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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Note to Mods: If there is a more appropriate section for this post please feel free to move it.

For some reason, unknown to me at this point, certain options come with or without painted skirts and lips. For those of us who did not receive the painted lips and side skirts from the factory, but want our cars to be rid of the cheap plastic looking appearance, here is a solution I found to be cheaper than local body shops. This is a very easy mod to do that drastically improves the overall look of the vehicle. The time investment is a bit high but the results are worth the investment. I complete this with every vehicle I purchase as it makes it look so much better.

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Disclaimer: I am not a professional painter and these steps are not the law of painting and there may be a better method, but this is the one I have developed over several years and I get flawless results that look better than factory everytime. I've seen friends pay "Body Shops" a lot more for work that looks awful.


Supplies:
An electric sander
sander pads at 120, 320 grit
Wet dry sand paper in 800, 2000 and 2500 grit
Plastic adhesion promoter spray from local auto store
Spray can primer from local auto store
Custom made to color code aresol paint from an automotive paint supply store
1k clear coat in aresol form from an automotive paint supply store
Rubbing compound from auto store
Rubbing Alcohol
A nice stack of clean terry cloth towels.


Step 1.
Remove The Desired Panel to be Painted.
If it is front or rear lip, screws and pin clips, easy.
Side skirts:
A. Open doors and remove the rubber strip that clips to the top of the side skirt by pulling up on it.
B. You will then expose 9 white clips, take a very small flathead screwdriver and push it into the top and bottom of the clip to release the tension on the clip and slide out. These are not standard clips found at autoparts stores so be careful. ( On my driver side I broke every single one, but the skirt still stays on as it is bolted on each side in the wheel well).
C. Under the car at the bottom edge of the side skirt you will find 5 Christmas tree push clips. the only way I found to remove was pull out with pliers and flathead, most will break but these can be replaced with a auto parts store universal pack for about $3.
D. In Each wheel well you will find 3 torque screws (T25). Turn steering wheel to either side to give clearance in front and remove. Rear is tight space so if you don't have smaller tools an easy fix is pop the rear tire off.

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Step 2.
Sanding the Texture
A. The factory texture is pretty thick. You can just paint from here, but you will never be able to obtain the mirror finish. So I start with 120 grit. Spend about 25 minutes with a power sander, you will begin to see the texture blend out.
B. Next I smooth out the rough sanding by moving up to 320 grit, it will flatten the sanding you just did to a smoother finish.
C. Next I do a finial prep WET-sand with 800 grit. It keeps the plastic pores open to receive the paint, but also smooths the texture for a good end result.



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Step 3.
Paint Prep
A. Clean the surface. I use standard rubbing alcohol to do this. Pour some on a rag and wipe entire surface down.
B. I like to use some plastic adhesion promoter. Spray 3-4 coats with about 10 minutes in between for dry time. This products lists itself as a primer, but I consider it more of a .... adhesion promoter, meaning I still primer after.










Step 4.
Primer
A. As stated above in step 3, adhesion promoter doesn't classify as a primer for this project. The primer is good as it is thicker and will fill in any deeper sand scratches not cleaned with the 800 grit sanding. I like to do about 3-4 coats. Light at first. Then a bit more as coats thicken. You will see that any imperfections in sanding will fade and be filled and covered by the primer.
NOTE: This is when real product is actually hitting the surface. Slow and steady wins the race, any runs or drops from too much paint will result in going back a few steps to correct.









Step 5.
Smooth the Primer
A. The primer applied to the sanded plastic interacts with the raw plastic you created with the sanding. It sometimes raises the surfaces and makes the surface seem gritty again which is normal. I use this opportunity to do a wet sand with 800 again. Just enough to remove the raised plastic hairs. Not to much primer should come off and be care not to go deep and expose plastic, but that's why noted about I like 3-4 thicker coats of primer.
B. Clean the surface with rubbing alcohol to remove any particulates before continuing.






Step 6.
Apply Some Paint.
A. Start light, again, you do not want a run in paint at this point. Continue lightly until full coverage in several coats is applied. I like to do more than needed for durability. The finished product here will not have too much shine and will feel very gritty to the touch, this is normal.













Step 7.
Clear Coat.
This is where the magic happens. If you were worried about the look of the paint not being shinny don't worry. This step will take care or it. I like to use a 1k clear coat found at any automotive paint supply store. The 2K is a little better but it has a bonding agent and once you crack the seal it must be used in 24 hours.
A. Start light, again, you do not want a run in paint at this point. Continue lightly until full coverage in several coats is applied. I like to do more than needed for durability. You will be sanding this layer so if you are unsure, add an extra coat.












Step 8.
Drying
Let the finished product dry for at least 24 hours. Don't be tempted to feel the surface unless your ready to go back to step 2. Put it in a safe place where wind debris or wind alone will harm the panel.

Step 9.
Why is my finish fuzzy?
A. You are not done yet. Here comes the final product. The color sand and buff.
B. Your panel is now dry and ready for a final sand and buff. Place panel on a flat surface and grab some 2000 grit sand paper. Have a bucket of water handy as the paper and surface need to stay wet during sanding. It will lube the paper and prevent and burning. Slowly sand a small section at a time. You will see a milky white liquid drip off, this is the outer layers of the clear coat and is normal. After sanding the sections for a minute or so wipe it with a dry cloth and within seconds you will see a white haze come over the panel. This is normal and you should see whats known as "Orange Peel" These are low spots the sand paper didn't get and still resemble some shine. You want to continue on the section until the orange peel is gone and you are left with a haze over the entire panel.
C. Now that the entire panel is hazy, you repeat the step again with 2500 grit paper. As you run your finger on the panel you will notice how smooth it now is, just like glass.











Step 10.
Bring the mirror finish out.
A. The Buff. I use a 6.5' orbital. You pick a small section and dab a few drops you rubbing compound. I used Miguires standard at the auto parts store for about $12. Before turning the orbital on, rub the compound into the panel to spread so you don't shot compound all over the place when you turn the machine on.
B. Go over the section until the compound has all dried and worked in, usually a few minutes. Take a clean rag and wipe off residue. You will start to notice a bit of a shine coming out, but you will also see the 2500 grit sand scratches. Continue this over the same area at least once more, maybe twice until a brilliant shine appears and the sand scratches are gone.










Step 11.
Don't seal the panel.
A. Some of many chemicals you just put in multiple layers to your panel still need to breathe. don't apply wax or sealers on for at least a month.
 

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Awesome write-up.

BTW - what's going on with the rattle can girl?
Is that a necessary requirement in step 6?
 

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Yah.. does the chick come with the process? Great write-up!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That's the wife. If you live in SoCal bring a case of beer and she'll paint it for you.


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I'm seeing some broken image links. If you can fix those, I'll sticky this. Great info for many!

Just so you know:

2004.5-2007 were the pre-facelift S40/V50s. Those with the basic trim had the black/grey textured skirts. The dynamic trim kit (which flairs outwards rather than running straight) was a hugely expensive option, but the lips and skirts were color matched. A few other members have also painted their lower trim to match, so that may be what you have seen.

Most 2008-2012 facelift models have color matched lower trim. I've actually only seen two facelift models that still had textured black lower trim.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'll check the links


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Discussion Starter #9
Every image is showing on my taps talk and on PC


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This is awesome and will sure help A LOT when I'm doing my lower door trims. Thank you sir!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Just pm me if you run into any snags


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Discussion Starter #13
The lower door trims are the hardest panels. The sharp edge. Must be sanded with care as not much product ever sticks there


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I probably will, lol. :)
Hope it'll go well but they're on the shelf for now.. Upcoming service, might need to replace one of my tires (worst case scenario: the rim itself is f****d), girlfriends 30th birthday (got a vacation for me and her, Barcelona!).. Need to buy some Meguiar stuff etc etc.. Not a good time to be on parental leave. But I'll keep you posted, once again, a huuuge thank you for the write up!
 

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Is this a one day thing or does it takes a week?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
To get it right it could be a few hours or a few days. Attention to detail is the key. Nothing worse than it coming out bad and having to sand off a few hours of work to start over with more money on materials. I spend about 3 days a panel, but my mirror finish is a lot clearer than the factory when you look side by side. Start with one panel and give your self a week if it is your first time. Start with the sides since they are the flattest panel. Let me know if any questions come up


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Discussion Starter #19
Hey! amazing work! I just painted my rims and they came out slightly rough/smooth witha mild to low gloss, will a good sanding and buffing seal the deal ? Give it a nice smooth touch and shine ?
I have never done the process on rims but I guess the same May apply. I would try a small section and if not you can just re coat.


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This is one of the best DIY rattle can painting tutorials I've ever seen on any car forum. Great pictures and write up!

I noticed you didn't any sanding of the color coat between layers or before clearing, but I've seen it in other guides. Is it not necessary? Also, can any of the final steps/wet sanding be done with a power sander? Seems like it would take ages and give me carpal tunnel to do a side skirt by hand.
 
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