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Do-It-Yourself Interior Painting / 94+ Mustangs
"How-To" by Justin (aNgLiaM) & pictures by Chad (CHDS PNY)



This is one of the most inexpensive mods that you can do to your car, but in my opinion one of the most satisfying and is really what Ford should have done with the interior in the first place.  All of the materials total  cost around $20-$25.  This step-by-step guide will take you through the  easy procedure of removing, painting and reinstalling you interior parts. 
In this guide, we go through the painting of the door bezels and the center console.  Other parts, such as the vent bezels and the driver's console can also be painted in a similar fashion and technique.

What's Needed:

-a clean, soft, dry cloth

-bottle of rubbing alcohol

-four* (4) - 5oz Cans of Dupli-Color Import AutoSpray Paint in your color of choice
(different brands can be used but I've had good luck so far with Dupli-Color)

-one* (1) - 11oz Can of Dupli-Color Truck, Van & SUV Clear Top Coat (color code: T125W)
(if your buy Dupli-Color Paint, DO NOT get your Clear Coat in the 5oz Cans...the Clear Coat is too sticky and causes the smaller cans to sputter while spraying!!!)

-standard set of screwdrivers and torx-head screwdrivers

-pair of pliers

-stereo removal "keys"

-roll of masking tape or painter's tape

* more paint may be needed depending on the number of coats you apply and the number of pieces you paint.

OK, here we go...(note:  these pics were taken of a 2000 Mustang Coupe, your application may vary slightly)STEP ONE:  TO PAINT, OR NOT TO PAINT?Take a look at your car's interior and be sure that you want to do this.  It may seem like a silly step but once you start painting those pieces, there's no turning back without dishing out insane money to Ford to replace them.  Here is a before pic of the pieces before Chad and I painted his interior.(click to make larger, will open in new window)


Now that you've decided that you want to paint the pieces, pop the hood and disconnect the negative battery cable.  Since we're going to be disconnecting the stereo (found in Step 3) and other electronic parts it's always a good idea to help prevent surges.
STEP TWO:  REMOVAL OF THE DOOR BEZELSThe Door Bezels are the easiest both to paint and remove.  Here is a pic of our targets for this step.(click to make larger, will open in new window)

 

The first step to removing the door bezels is to locate the small indentation towards the top of the bezel (pictured below).
(click to make larger, will open in new window)

Next, with a flat head screwdriver and using your cloth to protect the bezel, start at the indented section and carefully pry the bezel from the door.  It should pop loose with very little pressure.  Work your way around the bezel until it has become detached from the door.  The only thing that should be connecting the bezel to the door at this point is the window and mirror controls.   (as seen in the pics below)
(click to make larger, will open in new window)
   

Next, we need to disconnect the window control module and the connection going to the side view mirror control.  The window control module is connected by two philips screws...simply unscrew them and leave the control module hanging.  Be sure and put the screws somewhere safe as we'll need them again when we reinstall the bezel.  Next is the side view mirror control, this is connected by a simple plug connection, simply pry up the clip with the regular screw driver and pull out the plug.  (as seen in the pics below)
(click to make larger, will open in new window)
 
Next you will need to remove the remaining part of the side view mirror controller from the bezel.  This is done by pushing in the clips on the underside of the bezel and pushing the unit through the top of the bezel.  Very easy, no tools...no hassle (as seen in the pic below).
(click to make larger, will open in new window)

All you need to do now is remove the bezel from the passenger side door.  Just repeat the steps above (minus the side view mirror control removal).
STEP THREE:  REMOVAL OF THE CENTER CONSOLEThe center console is probably the most difficult piece to remove, mainly for the fact that the stereo has to come out.  But before we get into the stereo removal, let's focus on the shifter bezel.  This is a very easy part to remove.  First off, if you have an automatic, you need to move the shifter to Neutral (N).  Next, get your cloth and regular screwdriver again.  Start at the top corner of the bezel and pry outwards, working your way to the front of the bezel, when you reach the middle start on the opposite side repeating the previous step  (as seen in the pics below).(click to make larger, will open in new window)
   

Next, just disconnect the orange plug from the cigarette lighter and the gray clip from the traction control switch.  This part of the step could differ depending on your model year, however it's fairly self-explanatory.  (see pics below)
(click to make larger, will open in new window)
 

You will also need to remove the cigarette lighter assembly from the bezel.  This is done by taking a regular screwdriver and pressing in the plastic clips while pushing the assembly out the front of the bezel.  In addition to the cigarette lighter you will need to remove the Traction Control module (if present).  Just press in the clips on either side of the module and push out through the front of the bezel (see pics below).
(click to make larger, will open in new window)
 

Next, we need to remove a couple of torx screws from the bottom side of the center console, underneath the cassette/radio deck.  Again, this step could be different depending on your model year.  Be sure you're keeping track of all the screws, I can't stress enough how important that is  (see pics below).
(click to make larger, will open in new window)
 

Our next step is to remove the stereo.  The easiest way to do this is to get a couple stereo removal "keys."  However, I have seen some people use a coat hanger.  Simply insert the keys into the removal slots, apply gentle outward pressure (press the keys out from each other) and pull.  It may take a few tries to get the stereo out.  Once both parts of the stereo are out and disconnected, set them to the side (see pics below).
(click to make larger, will open in new window)
 

Now that we have the stereo removed we can start the process of removing the center console bezel.  If you look inside the DIN where the cassette/radio deck was located you will notice a long stabilizing arm that extends to the rear of the console area.  This arm is held to the rear wall of the console by the means of a torx screw.  You will need to remove this screw in order to take out the console (see pic below).
(click to make larger, will open in new window)

With the screw removed we can now pop the console loose from the dash.  Get your cloth and regular screwdriver.  Start at the top and work your way down each side, the console should pop loose fairly easily (see pic below).
(click to make larger, will open in new window)
 

We now need to remove the vents and vent directional controls from the bezel.  The vent simply pop out using the regular screwdriver, be careful not to break the vents as you are doing this.  To remove the directional control you just need to push in the two clips on the side of the bezel and then push them trough to the inside, there is a small arm with a button shaped knob that slides into the guide-arm of the vent control, be sure to be careful and not break it while you are removing the piece (see pics below).
(click to make larger, will open in new window)
     

We've now successfully removed the pieces for painting.  Our next step will be prepping the pieces for paint.
STEP FOUR:  PREPPING YOUR PIECES FOR PAINTThere are a couple of different methods to prepping your pieces.  One method is to wet-sand all of the pieces to a smooth finish, cleaning and then painting.  I actually have found wet-sanding the pieces to be more trouble than what it's actually worth.  The look garnered from wet-sanding contrasts the textured look of the dash.  I actually prefer, and recommend, the non-sanded method.  Not only will it keep the slightly textured look of the dash but it will save you massive amounts of time.

Our first order of business is to thoroughly clean each piece.  To do this, get your rubbing alcohol and cloth ready.  I use rubbing alcohol because it's not only a good cleaning agent but it also evaporates much quicker, again saving drying time (see pics below).
(click to make larger, will open in new window)
     

The next step requires the masking tape or painters tape (usually blue in color).  This is for the shifter bezel.  The outside lip of the bezel won't be painted as it is actually part of, and the same texture as the dash.  The trick is to use small pieces to tape and carefully apply around the curvature of the bezel.  A butter knife works great for a straight-edge for going along the groove (see pics below).
(click to make larger, will open in new window)  *that last pic is a horrible one of me...blech!
   

Well that it for prep work.  Just be sure and be very thorough with your cleaning; remember, the cleaner it is before you paint, the cleaner the finished product will be when you're finished.  On to the fun, but most difficult part...painting.
STEP FIVE:  "GET YO PAINT ON!"Well we've come a long way so far and we're almost done.  There's one thing I have to make very clear before we even start painting...KEEP THE SPRAY CAN MOVING!!!  Not only will the paint start to glob up but you'll get an uneven finish and will then end up having to wet-sand the piece and repaint it, and THAT is a pain in the ass.  Believe me.  Also another very important thing to do is test the cans before you try spraying on the piece.  Just find and old piece of plywood or cardboard and do a few passes making sure it is spraying evenly.  When you are done spraying a particular piece and won't be moving on to another one during drying times, turn the can upside down and spray the excess paint out of the can.  This will keep the line clean and preserve your paint quality.(click to make larger, will open in new window)

OK, are ya ready to paint?  Great!  Let's do it.  I recommend starting with the door bezels.  They will give you a good feel of spraying motion before we hit the center console and shifter bezel.  The hardest part of the door bezels is the handle section.  There are two ways you can go about do this...part of which goes back to the Step Four prep work.  Some people like to take a plastic sandwich bag and cut it down slightly, place it inside the handle and then tape the top in a oval shape leaving the inside of the handle the stock color (see pic below).
(click to make larger, will open in new window)

     *thanks Colin, CJ & Mustangworld.com for the pic.  LINK TO SOURCE
I prefer painting the inside of the handle.  I've found that starting with the inside of the is the best way to go on the door bezel due to the fact that it's hard to get painted.  You have to hold the piece in the air with one hand while spraying inside the handle at a horizontal angle.  After a few sprays, turn the piece around and spray from the opposite angle, this way you get all of the inside evenly.  I recommend getting a few good coats on the inside section before moving on to paint the rest of the bezel.  Remember, KEEP THE SPRAY CAN MOVING!!!  Especially while painting the insides of the handles.  Also remember that each coat should be put on while the paint is still a little tacky, this helps the paint layers stick to each other better, giving you better end result.After you've got a few good coats on the handles you can move on to painting the bezel itself.  Make sure and paint in the flowing direction of the piece, meaning, if the piece is longer, don't paint in short strokes going perpendicular to the piece, this will cause "lines" to form in the paint from the different layers.  Be sure to start and end your spray before and beyond the piece, this will prevent lines forming in the finish as well.  Also remember that less is better when you're spray painting.  Many thin layers is better than fewer thick layers.  Give the piece a good base coat, but don't lay it on thick.  You should be able to see speckles of stock color up until your fourth coat.  Don't be afraid to paint the underside of the bezel (this is also a good place to spray some paint to later check for tackiness during drying), the curved lip on the door bezel does show quite a bit, make sure and paint the bezel from all angles...but be sure before you flip the piece over that it has dried enough so the paint doesn't smear  (see pics below, click the third pic for a paint tip).(click to make larger, will open in new window)
   

For each piece I usually put 4-5 coats of color and 2-3 coats of clear.  Make sure, before you apply the clear coat, that the piece has dried for at least 1 hour @ room temp (65-70F).
The next piece to paint is the shifter bezel.  This is a fairly easy part to paint as long as paint with the contours of the piece.  Your paint stroke should be a curved semi-circle shape starting at front leading to back wall, as illustrated in the pic below.  Just reverse the motion for the opposite side (see pic below, click for a paint tip). Be sure to follow the same procedure for doing the clear coat as you did with the door bezel.(click to make larger, will open in new window)

The final piece we have to paint is the center console.  Some of the angles are tough to paint on this piece, but try to stick to the lines of the piece as much as possible.  Use the stabilizing arm to its fullest advantage, using it to prop of the piece at different angles to get the best result (see pics below, click either pic for a paint tip).
(click to make larger, will open in new window)
 

Be sure to follow the same procedure for doing the clear coat as you did with the door bezel.  Well, that does it for painting and clear coating the pieces.  Now just let them dry!
STEP SIX:  REINSTALL THE PARTSAll you need to do is reverse the steps in Step Two.  With any luck you still have all of the screws and parts and this should go fairly quickly.  Be sure to take care installing your newly painted parts, while the paint and clear coat will protect it from everyday use, abuse will cause scratches.If you would happen to scratch any of the pieces, either during installation or mishap, all you have to do is uninstall the piece, rough up the general area of damage, lightly finish sand the area and repaint/clear coat.  Dupli-Color also makes Touch-Up Repair Paint in all of their AutoSpray Colors.STEP SEVEN:  BEFORE & AFTER!!!Here are some before and after pics of the finished product on Chad's 2000 Mustang Coupe.  Quite an improvement in both looks and style.  Enjoy!(click to make larger, will open in new window)
BEFORE     AFTER 
BEFORE               AFTER 

BEFORE     AFTER 

BEFORE     AFTER 

BEFORE     AFTER 

If you have any questions, fell free to email
Justin (aNgLiaM) @ radiosuitcase@hotmail.com
or
Chad (CHDS PNY) @ chad@heritageind.com

HAVE FUN!!!


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