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F.N.G.
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108 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi Club4G,

I bought my Eclipse new in '06 and remember on my way down my street, the day I drove it home, there were a couple of kids riding their bikes (they were probably about 10 or 11). Anyways, they stopped when I drove past and one of them yelled "Hey mister, your car looks like a spaceship!"... I knew right then I had picked the right car.

Being the first year of the 4th generation body style, it was really rare for me to see another eclipse (especially with the Razzi body kit on it) for at least the first 6 months or so after I bought mine. People were asking me what it was in drive thru's and I just loved the attention and this was my first truly brand new car.

So I drove it, and I drove it, and I loved it. After 13 years, I still see her across a parking lot and think "I'm so lucky, I have the sexiest car on this lot." Being together so long, you don't notice the little age lines, the creaking when you take a turn, the straining like an old lady, trying to go up a hill. But I swear, she's kept her looks...


So, in November I met someone new. I bought my first new car in 13 years, a chubby little SUV (2018 GMC Terrain) and as many have done before me, I forgot about my first true love... and she sat.

It's true that I would jump in her and go for a jolly little romp around the block (to make sure the battery stayed charged and the brakes didn't rust) but let's be honest... after 6 months in a brand new vehicle with touch screens and leather... I found my smelly old 4G was loud and just not as tight as I thought, which was exactly why I went out looking for something new.

Almost exactly one year earlier, I had been living with the 2nd cat on my headers clogged up (or at least the ECU thought it was) and the power I was getting was horrible (it felt like 220ish hp). I got fed up and decided to remove the cats (Arkansas has no vehicle emission tests) and installed a set of RRE stainless steel headers... bingo, great improvement. I mated that mod with an AEM cold air intake (although I haven't quite figured out a good way to use the long pipe and still be able to clean the filter easily, it's so low).
I eventually added an RRE Magnaflow axle back exhaust and my car never felt so peppy. I figured I was easily getting in the 290HP range, only there was one problem, it became very loud.



So I went and bought the GMC. And that's where we were until last month...
I finally decided, since it's not my daily driver anymore, why don't I just do all the things I wanted to do when I bought it but didn't have the money (or was afraid it would void my warranty). My main goal has been to make the car look as good as it possibly can (without making it look rice, and without spending a ton of money).

I know that's a really long introduction but here we go... let's make my GT great again!

Project 1: trim restoration
My rubber trim was horrible. At first, I thought it was just some discoloration or really old tree sap residue, but after my first tests with various "trim restore" products (yeah, I'm looking at you, black magic) I came to realize the shiny patches weren't the problem, they were what was left of a clear coat that apparently gave up sometime when Obama was in office. Whenever I run across a plastic or rubber part that has discoloration or damage my #1 go to is always, medium to high grit wet sandpaper... with lots of water. I went over them carefully with 2000 and 3000 grit sandpaper and they look 100% better.



It's been about a month and they still appear to be holding up. No signs of fading or other discoloration. My original plan was to plasti-dip them (and use the glaussifier) but I'm not sure I need to. I want to make sure they are protected from the weather, so I'm considering just treating them regularly with 303 protectorant. I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts about this.

Project 2: Spoiler modification
I noticed that my stock rear spoiler/lip was discoloring (the chrome inside) on both ends and was holding water more recently. I had honestly always thought that spoiler was designed to let water pass through it, since as long as I could remember it would get partially filled with water inside when I washed my car and appeared to drain very quickly out what I assumed were drain holes on the bottom. After removing it, I can now see that was just the seal and glue had broken on the unit years earlier and the discoloration I was seeing was mold and mildew inside, attacking the chromed plastic.
Yanked it off. (there's a really nice write up on the forums on how to do that)...



Once I got it apart (it's actually 3 pieces, not including the LED 3rd light) I discovered the chrome was not going to be saved and just focused on cleaning it up and removing all traces of chrome from it. I then sprayed 5 coats of VHT nightshade on the clear outer coating (I made sure the very edge above the 3rd light was not as dark as the rest), the reason being that I planned on hiding a 48 inch "flowing LED" strip inside it.



I'll show more of that later, but the spoiler being that dark really required the tail lights to be tinted, or else this was going to look terrible, so I ordered some Vivid vinyl tint wrap (smoked, not blacked out) and pulled the tail lights...



Cleaned them as much as possible...




Applied the tint and put them back on.



I really liked where this was going...
 

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6 Posts
Can give some detail on how to take out the spoiler, because mine has the same problems and I did want to just spray black like yours.
 

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F.N.G.
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108 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
From what I can tell, it is glued together, but wasn't difficult to remove. If you look at the first picture of the spoiler I posted, it's simply a clear plastic shell. It doesn't have tabs or anything holding it on to the mounting piece, other than some glue. I used liquid nails Clear silicone adhesive to seal it back up. None of the screws or anything on the bottom black part touch or connect to the clear piece. I hope that helps.
You might try a heat gun, hair dryer or put it in the hot sun. That might loosen it up a bit.
Once you get it apart, you have options. I found someone else that did what I did to mine (I'll be posting pictures of mine tonight when I get home). Here's the thread about painting them, and even someone doing an LED installation like I did: https://www.club4g.org/board/show-tech/28707-how-paint-inside-spoiler.html
 

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F.N.G.
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108 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Continued...

So, it got really late and I had to sleep. But here's some more of the story so far...

I forgot to mention, I upgraded my rims from the stock 17'' to the stock 18'' alloy. I found a place online that restores them and picked up the set for around $480. I kept my old center caps and reused them.



But I digress...

Micro Project 2.5: Center cap spruce

So I wanted to do something small to help those rims a bit. I got some Vivid 4D "carbon fiber" vinyl off amazon, cheap. This stuff is meant for interiors but I figured I could clear coat the whole cap and seal the vinyl behind a layer of acrylic. I carefully cut out the 3 diamond patterns and applied them to clean caps. I scuffed them up a little (I wish I had been more gentle) and sprayed 3 coats each.



The material does mimic CF pretty closely. I held it up to my CF muffler on my Ducati and it looked about 80% real. The great thing about these though is that they just provide some contrast from a distance and only if you looked closely would you even notice that they are "carbon fiber" (zirconia).



That just looks way better to me. I thought about the traditional red, but it doesn't work with a silver car, at least not mine.

Project 3: Headlight restoration (permanently)...

So, about two years after I got her, she was hit in the front driver side corner while I was stopped at a stop sign. It didn't do a lot of damage, but I had to replace that side's headlight. A couple of years later I noticed the other light was looking terrible (hazy and yellowish) so I bought a cheapy off Amazon. Then a year or so later, the other one was looking bad... and this went on and on. I replaced them both once, but after that I started refinishing them on a regular basis. I've probably done it 7 or 8 times (using my old standby of 2000 grit wet sandpaper, lots of water, followed by a healthy polishing with PlastX and a final buff with carnauba wax). That's good for 3-5 months depending on what season it is. I have been saying I wanted to spray clear coat on them and be done, and what do ya know? I happen to have a few other things needing clear coating so I got some super dangerous stuff called SprayMax 2K Glamour, blah blah blah. You gotta wear a ventilator either while you're using it, or for the rest of your life afterwards, lol. The results are amazing...



I did this last Friday, and it was super humid. The passenger side had to be redone (blushing). Unfortunately, last year I saw an article of someone buffing his lights with Mother's chrome mag polish and thought I'd give it a whirl on my passenger side light. It didn't do nearly as good as sanding and I found, after clear coating it, the polish damaged the plastic and caused "crazing" (small cracks all over the lens).



I'm planning on putting a pair of Ralliart eyelids on this eventually, so for now it looks great, except at certain angles in direct sunlight.

Micro Project 3.5: Debadging Time!!!

The badging on my GT looks, old. I don't remember 100% but it seemed like it was mostly chrome when I got the car. Now they are a gradient from dark silver to lightly "chromish" lighter silver. Anyways, that's gotta go. I'm taking off the GT and V6 badges too. I'm not a "Sleeper" or anything but let em find out it isn't a 4 GS the hard way! lol



That's gonna look nice when I put the spoiler back on.
I was pleasantly surprised how well the adhesive came off and how extreme little the paint carried the ghost (after I just hand buffed it, it's 99% gone). After I strip, clay bar and buff wax /polish it there won't be any sign of them.

To be continued...
 

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F.N.G.
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108 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Continued...

Project 2 Update: Spoiler Modification

Alright, so I mentioned earlier that I had something "fancy" planned for the spoiler. I found these really cool 48'' flowing LED bars on Amazon (cheap and supposedly water proof). While I had the spoiler apart I cut about 1/2 inch off the skinny end of the previously chromed plastic insert and inserted the bar in the gap that created. It's a very tight fit (I think a 46'' would have been better) but I managed to cram it in there.



I used Liquid Nails Clear Seal to seal the three pieces back together (with the assistance of some clamps)...



I also added a strip of 3m foam 1-sided adhesive seal all the way around the mounting surface. I ran the new LED wires through the wiring gasket designed for the 3rd brake light.



I shot 4 coats of clear coat on it and mounted it to the car! Wow, that looks really great now!



You can also barely make it out, but I installed a small backup camera just above the license plate. I'll be connecting that to a new double din touchscreen.

Project 4: Sound dampening

When I added the headers and cai, the car sounded louder in the front (you could really hear the lifters and engine operating), I guess because the headers didn't muffle the sound as much, or maybe it was all the tubing and resonator I pulled off for the intake. Whatever did it, when I put the Magnaflow on it really raised the noise level inside the car. There is a low drone any time I give so much as a little gas. From outside the car it sounds amazing, and it's not a terrible sound inside the car, it's just loud. I'm ready to do something about that.

... A big 100ft roll of FatMat strolls casually into the garage ...

Well, hello sexy!



And 28 hours later (yes, I OCD'ed out and mega cleaned every surface... and I'm also terrible at removing trim pieces, took me forever)...







Very surprisingly, there were quite a few cavities in the trunk area where I could shove my arm up to the elbow, while touching the back of the outside surfaces (like the rear fender and quarterpanels). When I close the trunk or tap on the outside of anything behind the doors now, it is a muffled thunk instead of a resonating clank. I took her for a test and I'd say it is a good 25% quieter, and I've only covered to the backseat floorboard. I have not done the entire floor, doors or under the ceiling liner.

I've started preparing to remove the carpet (and seats) by pulling the center floor console (THAT was FUN, omg)...



On a side note, it's amazing how gross some of the surfaces of your car become after a decade, even when you take really good care of her...



I guess this is what Dr. Pepper spilled into the cup holder looks like after 13 years.

So, that is where we are as of today. I just had some minor surgery on one of my feet so it may be a few days or a week before I'm able to do much on the car.

Here's a short list of what I have planned over the next month:

  • I plan on finishing the fatmat treatment to cover all the way to the firewall (as absolutely complete coverage as I can accomplish).

  • I am ordering a pair of Raillart eyelids

  • A full set of slotted rotors and new pads

  • Flush 13 year old brake fluid (yes, I'm ashamed) and install steel braided brake lines

  • Replace rear emblem with Carbon Fiber version, if the one coming from China ever gets here, and looks decent

  • Full cleaning of all carpet, seats and trim before re-installation

  • Clean out air ducts and AC condensation drain pan, and install a cabin filter

  • Engine Detail

  • Touch up paint on chips, pull out small hail dents on roof

  • Paint strip, clay bar treatment, multi coat wax and buffing

  • Take tons of pictures of my sexy beast in various settings and post that shit to the forums

So, what do you guys think? I've been so excited about getting to that final stage. It's the only thing that keeps me working on it in this oppressive Southern heat.

I'll update again soon...
 

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She's BEAUTIFUL!!! I too want to do something similar to my rear spoiler. Mine seems to always have water in it these days! I also wanted to get a Knight Ryder-type light bar in the front bumper. I want to put a dash & rear camera; but, I'm afraid to mess with the din! It's custom painted to match the exterior paint & it looks GORG! I'm also trying not to put too much MORE money into the car (certainly not for cosmetic features). Anyway, your baby is coming along quite nicely, can't wait to see the rest! Speedy recovery with your foot!
 

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F.N.G.
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108 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Miss BttrSctch! You can totally restore your spoiler yourself. Just be prepared for some work. BTW, the verdict is still out on if that clear seal I used will hold this together long term. It was 99F today and it looks like the edge walked just ever so slightly (maybe 1mm) today. I could be imagining it, since I had to reseal it after pulling it back off to adjust the weather seal. I'll update if it looks like i'll have to use a stronger sealing adhesive.

And my foot was feeling better today so I got out the old hair dryer and got to work!

Micro Project 4.5 - Custom Emblem Swap:

I took a chance and ordered a "real cf" Mitsubishi emblem off Amazon, straight from China... it took 4 weeks to get. Anyways, many of the reviewers said they liked it but that it wasn't true carbon fiber (which for $15 shipped, I didn't figure it was).
So it finally arrived, and...
It's not true CF. Well, no surprise, however, it is a pretty good quality 4D vinyl with genuine chromed plastic and I'd be willing to bet the "3M" logo on the adhesive backing was printed at the factory. I do like the way it looks though. Very similar to what I used on the center caps.

I heated up the old emblem and it came off pretty easily. There were two little rubber grommets in 1/4 inch holes at the tips of the bottom two diamonds, which just pulled straight up easily after I sawed through the top's adhesive (which likely WAS real 3M).



I cleaned it with denatured alcohol before applying the new emblem...



A close up...



Sorry, it was overcast today.



Alright, so that's all I got done today. I'll be getting back to that center console soon (although the high tomorrow is 99F heat index 115F, so we'll see.
 

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F.N.G.
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108 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Continued...

Well, it was 97F with a "real feel" of 112F today. But heat shall not stop me, so...

Micro-project 5: Plasti-dip License Plate cubby

I have a black plastic frame around my plate that is very thin and has NO dealership crap plastered on it. It's about 2 inches tall and looks much better than when my plate was mounted directly to the car. I think with all the tinted darkened stuff up top, we need a little balance on the bottom. It's plasti-dip so why not right? I can peel it off if I hate it...

Masked and cleaned.... ready to go...



My first plasti-dip ever. Thank god for frog tape (and apparently I can clean up any bad edges with my fingernail)...



I honestly kind of like it. I had photoshopped my car before hand to see what it would look like and this is very close...



I'll stare at it for a few days (and in the direct sunlight) before either pulling it off or spraying the plasti-dip "glossifier" on it (which is supposed to make it shiny and hold up better to weather / car washes).

I'll update again soon... thanks to anyone following this project.
 

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F.N.G.
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108 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Project 4 - UPDATE : Doors

So I had a few hours free Saturday and watched a few videos and read of few posts by club4g members... was feeling pretty confident I could get the door panels and trim off fairly easily. My plan was to fatmat both doors and maybe pull the head liner.
5 hours later...



Ok, I dilly dallied and I was super afraid I would break a bunch of clips. I also had to pull much harder than I anticipated on the entire door panel to pop loose those darn turquoise fasteners that seem to be everywhere in my car. I had one left over when I put it back on, that worries me a bit.
Anyways, while I had the door panel off, I cleaned the crap out of it (of course) but the shiny grey console housing the lock and window switches is really starting to look bad. Sun has taken it's toll and both door consoles are looking faded and rough.



I had a LOT of that 4d vinyl wrap I used on the center caps, so I gave it a shot.



By the way, if I hadn't mentioned it. I'm using very mild dishwashing soap in water to clean every panel I pull off and I'm washing front and back. Also, I'm using 303 protector as the final sealer. So far, most of the trim has a nice dark, not too shiny, color back to it. There are a few minor scratches in the plastic in a few spots (if anyone has any idea how to hide those, please let me know).

Well, that's all I was able to do. One measly door, although just beating on the door itself, the sound proofing is really working. The door sounds much more solid when I close it now. The entire 100ft of fatmat (50mil) was only 30 lbs, so this isn't actually making the door very much heavier. It maybe added a pound or pound and half, not noticeable when opening or closing it.

My GF is moving in next month, so I'll probably be slowing down progress for a little while, getting her stuff moved in and settling the house back down. Anyways, I'd love to hear feed back on this stuff. Let me know if the pictures aren't visible (I know a lot of non members read these) so I can host my pictures if there's a lot anonymous users reading.
Do you guys think the vinyl looks too cheap? The pictures really don't do it justice, I can certainly tell it's a wrap because I'm not good at doing it yet, but the material itself is very realistic in the sun. I may re-wrap this one if I get better at it.

Anyways, until next time...
 

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Mits Man
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146 Posts
Interesting... been wanting to sound dampen my doors for a while now. I have the upgraded Rockford Fosgate sound system and the lock/window controls make an annoying rattling noise when I blast music.

How much time/effort was it to disassemble/reassemble the door panels?
 

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F.N.G.
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108 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
RE: yungbawss

It was a tougher than I thought. I referred to the service manual and it says take off the top trim, but I never could figure out how to do that and eventually (obviously after removing all 6 screws) was grabbing the top corner near the hinges and just pull really hard to pop it off. My biggest surprise was that there is a full metal plate covering the door behind the trim. Most doors have big cavities you can reach through to apply the fatmat, but ours is covered by the door window regulator plate (where the window motor and stuff is mounted). If you're bold, I suppose you could take that off and fully address the inside. What I did was remove the speaker and reached up to my elbow with the fatmat on the inside of the door as much as possible and then applied another layer on that regulator plate. It seems fine, but I wish I could have applied it to the entire inside of that cavity. It took me 5 hours to do one door, but I was being really careful, and now that I've done one I think I can do the other in about 2 hours. Holler if you get stuck or need tips. I think it's worth sound dampening the entire car (it has always been a loud ride).
 

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F.N.G.
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108 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Continued...

Project 2 Update: Spoiler seal is walking...

Hey everyone,

It's been really hot for the past week or so here in Arkansas and I'm glad because it showed me how inappropriate the silicone sealer I used to seal together the clear shell of the spoiler. The spoiler was already under pressure to make it flush with the mounting surface, but I assumed the sealer was strong enough to hold it. As the temperature rose, the seal got soft and lost adhesion and the spoiler has now pulled away from the trunk about 1/2 inch...



Here's another angle...



That tinted edge should be flush against the painted trunk. Although I don't believe it's leaking, it's collecting debris and looks bad. I'll be taking that apart, again, and using something a little stronger this time. I'll also be trying to shave down whatever in there is putting pressure on the two parts.


Minor update on the sound dampening...

I was able to get the driver side door fully fatmatted...



It was only about 1/2 done in this picture, but I finished it and put it all back in the car. It still took over 3 hours to do that door (so many nooks and crannies).

Anyways, I ordered some new Centric Sport slotted rotors and ceramic pads yesterday (also a new e-brake shoe). Gonna drain that fluid next week (I still can't believe it's the original fluid, sad). I'll be putting on my steel braided brake lines while I have the calipers off.

Until my next update...
 

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F.N.G.
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108 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Continued...

Hi gang, I had a few hours free Saturday and turned it into car time...

Micro Project 6: Filthy gas cap / fuel filler door

I've seen this gas cap area get really black a few years ago and I think I just sprayed a light bleach water solution and scrubbed it with a toothbrush enough to satisfy me and never messed with it again. The situation was getting serious this time around.



Whatever that black film is, bleach only pissed it off this time. I tried bug n tar remover, parts cleaner (was worried about the painted plastic with that stuff). In the end, I just soaked it in hot soapy water for 20 minutes and then went to town on it with a toothbrush and a few toothpicks.



It turned out ok. There are some black areas where the silver paint is flaking off the plastic door. I'm going to attempt to clean it up with touch up paint, but I'm really considering plasti-dipping the entire inside of that door and fuel filler compartment. I cleaned up the area around the fuel tube...



For now, it's good enough. I'm using a buddies lift Saturday to get her new brakes put on, so I just need it protecting my gas cap for now.



So, I am really considering the spyder style fuel door. I really like the look of it, but I'm not sure how it's going to look on a silver car. I'm also trying to keep the car as close to stock looking as possible. I'll try the touch up approach first and see what I think. I know it's unlikely anyone but me will notice my clean gas cap, but I couldn't leave it in that terrible condition. Not considering how clean the car is going to be when I'm finished.

I'll try to post some pics of the new brakes this weekend. My GF is starting to pack boxes, so that will probably be my last update for a couple of weeks.
 

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F.N.G.
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108 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Make My GT Stop Again!!

Hi again everyone, so we're in the midst of getting my best friend / roommate's stuff out of my house and furiously cleaning everything while my girl friend brings more and more of her house inside mine. Needless to say, not much time for my GT lately. So, since I couldn't work on it, I took it to a shop! (lol, nothing will stop the forward motion of this car upgrade)...

Performance mod: Centric pads and StopTech rotors (Bonus: e-brake new shoes)...

I took my car to my favorite local mechanic (he's the only mechanic I know who has not done something I've told him to do to my car, because "I didn't need it".) In my opinion, that's a rare mechanic. He also doesn't mind when I bring him my parts, because he knows I always am 100% they are compatible.
Anyways, I grabbed a set of the Centric PosiQuiet Brake Pads and Stoptech Slotted Brake Rotors (the setup RRE racing recommends for non-track cars) and picked them up at Partsgeek for under $460, shipped, so I jumped at that.
I had Mark drain all the old fluid out of the system (replaced with dot4 fluid) and remove the 14 year old brake lines and put on stoptech steel braided lines on all four wheels. I'm being gentle right now due to the burn in material (which actually smoked after the first drive) but the brakes feel very confident and the pedal travel was cut at least in half.



You can see the SB line in the back ground.



Look at the meat on that rotor. I can't wait to start heating these babies up.

So, even though I didn't get to turn a wrench on those myself, at least now my car is fully drive-able again (yes, the old brakes were THAT bad). I'll be remounting the spoiler soon (I would love anyone's suggestion on what adhesive to use putting that back together). The trick is I don't want it to cloud and show through the tint as a dark spot (which is why I thought that liquid nails sealant would be perfect). I'd also like the option of getting it back apart some day if the led array goes bad or a breach in the water seal occurs.

So until next update! I love that this build log has gotten so many reads now. Really makes me feel like I'm doing something interesting to someone other than just me.

Be back soon.
 

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I have like 3 Extra aluminum fuel doors here if you want one. Ill clean it up and post up pictures with verification if you do. $30 each one
 

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F.N.G.
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108 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Are they damage free? I'd love to see some pictures. I'm still not sure they will look better than the paint matched original (I'll google some images of silver 4g's with those fuel doors and try to make up my mind). For that price I can always take it back off if I don't like it.
Thanks man!
 
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