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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The bumpers and cladding on my RAV are very faded and turning a light grey color. I painted the grille, both wiper arms, and cowl a semi gloss black. I LOVE the way these parts turned out and would like to do the same for the cladding/bumpers, but I don't know if there would be different prep procedures or type of paint to use since these parts are lower and will be subjected to road spray and more debris impacts.
 

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The bumpers and cladding on my RAV are very faded and turning a light grey color. I painted the grille, both wiper arms, and cowl a semi gloss black. I LOVE the way these parts turned out and would like to do the same for the cladding/bumpers, but I don't know if there would be different prep procedures or type of paint to use since these parts are lower and will be subjected to road spray and more debris impacts.
The graying you're seeing is the plastic becoming oxidized from the sun and years of other soaps/chemicals on the surface of the plastic. Some have restored the colour using a heat gun, but I've tried this and it's too risky.

Get some 'SRPAY NINE' and a strong bristle hand brush and scrub scrub scrub the bumpers after letting spray nine soak into it for at least 30 minutes out of the sunlight.

After scrubbing and rinsing you'll notice a definite difference already, you've effectively degreased and removed a good bit of oxidation.

Now take a COTTON rag and wet it with acetone, you DO NOT want a soaked rag, just one that there is enough acetone to dissolve contaminants which are in the "creases" in the the top layer of plastic, BE careful not to melt the plastic you dont want ANY dripping acetone from the rag, and do not rub to hard!

If you do this right, the bottom half of your Rav4 will look almost new again. It's how professionals do it. My family was in the used car business for many many years, and they were successful via tips like these.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The graying you're seeing is the plastic becoming oxidized from the sun and years of other soaps/chemicals on the surface of the plastic. Some have restored the colour using a heat gun, but I've tried this and it's too risky.

Get some 'SRPAY NINE' and a strong bristle hand brush and scrub scrub scrub the bumpers after letting spray nine soak into it for at least 30 minutes out of the sunlight.

After scrubbing and rinsing you'll notice a definite difference already, you've effectively degreased and removed a good bit of oxidation.

Now take a COTTON rag and wet it with acetone, you DO NOT want a soaked rag, just one that there is enough acetone to dissolve contaminants which are in the "creases" in the the top layer of plastic, BE careful not to melt the plastic you dont want ANY dripping acetone from the rag, and do not rub to hard!

If you do this right, the bottom half of your Rav4 will look almost new again. It's how professionals do it. My family was in the used car business for many many years, and they were successful via tips like these.
Interesting. I have all of that at home. I will try this on a small section when I get home this afternoon and see how it turns out. I'll report back here with the results.
 

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I have tried the heat gun, works OK but I feel like it made the plastic brittle in some of the thinner areas. I generally use linseed oil to keep the plastic looking fresh - but DupliColor makes a pretty decent "bumper paint" that I have had success with. Closest color match to the dark grey of most of our exterior parts is "Charcoal."
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Tried the spray cleaner and acetone, per directions. FAIL! I did manage to finally get all the old oil and power steering fluid residue from leaks in years past with the cleaner! Overall, the plastic has been deep cleaned, but is still very faded. I rubbed the small plastic cladding behind the driver's side wheel for about 10 min, re-wetting the rag with acetone multiple times. BARELY made a difference. Oh well. I love the way the grille/wiper arms turned out and will be eventually painting. I will probably deep clean the plastic one more time before prepping and painting, whenever I can get around to that.
 

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Tried the spray cleaner and acetone, per directions. FAIL! I did manage to finally get all the old oil and power steering fluid residue from leaks in years past with the cleaner! Overall, the plastic has been deep cleaned, but is still very faded. I rubbed the small plastic cladding behind the driver's side wheel for about 10 min, re-wetting the rag with acetone multiple times. BARELY made a difference. Oh well. I love the way the grille/wiper arms turned out and will be eventually painting. I will probably deep clean the plastic one more time before prepping and painting, whenever I can get around to that.
Thanks for the feedback, not sure why you didnt have good results with this method, Like you I disliked the heat gun method. I used the acetone method ONCE, to get a clean surface, all I use now is Spray nine and a brush. and i've had compliments as to how dark it looks compared to other rav4's owners who've approached me.
 

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My CUTE 1997 2 door Rav4 was showing signs of it having been around for several years, especially the black trim and bumpers: grey. I landed on a product: Turtle Wax Jet Black Endura-Shine Trim Coating. AMAZING stuff! I removed all the trim I could remove and washed the heck out of it with detergent/water (I think dish soap DAWN works pretty well to get grease etc off). The Jet Black comes with a sponge (and gloves). I found it best to DAB the liquid magic on rather that smearing it on. It fits better into the grainy texture of the trim if dabbed on. I did 3-4 (maybe more) coats until I had a good, deep, dark BLACK finish and put them back on the car. AMAZING difference. I haven't done the door panels yet and the difference is startling; I'll post pictures as soon as I can get them. My initial application was 3 months ago and those pieces still look like I did them yesterday. Turtle Wax brags it will last over a year and I think they may be right. Make sure you get the Trim Coating as Jet Black has several products I haven't used. I left the rear door trim in place and masked off the trim from the car, backing that with thick paper to avoid getting it on the paint. Remove all those panels you can. I haven't done the door panels yet as I want to figure out HOW to remove them first and, then, figure out how to not black out the RAV4 trim in the grooves. I think I have a method I'll report on when I do it. But Winter doth fast approach.

Front Bumper: the one I have is and after-market but was showing signs of time as well. I sanded it lightly with 320 grit sandpaper to rough it up a bit to give it a little "tooth" for the paint to grip and PAINTED it with DUPLACOLOR Bumper Paint, flat black, which worked really well and, so far (one month) seems pretty durable. I used two cans on one bumper; getting 3 might not be a bad idea. REMOVE the bumper before painting it, please: not that hard a task.

The heat gun idea freaks me out. Just saying.......... Good luck.......
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My CUTE 1997 2 door Rav4 was showing signs of it having been around for several years, especially the black trim and bumpers: grey. I landed on a product: Turtle Wax Jet Black Endura-Shine Trim Coating. AMAZING stuff! I removed all the trim I could remove and washed the heck out of it with detergent/water (I think dish soap DAWN works pretty well to get grease etc off). The Jet Black comes with a sponge (and gloves). I found it best to DAB the liquid magic on rather that smearing it on. It fits better into the grainy texture of the trim if dabbed on. I did 3-4 (maybe more) coats until I had a good, deep, dark BLACK finish and put them back on the car. AMAZING difference. I haven't done the door panels yet and the difference is startling; I'll post pictures as soon as I can get them. My initial application was 3 months ago and those pieces still look like I did them yesterday. Turtle Wax brags it will last over a year and I think they may be right. Make sure you get the Trim Coating as Jet Black has several products I haven't used. I left the rear door trim in place and masked off the trim from the car, backing that with thick paper to avoid getting it on the paint. Remove all those panels you can. I haven't done the door panels yet as I want to figure out HOW to remove them first and, then, figure out how to not black out the RAV4 trim in the grooves. I think I have a method I'll report on when I do it. But Winter doth fast approach.

Front Bumper: the one I have is and after-market but was showing signs of time as well. I sanded it lightly with 320 grit sandpaper to rough it up a bit to give it a little "tooth" for the paint to grip and PAINTED it with DUPLACOLOR Bumper Paint, flat black, which worked really well and, so far (one month) seems pretty durable. I used two cans on one bumper; getting 3 might not be a bad idea. REMOVE the bumper before painting it, please: not that hard a task.

The heat gun idea freaks me out. Just saying.......... Good luck.......
Thanks for the info! Post pics here when you can. I'm interested in seeing the results of the bumper paint. I have see the Turtle Wax trim product used and it does indeed last a long time. I am tired of having to always come back and retreat this plastic, so I think painting will be a permanent solution. I stopped off at an auto paint supply store and as soon they heard "aerosol", they basically gave me a cold shoulder the rest of my time in there :confused: Anyway, this weekend I am going to the local salvage yard to purchase a small trim piece from a car to test. I will deep clean/degrease it, spray 1-2 coats of primer, then 2-3 coats of semi gloss black. I did this with the grille and wiper arms 6 months ago and they still look amazing. Actually came out with a smoother finish than the original paint! (no orange peel)
 

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My bumper had been painted prior to my purchasing the Car. It was NOT looking good. No idea how long it had been since it had been painted or what it was painted with but the over spray on the metal above the bumper still looked good: ie, paint on METAL is a good idea; paint on flexible plastic may not be. Bumper-specific paint is a better idea. RustOlium makes a PLASTIC-SPECIFIC paint that MAY be better than just the regular paint. I have not seen that in a primer but would be worth looking for. It isn't really what it looks like after it is painted because that will (usually) look good, talent-dependent. It's what will it look like in 1-2 years when the paint is flaking or peeling off. Removing paint is a PITA as, on plastic, it has to be sanded and paint removers are a no-no. On trim that is treated with a WAX product (Like the Turtle Wax product) is a matter of recoating the wax. Again, my experience with the wax product has not been the year or more they brag about but I am very impressed with how it still looks: literally factory new. I'll see if I can get some pictures posted soon. BTW: all my trim is black, except the spare tire cover (hard plastic) which are light and dark grey. I only have experience with Duplicolor bumper paint on the bumper.
 

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The guy at the body shop told me they use the same paint on the bumper covers, but mix in some kind of plasticizer that makes the paint more flexible after it's dry. My daughter's first car had a bumper cover that wasn't painted properly. After a minor bump, the paint was flaking off badly.
 

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'Zactly! The paint on a bumper needs to be flexible. The Bumper paint seems to be. I have had the bumper off 3 times since applying the bumper paint (see DRIVING LIGHT INSTALLATION) and no signs of things flaking off. I believe it is a good product and seems durable to my minor abuses. I will know much more after this Winter's weather abuses. Stay tuned..........
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So I experimented on a small piece and LOVE the results! The texture is almost perfect and held up to a 1500 psi pressure washer too! I'll post more details as I try a couple more pieces. Hopefully they're as successful lol.
 

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That looks great! Hopefully it is long-lasting.......
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That looks great! Hopefully it is long-lasting.......
I feel pretty good about it. This paint is able to be waxed and after it is fully dried, I will put a coat of wax on and hope for the best! Worst case scenario, I'll just paint again. Lol. As far as adhesion to the panel, the only area I feel worried about is the front bumper with rock dings and bug splatters.
 

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Now get some black retainer plugs to go with all your hard work............
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Now get some black retainer plugs to go with all your hard work............
*Great Minds*
I actually was searching for just that yesterday! No luck. If I can't find anything, I may just paint the existing retainers. Do you know how to remove the panels on the doors? I can get the bumper caps, front bumper, and fender cladding off. I just can't see the fasteners on the door cladding to see how they are removed.
 

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Taking the door panels off requires taking the inner door panel off as far as I can tell. There are clips holding it on but also two nuts in each corner. There are plugs to cover the holes those are accessible through but the inner door panel still has to come off. AND if the plastic clips break, it's a trip to the Toyota dealer as it is a dealer item. \

NAPA and other car parts places have a collection of trim clips that all come in black. Take one of yours off and head on over so you can compare what you have with what they have. Mine are held on with black screws that area OEM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Taking the door panels off requires taking the inner door panel off as far as I can tell. There are clips holding it on but also two nuts in each corner. There are plugs to cover the holes those are accessible through but the inner door panel still has to come off. AND if the plastic clips break, it's a trip to the Toyota dealer as it is a dealer item. \

NAPA and other car parts places have a collection of trim clips that all come in black. Take one of yours off and head on over so you can compare what you have with what they have. Mine are held on with black screws that area OEM.
....Yeah I'll just mask off...LOL...I wanted to pull them off so I could spray them horizontally and more comfortably. Oh well :)


I'm not sure if we have a NAPA, but I think we do. I'll check that out this weekend.
 

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Most car parts (Advanced, O'Riley, etc) have a section with those plastic plugs. Shop around. If you are masking it off, use the Blue paint tape as anything else seems to seep by the edges. Post pictures when you're done...... I should talk. Haven't posted pictures yet, either.....
 
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