Emblem and Lettering Cleanup

40+ year old cars can have a lot of gunk built up in those hard to reach places. Many many washes of missed detail work really shows up when you’ve cleaned and polished nearby areas. Take this backup lense for instance. I’ve polished around all the letters but you can see the grunge left behind where even a finger won’t fit. The inside of the letters may only be a bit over 1/8″ which a cotton swab might only fit.

The letters look like they were installed through pre-drilled holes into the lense and then melted on the back side for a permanent installation. I thought about attempting to remove them but I didn’t want to break the original pieces and have to replace them. So I went for the detail route. I’m going to have to clean these letters eventually when it’s on the car so why not now?

I ordered a package of Mothers detail brushes. They seem a bit softer than a tooth brush with longer bristles that are designed to get into tight places without damaging any material.

You can see that it looks like the bristles were pre-worn sort of like new-old jeans. In this case, it looks to make the brush a bit softer and safer. I’m not convinced I will want to use these brushes around emblems and on paint. I think I’ll keep looking for another product for that.

I started by applying some quick-detail spray on an individual letter to loosen up the dirt.

I then scrubbed to remove the dirt. This was done a couple times per letter to fully get the dirt off the lense.

I couldn’t really get a towel into the tight spot so a blast of air did the trick.

You can see the big difference between the ‘O’ on the left and the ‘D’ on the right.

Now that all the letters are cleaned up and the lense polished again, it’s time for re-assembly. All the letters took a vast improvement over their original condition.

Here it is re-assembled into the freshly polished/painted trim and reflector.

Doesn’t it look good installed? It’s been too long since those lights have been on that body. I’m really happy how they turned out.

The brushes worked pretty well and I’ll probably use them some more but I’m not going to trust them to paint yet. There’s a couple of detail brushes available from Griot’s Garage that I still want to try. 

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