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39 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
A while back I decided to repaint the plastic garnish and do some cheapskate mods. Here's what I did:

- Removed roof garnish and painted with Krylon Fusion Satin Black.
Somewhat disappointed with paint. Each can sprayed differently; some did fine, others pulsed, some sprayed blobs, and so on.
- Removed tailgate garnish, rear bumper and purchased new front bumper cover from CarStuff ($75+100 shipping) and painted same.
- Masked and painted remaining plastic same color.
- New multifunction switch, washer pump and horn.
- Replaced upper and low front billet aluminum grills from ebay grille4U ($88 & free shipping)
- AVB air deflector (CarStuff $75)
- Replaced missing passenger air bag ($250). Still looking for connector harness.
- Cheapskate interior pad (Harbor Freight $25)
What do you think?



95 Posts
My 2 cents worth

Your pictures show a nice job, but I'm not close up to the work.
Really, we try to make the E look it's best, right?

For paint, take the vehicle paint code to an auto supply shop who can have a spray bomb (spray can) made up. The nozzle they use is so much better, but you can still clog it and get runs and a mess.

Undoing your own mistakes has got to be the most difficult of tasks.

Get extra nozzles, and know what solvent to flush them with, and get some pressurized air to help clean them. A 12vdc tire compressor would do, but dry filtered air is always best. Any talk of air implies goggles. Google goggles. Good spray bombs are 2 or 3 times the price of an off the shelf can.

Not like you are repainting an old 1960's bicycle, are you?

( Tip: Off the shelf cans can be mixed/prepped in a box, set on your clothes washer when it runs, cans upside down. Use the vibes Luke. Do this when you are catching up on laundry, do this a few times to mix the paint. Use freshly mixed paint.)

Your auto supply shop will either know or ask questions about the original paint, any paint work done since new yadayadayadaya... clear coat finish yadayada

If you can get a source (compressor) of dry filtered air, Google HVLP spray guns.

Different paints do not play well together.

DIY will take more time than you think (gloves/prep work/tape up/ disassembly-reassembly/new automotive fasteners and hardware/supplies for the prep work/ tack cloth/feathering/drying times) and much attention to small details (temperature, humidity...yeah, stuff like that).

If you can not do this DIY paint stuff real slow, don't even bother.

You need ventilation and often a filter mask (OSH spec) depending on the products (MSDS sheet??) you need.

All this for small parts, not large surfaces.

Talk it all out with a good auto supply shop. You can do good paint work on your own, but if you don't have a somewhat clean place and the time to leave the items to let the paint cure ( a few days to 2 weeks, depending of a number of details per coat, and there are more than one coat), I doubt you will be happy. Garaged or outdoors, paint takes a beating.

Nice looking is not out of a spray can. Darn near an art form, and truly a labour of love.

Now, my 93 van, worked to the bone, the bitter end....not a pretty picture, but I wasn't after 'the look' . Nor was a buddy who assisted in the ongoing restoration of his 83 Ford Ranger, may it rest in peace. A eulogy to Bondo.
Shower that pickup with magnets and not one would miss the ground. Any that fell into the bed would hop out and onto the ground rather than live with the stigma of adhering to fiberglass.

Repainted an old classic bicycle, much of last summer. Looks sweet. Near $100, after all paints, solvents, abrasives, Dremel this and that, so much etc.
Did that in an unfinished basement, controlled temp and humidity. Still, much time and effort. And piles of unused/waste stuff when it was finished. Paid for waste, mind you.

Just a bicycle. Did I mention it is a classic???

A somewhat rare 196? Italian folding tandem, trailer hitched to my 1986 2-seater MR2. Pick your DIY battles wisely...especially paint.

I (ahem) threw in a few mods: it was in pieces, how could I resist? : 196? seats are not like seats of today: we have LED lighting today: shifters & pedals, lighter nauseum. It was a classic..Okay a rev 2.0 of an original. Feel better?

The MR2 goes to a pro. Outta my league by a long shot.

If you actually want to learn paint, get any half decent vehicle door or hood from a wrecker, and restore it to a finish you can tolerate on you own Element. Then leave it outside for a year. Still acceptable?

Best way to learn.

Even better, when you take your Element to a body/paint shop you have a far better understanding why it is so much more expensive than the $10 spray can that many think should do the job just fine. And if you don't see estimates for fasteners, prep supplies. specialized paint techniques( there are a bunch), curing, you can guess what the job might look like.

$10 becomes $5,000 very very fast.

But only if you insist it looks good.

All those words. Still, nothing better than a feeling of accomplishment when people stop and say:

"Where did you get that awesome bike?!'

'I restored it myself.'

39 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·

You're precisely correct. I did it on the cheap. It looks good up to about 2 feet.

It's OK for me.

Thanks for your advice however. I may buy new plastic and replace all of them.


95 Posts

I feel dumb, I forgot the most important parts.

Chances are good that a really skilled experienced autobody person has a home business and contacts for supplies at the best prices too, who will do a great job for an attractive price.

A really sweet deal might be in your neighbourhood.

Again, the auto supply shops may know who to call. Get references from whoever you think you might go with. See their handiwork on other cars and trucks.

Also, in these difficult economic times, if a commercial body shop is ever repairing a Fuji Blue Element, they might do your panels while the paint guns and paint booths are in Fuji Blue mode ( prep w/o tape up, primer, paint- what's a little more surface area to deal with??) for a good price.

Worst headache is to get one of many bodyshops to call you when they are doing a Fuji Blue Element, and arrange the panels, or pay them to get them.

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