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HOW TO: Debadge a vehicle

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This writeup is intended as a basic guide on how to remove emblems, logos, and other unwanted badging from the exterior of your vehicle. Before starting any debadge its important to verify the badge you're removing is only held on by adhesive. In some cases there is a bolt or guide hole that will be exposed on some vehicles.

 

WHY DEBADGE?

  • A clean look on the exterior of your vehicle
  • Easier to detail without having to work around them
  • You don't have to be a rolling billboard for the car manufactures

 

So our subject vehicle, my new 2012 Silverado:

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The writeup will be focusing on this big gold eyesore right here:

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WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

  • Fishing line
  • Thick gloves
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Multiple microfiber towels
  • Clay Bar with Detail Spray
  • Heat gun or hair dryer
  • Patience... lots of patience

 

OPTIONAL THINGS THAT WILL MAKE THE JOB EASIER:

  • 3M Eraser Wheel (available online)
  • Professional grade adhesive remover designed for automotive surfaces
  • Plastic razor blades

 

Start with a clean vehicle or by wiping the area around the badge clean with waterless wash and a waterless towel

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Next use a low setting on your heat gun to begin warming the area. Use caution not to overheat the panel. If using a hair dryer try to park with the sun facing the panel for about 30 minutes before hand to get a jump start on the warming. Be careful as the panel around the badge will be hot!

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Occasionally push the badge sideways... as the heat begins to act on the adhesive backing they should start to wiggle and feel loose.

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Next, grab your fishing line by either end and wrap a few times around your fingers (wearing gloves at this point) to keep a good grip. Work the line in behind a corner of the badge and begin slowly, but firmly pulling the line parallel to the panel, essentially cutting the badge from the surface.

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Work slowly and use a sawing motion if necessary to keep working the line thru the area. If the line begins to get more difficult to pull try heating again with the heat gun or blow dryer

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Once the line gets thru most of the way the badge should be easily pulled from the surface

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Try peeling whatever large chunks of the remaining foam backed adhesive from the area. Be patient! This stuff was designed not to come off so its going to fight you most of the way.

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If using an eraser wheel, here would be the time to use it. Be very careful... the wheels spin at a high rate of speed and can potentially burn thru a paintjob if used without caution, for this writeup I stuck with the "manual" method.

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To aid in the process heat the area occasionally to keep the adhesive soft. Be careful not to burn yourself as the panel and glue can be hot.

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If you're patient and work slowly larger areas of the backing should come off at a time.

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Continue heating occasionally, typically the outermost edges are the most stubborn as they've hardened the most with exposure to air/water.

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Once most all of the material is removed wipe the panel with Isopropyl Alcohol to remove as much of the adhesive residue as you can. Use a short knap towel that you won't mind tossing after you're done. The adhesive will likely clog the towel up and create hard spots.

 

If you have a professional strength automotive adhesive remover that should be used in place of the alcohol per the manufacture directions.

 

Once most of the adhesive is removed clay to remove any remaining small specs. Generally it takes 2-3x of claying to get all of the remaining residues from the surface.

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On darker colors or a vehicle thats more than a few months old you may notice some "ghosting" or a residual outline of where the badge was previously. Simply go thru your usual polishing process to remedy the issue. Sometimes more aggressive steps might be needed. In most cases Fine Machine Polish is all thats required.

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Remove the residues, inspect, then apply your preferred sealant/glaze/wax or combination.

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And done!

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Tip -

 

Definitely don't reach down for the heat gun without looking and pick it up by the wrong end unless you want to take the tip of your finger off. :o

 

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nice write up. One badge off out of what seems like a million on them new trucks :jester:

 

I tackled the biggest one first... the lettering is super easy. I wish they'd just have an option to get the vehicle without it in the first place. :thumbsup:

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Great write up! Looks so much better!!:bow:

 

Have removed dealer emblems and stickers over the years but never the mfg crap. Looking forward to trying this soon! :banana:

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Tip -

 

Definitely don't reach down for the heat gun without looking and pick it up by the wrong end unless you want to take the tip of your finger off. :o

 

eb869366.jpg

 

Sorry for chuckling at your pain but I only laughed because I've been there. :lol:

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Nice work. Does anyone know if the square "GM" logos are posted on or just stuck on?

 

The GM chicklets? The ones that came on the 2010 Camaros were just stuck on. My stepdad removed them from his.

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Nice work. Does anyone know if the square "GM" logos are posted on or just stuck on?

 

The GM 'chicklets' are just glued... anymore if its on a door its glued only. Some of the trucks (my 09 Av for example) have guide holes under the rear bowtie, but that wasn't all years. I believe the bowties on the rear of the camaros in certain years have holes, while others don't.

 

Sorry for chuckling at your pain but I only laughed because I've been there. :lol:

 

Thats OK.. after the pain subsided and the smell of cooking flesh was gone I had a "boy, that was stupid!" moment :lolsmack:

 

I'm pretty sure theres a little piece of my finger still stuck on the end of the gun. :willy:

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The GM chicklets? The ones that came on the 2010 Camaros were just stuck on. My stepdad removed them from his.

 

Was so happy when GM stopped putting those ugly chicklets on the vehicles!

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3M adhesive remover works wonders! ive debadged so many vehicles that i have it down to a science and most of the time I can get an entire rear finished in less then 40 minutes with flawless results.

 

older vehicles take much longer though, new vehicles are so easy to remove! just a tip for those with 3M adhesive remover, it does turn any plastic WHITE where overspray lands on so please make sure to spray the remover on a MF towel rather then actually spraying the surface

 

Nice write up Dylan!

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I had a feeling this write up was coming when you mentioned this was going on in the "new rig" thread. Thanks for the tips as always!

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Dylan, next time turn the gun sideways, it'll go faster.

 

 

 

;)

 

 

Great write up man! I never did get around to removing the Bowtie in the back of the SS...

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great write up! great for those who have been wanting to tackle that. As much time and patience it take, I love taking off the badge on our family vehicles. My mom keeps asking me where all the badges keep going every other time im home from school haha.

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Had a car pass me on the highway over the weekend that was completely debadged. To me it looked ridiculous. Nothing to identify it or set it apart. I don't even know what it was..........it just looked like every other car on the road. Could have been anything.

But the thought crossed my mind that if I couldn't identify what kind of car it was, how would police identify it if they needed to? I mean, if they were in a high speed chase and had to call it in, what would they say? I have a feeling that debadging will be illegal in a year or two.

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Had a car pass me on the highway over the weekend that was completely debadged. To me it looked ridiculous. Nothing to identify it or set it apart. I don't even know what it was..........it just looked like every other car on the road. Could have been anything.

But the thought crossed my mind that if I couldn't identify what kind of car it was, how would police identify it if they needed to? I mean, if they were in a high speed chase and had to call it in, what would they say? I have a feeling that debadging will be illegal in a year or two.

 

IMO it is a sad state of automotive design when the body designs are so like each other (bland) that we need to wear labels to let others know what we are driving.

 

Though I haven't debadged our cars I have almost always admired the cars that are debadged (except for some that were just plain ugly, like Rich said). When debadged it seems to me that you can see the car and body lines for what they really are without having some pre-conceived idea based on who made it or what model it is.

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