Paint Stripper for Instrument Panel Cover

I purchased a new instrument panel cover (from Knots2U, part 79044-006) to replace the old one on my Cherokee, to be installed by my avionics tech after trimming to fit around the G5s he put in. All went well until we got to painting to match the right panel cover. The paint job went badly wrong, and I think we need to start over. Can anyone recommend a pain stripper that would remove the old paint without killing the plastic panel? Any advice would be appreciated.


  • Can you sand and repaint?

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • Yes, but I think the concern is that the texture of the plastic will be lost due to multiple coats of paint. That may be my best option, though. I did reach out to Knots2U, from whom I purchased, and they forwarded my inquiry to the manufacturer. I'll let everyone know if I learn anything from them. Thanks for responding!

  • You could maybe find a small area to test. I think you are right to be concerned a typical paint stripper would also damage the plastic. You might be able to minimize this with minimal exposure. Sandpaper is also not risk free as it will heat up the surface and leave scratches, etc.

    Eric Panning
    1981 Seneca III
    Hillsboro, OR (KHIO)

  • edited September 2021

    Media blasting is another alternative to remove paint. Low pressure soda blasting, plastic media, or possibly organics such as crushed walnut shells or crushed dry ice may work. Any media blasting shop should be able to help you.

    If you have a regular home pressure washer, try that first. Go easy, and start with the nozzle far away. Move the nozzle closer as necessary but not so close as to damage the plastic.

    When it's time to repaint, I highly recommend SEM plastic dyes. The dyes can be purchased in spray cans, and are available at most auto parts stores. Follow the instructions closely. I did mine 11 years ago and they still look great.

    Jim "Doc Griff" Griffin
    PA28 - 161
    Chicago area

  • Thanks very much to all of you! Much appreciated.

  • PS: So far I have heard nothing directly from the manufacturer, but if I do I'll update.

  • If he painted with SEM, then you can just paint over with another color after a very light sanding and it should come out fine. I have had some instances where SEM paint was bad and it left lumps of paint on the plastic. I have not had any luck restoring those problems; you just have to get new plastic and try again. If he painted with an enamel rather than a vinyl paint, I would call Eastwood or Plane Plastics and ask for advice. One of the Plane Plastics representatives did a lot of presentations jointly with a SEM representative at Sun N Fun. He would be a good guy to talk to.

  • Thanks, all and sorry for the belated response. I did hear back from the manufacturer, through Knots2U who sold me the plastic. They said there was no paint remover that they could recommend that wouldn't damage the plastic, so the options are what Griff and Kentshaw said. I've decided that it doesn't bother me enough to do anything about it for now--I'm enjoying having the plane back in service after its avionics upgrade. Thanks!

  • Sometimes the best action is no action.

    It's only cosmetic, so I agree with your decision.

    Thanks for getting back to us!

    Jim "Doc Griff" Griffin
    PA28 - 161
    Chicago area

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