How to correctly paint any plastic part on your Celica
By Victor Nomura, March 15, 2001
The side skirts on the Celica can be removed very easily. There is only one 10mm bolt near the front which needs to be removed. After the bolt is removed, you will need to remove the black plastic holding plugs on the bottom of the car.
When this is done, it just takes a good pull to remove the side skirts off the car frame. Note, there are some white plastic plugs on the inside which secure the panel to the body of the car. Just pull firmly.
When the part is off your car, you must wash it very good. It has to be so clean you could eat off it.
After washing with a degreaser like Simple Green,
to get all that road tar and dirt off, use a 400 grit sandpaper to prepare the surface. You have to use sandpaper so the paint has a good surface to hold on to.
Don't forget to use a plastic primer. This is important if you want the paint to not scratch off from rocks and bumps.
Use about 2 light coats of primer and let dry for 3 minutes before the color paint coat.
Use a good quality paint and paint a light coat (the best would be to use a base coat PPG computer matched paint). I wanted a very smooth paint job so I sprayed about 10 coats of paint over a week period.
I then let the paint dry for 1 more week. I don't think a week was needed but I just wanted to make sure it was dry really good.
Next came the final clear coat.
Painted another 10 very light coats over a week period. I then let the whole thing dry for another 2 week period. There was very bad weather here in Vancouver so I didn't want the painted pieces to be exposed to the elements unless they were 100% cured and hardened.
It took 1 month from start to finish and the paint job quality is top notch and looks just as good from a professional paint shop. I will might take the side skirts off and add another few coats of tinted clear coat to make the color match the body a little bit better. It's good now but I want perfection!
The color of the side skirts change depending on the angle you look at it!
Here's picture of a Celica with original side skirts.
Here's a picture of my Celica with painted side skirts.
What do you think? In the summer I may darken the final coats for a better match. I kinda like the lighter silver color...
I didn't like driving around town without the skirts for a month...