Prepping bodywork for paint - removing the plastic coating?

Hi there! Restoring an old 2002 e825 and could use a hand.

Looking for any advice on removing the plastic off old GEM bodywork. It’s chipping away and peeling. I want to get it ready for painting.

  • Power washer blasted away most of it
  • used a heat gun with mixed results
  • Good old fashioned chipping, sanding…etc.

The parts where stickers covered or area that were never exposed to sun are especially tough to remove. Also detailed areas like where the headlights go – kinda hard to get in there too.

Any recommendations? Anyone tried taking it to get sandblasted?


I’m working the same issue on my 2008 eS. So far I’ve removed 75% of the clear layer on the hood and front fenders by slipping a knife blade under the edge and peeling it off in good sized pieces. Haven’t had to go to the heat gun yet, but there are areas that are hard to get to. Not totally sure what materials and processes they used to make the shell body parts, The clear layer peels off with out much effort once you get an edge up.

I have a small soda blaster, less aggressive than sand blasting - haven’t tried it yet. The plastic hood is very brittle - and thin - in, and around the headlights. Sandblasting may cut right thru it. Have already knocked a hole in it with a screw driver just below the left side head light. Thinking about making a mold from what I have and laying up a new hood out of carbon fiber, The body panels are extremely fragile - heaven help you if you bump something.

Keep us posted on what you find that works. I’m also painting my boat. I’ve been using Pettit Topside EZ-Poxy one part polyurethane. Easy to work with, great finish with foam roller or brush.

What paint are you planning to use??