Painting the A-Pillar
This is pretty much a makeshift how to. I have a very strong attention to detail when I try to make things look OEM. Hopefully this will help people avoid some pain and frustration. For people that don't want to read it all, DupliColor Vinyl and Fabric FLAT BLACK is what you want.
So, I have a double gauge pod that's black. Unfortunatly, the right a-pillar is still grey and I don't want my gauge pod grey because that'd be just nasty looking. (although Duplicolor does make their vinyl paint in grey too) After experimenting on my a-pillar, I finally found an almost perfect match with the black dash. I'll first explain what I did so maybe you guys won't make the same mistakes, or if you actually are looking for a paticuar look I accidently did.
The first time around, I bought a can of DupliColor Vinyl and Fabric Gloss Black spray paint (~5 bucks at Advanced, ~3 at Wal-mart). Prep it first. No sanding, because apparently that makes it look really bad (sorry nick). If you accidently already did sand it, he fixed his with a few coats of flex primer. Anyways, prep the a-pillar by using a lint free cloth (I used microfiber), and wipe it down with rubbing alcohol. DO NOT TOUCH it with your bare hands after cleaning it.
Set up your newspaper and prop the a-pillar up in the air so the sides aren't touching the paper with whatever you have around(I used a deck of cars and a mini can of spray paint). DO NOT PAINT IN COLD WEATHER. I cannot stress this enough. If you do, you'll get tiny spots where paint refuses to stick. More coats doesn't even fix it, even if it's dry. Acts almost as if oil splattered on the thing. This happened on two sepereate occasions with my pillar and my buddy's. It looks horrible and the only way to fix it is start over (I'll get into that).
If you can, give the can a hotwater bath (not boiling, tap is fine - this will help with cooler weather painting) until the contents are warm. The spray will be more fine and more even. Shake the can, preferbably 30 seconds more than what it says on the can. Spray some onto the newspaper just to get some paint into the nossel. Start on one side top to bottom (long ways, left to right and move your way down), then the same on the opposite side. You will have overspray and don't be afraid to do it. You don't want to be too close because the paint will collect, and run, and pool on the edge or worse, on the middle of the pillar. Again, it looks horrible. If it's just some that pools to the bottom and none main part, you can take a papertowel, and run an edge across the BOTTOM of the edge. Basically, what I mean is not to wipe off the paint, but it bleed onto the paper towel via capliary action (i think i used that term correctly).
Take your time; I did two semi-light coats. First coat to get most of the thing covered. And the 2nd to get the missed spots. If you can't see the texture when you spray on the paint, you're way too close or putting on way too much. If you can barely make out the texture, it SHOULD be fine when it dries, but avoid doing that as much as possible. If your nossel gets clogged.. which it probably will, wipe it off, flip the can upsidedown, and spray until clear gas comes out. No sharp objects into the tip!
If you mess up... This absolutly rocks because I've discovered that DupliColor's paint is a plastic/rubber/vinyl (not sure which) based paint. Basically, if you can get a side lifted, it will start to peel off cleanly. Pretty much, this is how to do it, and the paint has to be sticky. If the paint is dry, put on a light coat, let it sit for a few seconds (it 'melts' the old paint or something), and scrub it off with a cloth (it will be ruined) or a paper towel. It will be nasty and not want to come off at first, but then it acts like cement rubber and rubs off. Get 100% of it off, or else it will just interfere again when you try to put on a new coat. If you only need half of it repainted, and the other half is still good. Doesn't matter, rub it ALL off. The 2 difference in layers will show, even with an additional coat. After it's all rubbed off, clean it again with rubbing alcohol. New slate; it's like it was never painted.
I redid mine because flat black was not avaliable when I first did it. I accidently discovered that the paint can be so easily removed, discovering NOT to paint in cold weather, letting the paint pool too much. I learned the hard way. You don't have too. Again, what you want is Duplicolor Vinyl and Fabric Flat Black. The gloss gives it a plastic look if you're into that. But definatly does not match the stock matte black. If I had a digital camera (lost one drink night, thanks erica), I'd take pictures and actually make a real how to... but I don't. Good luck everyone. You can PM me if you have any problems or questions.
"We live for a good time, not a long time."
RIP Colin McRae