NTPOG 5th Gen Air/Fuel Controller - Painting the V-AFC

Author: Todd Marcucci
 


Why?
When I got my V-AFC I was very disappointed in the silver color- what in the hell is silver in any Honda? Nothing I've seen. I was glad the buttons at least lit up amber, they would match something. I also didn't want the AFC to stand out; I have no idea how often these things get stolen, but I wanted to make sure mine didn't become a statistic.

After looking around the interior I decided to mount the AFC in the dash. I looked at the mounting bracket it came with for all of about 30 seconds before I decided it (and the provided double-stick tape) wouldn't last and would (IMHO) be ugly. By dash mounting it the silver color would stand out even worse, prompting me to figure out how to paint it.

WARNING!!!
If you proceed with this, you will be risking damage to your V-AFC as well as voiding any warranty. I'm sure A'pexi and your distributor will NOT take this unit back for ANY reason after seeing that it has been painted, let alone that it has been opened! Please keep this in mind- if you aren't experienced at or comfortable with taking things apart and putting them back together, this mod is NOT for you!!! NTPOG and the author claim no responsibility or liability for your ability or lack thereof.

What You Need
- A cool, dry place to paint
- Testors Model Spraypaint (what I used) or another good, quality spraypaint
- Semi-gloss clearcoat *unless* you get a semi-gloss paint
- Masking tape
- Jeweler's or other small philips screwdriver

Dissasembly
Being an anal sort of guy, I wanted this to look nice. I immediately discarded the idea of simply masking off the buttons and faceplate and doing a Maaco paint job. Also, being an electronics nut by nature, I wanted to crack it open. It was very easy, just 4 screws in back:

Remove these and then you can remove the back panel. VERY CAREFULLY remove the daughtercard that has the cable attached by lifting up (like the back cover):

Set this piece aside VERY carefully. Be sure not to lose the plastic spacer that supports it and remember where it goes:

Now (again, carefully) lift out and set aside the main board with the display attached to it:

Now, remove the buttons from the front panel and set them aside. There is a cluster of 4 and then of two- be careful not to break them, they're delicate.

Now comes the tough part. Look at the blueish/silver translucent piece for the display. Looking inside the empty case, with the button holes on the right, you'll see two tabs at the top where the translucent panel snaps in. Looking at the picture on the left, you can see where you need to press these tabs in to release it, and in the right picture, how it will swing out. I found the best way to do this was to pry each of the tabs inward while pressing out on the transluscent piece. It doesn't take much pressure to remove it (in fact, very little) once you release the tabs:

   

Painting
Once you have that piece out you are almost ready to paint. You'll need to mask off the area around the translucent piece (where it meets the housing) and the area the buttons sit in. Failure to do so may result in the buttons sticking. If the paint goes on a little too thick, not only do the buttons not have enough room to move freely, but the translucent piece will also be moved, exerting pressure on the buttons where they pass through it. Trust me, I found this out the hard way! I had to go back and scrape away the paint around the translucent piece and the holes the buttons sit in.

Once you mask it off, you're ready to paint. I recommend 3-5 thin (I stress thin!) coats with the second-to-last coat actually covering up all the silver (and one last coat for good measure). If you didn't use a semi-gloss paint, I recommend a semi- gloss coat over flat black to give it a more durable and glossier finish.

Reassembly
Once the paint dries, you're done! Reassemble the unit the way it came apart- carefully install the translucent piece, insert the buttons, insert the mainboard, put in the spacer for the daughtercard, install the daughtercard/cable, and then the back cover and screws. Be very careful with the daughtercard- it "snaps" onto the mainboard via a delicate connector. Be very careful, it should go back together just like it came apart.

For final (painted) pics, you'll have to skip to the next section, Dash Mounting the V-AFC. Or you don't want to dash mount, you can skip on to Wiring the V-AFC to the ECU.



This page last updated 2/26/03.