Friday, August 22, 2014

Back on topic. I will share my journey getting my Mustang coupe painted. I thought the car didn't look too bad in the two tone primer and I might have left it that way except for two things: first, I was concerned about the car being out in the rain and moisture penetrating the primer layer and causing hidden rust. Rattle car primer is not water proof. There is a more expensive primer available that is waterproof. This is what you should use if you are planning to leave it as a primered  "rat rod" finish. Or if the car has a fair paint job already and the primer is sprayed to get the proper "attitude". Second, I wanted to move up to the next level. I wanted the car to be the color I wanted, and present a more finished appearance. There was a really good article in Car Craft several years ago about getting a good looking cheap paint job. They painted a 78 Nova (Disco Nova) yellow, and it was the cover car. There was a lot of good info. on prep work. Basic stuff like removing the emblems,trim, bumpers and weather stripping if you're going to do the door jambs and hood /trunk undersides. It is really important to clean all the loose dust and dirt off of the engine compartment, around the radiator. behind the grille, in the wheel wells around the front/rear suspension and under the rocker panels. vacuum out the cowl vent area, use compressed air to blow the dirt and leaves out. Why do all that? They're not painting these areas, right? Well when the painter passes the spray gun over the door, trunk and hood gaps, over the cowl vent, and around the grille and around the wheelwells the blast of paint and air will blow any dirt and debris all over, and it will settle on the wet paint. When I blew off the engine compartment of my F250 with compressed air I couldn't believe the dust storm that was kicked up!. I'm sure all that would have settled in my new red paint. A cheap shop is not going to go back and refinish these spots. It once over and done. They will try to avoid major runs and the painters there are pros, most shops will fix these if they have to, so they are careful. They will paint over decals and stickers, tape or painted pinstripes so be sure to remove or sand those down. The shop will not do any work that you haven't paid for. They will "sand for adhesion" not smoothness. They will run a sander over the car to rough up the existing finish so the new paint will stick. When I dealt with Earl Scheib they were upfront about it, the service writer points out the area on the contract where it states that the new paint will not hide scatches, dents and prior body damage. Obviously. You will probably see some you hadn't noticed before the area became shiny. It seems that the industry has gone to a "package sales program". The most basic paint job consists of sanding for adhesion, wiping off for oil and grease, and masking. They will mask the bumpers, windows and trim, mask off the wheels. Sometimes they will mask of an emblem or script badge but the results will be pretty poor. Of course they will be glad to sell you a package consisting of additional sanding and prep for around a hundred bucks more. Painting door jambs and under hood and trunk edges will run another 250 bucks  or so. Filling any dents etc will bump up the price more. It is easy to run the cheapie job to well over a thousand bucks. Well, you will only get what you pay for. A  critical customer will likely be unhappy with what he gets for a grand. There is just too much wrong with an old clunker to get a show finish for that price. So be reasonable.

When I had my 66 F250 painted I decided to go with a bright Viper red. The truck was a former U-haul service truck and it was a faded reddish orange with a white top. The interior was a combination of a red dash, black dash pad black seat and floormats, and red doors. While it wasn't an exact match it looked okay around the jambs and under the hood. The interior of the bed was sprayed with a black bedliner. I used some POR 15 paint on a rusty seam in the bed and a couple of spots above the drip rails. I removed the front chrome bumper, the Ford letters and hood ornament, the headlight surrounds and the turn signal bezels. On the sides I removed the  "F250 twin I beam" and "Custom cab" badges. I removed the tail light bezels but left the Barden bumper on. My truck had these long aluminum trim "spears" running along the sides. I decide I would do more harm then good by trying to remove them. This is an important decision. Some trim should be left on because trying to remove it will mangle it beyond any repair. Drip rail mouldings, windshield/backlight  surrounds, Be careful. Unless you have experience dealing with this type of trim, tread very carefully. I carefully cleaned the area where they met the body. Then I masked the trim edges with a double layer of tape. I carefully sanded up to the edges, If you are going to sand near any trim, mask it first! Then remask with fresh tape. If you are planning to replace the rubber windshield mounting that overlaps the body ( this is common on a lot of trucks and Japanese cars like my Z). Trim off 1/4 that the new replacement rubber will overlap the new painted edge, hiding the color change. If you are not going to replace this rubber than just leave it alone except for careful sanding. This is a common area for cheap paint jobs to chip or flake over time so give it a little extra attention. This was the only sanding that I did. I let the shop do the rest.

 The truck was in the shop for three days. I cleaned up and re attached the trim, painted the rear bumper matte black, and repainted the wheels white. The overall effect was very satisfactory. I was I had a photo of the result. The lessons I learned from this experience was applied to my preparation of my Mustang

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