Man's" Black Pearl Emblems
Heat Gun (or blow dryer)
2"-3" Plastic Putty Knife
Waxed Dental Floss (alternate)
Flat Cardboard Box
Adhesive Remover (3M or Goo Gone)
Dawn Dishwashing Fluid
#0000 Steel Wool
Testors Black Pearl paint (#1813)
Testors Clear coat (#1814)
3M Double-sided Emblem tape
I am providing this write up for illustrative purposes
only. Perform at your own risk. Any mods (including this one) you perform
on your vehicle is your responsibility. Furthermore, commercial use
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in legal action.
Black Pearl Emblems give your 4Runner a distinctive look without looking
gaudy. I wanted a set for my 98, but buying a set from my Toyota dealership
was quite expensive—last I recall it was in the $200 range. Thus,
this was my inspiration to figure out a way to have that black pearl
emblem look without the expense.
One guy I knew posted a link (which I lost) to a guy who painted his
old Toyota Cressida emblems with “Window Tint” paint. The
result, while satisfactory, was not good enough for me. I was looking
for that subtle “pearlescent” effect. So I went down to
one of the largest hobby stores in the South Bay (Los Angeles) and found
that Testors sells Black Pearl and Clear Coat paint for a grand total
$7.63 vs. +$200---you do the math.
1: Removing the Emblems
Before you remove your emblems, surround the borders of your emblems
with masking tape to mark its original location. This will help you
perfectly realign your emblems back to their original position. You
will thank me for this great tip later:
Use masking tape to aid you in reattaching your emblems
take your heat gun and work the gun on the emblem from all side. Do
not set it too high or too close. You just want to soften up the adhesive.
Next, take some adhesive remover and squirt some of the fluid (from
the top down) beneath the emblem. Wait a few minutes and then take your
plastic putty knife and slide it behind the emblem. Try to maintain
a flat angle and even pressure so as to not damage your paint. As you
work your blade under the emblem, slowly and carefully lift up the blade
behind the emblem until you feel the emblem coming off. If the adhesive
is still too tacky, apply some more heat and/or more adhesive remover.
on your model year, some of the emblems have plastic “posts”
that come out of the emblem and fit inside holes in the 4Runner. For
my 98, the only emblems that had these posts were the Toyota stylized
logo (above the license plate fascia) and the “4Runner”
emblem on the license plate fascia itself. Follow the same procedure
as above to remove these emblems.
'98 4Runners have 6 holes. The heat gun, fluid, and
plastic putty knife method will
work the best in this case. Using the dental floss method will work
but it will be difficult.
choose to use waxed dental floss, follow the same procedures as described
above but be aware that these posts will prevent you from flossing all
the way through.
2: Removing the Adhesive off the Emblems
After the emblems have been removed, most likely there will be some
residue on them. Use a shop rag and put a generous amount of the 3M
Adhesive Remover (or Goo Gone) on the remaining adhesive and allow it
to sit for at least 3-4 minutes. Reapply and allow it to sit for a few
more minutes. Now use your old toothbrush to gently scrape the adhesive
3: Preparing the Emblems
I took some #0000 Steel wool and gently buffed the emblems. While others
may disagree, it really helps with the paint adhesion. Next, run the
emblems under warm water, wash with soap, and then wipe down with rubbing
your clean emblems, roll up some masking tape, stick them behind the
emblems, and then stick the entire emblem on a cardboard box.
for doing this is to raise the emblems above the surface of the cardboard
to make it easy to spray the edges. Thanks to Butnut (Brian) for this
4: Painting and Clear Coating the Emblems
Take your Black Pearl paint and do a test spray on your cardboard. It
is very important to get the “feel” of the can, how much
comes out, etc. Spray from a distance of 8-10 inches away. Your first
coat should be very light. From experience, 2 light coats per emblem
are perfect. Drying time (not curing time) is approximately 1 hour per
attempt was not great. A lot of dust settled on the emblems so I removed
the paint with turpentine and started all over. This time, I used my
blow dryer at high temp and low speed to set the paint and prevent any
dust from settling on it. Another good tip is to clean the nozzle of
paint can between each coat. This prevents the paint from spraying big
“clumps” on your emblems.
with 1-2 light coats of clear coat paint. Do NOT put too much clear
coat on. I did once thinking it would protect the newly painted emblems,
but instead, it penetrated the paint and made it look like some post-modern
you do, do NOT be tempted to poke, touch, prod, etc your emblems. You
will sincerely regret it if you do because you will mar the paint. Put
it in a safe, dry, dust-free environment and just forget about them
for the next 48-72 hours. This will give the paint enough time to harden.
5: Preparing the 4Runner Surface
Soap up your wash mitt with some Dawn and wash off all the excess wax,
etc. off the surface where you intend to reapply the emblems.
6: Applying the Emblems
Cut to size the 3M emblem tape and apply to the back of the emblems.
Now take your emblems and apply them to their original locations. Don’t
press too hard---just enough to mount them.
- Practice once or twice before making your first coat. When you are
spraying the paint, make a light pass. Don’t slop it on. You will
regret it and have to do it over.
Find a nice, dry, dust-free environment for your emblems to dry.
paint took much longer to harden than I thought. It dries in 1 hour
but does not cure. I touched the paint with my fingernail once and it
created a nice little dent. That is why I am giving you the advice not
to touch the paint and let it cure for at least 48-72 hours! One member
even suggested 1 month. I'll let you decide.
3/6/03: It has been almost 4 months since I originally performed this
mod. I did not put all the emblems back on the rear tailgate. In fact,
I only have the Toyota stylized oval logo! I really like the “clean”
look. The paint on the emblems has held up just fine. No chips, flaking,
nothing. Well worth the $7.
or feedback? Email me and I'll try to get back to you. If this article
helped you save time, money or just made things more convenient
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