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After reading several of the other posts on the effort and supplies needed to remove the interior finish on the dash and center console, I decided to do an experiment. I figure that I will have to deal with this issue eventually, and I’ve purchased a few replacement parts for ones that had cracked in the car already . . . so now would be as good time as any to try an idea I've been thinking about. (It was a bit dreary day here so I didn't feel like trying to finish swapping out my interior roof trim anyway.)

I noticed several comments about how warm water and scrubbing seemed to help the matter along, so I thought that perhaps soaking the whole part might be even more helpful. I put my old small "V" piece (from under the steering column) in a sink filled with warm water plus a little Clorox "Clean-Up" (to help cut through the grease I thought) and got some surprisingly good results.

After about 1/2 hour of soaking, all I needed was a Scotch-Brite pad and most of the outer finish peeled right off. (See the pics! The tab on my old panel was already broken off.) Certainly a little care is needed to get the coating out of the nooks and crannies, but the same would be needed with any other kind of stripping method.

If you can take the time to pull the parts from the car, and they can fit into a tub or (water tight) bin, you can be all set to go with this method. I consider it a plus not to have to deal with a lot of chemicals, both for me and the plastic! This method might also work inside the car, though keeping a hot and moist pad up against the panels might be difficult. (But it could work doing an area at a time. The nooks and crannies would be difficult depending on how thorough you wanted to be though.)

Notice the base color of the plastic is very black and a bit shiny (from mine anyway) and the texture is all in the plastic surface. If you like the black, that would seem to be the most durable surface I suspect. I haven’t looked into any coatings yet, though I've always thought about something a shade or two lighter/greyer than the anthracite.

I will say that MB seems to coat both sides of the parts, and the back side coating seems to be a bit less willing to come off than the front. (Not being as exposed to the elements perhaps, but it does come up.) As an additional thought, I wonder why MB would use a material that does not seem to hold up all that well to heat and moisture to coat the interior of a car that will, at some time, be open to the rain and then to bake on hot and sunny days?

Next up, the rear part of the console perhaps . . . .
 

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Thanks for the post

I'm very interested in doing this, albeit I will be trying it while the parts are still installed. I just don't want to go through the trouble of uninstalling everything and having to drive around with a partially disassembled car while I'm working on it. I plan to take some pictures and post them up.

Thanks for the write-up!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm very interested in doing this, albeit I will be trying it while the parts are still installed. . . .
Where you do it is certainly optional, and I certainly wish MB would have made it so I could take a part out, work on it, and then put it back . . . But everything is so interleaved it seems!! :mad:

One potential issue in doing it in the car is that getting into the joints could prove to be problematic. If you don't get all the old paint off, it will be a spot for the new paint to start to peel. (Unless you are going to go "naked" black.)
Good luck though . . . :Beer:
 

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Thanks for the heads up lilred

I will be going "naked black" at least initially. If the end result is something I'm not crazy about, I can always go through the process of removing the pieces and repainting. From what I've seen, the naked black seems to be the easiest and most durable (although I haven't seen any long-term updates on the resistance to scratches, wear and tear). I'd hate to paint it all, and just have to do it again in a year or two.

I was thinking of using a toothbrush to help get the nooks/crannies. I'll likely test the rear of the console first to make sure this will work. If not, I'll be stripping everything out next weekend and tackling the whole project.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I will be going "naked black" at least initially. . . . I was thinking of using a toothbrush to help get the nooks/crannies. . . .
I might be joining you in all that! lol As I've taken apart the rear portion of the console, (I'll add that to my rear console thread later) I'm amazed at the number of bits and pieces involved. I will tell you though that the "coating" wraps around everything! Inside and out, though the inside coating seems to have weathered better. Right now it seems like - every place I touch - the coating starts to come up . . . :mad:
 

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To close out this thread . . .

I've inadvertently found (as I worked on my rear console) that rubbing alcohol (70% in my case) will dissolve the coating. You do have to use it liberally, and then scrub at it a bit. I was using it to clean up the areas inside of the console where I was working to reattach the sound deadening matting . . . I was surprised when the paint started to come up.

I'm not sure I'd use it to do the outer surfaces since it did leave the areas I used it on a bit hazy . . . but if you intend to repaint anyway, it might prove to be a helpful option.

:Beer:
 

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HOLY CRAP THIS WORKS!!!

Thanks for the tip!!! I was using Paint Thinner at first but it smears as it cleans. I have found that the best thing to use (instead of the scrubbing pad) is your finger as they do not leave any smears behind... The pad seemed to leave a smear here and there but the trick is to use HOT HOT water and do a piece at a time (I started with many pieces and it was not as efficient).

Again, thanks for this tip!!! It really does work!
 

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"Ding and dent" repair to interior

I have a light coloured interior and the usual scuffing had got this back to the black plastic so the whole thing looked tired and untidy. I was getting the wheel arches sprayed by our local ding and dent man and mentioned the interior - he said he could fix it up. £40 to tidy up th einterior seemed cheap and it looks a lot better. These guys can match paint to a tee and the results were well worth it! Re-sprayed wing looks pretty good too (he wax oiled inside while he was at it - top job!
 
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