How to Refurbish a Foxbody Saleen Console Plaque?
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This pertains to the 1986-1993 console badge/plaque. The 1994 and up badges are different.
This is a question we get asked A LOT because the finish of the Saleen console badge tarnishes no matter what kind of environment it’s in. But there is a way to take care of that.
Note: there are some console badges that ended up with a decal on top of another badge. It seems that this happened in 1988 quite a bit and potentially into 1989. The feedback from those who have reported this seem to show that the badge underneath the decal was a truck badge of some kind.
It’s worth noting that the shifter bezel was going to be tossed. We did not tape off the surrounding area. You will need to protect your shifter bezel with painters tape or similar while sanding.
The above picture is what we started with. The aluminum has turned an ashy gray and it looks to have some clear coat on it already.
We started with 1000 grit sandpaper sanding in a left to right motion to keep the same grain direction as the original. There’s reason to be cautious and start there. We gave it a few passes using water to wet sand it. We found out that it wasn’t aggressive enough to go through in a reasonable amount of time.
We chose to get more aggressive with the sandpaper. After working with some 400 grit this is what we had. Taking it slow was the key.
With that aggressive of sand paper we had to apply light pressure and use a sponge to wrap the sandpaper in. A simple yellow rectangle dish washing sponge is all that is needed. That allows the pressure across the badge to be even. Using your hand or fingers will cause high and low spots. And if you’re not careful you’ll sand through the thin line that forms the box around the chassis number and the box around the edge of the badge. Those lines are not that deep and will disappear.
The two pictures above are a progression. You can see the dull scratches in the first pic from the 400 grit. The second pic is a single pass with 1000 grit. It’s slightly more shiny. We made a few more passes with the 1000 grit and got it to where it still had a grain to it but wasn’t too shiny.
The above picture is where we stopped. There are some deep etched areas of it that we could have taken down further, but at the risk of losing that small line. We’ve seen people go through those lines and thee only thing left is the lettering on the badge. We stopped accepting that this is as good as it is going to get. You can see how deep those “lightning strikes” are in the picture below.
The final step is to take some satin or semi gloss clear and sprits an even coat across the plaque to keep it from tarnishing for a while. Again, we didn’t tape off the console shifter bezel because we had to swap to a new bezel due to a hole drilled in the original one for an alarm light.
There is a reality that your Saleen console plaque could be too far gone. Or you may have one with the foil decal over another badge. Not to worry, Saleen still offers those badges. All you have to do is pick up the phone and call them. But, you will have to show detailed proof of ownership and vehicle VIN information for them to verify that 1. the car is one of their registered cars and 2. you actually own it. There is a charge for this service but is worth it if the console badge is unrecognizable or even missing.
One tip on removing the badge from the shifter bezel. Take a small wire, guitar string in our case, and wrap the ends across two screwdrivers. Using screwdrivers that are hexagon or square in shape help. Then take the wire and run it through underneath the badge cutting into the thin foam tape. Using a slow sawing motion, you can cut through the tape. This technique can also be used in many other areas on a car.
All done. Hopefully this will help Saleen owners in the future.