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Shop Fix E36 Gray Sideskirts

How to Remove the Gray Side Skirt from Your E36 (1992-1995)


Many people invest hundreds of dollars to repaint the gray side skirts of the E36 (1992-1995). Here is a cheap way to solve the problem. But before you proceed, you just have to know that the results are NOT as nice as a brand new layer of metallic paint from the body shop. This procedure only provides you with the matching color of your car (without clear coat). So the choice is yours. DO IT AT YOUR OWN RISK

What is needed?

  • About 10 pieces of steel wool pad, medium coarse grade (from Home Depot)
  • About 10 pieces of fine graded steel wool pad or Brillo pads (from any local supermarket)
  • A pair of good gloves (Don't want the steel wool to pierce through and hurt your hand
  • A piece of cotton cloth
  • LOTS of time (estimated between 4 to 7 hours of hard labor)

Total Cost: About $10 & Time

The Procedure

  1. Begin by using the steel wool pad on a not visible part of the gray skirt (just in case you decide that this is not right for you)
  2. Once you are confident that there IS ACTUALLY paint below the gray coating and you think you can go through the 5-8 hours of labor, then go ahead and use the medium coarse grade steel wool and small portions of the gray coating. Scrub the gray coating and get the feel of how much force is needed. Going too softly on it will probably take too long and going to hard may scratch the paint. DO NOT USE A POWER TOOL unless you are very confident and have a lot of experience with it.
  3. After you start seeing some signs of paint, use the cloth to wipe of the residue, you may use a slightly damp cloth to clean it up. If a large amount of gray coating is still present, continue working with the medium coarse  steel wool. Remember to clean it every now and then because it is full of the gray dust. 
  4. Once a significant amount of gray coating is removed. Use the finer grade of steel wool or the Brillo pad to remove the remaining gray spots.
  5. Clean up the whole side skirt with the cloth and immediately apply polish and wax to protect the paint.

**An alternative method is to use Castrol Super Cleaner, although it gives the same results, there is no research or prove showing that it will not harm your paint. Do it at your own risk.








Extra Tips

  • Do not finish the whole job in one day, you will get very soar arms.
  • Do not use power tools
  • Do nut scrub the jack hole covers, these are not painted, get some touch up paint to coat it.
  • Do small areas at the time. (10 in2 to 20 in2)

and this is all you need to buy from Home Depot