Tech -Tip: Console your Console with a Make-Over by Tom Derr
Is your center console wearing at the elbow? Does it have more stains than your baby's bib? Are you afraid to take it out in the public? Yes, clubees, you too can give your console a wonderful makeover in 20 easy steps. Your first stop on the trail to better appearance should be to your make-over shop (the auto-body supplies type) for:
1). Small can of degreaser/wax remover (lacquer thinner will do in a pinch)
2). Silicone glue (like the kind used for windshields)
3). Disposable Sprayer - the Preval brand has a 3 oz. unit with a glass jar that will spray 16 ounces of paint.
4). Interior vinyl paint in the smallest quantity. They should have your interior color on a code chart for mixing purposes, if not, take along the console ECM vent for matching purposes.
Your total cost for all of these supplies should be around $45.
You are now ready to start:
1. Recover your CD player from your kids room and get your favorite CDs; sorry no Christmas music allowed. Start the music and open the door to your Fiero.
2. Take the ash trays out and remove the two screws in each ash tray bay.
3. Unscrew the manual shifter knob; for automatics, remove the ”C” clip from the front of the knob with a fine blade screwdriver.
4. Lift entire shifter-console out.
a. Recover any lost coins, pencils, bobbypins, etc. that may have been put in temporary storage
under the shifter console.
b. Vacuum the dog hairs and cigarette ashes.
c. Replace ashtray light bulbs if burnt out.
d. This is also a good time to repaint those ash tray covers too.
5. Remove the two screws from the front edge of the glove box portion of the console that are under the black cover by the cigar lighter.
6. Remove the two screws behind the glove box.
7. Lift the console straight up and out.
8. Pop-out the ECM vents by pushing from the backside of the console.
9. Turn the console upside down and remove the two nuts from the bottom of the glove box hinge.
10. Using a Torx screwdriver tap out the black plastic plug from the glovebox retaining strap, or you can pry it out with a pair of small screwdrivers.
11. Having just separated the glove box door, next remove the four Phillips screws from the sides of the bin itself.
12. Remove the three screws from the bottom of the hinge. The bin and hinge should now be separated from the door.
13. Pop-out the black plastic plug from the bin's strap.
14. Using a small drift or even a Torx screw driver, gently tap out the hinge latch pin and lift out the latch itself. The spring will remain, but you can remove it as well if it is loose.
15. Since the console is completely disassembled, it is a good time to silicone glue any loose edges back together. This glue does a fine job on edges that have just pulled away. If your vinyl has warped badly, the glue will help some, but most likely the bad edges will curl again in time. A hot melt adhesive glue made for adhering plastics together would work better in this situation. Clamping the newly glued areas for a day will ensure a stronger and longer lasting bond. If you have a soldering iron, on the backside of the console the lip can be "tab" melted to the plastic frame for additional bonding strength.
16. Using the wax/degreaser thoroughly wipe down all parts to be repainted. Lacquer thinner will do if a degreaser is not available. After degreasing, wash all pieces with strong dish washing soap. Rinse thoroughly and dry. Repeat the above if you suspect that some Armor All or other protective dressing may still remain. Take care to get in all the nooks and crannies with a tooth brush, especially in the area behind the glove box door latch. Any dressing or soap residue will result in an uneven paint application.
17. Tape off the black, back side of the glove box door unless you also want it painted.
18. You are now ready to paint the pieces. Just fill the Preval (or similar) sprayer jar half full and start spraying. With the Preval sprayer you must be careful not to lean the sprayer over 45 degrees or you will clog the vent hole and seriously impair the sprayer's efficiency. Do the edges first and then spray several light coats on the main surfaces for the best finish. Avoid a full heavy coat which has a tendency to produce a very uneven texture to the finish. It will tend to puddle on the top surface (filling the natural vinyl grain) but run thin on the sides.
19. The same process described above can be used on seat hinge caps, the dashboard, door panels, etc. It does not work too well on the door armrest because they are so flexible and are a high wear area. The paint will either crack off as a result of the flexing, or wear thin. If you do a exceptional prep job and put on three or four light coats, and don't have a heavy elbow, things should work out fine.
20. The paint dries to the touch in about an hour, however, letting it sit a day will give the paint maximum chance to bond and dry thoroughly. Assembly is the reverse of disassembly. Good luck, and may the "pride" be with you.