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Discussion Starter #1
in automotive design there is a term called "dead-cat hole" which is the space between the top of the tire and the wheel opening. This is particularly apparent on pickup trucks and many SUVs. While the Crosstrek's tires fill the openings satisfactorily, I feel like the body-side cladding exaggerates the perception of the dead-cat hole above the tires.

Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of the extra paint protection and the cladding does add a sense of toughness, but I wanted to experiment with changing the appearance of the cladding to see if I couldn't make the functional cladding a little more stylish. I also wanted to try out the removable spray on Plastidip product that many people use to either spray badging or the entire car. In this post I will document the project as well as followup evaluation on the durability and eventual removal of the application.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
I purchased the Plastidip from Dipyourcar.com which has a standard Full Spectrum Wheel Kit which includes 4 aerosol cans for $25.50 but I also added 3 cans of glossifier for $24.48, Dipcoat Protective Spray for $25.50, and a spray trigger for $6.64 for a total order of $82.12.

Fonzie from Dipyourcar.com has several great instructional videos on YouTube which suggested that you really need about 5-6 coats of depth so that the application is thick enough to remove. Not knowing how much coverage the 7 total cans cover, I decided to try just the side cladding from the front wheel wells down each side to the rear wheel wells. The Glossifier is like additional layers of "clear coat" which give the finish a shinier appearance. The Dipcoat Protective Spray I supposed to give the finish a less tacky/matte texture and protect the project longer. The Spray Trigger clamps on top of the can to make it easier on your finger when spraying large surfaces.

One thing I didn't purchase, which in retrospect I think I should have, is the Dip Nozzle for $1.85. This nozzle is supposed to have a larger spray pattern which speeds up the layer applications.

2015 XV dipyourcar.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The first step is to thoroughly wash and dry the car. I use AMMO NYC products which I find to produce very high quality results. I also use an electric blower to dry all the crevices and creases from the trim.

Then the time consuming job of masking the trim. This was a pain because I underestimated the time it would take, as well as the difficulty of using straight tape to mask off compound curves. One big lesson learned is to block off enough time that you aren't rushed because the level of care you invest here pay off in the finished product when you remove the masking. The key to the curves is to cut off tiny pieces of tape to angle the curves. Large pieces don't bend! Not only did I mask off the wheels and the paint surrounding the trim, but I also masked off the inside of the wheel well.

2015 XV mask1.jpg 2015 XV mask2.jpg 2015 XV mask4.jpg 2015 XV mask5.jpg
 

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Excellent masking job! Looking forward to the results.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The first coat is supposed to be very light, around 50% coverage, onto which the subsequent coats adhere. I followed the advice of some of the YouTube videos and warmed up the cans in hot water to ensure the spray output is finer with less clumps. Each layer takes about 20 -30 minutes to dry, so this was another 3 hours in the process. I think I ended up with 4 layers of red and 2 layers of glossifier.

2015 XV spray1.jpg 2015 XV spray2.jpg 2015 XV spray3.jpg 2015 XV spray4.jpg
 

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That red will look pretty sharp on your white XV. Can't wait to see the final results. :)

That's one thing I really appreciate about having a TOP colored Crosstrek; the black cladding looks like it's custom made just for the orange. :)
 

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The first step is to thoroughly wash and dry the car. I use AMMO NYC products which I find to produce very high quality results. I also use an electric blower to dry all the crevices and creases from the trim.

Then the time consuming job of masking the trim. This was a pain because I underestimated the time it would take, as well as the difficulty of using straight tape to mask off compound curves. One big lesson learned is to block off enough time that you aren't rushed because the level of care you invest here pay off in the finished product when you remove the masking. The key to the curves is to cut off tiny pieces of tape to angle the curves. Large pieces don't bend! Not only did I mask off the wheels and the paint surrounding the trim, but I also masked off the inside of the wheel well.

View attachment 117081 View attachment 117089 View attachment 117097 View attachment 117105

I'd think that there is enough edge between the cladding and the paint for it to cut nicely, or not? with the tape there you'll have to peel it fast, after the last coat while it's still wet ... good luck !
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks Martin! I am glad there isn't a gap between the body paint and the cladding trim, but you are right - the key to sharp, clean removal of the masking tape is to peel it while the last coat is still wet. This worked for 95% of the trim especially the straight pieces where I could mask perfectly. However, in my rush to hurry up the process, there are areas where the tape overlapped the trim by fractions of a millimeter which was enough to create a little jagged edge. Also, when peeling the long expanse of tape, its important to lift off a portion and then grab it again close to the adhesion. There are a couple areas where I was pulling on a long piece of tape and it again created jaggies. I had to download those pictures off my phone to post on this forum. I should be able to show the finished results this weekend.

A little off topic, I see in your signature that you are waiting for 2016 to get a new Crosstrek. Have you seen this article from Automotive News: http://www.autonews.com/article/20140825/OEM04/308259973/subaru-moves-to-1-platform-new-generation-of-engine-technology

AN is an auto industry newspaper that occasionally summarizes future product plans from their interview sources within the OEMs. They are never 100% because information may be misinterpreted or plans may change, but at the time of printing (August 25, 2014) they said the Impreza on which the Crosstrek is based will be redesigned for the 2016 MY which is late 2016 or early 2017 calendar year. Coincidentally this is the same time that the Indiana plant that makes Legacy/Outbacks will be expanded because they used to make Camrys contractually for Toyota. BTW: according to this article the redesign is supposed to take styling cues from the WRX Concept shown at the 2013 NY Auto Show 2016 Subaru Impreza | car review @ Top Speed.

Anyway, this Impreza renewal will be the basis for the new Crosstrek which it says will be redesigned in 2018, but may change with the recent announcement that Indiana will increase capacity earlier than planned. Rumors about Crosstrek production in Indiana go back and forth, likely based on capacity availability. If you are waiting until 2016 you may want to hold onto your current vehicle until that renewal.

Mazda Mitsu Subaru Product Plan as of 2014 Automotive News.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #12
That red will look pretty sharp on your white XV. Can't wait to see the final results. :)

That's one thing I really appreciate about having a TOP colored Crosstrek; the black cladding looks like it's custom made just for the orange. :)
OK I finally downloaded some pictures from my phone so I can show you the finished product. Keep in mind that these are under the harsh glare of CFL so the hue is not so much Lipstick Red as these suggest.

2015 XV driverside1.jpg 2015 XV.jpg 2015 XV passengerside1.jpg 2015 XV rear.jpg

In hindsight, I did have enough Plastidip (1 can of red, and 1 can of Glossifier) to cover the two little rear reflector claddings; however, that would have added a couple more hours of masking. I also contemplated not the entire front under bumper air intake cladding, but at least the lower "lip" as well as the black trim on the rearview mirrors. Again that would have taken a lot more time to mask off and maybe 2 or 3 more cans of Plastidip (have you seen how much cladding is under the front?!)

I will try to take some more pictures in outdoor light to show you the natural color, as well as some closeups to show you what I mean by the jagged edges on some of the trim.
 

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OK I finally downloaded some pictures from my phone so I can show you the finished product. Keep in mind that these are under the harsh glare of CFL so the hue is not so much Lipstick Red as these suggest.

View attachment 117257 View attachment 117265 View attachment 117273 View attachment 117281

In hindsight, I did have enough Plastidip (1 can of red, and 1 can of Glossifier) to cover the two little rear reflector claddings; however, that would have added a couple more hours of masking. I also contemplated not the entire front under bumper air intake cladding, but at least the lower "lip" as well as the black trim on the rearview mirrors. Again that would have taken a lot more time to mask off and maybe 2 or 3 more cans of Plastidip (have you seen how much cladding is under the front?!)

I will try to take some more pictures in outdoor light to show you the natural color, as well as some closeups to show you what I mean by the jagged edges on some of the trim.
Very well done sir! Very well done! Looks sharp!
 

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Red generally looks good on white cars, it's a great accent color, ScoobyXV-L can tell you :) I'd even encourage you for the front lip and maybe even the bottom of the rear bumper... Not the mirrors though
 
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I think I'd do the white part of the mirrors too. After all, if you don't like it, you can just peel it off. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Uaglio, I am not entirely sure I don't agree with you. It definitely looks better in natural light than those photos under the fluorescent lights in my garage. I was going to take some pictures outside but the sky opened up all afternoon. But like HadABaja said, it isn't permanent so I can always just peel it off if I do realize it looks like $h!t.

Not that I am saying that my experiment looks like these, but MartinTheOrange is not alone in thinking that red accents white cars very nicely.

BMW M3.jpg Fiat Punto Abarth.jpg 2015_nissan_juke_nismo_rs.jpg 911 GT3 RS.jpg Audi R8 white custom rims.jpg
 

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Uaglio, I am not entirely sure I don't agree with you. It definitely looks better in natural light than those photos under the fluorescent lights in my garage. I was going to take some pictures outside but the sky opened up all afternoon. But like HadABaja said, it isn't permanent so I can always just peel it off if I do realize it looks like $h!t.

Not that I am saying that my experiment looks like these, but MartinTheOrange is not alone in thinking that red accents white cars very nicely.

View attachment 117417 View attachment 117425 View attachment 117433 View attachment 117441 View attachment 117449
I think you did a great job! Your XV looks really nice with the red accents. You should be proud of yourself with this project ... Enjoy!
 
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