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2000 Echo
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Side Marker Blackout - Painting Process

I had recently painted the orange side markers on my 2000 Echo after reading about how difficult and time consuming it was to take the headlight apart to get the pesky, abnormally large, orange sidemarker out of it. I had seen some treads on the Echo forum where people painted the Orange insert itself black, then re-installed it in the headlight assembly. Looked awesome, but after I read about having to take the front bumper cover off to get the headlight out, then baking the headlight assembly in the oven @ 200 degrees for 15 minutes, etc, etc, blah, blah (that's pretty much as far as I got when reading that process), I decided to try painting the outside of the cover instead. I was skeptical about the finished quality, but I have to say that it turned out AMAZING. Looks like it came like that from the factory.

I'm not sure if I'm just really OCD about how it looked, or if others have realized how rediculous that giant side marker looks, but posted below is the process that I pretty much made up as I went along with no experience with painting at all, especially automotive painting. Hope it's informative and helpful to some of you. Check it out:

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In the first picture are all of the products/items I used to get this done. The only thing that isn't pictured is the paper I used when taping off the surrounding parts of the car.



First off, I taped the area that I wanted to paint with blue painter's tape and sanded the light cover with 400 grit wet/dry automotive sand paper that I got at Walmart I think so I didn't accidentally sand anything besides the section of the light cover I wanted to paint. This is what it looked like after I sanded and removed the tape:



Next I cleaned the sanded area with Windex really good, then wiped it with alcohol pads to remove any residue or plastic dust from the painting. After it was clean, I used electrical tape (red tape in this case) to make sure that I could make the curves of the edges of the plastic lens that I wanted painted. The painters tape doesn't flex at all, so there wasn't a way to get a uniform curve with it. After I had the curve outlined exactly how I wanted it, then I could use the blue tape to attach the surrounding parts of the car off with newsprint paper (you could use actual newpaper too). Here's what it looked like after taping the second time in preperation for paint:



After it was taped off, I used "Satin Black Krylon Fusion for Plastic" spraypaint I bought at Walmart. I put about 5-6 coats over the course of an hour and a half. It was over-kill, and probably only needed maybe 3 good coats, but the first one has to go on REALLY LIGHT because the first coat will run really easily. Be careful with the first pass. After the first coat, wait about 15 minutes and LIGHTLY spray it again really light, then after another 15 minutes you can go A BIT heavier with your spray because it doesn't have a tendancy to run as easily. Gotta have a lot of patience with the actual painting because this paint is really REALLY thin if you've never used it for anything before. Here it is after about 5 or 6 really thin coats (it's still wet in this picture, so it's not that shiny when it dries):



And that pretty much does it. I let it dry for about 4 hours before removing the paper and tape. After the tape and paper was off, I let the car sit in the garage until the next day, so about 18-20 hours before moving it or messing with it.

After it was pretty much dry, I backed it out of the garage into the light so I could see the results. my girlfriend and I were SHOCKED at the difference the reflectors being painted black made to the overall appearance of the car. It came out so much better than I expected. Here are the pcitures of the car in the driveway after it was all done:







Hope you all like it. If anyone wants to try something similar, but is afraid to because they don't have any experience, take it from me; it's hella easy as long as take your time and read teh instructions on the paint, then follow them exactly. Good luck!

:rockon:
 

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450k+ Mile Echo Coupe
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226 Posts
I'm sorry but I don't see why so many Echo owners feel they need to cover the reflectors. We already have people cutting us off or getting super close to our ass ends because it's a tiny little car, and they think we're farther away than we really are. Why decrease our visibility? Hell, I bet you can get a ticket for that.

I painted my tail light housings black like some others have done, but I brought silver back in to places it needed to be because if it's dark in the fog, I want enough light going out to be seen (the black soaked it up too much).

Just food for thought-- reflectors are there for a reason.
 

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I'm sorry but I don't see why so many Echo owners feel they need to cover the reflectors.
1. They're ugly as sin.
2. They're actually useless if do do a trial run with tape.
3. Seriously.. they're bright as all get out.
4. It totally changes the bulbous appearance of the front of the car
5. Because, they're our cars.


HarveyD said:
Sway Bar Link/bushing replacement.

http://youtu.be/RaOoWb5_G2s
For those wanting more stiffness, a Grade 8 4inch long bolt and nylock (or locking washer and nut) with Energy Suspension p/n 9.8105G or R (G is for black self lubing, R is for red lubable) can be installed for ~$15

I just did this on the 13th and it's a phenomenal difference.
 

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450k+ Mile Echo Coupe
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226 Posts
For those wanting more stiffness, a Grade 8 4inch long bolt and nylock (or locking washer and nut) with Energy Suspension p/n 9.8105G or R (G is for black self lubing, R is for red lubable) can be installed for ~$15

I just did this on the 13th and it's a phenomenal difference.
That's a better upgrade. Mine probably just sit in the middle.

As for the reflectors, that's just different boats floating.
 

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That's a better upgrade. Mine probably just sit in the middle.
Yeah, I have one side of new factory ones and they're definitely still smaller than yours. I will note that I found a tip on an xb forum that said you should do your final tighten flat on the ground for best tracking results. It was a pain as I am much wider than you are haha but I definitely did the 'wrench against the swaybar' thing. Another tip I had to use was that one side was obviously really easy to do since I disassembled both at the same time and had a lot of play. Once assembling one side, the other was a pain. I actually had to (my car was on jackstands at the time) use the scissor jack to lift the control arm, compressing it close enough for me to install the link.

One of the other quirks this platform has been having (Echo, xa, xb1) is that the aftermarket endlinks come with a bolt too long and a spacer. You can't use the spacer in the right location and you have way too much bolt. This was another determining factor for me to buy the hardware and bushings separately.

Whatever is you do to your Echo, sway bar endlink bushings will be the BEST $20 you spend on your car. With the Energy bits, it feels like a whole new car.

Harvey, how much better is it with the Sportlines?

As for the reflectors, that's just different boats floating.
Absolutely. Here's to us all having slightly different Echos haha
 

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450k+ Mile Echo Coupe
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226 Posts
Yeah, I have one side of new factory ones and they're definitely still smaller than yours. I will note that I found a tip on an xb forum that said you should do your final tighten flat on the ground for best tracking results. It was a pain as I am much wider than you are haha but I definitely did the 'wrench against the swaybar' thing. Another tip I had to use was that one side was obviously really easy to do since I disassembled both at the same time and had a lot of play. Once assembling one side, the other was a pain. I actually had to (my car was on jackstands at the time) use the scissor jack to lift the control arm, compressing it close enough for me to install the link.

One of the other quirks this platform has been having (Echo, xa, xb1) is that the aftermarket endlinks come with a bolt too long and a spacer. You can't use the spacer in the right location and you have way too much bolt. This was another determining factor for me to buy the hardware and bushings separately.

Whatever is you do to your Echo, sway bar endlink bushings will be the BEST $20 you spend on your car. With the Energy bits, it feels like a whole new car.

Harvey, how much better is it with the Sportlines?



Absolutely. Here's to us all having slightly different Echos haha
I can't say how the new links are alongside the springs and shocks/struts. Since so much was done all at once it's too many variables. I've done a few drives over 100 miles on the new springs (mountains, freeways, and some choppy backroads) and she's a little choppy in back at times, but otherwise fine. It sounds like even with the rolled fenders, she might still rub.

With the closeness to the ground, I've been thinking about getting some mud flaps for the front, and maybe some Echo sedan body cladding for the sill to reduce the sand/gravel impact. The sedan has a different shaping that makes it sit cleaner than the coupe. It appears to start around the front of the door and terminate with a slight lift at the back wheel.

For the coupes, the door cuts in, and it terminates higher up on the rear fender... not as clean, IMO.

Not sure on if it really ends there, though. It looks like there might be a split right before the arch, but I need a better reference to the rare coupe cladding (not many had it from what I understand). No matter what, the sedan has a smoother shaping.


A more far-fetched idea wood be the little black swoosh of the xA, and seeing if maybe that could fit.
 

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I don't really mind the coupe molding and was actually about to call on a set :rofl: but I would want to get them paint matched to my car.

Two other thoughts I've had were hacking up one of these:



Or these:



Been despartely looking for a cheap set of the former but that seems... unlikely unless I find a unmolested one in the junkyard.
 

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450k+ Mile Echo Coupe
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226 Posts
I figure an easy Echo swap would be more up my alley. They would be off the lighter-colored cars because for some reason, Toyota felt light molding on dark cars and dark molding on light cars was somehow okay. That's why my fascia's are now gloss black instead of gray. The lower grill I kept gray for contrast.

If I remember right, there's a green Echo sedan still sitting in my local yard. But it's been years and I'm betting there's a lot missing already.
 

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450k+ Mile Echo Coupe
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226 Posts
Intermittent windshield wiper switch installation.

Need a Phillips head (+) screwdriver, maybe a standard screwdriver (-) to help unclip a couple things, but aside from that, it's really easy.

-Undo the screws behind the steering wheel (tur the wheel and they'll be right in front of you-- one on the left, one on the right).
-Take out the screw under the steering column, next to the tilt lever and remove the plastic cover.
-Carefully unplug the old switch (the plug in on the bottom).
-Push on the tab on the old wiper-stalk module and slide it off the metal plate it's mounted on.
-Reverse these steps and enjoy a little more luxury/convenience!


Video:
http://youtu.be/pSzZDoULhe4

The part being used is out of a Suzuki SX4 sedan. This same switch is also found in the '03-08 Corolla, but would be more glossy-black like stock. Once installed, I really don't notice.


If you have an Echo hatch/Vitz and don't have intermittent wipers (I really don't know if they do or not-- you guys had more options than us), you might find the Rav4 or Matrix/Voltz switch. Scion xB owners have done this (though they don't have the two-speed motor for the rear like a Matrix/Vibe/Voltz does). Link to that here.
http://thumbs1.ebaystatic.com/d/l225/m/mBmgrH1b8UdRE6-78lO0XIw.jpg

This would be for the hatchbacks.
 

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Excellent post Harvey! Thanks for the writeup, will have to surprise the wife with this one ;)

Looks like I'll be doing my OCV this weekend, so I'll be sure to snap pictures. On a good note, got the Rally Armor Basics installed up front without drilling holes and just need to get out and do the rears now that it's avove freezing.

Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 
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