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soft touch - tested

2404 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  mystix
Well, Ive been waiting for some parts to come in to finish working on my transmission work. Figure I may as well take advantage of the time and do the other little projects that have been cropping up. One of those is working on the now decayed soft touch paint on the interior. Do they still use this stuff?

At any rate, Ive read all sorts of forum posts here and elsewhere about people's approaches. It invariably ends with 'awesome and a green scrub pad' or 'alcohol and a green scrubby' or 'ammonia and a' .. you get the idea.

One terrible bane of the internet I find is incomplete threads however. So once the OP finds a solution he likes, he never posts back about the solution.

The pattern above suggested to me that it may not be the solvent involved that was important. I have previously tested various solvents, and found them to be ineffective. This time I wanted to be more thorough..

I tested - water, isopropyl alcohol, vodka, easy off stove scrub, goop hand cleaner, gunk non-chlorinated brake cleaner, acetone, latex caulk remover (smelled like mainly naptha), clorox bleach, purple power degreaser, xylene, and dry. I decided against Awesome because I dont go by too many $ stores, and it contains some pretty heftily unhealthy solvents that Id rather not mess with anyway.

I tested by soaking a piece of paper towel in the given solution and placing it on a patch of soft touch paint. It was set to rest for 10 minutes. Areas were then scrubbed equally with a green scrubby and wiped clean with a sponge.

All of the above proved to be equally useless. The soft touch came off, but it wasn't anything to do with the solvents. The liquid carries away some of the material from the scrubby, so they all contribute that. Really the secret seems to be just scrubbing it with a green pad, and or taking the bulk off with a razor first. ..and thats what I've now done. Likely to be followed with a light sanding.

One factor that may be variable here is the state of my soft touch paint. I got this car used and the soft touch already was soft and easily scratched at this time. Someone had done something to it I surmise, as my older beetle Ive had since new was just fine. I theorize it may be armor all at the dealership, or spray suntan lotion with the older owner. Suntan lotion was found to take the softtouch off my door handles in a number of days. :( (not tested because days is too long of a waiting period, and I didn't have any available to me.)

So.. perhaps if you start from pristine softtouch you can soften it with one of the above. My tests seem to indicate that once you have reached the softened state, you're not going to get any better then that.
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After buying a used NB 01 GLX 1.8 Turbo, I thought the softouch interior was gunk or scum... glad you explained that.... I used cleaner and 0000 steel wool on it, then waxed it... looks decent now.
Sure.. Im putting some work into the interior finally. Now I've found that Krylon flat black spray paint pretty much duplicates the original look exactly. So now Im doing all my pieces with that.

Mine had scratches so just leaving it at bare plastic wasnt that great of an option. Glad my post helped a bit!
I found lacquer thinner to remove it. Scuffing it with a Scotchbrite afterwards helped with scratches that were under the coating.
You sure got that right mystix, day 2 for me doing the same thing. After reading through threads about alcohol, easy off, brake fluid, I tackled the job only to find all these "great" removers do not work. Magic eraser works a little bit but not enough to say try this!! 3M pad and elbow grease with some rubbing alcohol is my route.
And the results are SOO worth it too. Not sure why they bothered with the soft touch stuff for tha majority of these pieces anyway. Its not like I spend very much time lunging forward to touch the front of the dashboard.

Very nice to be back to a clean flat black again.
How did you get it apart without tearing the car up?
The dash comes out with little effort. I read somewhere about using a clothespin, the spring type, break it apart so you have two wooden pieces, and put each half at the edges on the center panel to use as a pry tool. Work the panel towards you, it worked great for me, and the few screws that hold the outside 2 panels on will be there, easy to see. Mystix, I have the bonus extra soft-touch to scrape, both upper door panels, where every beetle I've ever seen are painted the color of the car,...mine are coated with the stuff. I just made shirt sleeves out of 3M pads so I can cruise 'n' clean :D
Oh wow.. What model do you have? I have 2 currently and had another, but none had soft touch there. Eesh.. I like the shirt sleeves image.. haha
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