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Old 07-23-2007, 07:56 PM
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Default FJ45 Tailgate Lettering

Last summer, to improve the appearance of Rita the red truck for the Rally, and also to prevent minor surface rust from turning into cancer on a rare endangered species (bone-stock FJ45), I spot-sand blasted the bed of my FJ45 pickup where the rust had bubbled up through the factory paint. Then I sanded and feathered with orbital air and then by hand. After priming with filler-primer and coming back and hand sanding again for many hours, I rattle canned with the finest Ace stop-rust and made a mental note that it sucked that I had to paint over the original TOYOTA white lettering on the embossed tail gate.

Steve Helmreich made adhesive decals for the lettering on the tail gate of his FJ45, and I wanted to buy a set from him, but his were one-off and I wanted to get mine done. With the weather warm and dry recently, it seemed as good a time as any.

I finally set some time aside this past weekend and started in with the masking tape. At first, I thought I could simply carefully apply the tape along the top edges of the embossing, but after several hours and two tries, I decided that simply wasn't going to work. Starting over, I simply taped over all the embossing:
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:57 PM
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Next, I put on some reading glasses (yeah, it sux to get old :-) and VERY carefully cut the tape were the apex of the embossing seemed to be.
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:58 PM
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After that it *seemed* pretty straightforward to mask everything else in sight.
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:59 PM
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Then 5 coats of Ace's finest epoxy enamel.
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:06 PM
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The finished product. Not bad. However, I was ALARMED to discover overspray UNDER the newspaper, and a tiny bit of bleed under some of the masking tape seams. The overspray was corrected with some scotchbrite after it had dried, and the bleed was taken care of with a little bit of hand touch up with some red applied with q-tip. Next weekend I'll rough it down a bit and then apply a couple coats of clear coat. Overall, much better than all-red, and certainly better than rust bubbling through!

These types of projects are kind of fun: No bleeding knuckles or hernias, no spills on the garage floor, very inexpensive, and it looks a heck of a lot better when done than at the start :-)

Happy cruisin'!
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:40 PM
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Looks great Jeff! Now all you need is the chrome 4x4 decal in the oval. Someone on MUD is making replicas, I'll see if I can track down the link for you.

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Old 07-23-2007, 09:18 PM
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Sweet. I like it.
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Old 07-24-2007, 12:11 AM
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VERY nice

I wonder if the "blue" tape that some use would bleed less? I used that when touching up my Moab scars on the LX. It seemed to leave a nice definitive line but then again it was black on black so hard to tell.
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:22 AM
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Looks like SOR has the 4x4 decal for the tailgate:


SOR decal
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:56 AM
SteveH SteveH is offline
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Jeff - your painted letters look great!

Sorry I was such a slug about making letters or having more made. About the time I was on it, some guy posted on Mud that he was selling sets. I have no idea who.
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