Paint It Black

 

We're not the biggest fan of the chrome look. Early on Nick and I decided to black out the Mercedes chrome badge on the front grill, the one in the back, and the wheels. 

We're really happy with how it turned out. The process took some patience, but so far it's held up pretty well against mud, dirt, snow and other elements. 

You will need:

  • Plasti-dip, black. Copious amounts of it. 
  • 2" painter's masking tape. We really like this one--some of the others we tried has really bad adhesive and wouldn't stay in place.
  • Newspaper or other sorts of paper to catch spray off.
 

Wheels

  1. Clean the wheels thoroughly. We actually waited until we had to wash the van and Plasti-dipped the day after.  
  2. If you have OEM wheels, it's relatively easy to mask the holes by sticking your finger into an adjacent hole with a piece of tape, and taping the hole up from the inside. 
  3. Rinse and repeat. Get some people to help.

4.  Once the wheels are masked, lightly dust the entire wheel with a thin  layer of Plasti-dip. Heavy application causes dripping and an uneven surface. We know this from experience. (Nick's great at doing this step; Shelly, not so much ;p)

5. Apply 4-5 layers, leaving ample time for the Plasti-dip to dry. Before it sets comletely leave it be. We waited overnight and it came out pretty nicely.

IMG_4462.JPG
 

Front Emblem

The front emblem is relatively easy to do. Don't try to pry the chrome part off - it's attached to the grill with really flimsy plastic tabs, and they easily break. 

First thing is to take the entire grill off. It's attached by several screws, simply unscrew and the whole thing pops off.

We then masked around the emblem and put paper towels/rags underneath to catch drip off. Chrome doesn't particularly grab onto Plasti-dip, so we also lightly sanded the surface with 100 grit sandpaper.

Be careful, the chrome scratches really easily and looks horrible before applying the Plasti-dip.

Four layers later, voila. Carefully remove the masking tape and re-install the grill.

The black really pops! This is at Grassland NP, Canada. The whole park was completely deserted but still had running electricity. 

The black really pops! This is at Grassland NP, Canada. The whole park was completely deserted but still had running electricity. 

It looks pretty sharp in the summer too.

It looks pretty sharp in the summer too.

 

Back emblem

This one's even easier to do. Unscrew the emblem from the driver's side rear door, and then remove the back plastic panels. They're also held by screws: pop those off and you can slide the panels off the door. 

Because of dust and gunk buildup the panels might fight you at first, but wriggle them around and they'll come off. 

Alternatively, just keep the back panels on and apply Plasti-dip. I had some trouble with coating too heavily resulting in drip. Light dusting is where it's at. 

I started Plasti-dipping with the panels on the van. Didn't work too well for me, so I removed them later and redid it horizontal. The good thing is that Plasti-dip peels off relatively easily if you screw up, and the parts that don't peel off you can wipe off with WD-40.

I started Plasti-dipping with the panels on the van. Didn't work too well for me, so I removed them later and redid it horizontal. The good thing is that Plasti-dip peels off relatively easily if you screw up, and the parts that don't peel off you can wipe off with WD-40.

The groves of the back emblem made it a little hard to get a flat coating, but after 4 coats it looked pretty good as well. 

This is what the back looks like after months in the Canadian cold with rock salt and snow. It held up nicely.

This is what the back looks like after months in the Canadian cold with rock salt and snow. It held up nicely.

Plasti-dipping is one of those things that seem superficial, but it really changes the look of the van for relatively little effort. It's something that we would do in a heartbeat if we ever convert another van.

Questions? Thoughts? Leave you comments below.

 

you may also like