Fiat 124 Spider Forum banner

Should I try painting the 21" center trim piece?

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Premium Member
2018 124 Abarth
Joined
·
147 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I saw red AC outlets from MoPar parts in a post on 21stcenturyfiat124spider and wanted to get them; that is, until I learned that MoPar wants $184. I knew there could be another way to get the same look.

I found color matched touchup paint on automotivetouchup.com . Two 12oz spray cans, base coat and clear coat, cost me $42 with shipping. The match to my A7V red looks perfect and. I, hopefully, now have more touchup paint than I will ever need.

I expected to remove the complete duct assemblies, but learned better when I attempted to remove the first one with plastic trim tools. The chrome plastic trim popped off the duct at one corner. From there it was easy to pop off the entire trim ring. That’s when I learned the ring is held to the duct with 4 delicate tabs that all bust completely off the trim ring when it’s removed. I continued to remove the other two rings. I did have to make some adjustment to the first duct I worked on to be sure it was again properly seated in the dash.

Painting was straight forward. 1. Lightly sanded the chrome with 320 grit sandpaper and cleaned with alcohol to give the primer a way to stick. 2. Three very light coats of gray primer to achieve full coverage, waiting 10 - 15 minutes between coats. 3. Three very light coats of base red to achieve full coverage. 4. Two light coats and one final slightly heavier coat of clear to achieve a smooth gloss finish.

I let the rings dry a day and a half before attempting to mount them. I wanted a gel glue that would give me some working time before it set hard. I used a glue called E6000 from Wal-Mart. It did the job, but it cured so slowly I had to spend about a half hour with each ring making sure to reposition the rings every 5 – 10 minutes as gravity helped them slip out of place before the glue set.

Final result: They aren’t perfect, but they’re pretty darn good. My couple of slight paint problems are out of sight with the rings installed. The big plus of painting the rings is that you can match the rings exactly to your car color. I’m really happy with my red. Your whites, blues, silver, and grays could really pop.

I would love to see someone do this with another car color.

The last AC duct is in the 21” long trim piece. Should I paint it too? What do you think?
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
553 Posts
Maybe it's me but did you considered wrapping them?
 
  • Like
Reactions: CDPond

·
Registered
Joined
·
411 Posts
Oh my, I really like this. I wasn't feeling the MOPAR because of the cost and it appeared a different shade of red.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,515 Posts
I actually purchased and installed the MOPAR OEM red bezel covers, and I'm very happy with them.... except the cost of course, which is what everyone is worried about. The challenge, as noted by the OP, is getting them off without breaking anything. I needed to get one of them off anyway, as I had to install a pod mounted holder for my boost gauge. And what I learned is that it's not easy to remove them, and also very easy to break the tabs on them. So of the three original chrome rings, one would have to be contact cememted back on if they were to be reused. The red is a good colour, and I don't have to worry about any deterioration from wear, heat, etc. If I were going to apply a coloured finish to the chrome rings, I think I'd have gone the route that Jesus Santa mentioned.... a wrap... or failing that, plastidip. Regardless, glad your experiement work out for you, and you saved a $150 in the process. :) As I look at your photos of your paint work, it appears the colour is pretty much identical to the OEM red rings from MOPAR. Good work!

For comparison, here's a photo of the OEM red rings replacements so you get a feel for the actual colour. Don't ask why the first photo is rotated 90 degrees.... just another unadvertised feature of this quirky website. (It initially shows up in the correct orientation, but as soon as I use the grab handles on the image to reduce the size, it rotates it 90 degrees, and I can't prevent it from happening).
78576
78575
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jesus Santa
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top