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Old 01-15-2014, 02:26 PM   #1
LuvMySaturn65
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Question Painting OEM Plastic Bumper

A few years ago I obtained a RF fender and bumper from a '97 SL2. I've painted the front bumper a metallic gun metal grey which is considerably lighter than the OEM on a '97 SL1. My plan is to repaint the hood the same color as the new bumper and put racing stripes on. It will be the only SL1 in this town with mods and upgrades.

My question is, instead of replacing the rear bumper with a SL2, is there a way I can sand all the 'bumps' and repaint it the same color as the 'new' front bumper?

I read through one forum where a guy and his son transformed a SL1 to a SL2; and saw the pics of the '98 SL2 seats. Makes me want to go find new seats for mine. It seems I always get cars from gals that let their children have food fights in the car. Luckily there are several places around here for Saturn parts. I especially love the looks I get when I go into a U-Pull-It with my own tools considering I'm a female...with tools!

BTW I've only had one issue with my car not going into 1st after having the shift cables replaced. Shift linkage perhaps?

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Old 01-15-2014, 06:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: Painting OEM Plastic Bumper

No idea why you shouldn't be able to. What bumps are you referring to?

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Old 01-15-2014, 06:27 PM   #3
LuvMySaturn65
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Default Re: Painting OEM Plastic Bumper

It's the texture of the bumper from the manufacture. I've looked at the flexible bumper paint, but want it the same color as the front.

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Old 01-15-2014, 07:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: Painting OEM Plastic Bumper

Oh I gotcha. Been a long day. I would think you could get it sanded down and painted fairly easily. Haven't had any experience with painting a car (other than spraypainting over the rust on my old car, which you probably don't want to do ) at all though so I can't tell you what the best tool for sanding the bumper would be.

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Old 01-16-2014, 10:33 AM   #5
LuvMySaturn65
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Default Re: Painting OEM Plastic Bumper

I would think that a 150 grit would work for starters and go to a 600 before painting.

Thanks for the advice. Once I get the front done and installed, I can start on the rear.

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Old 01-16-2014, 10:37 AM   #6
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Happy Re: Painting OEM Plastic Bumper

I have sprayed a number of flexible bumpers over the years.
Be sure to roughen up the surface with 240 grit paper and clean it with acetone before spraying.
600 is a bit too fine at that point.
You have to give the paint a "tooth" into the base material for adhesion.
If spraying basecoat/clearcoat, personally I'd probably skip primer.
I'd paint the color coat directly onto the roughened surface in 4-6 very thin mist coats (or as many mist coats as it takes to get the color even plus at least a couple more).
Optionally, gently block wet sand with 400 grit after every 2-3 coats. That will help make it super smooth.
Scuff the final coat up lightly with 320 or 400 grit and clean again (the reason for the extra color coats).
Then spray the clear overcoat in 3-4 mist coats followed by a final wet coat or two.
Again, if possible lightly scuff wet sand at least before the final coats.
Use flex additive if you are not using rattle cans of course.
You might have to lightly sand the clear coat with 2000 grit to remove orange peel and dust and then hand rub it glossy.
Depends upon how clean your spray area is and what the weather conditions were when you did it.
It might just come out glossy and smooth as-is.

I have painted something around 30 cars over the years and this has worked for me.
Not that I particularly enjoy painting cars (it's not a labor of love for me).

I hope this helps you.

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Old 01-16-2014, 12:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Painting OEM Plastic Bumper

Excellent advise. I paint the same way but not as many cars. If you're careful with the last clear coat, you shouldn't need any sanding.

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Old 01-16-2014, 12:40 PM   #8
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Happy Re: Painting OEM Plastic Bumper

Thanks.
Yes, the final clear coat can be very tricky but if done right it can be wet-look smooth and glossy.
That's where orange peel and sags typically happen though.
One insect or fuzz landing on the final coat can trigger a sag on a vertical surface.
Not to panic though, you can use a nib file later to remove them if you are careful.

If you want a matte finish, add maybe half a teaspoon of corn starch to the spray mix for the final coat.
You have to experiment with it.
Different brands of paint will react...well, differently.

Also, I forgot to mention to use fish eye remover additive to the clear coats.
Any large specs of dust, insects, dandruff, and so forth can cause fish eyes.

Oh, and use non-powdered disposible gloves because the talc typically used to make them not stick to your hands WILL cause fish eyes.

Please don't ask me how I know that....


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Old 01-16-2014, 05:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: Painting OEM Plastic Bumper

Thanx guys for the tips. This going to be rattle can, so the additives will be a bit hard to put in the can.

I live in AZ, and the mornings are the best to paint when it's not too cold, though. And for an impatient person (not me ), waiting for the sun to come over to warm everything up is a bit trying...

I may have to use primer anyway because these people have no regards to other people's property. I've got more scrapes and gouges on my car just from the short time I've lived here . Apparently when people see a Saturn, they think POS and I'll never notice.

Thanks again! I think I'm going to paint my hood and LF fender before tackling that one as they need it worse...

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Old 01-16-2014, 06:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Painting OEM Plastic Bumper

Quote:
Originally Posted by LuvMySaturn65 View Post
. I've got more scrapes and gouges on my car just from the short time I've lived here
At least the plastic doesn't rust if it's scraped or gouged.

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Old 01-16-2014, 07:10 PM   #11
Montreal300
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Default Re: Painting OEM Plastic Bumper

Quote:
Originally Posted by ninetynineSC2 View Post
At least the plastic doesn't rust if it's scraped or gouged.
Amen to that. Nothing here that's metal lasts beyond 10 years. Just ends up being a brown pile of dust in the driveway.

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Old 01-17-2014, 12:02 PM   #12
LuvMySaturn65
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Thumbs Up Re: Painting OEM Plastic Bumper

That's true. It's a nice thing that most of Saturns are made of either fiberglass or plastic. No rust there, but still have chips, gouges, and scrapes where people have opened their doors hard and just plain not caring about someone else's property. But the rear bumper looks like someone tried to set it on fire. It looks melted so there's the reason for the primer...with filler. That way I can built it up and smooth it out to make it look near to perfect.

The fun one is going to be taping off my car to paint the LF fender and the hood.

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Old 01-17-2014, 12:30 PM   #13
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Default Re: Painting OEM Plastic Bumper

Hours of sanding, priming, painting, sanding, painting again, and drying or 30 minutes of swapping bumpers?
http://www.differentracing.com/tech_...ontfascia.html

Rear bumper is essentially the same procedure as the front, just mirrored.

I believe rear seats are generation/model specific while I know front seats are direct swappable '91-'02 (and it takes maybe 5min to remove a passenger seat to make room for an engine or 32" CRT TV ).

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Old 02-03-2014, 03:06 PM   #14
LuvMySaturn65
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Default Re: Painting OEM Plastic Bumper

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetchitfido View Post
Hours of sanding, priming, painting, sanding, painting again, and drying or 30 minutes of swapping bumpers?
Hours? How about days...lol

I have a couple spots to fix on the front bumper and have decided to wait until the mornings are warmer than 50 degrees and no wind. For the most part, I like how it came out as far as the color and sparkle of the metallic.

Thanks for the link of how to take apart and put back the bumper. It will be easier than than the first time when I replace the RF fender. That one took me 6 hours.

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