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OTD3 lifetime Member
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I thought you meant that heat was used to remove the film. My mistake.
Aftermarket wrap processes use heat for intricate details and compound curves.
I don't know how the factory did it, but however they did it, they FAILED miserably!

On another note, I will say that I didn't observe any adhesive residue on the film or the panel surfaces. It was all perfectly clean.
 

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clearcoat solution? or trouble?

My 2008 Pure Smart Car has sever delamination. I know I can buy panels...but wondering if it could be fixed by painting. I went online to utube (diyautoschool)and saw this, and it seemed like it might work. Here are the steps:
1. Use Scotch Brite to rough up the surface.
2. Clean dust with alcohol and automotive wipe offs (lint free)
3. Put on Adhesion Promoter.
4. Put Epoxy Primer on
5. Spray paint (hopefully with factory color)

So has anyone ever done this? If this won't work, I've thought about just putting wrap on. The worst panel is the front engine panel, but there is also a place on the side near the front panel. I am enclosing pics. Any help or advice greatly appreciated.
 

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My 2008 Pure Smart Car has sever delamination. I know I can buy panels...but wondering if it could be fixed by painting. I went online to utube (diyautoschool)and saw this, and it seemed like it might work. Here are the steps:
1. Use Scotch Brite to rough up the surface.
2. Clean dust with alcohol and automotive wipe offs (lint free)
3. Put on Adhesion Promoter.
4. Put Epoxy Primer on
5. Spray paint (hopefully with factory color)

So has anyone ever done this? If this won't work, I've thought about just putting wrap on. The worst panel is the front engine panel, but there is also a place on the side near the front panel. I am enclosing pics. Any help or advice greatly appreciated.

First off, it looks like something was spilled on your car. That doesn't look to me like typical UV clear coat peeling. Has your car ever been egged? That's kind of what it looks like...

Typically clear coat peeling from UV & environmental exposure degrades the clear turning it white as it de-bonds, and it flakes off in small pieces. Yours is actually large sections that have a wrinkled look to them, but are still bonded around the edge. That is the same look a paint gets when a chemical stripper is applied.

The yellow panels on your car are molded in yellow, there is no paint on it except the clear coat. Therefore, you do not want to apply a primer to it.

Having painted a few cars, here is what I would recommend:

Use a plastic safe paint stripper like this: https://www.pepboys.com/product/details/8985299/01036 to remove all of the clear coat on the panels affected. Obviously, check a small spot for compatibility before spraying the entire panel. I would then lightly wet sand the panels with 800 or 1000 grit sandpaper, and apply a good quality clear coat back over the panels. Should shine them right back up. But be warned, a good quality automotive clear isn't cheap. And having a body shop do the work will cost you. The 08 yellow panels may be near impossible to get from smart at this point. They have always been tough to get in yellow...

To give an idea. Here is my latest project before & after. You can see what clear coat affected by UV looks like.



and here it is after finishing the restoration:



So I can say with certainty, that's how to deal with clear coat issues... I spent hours sanding that car down to get rid of the nasty clear coat that was on it... But that was a painted surface. I couldn't just apply paint stripper to it...
 

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...
Jetfuel....nice car Mr ex-president....
Thanks Jet. Just finished it last weekend. 3 1/2 months of work getting the body squared away and painted on that one. It was a fun project. Makes a sweet daily driver. I get almost as many looks in that now, as I did in the smart...:D

Paint is Viper Red, and it is bright!!
 

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OTD3 lifetime Member
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That doesn't look like the typical behavior of the peeling red smarts, but it could be.

The "Clearcoat", at least on the red cars and I fully suspect the yellow is the same, is not a paint product, it is a plastic wrap material that was factory-applied in sheets, as a film. See post 196 in this thread.

The clear film begins to loosen around any imperfection, like a stone chip and it migrates from there. When I stripped mine, most of it came off in sheets. What didn't come off was stuck fast. The areas where it adhered well were areas that didn't receive direct UV, like inside the tailgate area and the lowest parts of the fenders and doors. The film that came off didn't appear to have any remaining adhesive, nor did the surfaces that it came from. It was as if it disintegrated.
I'm not confident that a touch-up as you suggested will work, because you'll be applying paint to the equivalent of a plastic bread bag.
 

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That doesn't look like the typical behavior of the peeling red smarts, but it could be.

The "Clearcoat", at least on the red cars and I fully suspect the yellow is the same, is not a paint product, it is a plastic wrap material that was factory-applied in sheets, as a film. See post 196 in this thread.

The clear film begins to loosen around any imperfection, like a stone chip and it migrates from there. When I stripped mine, most of it came off in sheets. What didn't come off was stuck fast. The areas where it adhered well were areas that didn't receive direct UV, like inside the tailgate area and the lowest parts of the fenders and doors. The film that came off didn't appear to have any remaining adhesive, nor did the surfaces that it came from. It was as if it disintegrated.
I'm not confident that a touch-up as you suggested will work, because you'll be applying paint to the equivalent of a plastic bread bag.
Well, I can't necessarily confirm on the red cars, but as the video link below clearly shows in the first few seconds, the yellow panels are very obviously clear coated at the factory. That is most definitely a spray on process, not a film. I highly doubt they would do anything different on the other colors.

 

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OTD3 lifetime Member
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Intersting video.
That being said, I know what I had to remove, and it was a polyethylene-type sheet product.
The piece in the picture was about 6x8". I had the piece scrunched up in my pocket all afternoon before taking the pic.

When the wrap guys touched the new wrap material to the right rear fender, the old wrap stuck to it and started to come off in a jagged sheet. I ended up taking my panels back and power washing the old film off. About 85-90% came off without much trouble. The rest, not so much.
I often wondered why there was a visible edge of about 1/32" at the edge of some of my panels, like at back of my rear fenders, where they meet the tailgate, inboard of the taillights. The hood too, where it met the front fenders and the cowl. I couldn't understand why or how the clearcoat didn't wrap around the edges. I found out the hard way that it wasn't paint.
 

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Thanks for your comments. I just want to get this straight. All you did was to remove it by powerwashing? When you said earlier, "When I stripped mine, most of it came off in sheets, " I thought you used some kind of chemical. I am pretty sure my problem looks like the one you had. Afterward, did you try to put some kind of clearcoat on it?
 

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OTD3 lifetime Member
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The power washer removed a large part of the film. What was left was really stuck fast and had to be sanded. There may be a chemical remover that's safe for plastics, but I used a DA sander. Applying heat did nothing.
I don't believe clear coat can be applied and have it look good. The remaining surface is sort of a mottled pink color, the mottling, I believe will prevent getting a good even finish.
I had mine wrapped. If you go with a wrap, especially a glossy one, make sure you prep the surface extremely well. I thought I did, but the glossy wrap highlights every imperfection, of which there were many! :(
 

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Judging by the video WhiteNBlack08 posted, I believe you both are right. It must be sprayed on... however, due to design or defect it dries into a film.

I wonder if any post facelift 451s have experienced it?
 

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My 2008 Pure is Yellow and the clear coat is also peeling, on every panel. I may try to have peeling sections repainted with clear coat. But for now, I am enjoying driving the car too much to worry. At least I don't have to be concerned about panels rusting.
 

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Hate to say it, but this is not uncommon on a lot of cars. The clear coat, once it starts to let go will probably continue. Painting over it may not fix it if you paint over older clear coat and it lets go. Best to talk to a quality paint shop for a recommendation. The other option is to replace the panels with a 'refresh kit', might be less expensive....
 

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Unfortunately some of these cars will do that. not much you can do about it except have it re-painted. The red is a painted color and whet you are seeing is the clear coat peeling. another option is to replace the body panels if you can find a set in the color you like.

There were 2 different colors of red used on the smarts. the 1st version is more of an orange red,a and has a metallic finish to it. 2nd version is more of a darker red.
 

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I am having the same problem, the small panel in the back. I have about 48,000 K miles on mine. I contacted MB and they said I have to have an "official" dealer look at the car and they take into consideration customer loyalty and how often I visit the dealership, which for me would be 0 as I bought the car in 2012 from the one owner, and have my work done on my side of town, no SMART/MB dealership is convenient to where I live. When I advised of the others that are having the same problem on the same year and the same color, the rep claimed they don't gather data in that way (so no way to make the determination that it's a manufacture defect). They treat each case as an isolated case. From what I have read, the only compensation is possibly 10% off the probably already inflated prices to replace the panels. Ugh. Not very good customer service for what appears to be a manufacture defect. Basically to get MB to fix it, all those having an issue would have to get together and file a class action suit.
 
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