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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello All, it has literally been 6 YEARS since I have been on this board. Looking back on my old posts I was pretty darn happy to have my new 2011 GT500 SVT! And still am!

I can tell you I still have that GT500 and being that it was a daily driver and out in the Florida sun its whole life, it has suffered a bit from the relentless UV exposure. The most surprising being the radio antenna, whole plastic/rubber sheathing literally disintegrated in my hands when I bent it a couple weeks ago, cracking an crumbling off in pieces.

But what I am here to tell you is a fascinating story and a discovery on my own that I wanted to share. Please do not flame if this is common knowledge. It was not to common to me so be happy I found out and it worked.

As I said, the past 7 years of Florida sun and atmosphere on an outdoor living GT500 have been brutal, fading the front and rear air dams from black to a light grey. The color is even but looks terrible against the triple black paint scheme. My front air dam had cracked from hitting a wheel stop (many actually) and I removed it to attempt a repair. In the process of the repair, I used a BernzoMatic torch(the kind that screw onto a small propane bottle) to heat the plastic to bend it back. The areas heated with the torch immediately turned back to black, permanently. I tried a few other areas and the same occurred, grey to black and no change to finish other than color change.

I then went out to my old Ford F250 and tried it on the plastic step bar pads. Whitish/grey back to black instantly. Did both step bars, then the rear bumper covering, then the large front plastic faschia under the front bumper. All changed from light grey back to black, nice and even. Truck looks new again!

Then I went back to the GT500 and did the rest of the front air dam, then rear air dam, the water collection piece at the bottom of the windshield(I don't know what this part is called), and the car side bottom edge protection pieces. ALL of it turned back to a perfect black from ugly washed out grey.

Now the exceptions..I tried this on my wife's Jeep which has ALOT of exterior plastic. NONE of it changed color. Also the F250 truck door handle areas and top edges of the bed didn't work either.Must be a different type of plastic.

The bottom line is I was thinking of replacing all the plastic parts on the GT500 because they were so bleached out, and this simple little discovery have returned them to virtually new. No need to replace at all. In fact it makes the whole car look almost new again.

BTW, after 7 years this GT500 is running perfect, strong as hell, only 40k miles but on its 4th set of tires so I don't take it easy. Did some additional mods so now is right about 700hp. Not a single repair in all this time except the ridiculous antenna issue mentioned above. Love love love this car!
 

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Re: I'm SURE someone else has discovered this but just in case....

Very cool. I know of this trick in the pinball hobby called "flame polishing" for clear ramps to help bring them back to a like new/clean and clear look. Looks like a great trick to try especially if you have nothing to lose on an already messed up part of any car/truck.

Thanks for sharing.
 

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Re: I'm SURE someone else has discovered this but just in case....

Fantastic! Thanks for chiming in and sharing this info -- I'm sure it will help someone in the future. :bigthumb:

Awesome to hear your 2011 is still running strong and has been reliable. That's great news for those of us still breaking ours in! :wink:

Welcome back! :grin: We'd love to hear more from you!
 

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Re: I'm SURE someone else has discovered this but just in case....

Gonna have to try that on my Tacoma plastics. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Re: I'm SURE someone else has discovered this but just in case....

Glad to see from the response I wasn't one of those guys repeating obvious stuff.

So then, a point of proper technique. Come in slow with the flame from the torch. Do it at an angle so you can see where the flame is. DO NOT touch the plastic with the visible flame(it will melt and burn of course).

The right point is about an inch ahead of the flame. As you come in you'll see the surface *instantly* change from grey to black.

I practiced on my old ford truck and got the technique down. If you can't do this, then experiment on a hidden corner of the plastic, like a section that folds into the wheel well. If you get too close and melt it, no one will ever see.

I do not consider myself to be that handy, and I only made the mistake of getting too close once, and that was when I started and tried a sample piece on the underside of the front air dam.

It may seem this is risky or difficult, but it is not. Just always approach from too far away and then closer. Being too far away just means the color doesn't change, so I developed a sweeping technique back and forth. Overlap a bit with you already did and it will all blend and match. It really is super easy. Once I started on the car from practicing on the truck, it took maybe 10 minutes total to do the whole thing(front & back air dams, side pieces, windshield water tray). No kidding. I did not use ramps. Nothing came off the car. I just layed down on the ground near where I was working.

So what about the edges near painted body panels? The heat needed to perform this appears to be fairly low, as it occurs relatively far from the flame tip, and happens so fast there was no affect on adjacent paint whatsoever. Painted metal panels are pretty good heat sinks anyway. I expected the heat to be absorbed quickly in that regard, and it did. If I had to guesstimate, my rate of movement with the torch was probably around 1ft(12in)/second. Pretty fast.
 

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Re: I'm SURE someone else has discovered this but just in case....

If I had to guesstimate, my rate of movement with the torch was probably around 1ft(12in)/second. Pretty fast.

Wow.... what a great discovery.... I'm not sure I've ever heard of this type of treatment before. I can throw away all my 'Back-to-Black" treatment bottles now!! :)
 

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Re: I'm SURE someone else has discovered this but just in case....

I don’t know how long it lasts, but I’ve heard about it. Curious how it works out!


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Do you think it could also be accomplished with a heat gun?
This is an old thread... the OP hasn’t been around in a year and a half. As for the heat gun thing... give it a shot and let us know if it works.
 
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