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help removing factory decals on a 300xs

H2O

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First off it was great seeing all of the boats at the Church gathering at Pirates last Saturday. Would have been nice to talk with more people, but it was a great get together for sure. Looking forward to next year!

I'd like to remove the original factory cowls decals on my 300xs, and replace them with the updated factory 300xs decals. I've googled around and getting some conflicting information.

- If possible, I'd like to avoid damaging the factory finish. I read a few posts that said after the decals on a 300xs were removed, it seemed to "leave an outline (clear coat rather than paint fade) around the old decals". Another post said his decals were clear coated, and he had to respray the entire cowl after removing. Yet another post said "no factory clear coat over the decals" and no clear coat damage. There doesn't seem to be any clear coat over my decals, but I don't want to end up with a raised outline after removal (like one of the posts) that requires a respray of the cowl.

- Some said use heat gun a bit and others said just makes it worse, so I guess just trial and error?

- Should I use a razor vs a plastic scraper? One graphics guys said he uses a razor, other said avoid metal.

- Best product for adhesive removal? Acetone, Goof Off, or ???

Thanks in advance. I've done a lot of wrenching on engines and boats, but no experience with decals, wraps or graphics.
 
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hallett21

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You may want to contact Hot laps marine in havasu or boat-masters in NorCal to see if they have any old cowlings from DBR conversions.

Usually you can get one for $500 or less.


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Ragged Edge

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Only use a razor blade or xacto knife to get the corners started, do not scrape the decals with a metal blade. You will scratch the plastic. Try the least aggressive adhesive remover like Goof Off, if that does not work use gasoline. Get a Novus Plastic Polish Kit, they are like $ 15.00 from ebay. This will take care of any scratches you might put in the cowl during the process as well as any wax. Wash cowl with soap and water. Apply new stickers, wax, done.

I am not aware of any clear coat put on the cowlings from Mercury. If some believe their cowls had a clear coat I bet it was aftermarket or built up wax.
 

sonicss31

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Use a decal eraser that you put in your drill. Body shops use them. I think they are made by 3M. I have used them and they work great. No damage to the factory finish whatsoever.
 

JUSTWANNARACE

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I have no clue about the clear coat deal but I wouldnt think there would be any clear coat on a cowl unless applied by someone other than the factory.

I have removed a ton of decals off of alot of plastic, mainly atv and sxs crap.

Do not use anything metal, sharp or abrasive as any plastic scratches real easy.

Hair dryer and the most important thing, patients.. A heat gun is to hot IMO. I always use a hair dryer. Heat the sticker evenly for a few minutes and give the glue time to "get soft". Lift the corner with your thumb nail. Slowly lift off while heating the back side(sticky side) at the lift of the decal. I have used wd-40 to assist on the baked on one but only works 1/16" at a time while using some heat, so agian, patients is your best friend. Once you have the decal off you will have an outline(like a raised edge) of the glue. 91% rubbing alchohol(the 70% does nothing) to remove the glue edge. The alchohol will not damage or haze the plastics like alot of other chemical will.
 

Bullhead bully

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I’ll bet if you put that cowling in the hot sun those decals will get soft enough to probably be able to pull them right off with your fingernails. I wouldn’t use any kind of metal blade at all at all.

Then use goof off or WD-40. For the glue

No acetone!
 

n2otoofast4u

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If they're like the decals on my cowls, they damn near remove themselves in a solid sunlight afternoon.
 

ONE-A-DAY

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There isn’t clear coat over them, I have a set of stock cowls I’ll sell you if you want to practice :) (I did the dbr aliens on mine)
 

H2O

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Thanks for all the replies...really appreciate it.

I received some interesting info from Randy Corsen, which I will post here in case anyone references this thread in the future:

There is no paint on the cowl. You can actually sand as deep as you want and go to a finer grit and it will buff like new. I have taken gouges out almost 1/16" deep. There is no outside "skin" to go through.
 

H2O

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Yep, you guys were right.
I was working on the boat and one side of the engine cover was baking in the sun. So I lifted the edge of a cowl decal with my fingernail, and it pulled right off in one piece...no extra heat gunrequired.
It did leave a white ring around the old decal, which appears to be old adhesive and built-up wax, which came off pretty easily. Can only assume the ring left around the decal is what other posters thought was clear coat??

So far so good.

FWIW - I've got another bigger project that involves removing adhesive residue from plastic, so I ordered a bottle of Rapid Remover, as recommend to me by a graphics shop. Overpriced for what it is, but nice to know if won't ruin the finish on any of my plastics.

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zx14

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I’ll bet if you put that cowling in the hot sun those decals will get soft enough to probably be able to pull them right off with your fingernails. I wouldn’t use any kind of metal blade at all at all.

Then use goof off or WD-40. For the glue

No acetone!
What bully said, I put my 300x in the sun, started the corner with a fingernail, peel slowwith your hand on the cowl making the sticker do a 180, cleanup with gas on a soft rag, don’t rub hard.
 
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