How-To: Navara Tailgate Emblem Swap

I bought the OEM “Frontier Navara” emblem approx. 1 month after I bought the truck, but it just sat in the garage until now when I finally got around to putting it on the truck. Installation difficulty level is pretty easy, as long as you take your time and don’t try to shortcut any steps. You can use this technique to remove other emblems as well.

TOOLS/PARTS USED

  1. OEM “Frontier Navara” emblem
  2. “Lift-Off” Adhesive Remover Spray
  3. 4” piece of clear fishing line
  4. Masking Tape (I prefer ScotchBlue)
  5. Plastic sheet/disposable drop cloth
  6. Ruler or Tape Measure
  7. Microfiber Cloth
  8. Variable Temperature Heat Gun (optional)
  9. Random Orbital Buffer (optional)
  10. Clay Bar and Detail Spray (optional)
  11. Wax (optional) – I prefer Mother’s California Gold
  12. Soft rubber squeegee (optional)

The whole job took me about an hour, mainly waiting time for the adhesive remover to penetrate. Aside from that, this is an easy job, just make sure you take your time – especially during the heat gun portion. Also, before you do this you’ll want the tailgate as clean as possible; the best time is right after a truck wash. This ensures that the tailgate surface is clean.

STEP 1: Before you begin, use masking tape and a plastic drop cloth (or similar, something non-porous) and mask off the areas to the left, right, and underneath the tailgate. You’re going to be using a lot of adhesive remover, and you don’t want it to get onto the plastic step trim peice on the bumper or it may permanently stain it.

STEP 2: Liberally spray adhesive remover at about a 45-degree angle onto the OEM “Frontier” emblem, the goal here is to get the spray to go behind the letters, not on top.

I sprayed a lot of Lift-Off behind the emblems to make the job easier.

STEP 3: Using the fishing line technique, slide the fishing line behind one of the letters and run the line underneath the letter “F”; try to hold the fishing line as close to the tailgate itself as possible. The Lift-Off spray will act as a lubricant so you won’t scratch the tailgate paint. With the letter “F” removed, take a look at the tailgate. Is there a lot of the double-sided backing left (maybe in the shape of the letter “F”)? If there is, spray more adhesive remover to the remainder of the letters, and let it soak for more time. Continue until you have all 8 letters removed, as well as all traces of the old adhesive.

Optionally, you can also use the aid of a heat gun to help soften up the emblem adhesive; if you choose to use a heat gun BE CAREFUL! use a low-heat setting, and run the heat across the letters in a CONSTANT back-and-forth motion. DO NOT focus the heat on one letter for too long, because you may/will damage the paint in seconds if it gets too much heat! You can also use heat to help remove the remaining adhesive that’s left after you remove the emblems. However, once again be careful – If you end up burning your paint, it’s your fault.

Masking tape measured and placed to use as guidelines for the new “Navara” emblem.

STEP 4: With the old “Frontier” emblem off, use masking tape and your ruler/tape measure to make a guideline for the new emblem. You can use the emblems on the right side of the tailgate (i.e. “4X4”) for a reference as to how high the “Navara” emblem should be, and how far from the side of the tailgate. (Optional) before doing this step, I cleaned the tailgate by using detail spray and a clay bar; this ensured that the paint surface was as bare as can be, and as clean as can be.

I cut the backing down the center before application because I wasn’t planning on using the small “Frontier” letters.

STEP 5: Give the tailgate a quick wipe with a microfiber cloth then go ahead and stick the new emblem in place, using the masking tape as your guide. Be sure to press hard on each individual letter to make sure that the adhesive backing contacts as much of the tailgate as possible. (Optional) You can use the heat gun to soften the new adhesive a little bit for even better adhesion to the tailgate.

New emblem in place. I used a heat gun to soften the adhesive so that the letters would stick better.
Here it is with the foam spacers removed, I was still debating on if I should use the small “FRONTIER” portion or not.

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STEP 6: (Optional) With the emblem installed, I used my random orbital buffer and some Mother’s California Gold wax and put a fresh layer on the tailgate, focusing on the areas immediately surrounding the new emblem, since whatever wax was there previously was removed by the clay bar cleaning I did. Also, the orbital buffer and wax does a great job of getting rid of any lingering “dry spots” of paint where the old letters were stuck to. Once I was done, there was no sign of the previous emblem being on there.

All done, can’t even tell it used to say “Frontier”.