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Porsche Specialist
Posts: 696
Registered: February 2011
Location: KY, USA


Painting Center Radio Stack or CDR-30 Head Unit

Reviews Views Date of last review
2 7788 Tue July 17, 2012


Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers None indicated 10.0



Related Article- Painting Porsche Sport Bucket Seat


I bought my Cayman R off the floor of the dealership. There was one option I really wanted, and that was some of the exclusive interior painted trim options. I dont think you can order the painted CDR-30. It has to be the PCM option. I decided to tackle the job of getting this option myself. This is a somewhat involved DIY and I had never done anything like this before, but in retrospect it wasnt that difficult. You just need to be patient and not be ham-handed with the small plastic parts. The effort paid off. I love the results.

This project is on a 2012 Cayman R with a CDR-30 radio and auto climate control. The project took a little over 12 working hours over a three day period. 2 hrs plus to disassemble, 8 hrs plus to prep and paint, 2-3 hrs to polish and reassemble and re install. Everything came apart very easily, and went together with no problem. The trick is to take it apart without breaking it, and get it back together and have it all work. Take it slow, keep organized, and don't force anything. I expected the radio to be the most difficult to work with. But the AC control was actually the most troublesome.

Just so you know what your getting into, here is the mid point of the project, fully disassembled and ready to start painting:

After searching for as much info as possible on painting interior car plastics I settled on a plan. I do not claim to be an auto body professional, but I did get excellent results from this process. The painted pieces look as good as the factory finish of the painted center console. There are a million techniques on how to lay down a good paint finish. The main thing is don't rush. This goes for removing the plastic trim from the car, to actually painting the piece. For me, my car is brand new. I paid way too much to have it looking like cheap mods and broken parts in the interior. Take it slow, slow, slow. Total cost- About $100. But lots of work.

So, gather the materials.

For painting plastics:

-Adhesion Promoter

-Rubberized Primer (Spray Can)

-Custom Mixed Basecoat (Spray Can)

-Clear coat (Spray Can)

-Rubbing Compound

-Acrylic Lacquer Thinner

-Wax and Grease remover

-1000, 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper

-Mothers Power Cone for polishing

-A spray can handle. Makes big spray projects much easier, better control.

You can source the paint materials at various places. However, Im not much of a bargain shopper. I bought all of my chemicals from this source: They have a reputation for an exact paint color match, and will make small batches in aerosol cans at a reasonable price. Just provide them with a paint code and VIN. My car is Guards Red and I have to say the color match is perfect.

Remove the parts to be painted

NOTE: When I removed all the equipment I left the battery connected and had no issues upon reassembly. However, I do not recommend turning the car ON with the parts removed. I dont know for sure, but there could be some codeing issues if you turn on power with the radio and such removed. Better safe than sorry.

Remove side trim

-The left and right footwell center stack trim is the same. Remove the small carpet piece with a T30 Torx. The bolt is hidden under carpet. Under that trim are two T20 Torx. Remove. Now the main side piece is held on by 3-4 snaps along the edge where the radio and such is located. Grip the trim firmly and move it to the rear of the car to pop the snaps. The top snap may not give. You may need to carefully pry it with plastic trim pry bars.

Remove CDR-30 Radio

-The radio is held in place with four cam locks (two on each side). The cams are along the front side and are rotated 90 degrees C Clockwise with a 5mm hex key to unlock.

-The top left cam is a bit of a clearance issue. I used a hex driver bit that is only about .75 inches long and held it with some pliers to turn the cam.

-Slide the unit out.

-Next unplug the wire harness. It has a lever lock, and you need to squeeze the lever to unlock it, then raise it up. Disconnect the antenna connection.

Remove AC Controls and Option Buttons

-Both of these units are removed by pushing in the spring clips on the left and right side. Slide out and disconnect the wiring harness.

Remove bottom storage tray

-For removing the bottom storage tray you have to also take out the shift boot and associated trim around the shifter. They are interconnected to the storage tray. See DIYs on Short Shifter Install for details on removing the shifter boot and horseshoe trim. I'll go over it briefly here.

-Remove the shifter boot by prying up two snaps on the front corners of boot. Push the rear of the boot forward and it should release.

-Remove the shift knob. Many DIYs incorrectly show disassembling the shift knob to get it off. This is NOT required. At the bottom of the knob, inside the boot, there is a plastic lock ring. This ring needs to be rotated approx 90 degrees clockwise (looking down on knob). After the ring is rotated, pull up on the knob with steady pressure.

-The horseshoe trim piece is held in by 4 T20 Torx, all located around the shifter. You need to remove the two snap clips that hold the shift boot in order to access the forward two Torx.

-Remove the two T20 bolts holding the bottom storage tray in place. These face the rear of the car. Do not remove the bolts to the side of the tray. Slide the unit to the rear and over the shifter to remove. Notice how they fit together for reassembly.

-Take out the rubber liner of the storage tray.

Thats the easy part. Now the fun part.

CDR-30 Disassembly

-The face of the radio comes off as a unit. Using a few plastic pry bars, work around the radio face to unclip the barbs holding the face on. Once released, work the face straight off. Do not hinge it off or you may damage the way the electrical ribbons plug into the main body.

-Carefully pull the two knobs off of the front of the unit. Left and right have different graphics. Note their position.

-Remove the six screws holding the circuit board in place.

-Lift off the rubber button pads. Note their placement and orientation.

-On the back side of each button is a black plastic piece that seems "loose". These pieces are like pushrods connecting the button to the electronics behind them. They are held in by a small barb on the bottom side (if the radio were upright). Gently pry each one up. One of my barbs broke off. It shouldnt matter because they are sandwiched between the button and the rubber piece. Note their shape because they have to go in with the same orientation.

-Note the position of all the buttons and keep them organized. They all have a unique position. Remove the buttons by pushing from the back, with a pic, the white hinge tabs towards the center of the button in order to pop it off of its hinge. Be careful at this point and don't get in a rush.

-Remove the CD door dust cover. Remove the clear lighting pieces around the CD door. The two small pieces push out from the front. The larger one has a small barb and it comes out. Done.

AC Control Disassembly

The AC controller was designed by an entirely different team than the CDR-30. There is no similarity in the way it is put together, and for me, there was one time when parts unexpectedly "fell out" and I had to figure out where the piece came from. I'll point that out later.

-The face of the unit is held on by four very tiny Torx bolts. I had to run out to Radio Shack and buy a electronics screwdriver set.

-Again, slide the face straight off the body. Do not hinge it off or you may damage the electrical connectors.

-Remove the 12 screws holding the circuit board on with the mini torx driver.

-At this point your looking at the button "cage" and the white display unit. Be careful with the white display unit. It is a stack of 4 parts that will fall apart when you remove it if you're not careful, because the pieces are not stuck together with any glue or fasteners. You wont have any problem if you remove the entire display unit by pushing the glass up from the front. Lift out the glass and white plastic piece as one, keeping the glass squeezed to the white piece. Note the position of a thin metal bar along the top edge of the display. Now that its out, you can take it apart and look at it. Glass display, light diffuser film (which only fits in one way), white plastic piece, and the metal bar.

-Next remove the trim to the left and right of the large Temp and Fan Speed buttons. From the back side release the two barbs holding each piece in.

-The entire button assembly can now be lifted out by releasing the barbs holding it in place.

-Done with AC control

The remaining bottom row of Option Buttons

-This little button assembly is a piece of cake. Release the barbs holding the face to the backing. Lift out the rubber piece and button assembly.

You now are ready to begin painting.

Prep for Paint

-Lightly wet sand all of the surfaces to be painted with 1000 grit wet/dry paper

- Wash all of the painted surfaces with dish detergent. Be thorough. Rinse completely, and let dry.

-Now its all about getting a good surface for the paint to stick to. Do not touch the plastic without gloves or very clean hands to avoid getting any grease on the parts. I just used normal disposable shop gloves. Always lay the pieces on a clean towel or paper. Do not get careless at this point.

- Go over the entire surface with a clean, lint free rag, soaked with the Wax and Grease Remover.

-Mask off and areas that are not to be painted. See pic. I was mostly concerned with keeping the radio button hinge area clean and any other joining surface.

Next, begin the paint process

I did this over a three day period, letting the paint dry between primer, base coat and clear. The best conditions to paint are warm and low humidity. High humidity, like a rainy day, is not good and may make the paint appear cloudy. In good conditions, you can speed the process up if you need to wet sand by only waiting an hour or two before sanding. If you try to sand and it feels like its binding, its too soft and you need to wait. It takes about 1-2 hours each for the primer, color and clear coats. Spray painting is all about technique. Using spray cans one can get a lot more control by using a spray gun handle that attaches to the can. Its cheap and really helps control the spray. Also, you want to spray light coats, but not so light that it looks "splattered" on. Too heavy a coat and you will know it because it will run. If this happens, stop. Remove the run with Acrylic Lacquer Thinner and let dry. Then sand your mistake smooth and start over. Its not ruined, it just takes more time. Also, you must have good ventilation. These paints put off some serious fumes and each session takes over an hour.

Lets paint

-Apply the Adhesion Promoter, as per manufacturer directions. I did one light coat, wait 5 min, followed by one normal coat. Wait 10-15 min, then apply 3-4 coats of Rubberized Primer. Wait 10-15 min between coats.

-Allow to dry for a few hours. Then wet sand with 1000 or 2000 grit paper, depending on need. The surface should be very smooth. If you have any low spots that dont get sanded then sand the area down as required, but avoid getting down to the plastic. Add more coats of primer until the entire surface is smooth and even. Re-sand. I cant stress enough that the primer coat is very important because its the foundation of a perfect smooth finish. The finish coat can only be as smooth as the primer. Therefore, examine the primed piece carefully in good light. If you want a mirror shine on the finished product, the primer has to be mirror smooth. Dont think the color and clear will "fill in" any imperfections. They are very thin and will follow every contour of the primer. Allow to dry completely.

-Repeat the process with the color base coat, applying 4-6 coats, 10-15 min between coats. If it starts to get wavy or rough, allow to dry a few hours and sand smooth. Apply a finish coat and allow to dry.

-Repeat process with clear coat, applying 4-6 coats, 10-15 min between coats. If it starts to get wavy or rough, allow to dry a few hours and sand smooth. Apply a final coat and allow to dry.

-Carefully remove the masking tape. Lift the tape away from the painted edge if you can so you dont accidently lift the paint with the tape. For the radio button holes, you may need to clean up the edges where the tape touched the plastic, if any paint pooled there. Use a razor blade or carefully sand smooth.

-Once the final coat is on it needs to harden for at least 3 days before the Rubbing Compound is applied. The surface should be smooth, but it will not really shine until the compound is applied.

-The type of compound that sent was a fast cut paste. I found that using the paste along with Mothers Power Cone and a power drill worked like a charm for polishing all the pieces to perfection. Just use the first inch or so of the cone and its perfect.

-Wash off polish compound with warm water. Give the piece a final buff with a microfiber cloth.

-Reassemble in reverse order. The parts all go back together quickly. Take it slow and get it right. Be particularly careful putting the buttons to the radio back in. You dont want to break any hinges at this point. Slide all of the components back in place in the dash and start the car. Test every button and display for functionality.

Pics of results


KEYWORDS: porsche center console center stack radio cdr-30 air conditioner control remove disassemble paint painted trim plastic option code cuf head unit headunit


Keywords: porsche center console stack radio cdr-30 air conditioner control remove disassemble paint painted trim plastic option code cuf head unit headu



Porsche Enthusiast

Registered: March 2008
Location: Kansas
Posts: 137
Review Date: Thu April 12, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10 
Have you installed this Product or Mod?: No
Well written, thanks for the write up.

If the car feels like it is on rails, you are probably driving too slow.

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Porsche Prophet

Registered: July 2012
Location: Suffolk
Posts: 57
Review Date: Tue July 17, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10 
Pros: Professional finish, looks fantastic
Have you installed this Product or Mod?: No
I think this looks truly fantastic.
Brilliant job, hats off!
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