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Gluing broken wiper cowl back together


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#1 obsolete

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Posted 16 April 2020 - 11:05 AM

I know, I know, it's an exercise in futility to glue these brittle old cowl pieces back together, and they will probably just break again...

But for people who have done it, what kind of glue did you use? I have a few kinds of epoxy on hand, and have had good luck with the baking soda and super glue technique on various other plastic pieces.

Does anyone know what they are actually made of? I'm guessing ABS?
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#2 87redcat

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Posted 16 April 2020 - 12:23 PM

Sand areas and clean with alcohol. I use super glue. After its dried, I also use an accelerator, Sand the back side and use a light weight fiberglass cloth over the crack and soak with super glue. Rub cloth to ensure contact with sanded area. Wear a latex or nitril glove. Lightly sand after completely dry.
Ive never used baking soda, but it should work to fill in gouges and cracks.
To finish, I sand with 220 or 320, alcohol wipe and use one of the black trim paints.
Hope this helps
I got blisters on my fingers!!!

#3 obsolete

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 03:46 PM

Just finished this repair over the weekend and it came out okay. The one major thing I wish I had done differently is to do the initial gluing on the car to make sure the two pieces go back together flat. I did it on my workbench, and when I went to test fit the repaired cowl on the car, it doesn't sit quite flat, which is going to put more stress on the plastic and probably cause it to crack again...but we'll see. I am thinking I will only install the two outer cowl clips so that if I ever have to remove it again, I won't have to pull up hard in the center where the crack was repaired.

Baking soda is a great accelerator for super glue, it neutralizes the acid solvent that keeps the glue liquid, so sprinkling it on while the glue is wet makes it harden super fast, and yes, it also adds some mass for filling cracks and reinforcing thin pieces. I don't have any fiberglass so I just used some scraps of black polyester fabric soaked in super glue for reinforcement on the back, and I'm very happy with how that worked--thanks for the tip, redcat!

Next step is sanding and paint. I'll post some pictures eventually.
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#4 Preludedude

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 04:09 PM

View Postobsolete, on 20 April 2020 - 03:46 PM, said:

Just finished this repair over the weekend and it came out okay. The one major thing I wish I had done differently is to do the initial gluing on the car to make sure the two pieces go back together flat. I did it on my workbench, and when I went to test fit the repaired cowl on the car, it doesn't sit quite flat, which is going to put more stress on the plastic and probably cause it to crack again...but we'll see. I am thinking I will only install the two outer cowl clips so that if I ever have to remove it again, I won't have to pull up hard in the center where the crack was repaired.

Baking soda is a great accelerator for super glue, it neutralizes the acid solvent that keeps the glue liquid, so sprinkling it on while the glue is wet makes it harden super fast, and yes, it also adds some mass for filling cracks and reinforcing thin pieces. I don't have any fiberglass so I just used some scraps of black polyester fabric soaked in super glue for reinforcement on the back, and I'm very happy with how that worked--thanks for the tip, redcat!

Next step is sanding and paint. I'll post some pictures eventually.

Yes, the wipers should hold the cowls down near the center of the car anyway...I've removed multiple sets of cowls from parts cars, and more were broken while removing, then the other way around....

Its tough on that 35yo sun-dried plastic....

#5 tux

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 07:54 PM

I read somewhere that atf can recondition old plastic, but I haven't tried it

#6 obsolete

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Posted 21 April 2020 - 01:22 AM

The plastic that Mitsubushi spec'd for the wiper cowls is just garbage. It doesn't appear to have any fiber reinforcement and is really thin in places. I'm not sure if this driver's side cowl was broken when I bought the car or not, but the first time I discovered it was in the air dryer of a touchless car wash, when half the cowl flew up and hit the windshield, held on by only the weather stripping! I finished the sanding and put on two coats of paint tonight, but Imgur is being flaky for me, so no pictures yet.

I am sure ATF, or any oil really, would soak in and make the plastic shiny and probably soften it a bit, but I'm avoiding anything like that since my weapons of choice for this project are glue and paint.
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#7 87redcat

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 10:01 AM

Glad I could help. Hope they turn out how you wanted em
I got blisters on my fingers!!!

#8 obsolete

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 12:03 PM

I didn't do a great job on the paint, so I am sanding them down and trying again. These suck to sand! But I'll get them right eventually. The glue repair turned out nice and I am very happy with how strong it is. May end up using the same trick on some interior plastics.
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#9 Preludedude

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Posted 13 June 2020 - 09:28 PM

I painted mine with VHT black wrinkle paint.  The wrinkle look did pretty well on the old plastic.  Since it wasn’t perfectly smooth to begin with....

#10 kev

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 02:23 PM

SEM Trim Black.   It's almost a perfect match.  Easy to apply and extremely durable.  

Posted Image

I used it on all of the trim on my CQ during restoration including the cowl.  Can buy it for spraying or in rattle can.  I used the rattle can.

In fact I literally just resprayed  the bed caps on my 2011 ram last week.  They were faded bad and now look better than they did when I bought the truck new.

Posted Image

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#11 damageinc86

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Posted 16 June 2020 - 10:29 AM

I used that SEM black for the rear bumper "insert" bar.  Looks completely OEM.  It's great for anything black trim.

#12 obsolete

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Posted 16 June 2020 - 01:44 PM

Thanks guys. My problem was not the paint, it was my prep process. First time around, I didn't use a lint-free cloth, and despite blasting with compressed air after wiping, some cloth fibers still showed up in the paint. After sanding down again, I just blasted the sanding dust off with compressed air (without wiping) and learned that's not a good idea either, because you can never get all the dust, and anywhere that too much dust remained, the paint wrinkled.

Most of the spray painting I've done in the past has been stuff that I didn't really care as much about the cosmetics of, so I am still getting my technique down. I just finished doing a bike frame for my wife and got good results with the following process:

- Sand
- Blast with compressed air
- Wipe with a microfiber cloth and 91% isopropyl alcohol

So, I'll probably make another attempt at painting the cowls with that prep process at some point, but I ran out of time to mess with them and just threw them back on the car, they still look great from 10 feet and I have been enjoying driving it.
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#13 damageinc86

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Posted 20 June 2020 - 03:22 AM

Yeah honestly, 10 footer is good for me.  When I get close to even really nice looking show cars, I see crap I didn't think was there.  And they win awards lol.  So at this point in my life i really don't care if there are a few imperfections when 6" away from it staring at it with scrutiny.




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