load here is the link to the album:
http://img127.imageshack.us/g/plasticdipfun.jpg/




















Last edited by delmarco; 04-01-2010 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:07 PM   #2
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Last edited by delmarco; 04-07-2010 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:08 PM   #3
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EDIT:
IMPORTANT PLEASE READ:

Okay. I am a straight up guy and like to stand behind the work I recommend and be honest about my write ups so I followed up on some of the comments in my thread warning me about what was said and heard concerning the longevity of using plasti-dip and I did some anoraking online and found all the negative reviews of plasti-dip I could find.

1. Most of people using the dip that complained about longevity issues were using the aerosol spray on tool handles and notepads or using the dip as a sort of adhesive or waterproof sealant whereas the liquid dip in the big can would've been thicker and better.

2. Most of fanatics using the dip were using it on grills and bumper trim and found that the sun, and extreme weather literally disintegrated the dip coatings. Now I don't want to be captain obvious here but what were they thinking...would happen. Other fanatics were using it on cup holders or armrest console trim where the trim gets constant daily wear-tear abuse, like being rubbed on, coffee spilled on, feet kicking on, etc... again what were they thinking.

3. The other 2% of people that didn't recommend the dip admitted that they went into applying the dip expecting lifetime quality results and/or something of mythical Godly standards. and the dip didn't live up to "their" expectations for whatever they were trying to do.

Like I said for $6 a can and console trim that I hardly touch on a daily basis (so the dip coating in not under constant duress) and can be easily pulled out, cleaned off, re-sprayed and/or replaced if this project fails, my expectations for right now has been met and I will still be happy if it all goes to sh!t after 3 months.

That said, Neil is correct and I should have spent (and also should have addressed in my write up) that proper time needs to be spent to prep the surface. Removing the old and worn rubber trim completely would be best in preserving the lifetime of the plasti-dip coating or whatever spray coating you use to refinish your trim.

This addition to the DIY will add lots of time but also ensure that the end results are indeed end results and not a 1st draft in a endless string of drafts.


That said I have no regrets with how I did this in my car and I'm ready to accept failure or whatever follows in the months to come.

After all I wasn't expecting a new BMW in a $6 can of Plasti-Dip!

APRIL 7th, 2010 EDIT:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZZen330 View Post
Hmm..but the rough edges around the shifter plate indicators doesn't look good. .
Oh yeah I fixed the shifter plate. The same thing was bothering me too.

What had happened was I put too many coats on the thing. I peeled off all the original plasti-dip, sanded the plate better and re-coated it with only one coat and it looks fab now!



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Last edited by delmarco; 04-07-2010 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:13 PM   #4
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great job , I bought the one around the shifter but could do it to the rest. Thanks for the write up.
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:09 PM   #5
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I like how you didn't even bother stripping the original crumbling coating, you just painted over it
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:16 PM   #6
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Nice job. What grain of sanding paper is adequate in removing the old coating?
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Albobmw View Post
Nice job. What grain of sanding paper is adequate in removing the old coating?
I used fine 150 grain to lightly sand it down. But if you want to completely scrub all the old rubber away get a heavier than 150 grain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil1138 View Post
I like how you didn't even bother stripping the original crumbling coating, you just painted over it
lol.
I din't have time for all that. after I did the step plate and started sanding that trim I realized that sanding to smooth out the lumps was a long tedious process relative to the spraying part of the DIY so I could'nt imagine the time I would have put into sanding off all the old rubber coating on the door.

Also I realize if you are using more than 3-4 coats it just covers over any rough spots.

The important thing is to make sure you are spraying a clean/oil free surface!

Actually Neil I think one of your old pictures or posts may have inspired me to do this. Wasn't it you that used Plasti-Dip or black paint on something or the other? I'm pretty sure but if so, much props to you man.

One last thing for everyone. Plasti-Dip is NOT Paint. Don't go into this thinking you are repainting the trim. You are in fact just coating it over with a rubberized liquid. Think of chocolate covered strawberries.

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Last edited by delmarco; 04-01-2010 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 04-01-2010, 04:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delmarco View Post
Actually Neil I think one of your old pictures or posts may have inspired me to do this. Wasn't it you that used Plasti-Dip or black paint on something or the other? I'm pretty sure but if so, much props to you man.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?p=11006569

I recommend duplicolor vinyl and fabric (flat black). The finish looks much better and it's much more durable than the Plasti-Dip which is known to wear away very quickly.
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Old 04-01-2010, 05:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neil1138 View Post
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?p=11006569

I recommend duplicolor vinyl and fabric (flat black). The finish looks much better and it's much more durable than the Plasti-Dip which is known to wear away very quickly.

sounds good especially if they have a tan color for my cup holder console.

Neil where to get that? I saw a bunch of Duplicolor cans at Autozone but they were all just regular spray paint. Is that just spray paint or another form of the rubber-type coating?
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Old 05-23-2010, 01:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by delmarco View Post
sounds good especially if they have a tan color for my cup holder console.

Neil where to get that? I saw a bunch of Duplicolor cans at Autozone but they were all just regular spray paint. Is that just spray paint or another form of the rubber-type coating?
I checked Home Depot the other day, and they stock only the black--which suits me fine, but I don't know if you'll be able to get another color. You might check their web site, but they make this product primarily to plastic coat tools, so I don't think they will be the right place to go for other colors.
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Old 04-01-2010, 04:39 PM   #11
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Man I gotta say I love all your DIY's... they are all quite informative and outline even the smallest details (those are most often the parts that go overlooked that drive people nuts!). I will definitely be doing this once spring returns to Utah.
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Old 04-01-2010, 05:05 PM   #12
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Looks great - I'm concerned about the longevity here - u think it will start to flake apart?
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Old 08-28-2010, 05:03 PM   #13
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Looks great - I'm concerned about the longevity here - u think it will start to flake apart?
It will be 5 months this week with this in my car and my console trim doors and indicator plate all looks new.

Only issue I found is if you drive with the windows down and sunroof open most of the time, like during the summer months as it were with me in NY, then the rubber coat will pick up the usual dust (more so than a painted smooth surface).

I use Windex and a paper towel or a Clorox Wet Nap to wipe it down weekly or whenever I clean the car.





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Old 07-13-2012, 02:37 PM   #14
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Looks great - I'm concerned about the longevity here - u think it will start to flake apart?
Yep, as far as i know i was the first one to respond to a DIY on refurbishing the interior trim I did mine about 8 months ago, and its all starting to peel again.
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Old 04-01-2010, 05:31 PM   #15
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this is somethng I hate about mine and have Been contemplating....

the prob I have with "factory new" is that stuff is really soft and gets messed up easy....

how durable is plastidip? i dont wanna go throught that work just to have it end up sh!tty again in 6 months.

I'd rather do another type of fix.
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Old 04-01-2010, 05:47 PM   #16
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I've been looking for the oem supplier of the interior paint for a perfect match. I have been told that sem dye can match pretty closely. I also asked the oem manufacturer of the cupholders/sunglass tray what they used to coat it but of course did not get an answer.

I've heard that the plastidip looks good for a few weeks then looks worse than before. I think kpend did this a while back to his interior.

I scraped my stuff to the bare plastic but am waiting to find a better coating. I may end up buying new pieces though.
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:41 PM   #17
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I've heard that the plastidip looks good for a few weeks then looks worse than before.
Exactly what I've been told. If you want a better alternative, look in my thread cinnanomnomnom thread link in my signature. Trust me, the duplicolor vinyl and fabric works magically if you do proper prep
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:01 PM   #18
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looks like sh1t to be honest with you.
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:54 PM   #19
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Good job, There he does it again. Why didnt you get the deep scratches out
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:19 PM   #20
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I was going to do this, but then I read numerous threads saying that the plasti-dip just doesn't hold up well. If you think about it, it's a softer, more delicate rubber coating that the OEM coating, so it's more of a bandaid than anything.
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