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Thad
09-03-2013, 12:39 PM
On both my Prima and on my son's Prima, we are noticing that the plastic surface of the dash is becoming sticky and soft to the touch. Honestly, neither car has been cleaned much at all so I can't attribute this to some weird thing that had been sprayed on the dash. It scares me because it seems like the same sort of plastic melting that was common on the Alfa 164. Some of the plastics in that car would ooze and melt. Hopefully this isn't the same thing starting to happen here.
Anybody else here with a very early US car that is noticing the same thing? The Prima Edizione cars were manufactured Jan 2011 and delivered March 2011.

Andree
09-03-2013, 04:49 PM
"Some of the plastics in that car would ooze and melt" Ewww, that's so gross!

Plastics doing weird stuff is common. Same with rubber compounds. Kid's toys get that sticky ick. And it's not from the kids playing with the toys.

First link up is for conservation, such as museum pieces, and some of the more scientific details:
Care of Objects Made from Rubber and Plastic - CCI Notes 15/1 Canadian Conservation Institute
http://www.cci-icc.gc.ca/publications/notes/15-1-eng.aspx

Looks like it's common for many things from doing a google search. https://www.google.com/#q=plastic+becomes+sticky

Just scroll down the page to see auto forums, toy collectors, kitchen products, audio equipment.

It may be partially from the specific conditions of where/how the vehicle is stored. As in it might accelerate the plastic decay. So, that would be a good thing to mention, for everyone else to be aware of. What temperatures you have, humidity, amount of time vehicle is in direct sun, etc. Also, is the vehicle stored or driven?

We may need a pro for this, because I have no idea on what kind of plastic is on the dash. I wouldn't want to do something that would make it worse. By "pro" I mean science, because at least I would like to know exactly how and why it happens and how to lengthen the time before it occurs. Or to prevent if possible.

I don't want a gummy dash. Especially if it begins to ooze. Ewwwww!

Indie500L
09-03-2013, 11:53 PM
Make sure you are NOT using a citrus cleaner or anything that has fruit oils in it like lemon or orange. Those types of oils can dissolve certain types of plastics. Usually a silicone oil is safe or just pure water distilled or ROE water so you do not leave a mineral stain on a damp microfiber cloth. Avoid any type of OFF insect repellent or sunblock in the car as well as they are known to dissolve plastics.

cmj912
09-04-2013, 08:57 AM
That is really weird. My suggestion is to wash with a soft brush and some castile (laundry) soap, like Dr. Bronners. Or Dawn, to strip the sticky off.
However, if by 'soft' you mean that it is starting to have some 'give' when you touch it, that is even weirder. Thinking about your issue I was tapping on my dash (the upper black part, yes?) and that sucker isn't soft-touch plastic.
Are the cars out of warranty? If they are truly softening, and not just getting sticky, I would take them back. The passenger side contains the equipment breakaway points for the airbag.

Thad
09-05-2013, 12:33 PM
Both cars are driven daily. Kept outside every single day. Never garaged. My dash was last cleaned about 6 months ago with a paper towel dampened with windex. A brush will no longer clean things because dust is getting stuck to the plastic. Definitely sticky to the touch. You would think that you should be able to do just about anything to this and not cause a problem. If some Windex on a paper towel destroys the plastic, then somebody didn't engineer this plastic to hold up to common usage.

trevc
09-05-2013, 12:34 PM
That is worrying for sure.
Mine was a year old in April and so far no issue like this. It gets parked outside during the day at work and it has been in the high nineties this summer.

Andree
09-05-2013, 05:57 PM
Both cars are driven daily. Kept outside every single day. Never garaged. My dash was last cleaned about 6 months ago with a paper towel dampened with windex. A brush will no longer clean things because dust is getting stuck to the plastic. Definitely sticky to the touch. You would think that you should be able to do just about anything to this and not cause a problem. If some Windex on a paper towel destroys the plastic, then somebody didn't engineer this plastic to hold up to common usage.

And the dealer said ???

Have you taken it in? I'd be afraid to, just in case they run it through detailers who totally mar the finish. If you do take it in, take lots of before photos and post them. Just for reference, and in case they totally ruin the dash with weird cleaning products.

Before anything can be done, someone needs to look at it.

cmj912
09-06-2013, 09:27 AM
You had said sticky, but also soft to the touch. I'm less concerned about the sticky (since I have my ways to address that :) but more about the 'soft'. Is the plastic 'giving'? Softness can happen to soft-touch 'squishy' plastics, but with the 500s dash - which is hard, I'm curious...

If the dash is not 'softening'. Clean the top of the dash with a little Dawn dissolved in warm water and a LINT FREE towel. If that takes the sticky off and makes it clean, then you can apply something like a plastic protectant once it is dry.
When I suggested a brush, I meant dipping it into the wash solution and scrubbing very gently to get the dust and sticky off.

My thought is some sort of product that was applied to the dash of both of your cars before you got them that is now breaking down.

Just FYI...Windex is not good for plastic. It contains at least two solvents and one strong surfactant which are fine to use on glass but are not a good idea for anything else unless you then are prepared to apply a mediating solution such as a vinyl, rubber or plastic protectant product right away.

If the dash is physically becoming soft and has 'give' to it, that's a defect in the plastic.

Indie500L
09-06-2013, 03:03 PM
yeah windex has some solvents and ammonia that can remove glue so using it on plastic is not a good idea now the question is what to do about it, maybe water rinse. Apparently it dissolves ipods Nanos etc.

Haring
09-06-2013, 03:06 PM
You're also using a paper towel? I tried that once and got small pieces of paper towel everywhere, so never again. Now I only use rags and detailing cleaners.

Indie500L
09-06-2013, 03:24 PM
I would start with spraying water on it and wipe with maybe microfiber cloths but good ones that don't shed the micro fibers, read the reviews on amazon to find a brand that works well, I have some from Harbor Freight that seem ok but even they have a few different types with different compositions.

Poorboy's World - Trim Restorer - leaves a slight oily finish that may prevent stickiness and will make it shiny - it is a clear liquid and you can apply it with a small piece of foam. It only takes a little to really restore plastic to a nice shine. Makes black plastic that has faided black again.

Thad
09-06-2013, 03:44 PM
I'm hoping some other Prima or other very early owners can chime in here. It seems us Prima owners have been finding all the problems on thins before the rest. Like I've had Fiat emblems replaced twice already. Side Sport body cladding replaced once and now ready for #2.
I'll hold off on the dealer until another visit. With the dealer an hour drive one way, I'll wait for another reason to go before they tell me they don't know what to do.

powerpig
09-11-2013, 10:05 PM
This is a known issue with Fiat's cousins, Maserati and Ferrari. All the buttons in my Maserati have become sticky. This has become such an issue that a guy has started a business repairing the buttons. Parent company Fiat won't admit there's a problem.

Indie500L
09-12-2013, 11:30 AM
I wonder if hitting it with some UV Light would help it harden - I know it sure dried out a white plastic fan in my office window and that was through window glass which usually cuts out most of the UV light.

White Abarth
09-12-2013, 05:25 PM
Hey Thad,

Sadly, I'm too familiar with the gooey plastic problem of the Alfa 164 overhead consoles.

We're not seeing anything on the dash of our never-garaged Abarth or the dash on the goddaughter's Prima. Knowing there might be an issue, I'll now be keeping a closer eye on them. Let us know what your studio says when you visit.

Walter