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DIY: Do It Yourself
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Old 12-10-2013, 01:07 PM   #1
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Center Valley, PA
Posts: 1
My Ride: 2002 325i sedan
Post Inexpensive grill blackout and keep original finish maintained

Matte Black Grill Trim with Plasti-Dip

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I am not liable for any damage you do to your car, your experience will probably be different from mine. This is just my recollection of a weekend project. Continue at your own risk.

Here's a quick and easy weekend DIY that will save you a good chunk of change and keep your original grill trim in good condition. Great thing about Plasti-dip is if you don't like it you can peel it right off and you're back to your original look. Skip to the end for tl;dr version and pictures

  • Plasti-dip Multi-Purpose Rubber Coating spray – One can did it for me, you get 5-10 sq. ft. per can
  • Painting mask/Dust mask
  • Flathead screwdriver, socket wrench, whatever you prefer to pop your trim out with
  • Soft cleaning cloth/old T-shirt
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Super glue – you might break a trim tab or two, it happens
  • Instant cure spray – optional but helps
  • A warm environment – it helps with even coating of the paint

Step 1: Removal and grill disassembly
NOTE: If anyone has any good guides for this please let me know, sadly my grill was mostly affixed with silicone caulking, I think the previous owner thought this was a fishtank, not a car..
This video does a great job of explaining the process.

Step 2: Cleaning and prepping
While your grill is out, take a few minutes to give everything a nice clean, get out your cloth and whatever cleaning agent you like, I used isopropyl alcohol and water. Not only is this your prep step for painting, but you love your car and should get the gunk out from the lip where the grill sits. I used the isopropyl alcohol on my chrome-plated trim and inside the grill lip of the hood. I'd be careful using it on plastics like your grill insert, use some water and car wash products for that. Make sure the trim piece is nice and clean, that's all you really need to paint, no sanding or scuffing required. Finally make sure it's nice out if you're painting outside, not too windy, humid, or in too much direct sunlight. Or if you're spraying inside make sure you've got a decent temperature going and good ventilation.

Step 3: Fixing what you broke
So you may have broken a few clips or fittings but no big deal, just glue them up, spray on some instant cure to set it, maybe some more glue around the join for added rigidity. I would recommend doing this before painting, I had some instant cure drip down the trim and it botched the Plasti-dip finish. Do this now or you might regret it!

Step 4: Painting
Once again check that everything is clean and make sure your settings are ideal, I sprayed in a room at around 65 °F. If you go too cold I've noticed the Plasti-Dip tends to clump up and you get a fairly bumpy, uneven coating, luckily the stuff sets fairly evenly. Throw some cardboard under the trim, shake up your can about a minute, put on your mask, and get spraying. Plasti-dip recommends to “Apply heavy enough to produce an even, wet appearance”, I went for a little less than that. It gives it a nice textured look with the matte finish. You'll want 3-4 coats, minimum 30 minutes between coats, and about 4 hours to dry before use.

Step 5: Asses and reassemble
Don't like how it turned out? Peel it off and have another go. Don't like matte? Throw a clear coat on it. If you're happy with your work, make sure everything is clean, snap it all back together, throw it in the hood and step back and admire your work. If you're having any questions, the video from step one should help you out here.
*If it isn't a sturdy fit you might want to try this next bit. Since most of my grill fittings were mangled to begin with I had to make two small flat braces from some scrap metal and popped them in between the inside of the hood and the assembled trim piece. I only needed to do this for the inner part of each, the outer clips held fine. i.e. here: (|||||) (|||||) And hypocritically used a dab of silicone caulking to make sure it didn't move around. I'm at uni now, but when I get home over break I'll snap a few pictures to further explain what I mean.

  • Remove and disassemble trim. This video helps.
  • Clean everything. I used Isopropyl alcohol on the hood's trim lip, and on the chrome-plated trim. If plastic, use water and car soap.
  • Glue any broken tabs/clips
  • Make sure it's warm around 60-65 °F for a nice even coating. Too cold and it can clump.
  • Paint. 3-4 coats, 30 minutes in between coats, 4 hours to dry when finished.For a smoother finish: Apply heavy enough to produce an even, wet appearance.For a nice texture with the matte: A little less than that.
    If you don't like it, peel off and start again. If you want gloss, apply clear coat.
  • Reassemble trim, slap it back in your hood. You're finished!

Thanks! Hope it turns out well for you._a_
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