View Full Version : Budget paint/body help wanted
January 6th, 2008, 04:51 PM
Hi all, I've seen so many low buck paint/body articles in all the mags, from painting a car with a roller to not so low buck jobs. Is this really something that a first timer should attempt in their garage and hope to get respectable results? Ive got the time, money and determination to do it, should I just get out there and start stripping the paint and not look back? I'm not looking for a show car job, its a drag car, I just want it to be decent. And what method would be the best for stripping paint? The car has a very old custom lacquer paint job that's starting to chip off. I'm thinking I could remove most of it with razor blades. Any help would be appreciated. Love the site by the way. I cant wait to see what it evolves into.
January 6th, 2008, 05:14 PM
If the very old custom lacquer job is still mostly intact, post pics and we'll advise you on the wisdom of stripping it off.....might be better to leave it, but it's hard to tell without seeing what you have.
January 6th, 2008, 09:10 PM
Ditto what Jim said. If you do decide to strip it, I recommend sand paper - like 80 grit or so. Remember any scratches you put in you'll have to get out, and it would be tough not to gouge it with a razor blade. Chemical strippers can run into cracks and you'll never get the paint to lay down. I've stripped lots of 'em with sand paper and it isn't as bad as you might think.
As far as doing it yourself - absolutely. The better equipment you have, the quicker and easier it will go, but you CAN do all the sanding by hand if need be (I don't recommend that!). I did my first one at 15. I looked like crap. I then got some info (I was always the charge into it and see what happens type) and they started coming out better and better. Don't get in a hurry and have fun with it.
January 6th, 2008, 09:12 PM
Ive got the time, money and determination to do it
That's 99% of what you need. Go for it.
January 7th, 2008, 04:09 AM
(snip . . .) Ive got the time, money and determination to do it, should I just get out there and start stripping the paint and not look back? I'm not looking for a show car job, its a drag car, I just want it to be decent. And what method would be the best for stripping paint?
Wow, what a loaded question! Normally I would agree with Dan and Squirrel but in your case Iím going to play the contrarian. Not because of what they said but because of what you said. (See quote above). It hurts to agree with David but even though he partially answer your question, follow his advice. ;D
You didn't say make or model, fiberglass or steel, which would have shortened this response. I would say STRIP IT! That is the only way to do the job right, but more importantly to get it down to bare metal. And it takes no skill at all. The skill part of this deal comes only at the end on the final color coat. Prior to that you can (and will) be sanding and removing all of your mistakes. And you already implied you have the will to learn. What a perfect platform to learn. Try it and then sand out any mistakes. The more you do the better you learn and the cost is very little (for primer or sealer) and the time you said you had.
The reason you want to go to bare metal is so you can get it passivated (sometimes called metal-prep, or phosphate coating). You have no idea of what went before and starting on a fresh surface cures all potential trouble, end of story! If you can remove the fenders, doors, and deck lid then stripping will not get in the seams. There is mild hysteria about residual chemical causing future paint problems. No doubt true for the naÔve or sloppy work. Stripping requires a complete and through wash after completion. Diligent work, and water, neutralizes any chemical in the seams. Further, if parts have been removed you donít have seams to worry about. With doors and fenders off it is even easier to do a good job with stripper. Lastly, the passivation (and it must be done) will further neutralize stripper. Donít let it scare you. Stripper will work much better if it is warm. Warm it in a can of warm water.
If there is a vocational school near you, with a body & paint class, enroll for a quarter or semester. You will learn an incredible amount. You could also start slow by taking in a door or fender and working on that to build your skills. Stay with the class to the end and then transfer that knowledge to the rest of the car. It is a great place to learn and you are not messing up you garage. They usually have a professional paint booth and other tools you will get good experience with. Also, a teacher that you can pester with questions. By the time you are finished with priming and sanding and repriming everything; you should be able to spray a fairly decent pattern. After all, the color (or base/clear) coat is done in about 3-4 hours on the last day! There will be months, and many hours before you get to the color coat. By that time you will be very comfortable with the gun.
On a one part paint job the color is laid done and you are finished. The two part job requires base coat (which is color) and about 20 minutes later you spray a number of clear coats. Some people may dissuade you from a two part job because it takes a professional. Bull! It is actually easier than a single color. In fact the factories invented it because it is easier to fix mistakes. The base coat dries quickly. If you get a run you can usually sand it, or repair it quickly. Besides that, the clear actually covers up a lot of mistakes in the base because itís glossy. The hard part about the clear is because it is clear! You canít see the pattern you are laying down as well as a less translucent color. It sprays easier (because it is thinner) but it is just a visual thing that is sometimes difficult. Good lighting really helps. But you said it is a race car and you didnít care that much. A base/clear job will cost more in materials though. If you shoot a single color use an industrial color. IOW, go to the paint store and donít select a color out of an OEM color book. What you want are colors out of the ďfleetĒ book. They will be cheaper but they will also have a better gloss and cover better (due to more pigment). Painters of trucks and fleets have to have a good paint that is inexpensive, will cover very well, look good, be rugged, and easy to spray. Fleet requests are notoriously cheap but they want a million dollar looking paint job! The paint has to be very forgiving because a painter canít afford a lot of time on a fleet job. Color selection is about as good as the OEMs. You have the right attitude to succeed . . . so do it! All the best and good luck.
January 7th, 2008, 06:10 AM
Thanks for the replies guys. I dont have any recent pics of it and the ones I do have arent very close up. But the paint is badly crazed and chipped in certain spots. It definitely needs to be removed. I'm going to start stripping it myself and then i'll be forced to finally see it through. I think a combo of chemical stripper and a D/A should get it all off. Then I'll buy every paint/body book ever published and go to town.
January 7th, 2008, 06:37 AM
What I was getting at, is that if the paint job is still mostly intact, even with some crazing/chipping, it could be much more interesting (and valuable) than a nice new amateur paint job.
My friend's 32 ford has an old lacquer job that is cracking and chipping...and the Roth striping on it is fading..and he would be a damn fool to strip it off and repaint the car.
January 7th, 2008, 07:35 AM
I don't think Saltfever and I disagree at all, other than the method of stripping. He touched on one important step (I was trying to be very brief). The further apart you take the car, the better the result - BTW, I have never had much trouble with color matching from panel to panel, as long as you spray them all in the same direction. Taking the doors, hood, decklid, and fenders off gets all the openings clean and pained so there is no visual clues between the new paint and whatever was there before. Even so, as a rookie, I'd stick with sand paper to strip it. Do the heavy part of sanding of the removable stuff before you remove it you don't have to chase the parts around the shop. Try it and see how it goes for you. After all, you're the one doing it.
January 7th, 2008, 07:43 AM
If you strip the car to the metal, your going to need to spray the whole car with a self etching sealer primer before you do any body work. Now I look at is if the paint is cracking all over the place then strip it off, but if you only have a few spots that are cracking then I would DA those areas and leave the paint on the rest of the car. As for chips, don't worry about them they are nothing a little filler won't fix. Also I was told by a friend of mine that owns a bodyshop that sometimes it's better to leave the paint on the car and just sand it down until you start seeing the high spots in the metal. So basically the paint that is left ends up filling the low spots and you end up with a smooth and flat surface. Here's a pic of one of my doors from my '71 Camaro after I sanded it down.
And here's a pic after I threw some primer on it.
January 7th, 2008, 07:43 AM
You could tape off the seams and use aircraft stripper over most of the car, if needed.
But I'd still like to see what it is we're stripping off first!
January 7th, 2008, 09:40 AM
I'm reading this thread with interest as well.
my '69 mach is supposed to be champagne gold, it's red now, and not the best job, and full of race stickers....
I'm tempted to heat gun the stickers off, and see if I can get the red to buff out to decent condition - then put the 428 in it and drive it a bit -- then start into the project again to strip it all down and do the right color, interior etc.....
sounds like taking it to bare metal is the only option --- better invest in 3m stock, it's going to take a ton of sand paper to get to metal on this thing!
January 7th, 2008, 10:00 AM
Is there metal under all of that Bondo?
Sanding is the way to go, remove all the trim, lights, mirrors and emblems you can. As long as the paint is not like the 3rd or 4th paint job it should'nt be to thick. Being thick is whats going to make it crack. Hot to Cold, Hot to Cold, and all the flexing of a Drag car tends to help the cracks show up to. Wear gloves of some sort when you are doing large areas so you dont wear your finger tips off, while admiring the work. Step your Sandpaper down after the initial sanding and work towards a finer grade of paper. Those big scratches are what take the most time. I shy away from the 80 Grit unless the paint is really thick. Get a good straight edge to make sure the body panels are sitting at the same level so you dont sand the edges to thin. This will help out later when you Color Sand, Buff the car after painting. You wont see the shadows dip on the edges and it looks better (Straight Reflections) Some people use a Air file type sander when doing Body Panels as they sand from one panel to the next.
Buy Plastic Sheeting and make a booth.
Have some good ventilation.
Keep the floor swept and wet if possible for Dust.
Get a step stool and do the roof first.
Keep the gun moving.
Make sure the kids have everything they need from the Shop first.
Get extra thinner, because you will spill the other can.
Only way to learn is to do! Good Luck.
January 7th, 2008, 10:27 AM
The best way to strip the car depends on what is on the car, as well as what you have available to do the stripping, and how much time/money you have.
If you don't have a good compressor, then using a sander will be a real long job...
if you don't have a sandblaster, then that's out.
If the car has only one or two layers of paint, and it's still in pretty good shape, then sanding is usually the best way to go.
I sometimes use all 3 methods on the same car.
January 7th, 2008, 10:30 AM
any suggestions on getting stickers off paint?
January 7th, 2008, 11:52 AM
They can be a royal pain. Generally, if they're vinyl (most are) you can heat 'em with the heat gun and peel that way. I've had them pull the paint with them, but that's not common. There is also a 3M product that's made to remove fake wood grain on station wagons and sometimes that works pretty well. It's in a spray can and I just follow the directions. Just don't get in a hurry.
Hope this helps
January 7th, 2008, 12:58 PM
They can be a royal pain. Generally, if they're vinyl (most are) you can heat 'em with the heat gun and peel that way. I've had them pull the paint with them, but that's not common.
The reason they pull the paint is because the basemetal gets too hot and the paint looses its adhesion. As Dan has indicated, it is almost impossible to get the right heat into the decal only and not heat the substrate. However! "if" you can get ice behind the panel you are heating, you can get a friend to rub the ice around the patch from the back and try to heat the front surface of the patch. It is not easy because the ice is pulling heat away from the front at a fast rate. It works but you have to get a "feel for it".
January 7th, 2008, 01:58 PM
I have enjoyed the great comments here . . . lot of good experience being shared.
Obviously, there are two camps. (1) strip or (2) sand it all off. The reason I am recommending to strip is because of a big unknown and the size of the job.
You said the paint was a crazing lacquer job. That means there are at least two coats of paint and maybe more! The factory was not originally lacquer. You really have no idea what is under that paint and that may be one of the reason the lacquer is crazing in the first place. Secondly, any modern painting "system" you use will not be lacquer based today. You have no idea how your paint will react immediately, or over time, to a sanded lacquer substrate. I say "system" because all of todays paint chemistries are extremely dependent on the manufacturerís "system". All manufacturers give good advice on what their materials will cover, or how to seal the surface prior to applying their product. Yep, a pro may get away with mixing brands but you don't even want to go there. Select a brand name and then buy everything in that "system". Thinner, sealer, color, etc. Bottom line is you have a failing surface. No one has a clue as to how deep it goes. It is a characteristic of aged lacquer but it may be caused by the fromer preparation. If you sand you will always leave a spot of unknown origin. Stripping is the only method to remove all doubt.
Etching primers are a good thing because they were invented for a "marginal" surface prep. Today time is money. A shop can't spend a lot of time on quality prep for an insurance job. A car comes in with exposed metal or a crappy surface and the etch prime will cover it up and get it out the door. If you strip and passivated you have a choice. You can use etching primer if you want (although unnecessary) or regular primer. Etching primer is incredibly toxic. You will need a fresh-air breathing system. Any paint (or primer) is bad nowadays so you will need that anyway. Look into it now and see if you want to spend the $1,000 for a mask and air supply.
Sanding the car is a BIG JOB. It is incredibly dirty and will take a lot of time and effort. Dust will go every where and you will get filthy. You need a lot of air (for the DA) as mentioned and it is noisy. You should wear a mask and create a tent as mentioned. You will get very tired and impatient with the sanding. Stripping, is quiet, clean (except for the crud, but it doesnít go anywhere), fast, and absolutely effective leaving no niggling questions about the substrate. Sanding will. Different patches (of former different brands) will soak up primer or sealer at different rates. Some may even cure at different rates. And some of the patches may react negatively with your current ďsystemĒ. No way would I sand an entire car with an already failing surface! If you strip, warmth is your friend. A chemical reaction rate increases with heat. Winter time is not as desirable as the summer. However, heating the chemical helps a lot. You can use a DA with stripper but I find a spatula and steel wool is all that is really needed. If you have to use a DA then you should just reapply more stripper. Why do the work (and run the air compressor) when a swipe with a paint brush will accomplish the same thing!
Obviously safety is critical. All of todayís materials are toxic and flammable. Your water heater pilot light is your enemy and any other source of ignition (broken light bulb with a hot filament)! Remember, extremely fine particulate dust is an explosive, even if you believe the material to be inert. Get smart about this. Keep your area clean and if you sand get the best shop vac around and use it every day. BTW, if you sand, see your lawyer in advance, about divorce papers. ;DYMMV and all the best to you.
January 7th, 2008, 08:00 PM
I strip mine to bare metal with sand paper, and I don't find it all that tough, although it is dusty, for sure. So I don't have areas of different old substrates. Different people have different results, and that's why we're not all married to the same woman. Either way, pick a method and wade into it - it's really not all that bad. Ultimately, it will be one of the more rewarding things you'll ever do.
I agree on the self etching primer. I use the 3m disposable masks (NOT the dust masks, the vapor ones). When I can smell the fumes, it's time for a fresh one. They're about $25/ea., but worth it. I then fill with sanding primer (the basic old stuff) and top it off with thinned DP 90 or whatever color I want. It's the best sealer I've ever found. I've never had a surface failure since I've been doing it this way.
January 8th, 2008, 10:29 AM
Is there metal under all of that Bondo?
I'm taking that was aimed at me. ;) In my defense I didn't put it there. I actually got the doors from a wrecking yard and they looked pretty damn straight even from looking at them from the inside. But at the time I was in a bind, you see so far the aftermarket does not make replacement door shells for 70-81 Camaro's. And after 10 years of waiting for them to make them I decided a good used pair would be the way to go. But as you see to my surprise they did have a little bondo in them, which I think some of it is actually from the factory since the doors only had 2 coats of paint on them. Oh and I guess I did put a little bondo on there since I shaved the door handles. But then I'm not a person that really cares if they have bondo or not, ever see an episode of American HotRod, they coat the whole car in bondo to get them straight. At least I just sanded the doors down to the high spots in the metal and then used a high build up filler primer and a lot of sanding to get them smooth.
January 8th, 2008, 07:08 PM
of course they sand off most of the bondo i wonder how much bondo actually stays on the car?
as i understand it they just do it to get it super super straight.
January 9th, 2008, 07:32 AM
One of the questions you need to ask yourself is "how good do I need it?" If you're actually going to use the car, OEM or slightly better is FINE. Yes, you can skim coat the entire car and flat sand it to perfection. You can perfect every body gap. And on and on. But if you actually drive the car, how long do you suppose that will last? Some lady is going to open her door into yours at the mall. One of your buddys will decide to fly your car over the train tracks (you know, the guy you said you would never let drive your car, but you gave in in a soft-headed moment). Or you pranged the door into the hoist as you got out. Real cars don't stay perfect very long. So you get it pretty good (probably better than from the factory), spray (or roll) a decent job, and go enjoy the car. I think people worry WAY too much about perfection, which is rarely needed or even desirable.
January 9th, 2008, 10:01 AM
I love Bondo, I spread a thin layer aacross a panel before I start the final Sanding process it picks up all the waves and straightens them out. I use an Airfile across panels so theyare on the same plane when finished. This step is usally missed and is why you see all those Old flat sided cars with waves in the paint. Or they sand just with the Paper and it leaves finger grooves. (Long and flat, or Curved and Soft). A sponge with sanding paper works okay, but I've used the Soft padded furniture sanding disc and they are great for rounded fenders like VW'w and the tops of those old Chevies fenders. We used to have the Ladies do the final sanding because they have a lighter touch and do a better job.
January 9th, 2008, 10:18 AM
Have a sanding Party.
We use to do this back in the 70's and 80's
1. Set your car up out in yard or wherever.
2. Buy Beer and Food for the Grille.
3. Invite a bunch of Friends over.
4. Start the grille and have them each Sand an area.
5. Then follow up over the whole car for consistency.
6. Clean up after the party.
Your car is sanded in one afternoon and all your friend helped out.
We did a 57 Chevy for our Car Club. We Painted and completed the Car and then sold Raffle Tickets for a whole year. We went to every show and Get together in the area and sold $75,000 worth of tickets and Raffled the car away on New Years Day. We donated some of the money because we were a non profit organization, but, everyone had T-Shirts, Hats and Trophies for all the next few years events.
COOL IDEA HERE!
I went and got a Raffle License back in 1992 and made some Magnetic Signs for the Doors of my Unrestored 69 Camaro. After I drove the Car around for a Year selling Raffle Tickets and Keeping it in Running
condition, I Drove it over to the House of the guy that held the Winning Raffle Ticket and dropped it off. I Made $27,000 and paid Taxes on it. Then I built my 29 Ford Woody.
January 10th, 2008, 07:39 AM
To the guy that originally started this thread, I just signed up for a class at my local community college. 8 hours a week, tools, work space, respirators, etc provided. Other than tuition of about $600, students only need a vehicle and pay for materials. Plus the instructor is there to answer questions, demonstrate techniques. Class starts this friday night and I'm rally excited about it, can't wait to see what I'll learn.
January 10th, 2008, 07:56 AM
Like Dan mentioned, how good do you want the final result to be?
I've rolled a car of mine semiflat black some time ago and people (some even are car-painters) think the car is sprayed instead of rolled.
I didn't prep my car that good before the job, because I just wanted to get the previous pale blue color gone. So when you look at the car at 3 feet away you can see the lack of proper prepping.
January 10th, 2008, 07:19 PM
I'd like to hear some more from anybody who did the rustoleum roller paint job. It's attractive to me because of the cost. I only paid $600 for my truck, and I don't want to invest much money in a paint job. Hot Rod had the $98 dollar paint job article, but I'd like to get some advice from other people who did it too.
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