BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > DIY Guides > DIY Tow hook cover painting

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      06-25-2010, 03:44 AM   #1

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DIY Tow hook cover painting

So I recently lost my front tow hook cover piece again, the first time I noticed my tow hook cover was missing, i just had my car serviced by the dealer, so my SA said it probably got lost when they put my car through the car wash, and they covered for the cost Unfortunately recently when I went to autocross I hit a cone smack on the bumper, and the piece got knocked out.... Dealer told me it would be 7 bux for the part + 75 dollars for paint.

It's a tiny 5cm x 5cm piece, how hard could it be to paint myself right?

Tools needed:

new tow hook piece (9 bux from tischer)
1 can of spray paint for the color of your car (got mine from paintscratch.com for $24.95)
1 can of spray paint clear coat ($12.25 fromt paintscratch)
foam applicator (or PC if you have one)
polishing/rubbing compound

Step 1. Find something you can spray paint your piece on. Some people just lay down some newspaper in the garage, I cut out one side of a box so I can catch the excess paint on the back.

Step 2. find something that you can use to cover up the tow hook while it dries, i used a smaller cardboard box. This is so you wont have any lint\dust whatever falling on and getting stuck in the paint.

Step 3. Shake the spray paint (of your car color) well for at least 2min. I have metallic paint, so it's even more crucial all the paint gets mixed together well. Better be safe than sorry, so shake as much as you can before getting tired

Step 4. Clear the nozzle by spraying a few squirts elsewhere.

Step 5. start off to the side of the tow hooks, you dont want to start spraying directly on the tow hooks otherwise you'd get blotches and drips.
move from left to right, starting and finishing away from the pieces.
Take a look at this youtube video to get an idea.

Make sure not to put on a thick layer! thin layers, multiple layers will always result in a much better finished product than one big thick layer. I've read that the very first layer should be super thin, just barely covering the material you are painting. This is so the subsequent coats have more bite to grab on.

This is after 3 coats

Step 5. Wait! it is advised to wait until the paint is completely dry before applying the clear coat. Follow instructions on the spray paint.

Step 6. Do the same for clear coat, thin fine layers, multiple of them.

Step 7. Wait! clear coat will dry in about 24hours, dont touch them until they are completely dry.

Step 8. Inspect the results. The clear coat i got from paintscratch does not dry smooth and shiny. If yours does, your done!

Step 9. Since mine is not shiny, and I'd much rather the piece be shiny matching the rest of my car, I got out my foam applicator and M105 polishing compound and got to work. Results were promising, I began to see the piece becoming more mirror like. Progress was slow though, so I brought out my PC and used that to buff instead.

Top unpolished, bottom polished, obviously

You can see that even the polished piece has a bit of orange peel effect, I think this is partially due to the fact that I did not wait until the base coat was dried before applying the clear coat.... I'm probably going to grab some sand paper and wet sand it to get it crystal clear. Will update with pictures once I get that done.

And that's about it! All in all i spent 28 dollars on two front tow hook and one rear one, and 46 dollars on the paints. 74 bux for three painted pieces, + left overpaint for some future projects

That's it! It's really not that hard.

Hope this helps someone

Final shot with tow hook installed
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      06-25-2010, 05:36 AM   #2
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great write up!
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      06-25-2010, 06:23 AM   #3

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Great work!
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      02-21-2011, 03:11 PM   #4
Baldur Abendroth

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I don't know if anyone has this thread subscribed. I'm thinking of doing a whole bumper myself as having others paint is a rip off. I do posses a professional air brush and some prior painting skill. I'm thinking something like this can be done on a larger scale without making it look cheap, I have just never done any car paint jobs before, only models.
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      02-22-2011, 01:00 AM   #5
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For something like a tow hook painting it yourself may be fine. On a larger scale painting the whole bumper is risky. The paint may not match on metallic colors. If you have JB or BSM then go for it
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      02-22-2011, 08:04 PM   #6
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      02-23-2011, 03:16 AM   #7
Private First Class

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I lost my rear tow hook cover and paid $45 for that small piece?!?! I painted everything the same way you did minus the polishing as my clear coat dried shiny but, wow, I gotta really look harder for parts on this forum....next time. Good job OP! How's the color match?
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