Plastidipping a car - DIY and long term review
2 months of living with a plastidipped car
"What are you doing?!?! You are ruining a perfectly good car!" could be heard through out the day at Sansossio Autobody when we started this experiment. I have to admit, I myself was a little unsure of the results, but figured worst case, Phil Jr would have an unscheduled new project to paint. The idea of painting a car using Plastidip had been circulating through a number of locals minds and I was the one adventurous enough to try it.
Before I took the challenge on, I turned to one of the few people I actually trust to oversee an experiment like this, Phil Jr. from Sansossio Autobody. For years, I have always known Phil to take on interesting projects like this... A custom 335/M3 back bumper, a CF roof overlayed on top of an OEM roof, and finally the CF/aluminum hood that was found on my M3 up until I sold it. Phil, was some what amused by the idea but was enthusiastically interested in helping.
Not having any clue as to what I was going to need, I used a "How - To" by the User "Fonzie" on Audizine. In the article Fonzie started by converting an Ibis White 2010 S4 to a matte black Plasti dipped S4. He eventually removed the black and went with a matte white plasti dipped coating over his OEM paint(this second detail is an important one). Using 13 cans as my estimate, I ordered 15 rattle cans figuring I would also paint my roof, unlike Fonzie.
On the morning of Thursday, July 13th I show up at Sansossio Autobody and Phil and I have a quick discussion to talk game plan. Phil handed over some tape and pointed out several other items I would want to use to mask off the car. Several minutes after begining I was informed by Phil Sr that I was now fired from ever taping anything off again at the shop. Eventually after Phil Jr. went over several spots(tape really should have been re done as per Phil Jr, lol) and got my job to a point of acceptibility(the standards were low) the painting started.
As day 1 came to a close we realized that the white plastidip doesn't have the same covering ability as black. The same amount of white plasti dip covers a smaller area than black. This ended up throwing off my plans for using 15 cans. At the end of day 1 the car looked pretty crappy, although many will argue the car looked pretty crappy when it was "done" too. In most places you could see the silver paint shining through the plastidip. In fact if it sprayed evenly, the metal flake in the factory silver paint gave the thin coats a bit of a pearlesent effect. Its unclear how hard it would have been to get the thin coats off the car. You can see the uneveness on the doors in the pic below with stripes from left to right...
In any case the rush was on to find as many cans of white plastidip in the Metro West area of Mass as I could. I discoved that in a pinch, Ace Hardware stores all carry multiple colors of plastidip and most had at least 1 can in stock. I was able to scrounge up 7 more cans after visiting 4 seperate Ace's. After 21 cans the car got to something that I considered acceptable. It covered enough of the paint to stop the silver from coming through but because it came out of spray cans, it was very uneven. Unfortunately, there is no wet sanding plastidip to perfection... it is rubber after all. Below are the pictures of the car post paint job.
The first time I experienced removing the plastidip was when I pealed the roof to vinyl it gloss black. Below is a picture... it removes identical to vinyl cast.
In my honest opinion, if one was perfect with there strokes while spraying the platidip job is a worth while finish. The durability of this finish is incredible. I not only dropped a screw driver head first on to the front bumper but I had someone "kiss" my back bumper while trying to park in a parking lot. There were dimples in the plastidip but the paint underneath was still ok.
The negative - it stains... and is hard to wash. I ran it through brushed car washes, and in a manual wash bay I put a lot of pressure on the scrub brush and found that there were lots of places on the car that wouldnt clean. This might come off with something like a clay bar or simple green but never got around to trying it. To be clear, the stains were oil based. If I was working in the engine bay and shut the hood, the residue that would transfer from my hand to the hood wouldnt come out 100%. I would think with a different color, the stains wouldnt be as visible and might not be such a big deal because the majority of the dirt came off the car with a wash.
Below are some pictures after a wash...
a4 avant by leemiks, on Flickr
Would I do it again? Definately, I finally stripped the car about 3 weeks ago and although it took longer than the 30 minutes I was quoted it still came off pretty easy. I have included a video of what it's like to peel the hood. Pretty easy.
Phil and I have plans to attempt it again in the spring but plans are to shoot it out of a gun... if our technique got better and we could spray it evenly... plastidip would def be a great alternative to a $3k wrap job but at our current spray can skill level... its a cool novelty.
For more info on Plastidiping your car...
Plastidip How To by Fonzie - http://www.audizine.com/forum/showth...e-brave-enough
Dip your car