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painting plastic (long)

OK, y'all,

Yesterday I've painted the (manually adjustable) passenger door mirror body
colour on my 88 80. Thanks to all for the good advice on prepping the
surface, took your words to heart and did the following:

-Cleaned the whole car very well indeed
-Removed the mirror assy from the door
 (this requires removing the #$$% door panel)
NOTE: removing the mirror *entirely* entails 'splitting' the door (i.e.
removing the top frame from the door body)- I just gave the adjusting
cables as much slack as I could, masked the car off and let the mirror hang
-Removed the mirror glass (it clamps on, takes some careful prying with a
-Gave the mirror housing a thorough cleaning with degreaser and silicone
remover (essential, since I'd used Armor All on my car)
-Masked off the plinth and the rim around the glass (these stay black on
factory-painted mirrors here, and I like it that way)
-Used fine-grade steel wool to roughen the smooth surface of the mirror housing
-Sprayed on three very thin layers of plastic primer (NOTE: this should be
compatible with your paint-check before buying)
-Sprayed on the coloured paint (four thin layers)
-As my car is a metallic, I finished it off with three thin layers of
clearcoat. I asked the paint store guy to get me some extra tough
clearcoat, explained what I needed it for.

Some people have advised me to get some special paint mixed for this
purpose, and spray it from a proper spray gun. I would have loved to do
that, but financially it's just not on. I'm going to let this dry out
properly before I drive it for long distances, polish it to a high gloss
(there's a slight orange peel at the moment) in a week or so, and see how
it lasts. The roads are pretty good here, not a lot of grit and I don't
venture onto the track (no point with only 88 hp and stock suspension) or
off the road (no q), so I'd be interested to know how it holds up. I've
done the bumpers of a girlfriend's Suzuki with a lot less preparation a
year and a half ago, and they still look perfect (although atmittedly she
doesn't drive that much).
For now, my mirror looks very good indeed, wish I'd not left it so long.
I'll do the other one soon...

I'll keep you posted!



PS On a slightly related subject: I read somewhere that insurers are
dreading to pay out for damaged bumper covers on modern cars. These are
exceedingly expensive, and used to be thrown away for a mere scratch.
There's a firm here in Holland that repairs bumper covers invisibly by
filling them with specially formulated filler, and painting them. They can
even replicate the 'grain' on some bumpers, by taking a mould in silicone
stuff off an undamaged part and moulding the filled hole in that. They also
claim that the repair is as strong as the bumper itself, and should not
shrink or crack. There was a close-up picture of a bumper repaired in this
manner, before and after the repair and painting, and it looked very good,
the repair being truly invisible after painting.

PPS Thanks to all who replied to my question about the plastic paintic
subject. Very good info!

 Tom Nas                                          Zeist, The Netherlands

            Osborn's Law: Variables won't, constants aren't.