Author Topic: Sticky Plastic Trim  (Read 339 times)

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Beatle

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Sticky Plastic Trim
« on: January 26, 2020, 07:51:31 PM »
As we are all aware, some of the plastic trim on our cars goes tacky over time (it was the same on my 164).
It seems to be that some of the plastics were originally sprayed/dipped with a soft-touch coating to give a more luxurious feel, but it goes off and can mark your clothing and other trim in the car.

Nothing seems to dissolve it, at least nothing that doesn't also dissolve the plastic (which seems counterproductive...).  On one small part on the 164 I cleaned it off with metho, but it took a lot of elbow grease and I don't believe it was 100% effective.  I tried thinners, turps, petrol to no avail.

Other suggested methods are to soak in Napisan, but seems to affect the plastic (whitens) to the extent it requires painting afterwards.  Full immersion is also not suitable for some trim parts.

I'd heard that a citrus based solvent works, so decided to give it a go on the two sections of centre console on my 156. the items were removed from the vehicle.  I wouldn't attempt this on any installed trim item.

RESULTS?  Well, the cleaner does soften the coating but I wouldn't say it completely dissolves it.  The cleaner also evaporates rather quickly.  Even when wet, the softened coating is still a bugger to actually get off the plastic.  I resorted to soaking with multiple coats of cleaner, scrubbing with a stiff brush in between, and even a light rub with scotchbrite.  More cleaner, lots of rags (I bought a big roll of cheap chux wipes).  In the end, finishing with lots of metho soaked rags managed to get all the sticky coating removed.   I think the citrus cleaner is more effective than metho alone, but the metho is good for final cleanup. 

Make sure you get into all the grooves and around the edges with the metho or you'll end up with black gunk continuing to mark things.  The soft coating is applied on both sides of the console plastics, but I only cleaned the outer sections (the inner sections weren't tacky anyway.

The cleaner also removed some of the chrome highlights around the rear air vents as you can see in the last pic.  I should have popped them out before I started.....

After cleaning, the plastic was quite dry and slightly whitened, however a couple of coats of 303 protectant restored the finish beautifully as you can see.  I'm sure other protectants would work, but I had 303 at hand.

It certainly looks as though the sticky coating provides protection to the substrate.  My finished plastics now look pristine.

So, it was successful, but not easy.  Lots of elbow grease and rags required.   

Oh, and I removed the sticky coating from my leather using a rag damp with metho.  I was fearful it would instantly strip the colour from the leather (mine is tan) but even relatively firm rubbing had no detrimental effect.  Of course, I used a leather cleaner/rejuvenator afterwards. 

 
« Last Edit: January 26, 2020, 07:59:51 PM by Beatle »
Paul B
QLD

'02 156 V6 Auto Rosso/Tan - $1500 Work Hack

Past:
'79 GTV
'76 GT
'89 75TS
'76 Alfetta (sacrificed for the greater good!)
'83 GTV6
'67 Duetto
'66 Super
'92 164
'85 90
'04 GT 3.2 Rosso/Tan

bazzbazz

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Re: Sticky Plastic Trim
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2020, 08:34:43 PM »
I am surprised you had so much trouble.

With mine I just remove the part from the car (items like the door switch assembly require the switches to be removed), take out to laundry tub and using hot water, washing up detergent & Scotchbrite, I then give the item a good scrubbing, removing all the coating.

Blow dry with compressed air and leave till fully dry. Next I grab a can of Satin Black spray paint from Bunnings and give a couple of light coats, allowing to dry between each coat, and when finished leave overnight to fully cure. The resulting pristine finish looks better than brand new and has not had a mark appear as of yet after, 3 years of VERY heavy use.

I suspect you had so much trouble as you didn't want to mark the underlying plastic, hence the light touch with the Scotchbrite.
The following satin black spray job allows one to be a little more robust in the cleaning process.  ;)
ON THE SPOT ALFA
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2004 Alfa 156 2.0 JTS Sportwagon (Patty)
2000 Alfa 156 2.0 TS Selespeed with Sports Pack
(Eibach 2.5 Lowering Springs)
(Bilstein Sports Dampers )

Beatle

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Re: Sticky Plastic Trim
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2020, 09:28:30 PM »
Yeah Bazz,  I'd seriously considered the napisan and hot water but wasn't sure if painting would be successful.  Now I know for when I get to the switch panels....... ;)
Paul B
QLD

'02 156 V6 Auto Rosso/Tan - $1500 Work Hack

Past:
'79 GTV
'76 GT
'89 75TS
'76 Alfetta (sacrificed for the greater good!)
'83 GTV6
'67 Duetto
'66 Super
'92 164
'85 90
'04 GT 3.2 Rosso/Tan

bazzbazz

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Re: Sticky Plastic Trim
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2020, 07:22:45 PM »
Comparison with passenger side that I haven't done yet and drivers side.



ON THE SPOT ALFA
Mobile Alfa Romeo & Fiat Diagnostic/Repair/Maintenance & Servicing
Brisbane & Gold Coast
0405 721613

2004 Alfa 156 2.0 JTS Sportwagon (Patty)
2000 Alfa 156 2.0 TS Selespeed with Sports Pack
(Eibach 2.5 Lowering Springs)
(Bilstein Sports Dampers )

Beatle

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Re: Sticky Plastic Trim
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2020, 06:15:40 PM »
Noice  ;)


My next challenge is to remove the soft insert in the bottom of the centre armrest hidey hole.  It's like hot black blu-tak.   I'll need to dig it out while trying not to damage the velvet lining around the sides and replace with some carpet.

BTW, any suggestions on how best to free up the armrest on its pivot?  Mine is quite stiff to move.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2020, 06:21:23 PM by Beatle »
Paul B
QLD

'02 156 V6 Auto Rosso/Tan - $1500 Work Hack

Past:
'79 GTV
'76 GT
'89 75TS
'76 Alfetta (sacrificed for the greater good!)
'83 GTV6
'67 Duetto
'66 Super
'92 164
'85 90
'04 GT 3.2 Rosso/Tan