HOW-TO: change stock HVAC panel color

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ovendenk
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Joined: January 12th, 2004, 2:01 am
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HOW-TO: change stock HVAC panel color

Post by ovendenk »

first off i need to explain how the panel is made by mazda to clarify future steps in the how-to. the panel seems to be a clear piece of plastic that has multiple layers of paint on it. first mazda paints the entire panel black except for the graphics. then over each graphic, they paint white so you can see it during the day. lastly they painted a green layer to give it its color at night. we need to get rid of that green layer!!!

to begin you need to carefully peel off the section of the panel with the graphics. it is flexible , but you do not want to scratch it or you will screw it all up.
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now you need to remove the old adhesive to make sure you have a clean and even surface to work with. varsol works great and it won’t melt the paint. zippo fluid would probably work as well, but never tried it. here's what it looks like after it's been cleaned.
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here’s the tricky part. you need to strategically melt the green paint off using lacquer thinner (water based, so it will evaporate). problem is that it will also melt the white and black layers. if you melt the black layer at all, you’ll need a new panel and start over because the black layer is what defines the graphics. trick is to use a small instrument like a Q-tip or smaller if possible. also you need to make sure that you don’t over saturate the Q-tip with thinner because it melts the paint quickly. have a tissue close by to wipe up and drops or excess thinner.

now that you have gotten rid of all the green on each individual graphic, you’ve probably melted some white here or there (and hopefully no black). to fix this i used tissue paper and glued it across the entire panel to simulate the white paint layer.
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now you just need to make a light filter of some sort. you can either put a colored sleeve on the bulb or (like i did) color another piece of tissue paper and glue it on top of the white tissue paper you already glued or both for best results.

i’m sure this would also work on the gauges if you want.

*** remember: any time you scratch or melt black paint, light will shine through and show your mistake***

here's a before and after shot.
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kevin (aka The Oven)
93 mx-3 GS KL-ZE with KL31 cams and properly chipped ecu
All mods are on my website: http://ca.geocities.com/ovendenk
MX-3.com Worklog: http://www.mx-3.com/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=48462
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