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My E is a silver gray with the blue gray panels. I don’t mind the blue so much, except for the fact that some areas are splotchy and faded. I would like to make the plastic panels black. I don’t want to pay a fortune for them if I can just do it myself lol. What do you think? Have you ever done this? What product and method?
 

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2003 Honda Element Sunset Orange Pearl 2WD Automatic 135K Miles I Love It!
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You are definitely not crazy! :) Rough looking panels can do serious harm to the overall appearance of an otherwise nice looking Element.

Have you tried any of the plastic panel restorers out there first?

I have used Mother's Back to Black (it doesn't matter that your panels are blue; this stuff doesn't have any dye in it), which works well; but it doesn't last very long.

Even better, I used a 50/50 mix of Linseed Oil and Mineral Spirits (a trick I learned on this site, do a search) and just rub it it with a soft cotton cloth, and then wipe off the excess. This stuff will really wake up the look of your panels.

Try either of the above first.

If that still doesn't work, yes you can paint the panels. I didn't paint my side panels, but I did paint my roof panels (seems to be the same material) with good success. It's been well over a year now and they still look good. Here's the links. The first link shows the how to and the finished product, and the second link leads up to how I decided to do it:



Hope this helps! :)
 

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Have you looked around for OEM replacements? Out of curiosity, I did quick Google search and found gray panels for as little as $30 for each front panel and $90 for each rear. If you searched a little more, I wonder if you might be able to find blue ones as well.
 

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2003 Honda Element Sunset Orange Pearl 2WD Automatic 135K Miles I Love It!
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I got it! May I present to you Hernando: View attachment 205099

I used raptor liner on both plastics and main body.
Looks awesome! :)

Does the Raptor Liner leave the black panels with a textured finish similar to their original texture?

I've tried treating my '03 EX side panels first with Mother's Back to Black (which lasts maybe 2-3 weeks at best here in FL); and more recently with the trick 50/50 mixture of linseed oil and mineral spirits which goes on easier and really looks great when done; but it will last maybe 5-6 weeks and needs done again.

I'm hoping for something more permanent.

Please let me know. Thanks!
 

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Thanks! I have to repaint again since there’s some spots that I missed or didn’t adhere correctly. It’s been raining everyday and this requires no rain for 72 hours. Im hoping in the fall or beginning next year I can

to get the texture I wanted took a lot of trial an error. I didn’t want that crazy bumpy texture raptor is known for. I’m fortunate enough to have an air compressor and a couple of paint guns at my disposal. I used a primer gun, a couple of painters cups to measure out(I was at 3:1), had to use reducer and play with the air pressure to get it how I wanted. The plastics are definitely similar to the texture of the oem texture. It’s a bit rougher to the touch.

I tried using a bed liner gun I have lying around and the texture was just too much no matter how I adjusted the psi or reducer I used. If you want a subtle texture you’ll definitely need a spray gun with at least 2mm size nozel.
 

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Thanks midnight. Hopefully my picture helped out with an idea of what it looks like. It’s definitely a lot of work, time, and patience. So if anyone wants to do this; plan, plan, plan. I feel like this is a little more than a weekend thing. Maybe three four days. I removed everything from the car. I don’t know if that’s something anyone wants to do but I suggest it to make sure everything is prepped and sprayed correctly. Let me know if you have further questions if anyone plans doing this.
 
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