Portray a Automobile at Dwelling Half 1: Preparation, Preparation, Preparation | Articles

Portray a automobile at residence sounds really easy. You paint it, get pleasure from it, after which go about your merry method. The fact, although, is extra concerned–far more concerned. So whereas readers maintain asking us for an actual “paint your automobile at residence” story, to be trustworthy, we’ve struggled a bit to provide you with one.

Why? As a result of fashionable paints are a dichotomy. They’re higher than ever, giving terrific outcomes and making them very accessible for newbie painters, however they have to be used precisely as meant. They’re additionally not cheap, which creates a value barrier for newbie painters. Add within the want for some specialised gear and varied rules on the federal, state and native degree, and it merely turns into tough to jot down a narrative about portray at residence.

Nonetheless, that is GRM, and we are able to’t allow you to down. We’ve been portray at residence for about 30 years. These days we’ve been utilizing the professionals a bit extra, however we’ve additionally stored up with the instances and nonetheless do some work from home. Whereas the times of $200 at-home paint jobs are lengthy gone, it’s nonetheless potential to place down some professional-quality paintwork for lower than $1000 in supplies and round $500 in gear.

In fact, paint is just the frosting. The metalwork, bodywork and prep are the cake, so we’re breaking this down into three tales. On this first one, we’ll cowl assess the automobile, strip unhealthy work, and apply filler. Subsequent we’ll get into priming, block sanding and fine-tuning the bodywork. Lastly, we’ll lay some fashionable basecoat/clearcoat paint, moist sand it, and buff it out.

We’ll be performing all of the work on the S52-swapped, E30-chassis BMW that was the topic of our Excessive College Hotrod collection. That is how we made it fairly on a funds.

Step 1:

One of many first issues to be accomplished is to determine whether or not to color over the present end, or strip the automobile to reveal metallic. Our automobile had points: It had already been repainted at the very least as soon as, the end was peeling away, and we had ripples in all places.

Previous expertise has taught us that when the paint and bodywork are this unhealthy, it’s often finest to strip the automobile to reveal metallic. That step provides plenty of time and a few value to the job, nevertheless: Not solely does stripping the paint take 10 to twenty hours, however often some bodywork may even be required. Nonetheless, we didn’t wish to do all of this work on a poor basis, so we went again to reveal metallic.

Step 2:

We selected to strip this automobile with 36-grit, sticky-back sandpaper mounted on an air-powered, dual-action sander. Everybody has opinions relating to paint stripping strategies. Listed here are ours:

  • Chemical stripping generally is a time-saver, however it’s actually essential to maintain the potion out of cracks and seams or it is going to leach out later–maybe even after the ultimate paint is laid. We’ve additionally discovered that some paints are simply eliminated with chemical compounds–and a few usually are not. We’ll often take a look at the chemical stripper and see if it is going to velocity up the method. If the chemical stripper is the reply, we’ll apply it to the bigger areas, being cautious to maintain it away from the cracks and seams.
  • Abrasive blasting-sand, soda, plastic media, walnut shells and so forth–can even save plenty of time. Nevertheless, this methodology appears to work higher on disassembled vehicles as a result of the media will discover its method into each nook, making ultimate clean-up tough. There’s additionally the chance of a ham-fisted operator warping and damaging bodywork-work with a trusted agency.
  • Hand stripping with sandpaper is gradual and dusty, however fairly onerous to get incorrect. The bottom line is to make use of high quality abrasives and alter them usually. Boring abrasives don’t minimize paint; they only warmth it up and make it more durable to sand off. We use an imported air-powered, dual-action sander and begin with 5-inch, 36-grit paper. Some folks want 36-grit, others want 80-grit. We use 36-grit first after which polish the automobile with 80-grit as soon as all the paint is off. We’ve discovered that is quicker and makes use of much less abrasives. We used about $50 price of sanding discs to take away the paint from our E30.

Step 3:

Like most 30-plus-year-old vehicles, our E30 had its share of street rash. The left-rear quarter panel had a light-weight crease beneath the physique ridge plus a small dent above it.

Step 4:

After stripping away the paint, we used a physique hammer and backing dolly to flippantly convey the crease and dent nearer to the right form. The quarter-hour spent on this step most likely saved us about an hour of additional time on filler work.

This additionally helped to maintain the filler thickness to a minimal, decreasing the prospect of long-term points like shrinking and cracking.

Step 5:

Now it’s time to share our opinions and strategies relating to filler. We’re anticipating some e-mails and rants with alternate options, which is okay. These strategies have labored effectively for us in numerous repairs. Earlier than we combine up any filler, we prep a spreader by giving it a clear, semi-sharp edge with 600-grit sandpaper.

Step 6:

We use a top quality, name-brand filler. We want the light-weight fillers, as they only appear simpler to unfold and sand. We’ll combine that filler with a paint stick on a chunk of cardboard–often about 6×6 inches. Ensure that each are extraordinarily clear. There’s nothing extra irritating than working into some hardened filler as a result of a unclean device contaminated the combination.

Step 7:

We use a separate paint stick to combine the uncatalyzed filler within the can. We by no means use a stick that has been close to catalyst, because it may contaminate the uncooked filler. We then use the identical stick to place just a few dollops of filler onto the cardboard.

Step 8:

We then lay a bead of catalyst on the uncooked filler, following the blending instructions on the label.

Step 9:

Utilizing one other paint stick, we totally combine collectively the uncooked filler and catalyst–about 2 minutes ought to do it.

Step 10:

We then use our ready spreader to use the filler to the automobile in lengthy, easy strokes. We try and get the form very near the ultimate profile wanted. This protects us plenty of time sanding and re-applying filler.

Step 11:

We often get about 10 minutes earlier than the filler “kicks.” As quickly as we’re accomplished spreading filler, we clear our mixing stick and spreader with a paper towel to take away as a lot filler as potential. Whereas this will likely appear overly compulsive, we do it to keep away from having items of hardened filler flake off throughout the subsequent software. We additionally tune up the spreader once more with 600-grit sandpaper. After it has “kicked,” the filler appears like this and is able to sand.

Step 12:

We begin with an 80-grit disc on our dual-action sander. The primary cross or two will rapidly clog and uninteresting the disc, so we’ll set up a contemporary one earlier than we proceed. We modify discs pretty regularly, feeling them to get a real learn on their situation: A sanding disc will typically look usable, however will really feel uninteresting. Sharp abrasives minimize the excessive spots and assist flatten the panel. Boring abrasives simply comply with the excessive spots and don’t do a lot chopping. Finish outcome? Ripples in a panel that needs to be pretty flat.

Step 13:

We solely use the dual-action sander for tough ending. Then we’ll transfer to a sanding block. The longer the block, the higher. For this panel, a 12-inch block with 80-grit paper was the very best match. We used some crosshatch sanding patterns to determine low spots that would wish extra filler.

Step 14:

After about 4 cycles of “rinse, lather, repeat’–reapplying filler after which sanding it again–we ended up with a panel that was prepared for the following step: high-build primer.

Step 15:

Multitasking: Whereas the filler is hardening, we’ll proceed to disassemble the automobile. We want to take away components moderately than tape them off.

Step 16:

On condition that our windshield was cracked and its seals have been weathered and dry-rotted, we determined to tug the glass. Since we weren’t reusing the seals, we minimize them away to make the job simple for one particular person.

Step 17:

We went round the entire automobile repairing dings and minor dents till we had it prepared for primer. To maintain out the mud, we taped off the inside and engine bay.


View feedback on the GRM boards

Cannot wait to see what supplies gear and strategies used to use sealer and colour and topcoat clear. I’ve a 1992 325i cabriolet that I am becoming a mtech2 physique equipment to (finally) and must enterprise into the physique work and ending.  I’ve already welded in place a brand new core assist and repaired minor rust and welded closed rocker moulding mounting holes. Wanting ahead to this collection. Thanks. 



New Reader

5/29/19 9:15 p.m.

My restricted expertise is that the metallic (physique) from most OEMs from the late 50s or early 60s on was dipped in some kind of metallic prep /passivating that had the impact of stopping flash rust.  As soon as that is eliminated by sanding or different mechanical means, the naked metallic tends to flash rust.   I had my 61 Falcon plastic stripped to reveal metallic and didn’t get round to laying on an epoxy primer for a few 1/4 yr.  The naked metallic didn’t have any flash rust besides within the decrease corners of the doorways the place I sandblasted round some pencil sized rust via.  On the sandblasted surfaces, the metallic ended up with a really thick coating of rust.  The proprietor of the plastic strip enterprise on the time had stripped one half of some generic 10 yr outdated automobile from middle line of the automobile (naked metallic, no clear coat on one facet of the automobile) and was utilizing it as a summer time every day driver.

Wanting ahead to half 3 – and the way you take care of the paint fumes (the way you keep away from annoying the neighbors (if any)).   I reside in a serious metro space and wrestle with paint and never have somebody report me.

We’re doing a grandpa/father/daughter venture on a 1987 Porsche 924S as her first automobile, and a part of this course of is to color the automobile.  We’ve got acquired the automobile and can begin on mechanical restoration/rebuild quickly, with paint coming together with the automobile mainly disassembled.  We’re trying ahead to your entire course of, which can take us a few yr of weekends.

Cannot wait till the following installment!


Questioning what could be completely different for prep and portray a fiberglass hardtop?



New Reader

9/29/21 2:27 p.m.

for those who strip by sanding, watch out to not construct up an excessive amount of warmth, i did a 87 pontiac that method and received the hood filled with ripples, additionally i’ve seen some physique guys skinny out their “bondo” with laquer thinner and apply a skinny coat to your entire physique so nothing will get missed. I like you’re taking every little thing off earlier than doing the job! 

Hours and hours of prep. quarter-hour of really spraying. 

And as a bonus, for those who screw up the prep, your paint is screwed up as effectively. 

That is why I seldom paint vehicles. 





New Reader

11/13/21 2:23 p.m.

I received a quote from a very good native physique store for my monitor automobile after altering to a fiberglass entrance finish and a trunk lid – $3000.  As a substitute, I had a 60 gallon air compressor already so I ordered a Beginning Line DeVilbiss gun equipment – 3 nozzles and a line stress gauge (required for correct stress on the gun) from Eastwood and 2-part paint from an area physique store provide home.  I constructed a fast spray sales space from poly, furnace filters and a field fan for air flow, and painted.  It turned out nice for a man with no expertise portray a automobile.

I used microbead/resin for filler on the fiberglass components.

’66 Sprite

My 3 p’s are procrastinate, procrastinate, PAINT!

In reply to Carl Heideman :

I really like lacquer paint.  It dries so quick. It is fairly benign, not requiring plenty of security gear. And since it dries so quick it is simple to sand runs and drips off. 
      Lastly the depth of lacquer paint can’t be duplicated by the plastic look of clear coats. 

relating to sturdiness of Lacquer,  for those who comply with your prep pointers it is best to have a extremely sturdy paint job.  My first paint job has lasted since  1974. 47 years. 

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