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Please Read: Body/Paint FAQ and How-To

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Old 08-17-2005, 02:21 AM   #1
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Please Read: Body/Paint FAQ and How-To

here is the body/paint FAQ. this covers a lot of questions that are answered within this forum, with very indepth answers. the whole FAQ was composed by myself and BigBassInside. if you have any questions, or additions to the FAQ that you would like to contribute, please PM me and i will be happy to answer. if you do not find what you're looking for, you can certainly start a new thread and ask away. when reading, please keep in mind that a lot of body/paint is about personal preference and you can get varying answers for varying situations. if you feel that an error has been made in any section, once again, you can PM me and i will happily correct the issue. there are some additional questions that will be added shortly as time progresses.

Last edited by DevilDriver; 08-17-2005 at 02:39 AM.
Old 08-17-2005, 02:21 AM   #2
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Re: Please Read: Body/Paint FAQ

Q:how can i fix a scratch that is not down to the metal?
A: There are a few different possibilities, depending on the particular scratch. Some very fine lighter clear coat scratches can just be simply buffed out with the use of a compound like 3M's Perfect It line, and don't have to be wetsanded. If the scratch is a little more noticeable, usually wet sanding the area that is scratched with either 1000, 1200, 1500 Grit wet sand paper will sand out the clear imperfection, at which time you can follow with buffing with the compound and then follow it with a glaze or a car wax and the scratch should be out. While 1000 is a good grit to go with to level out an entire refinish nicely, usually 1200 is a good mid range grit to go with for scratch repair. Usually the easiest way to go about wetsanding, is to fold the sandpaper in three sections, use a wetsanding block, or wrap the paper around a cut down paint stick and use that to sand, while using a hose pipe to keep running water going on the area to keep it cleaned. You can wet sand using a bucket of water, but that's a little more risky because dirt or grit caught under the paper can further scratch your finish while wetsanding. Also before undertaking this project you'll need to be aware of what grade paper you are buying, 1200 is not the same as P 1200. The P 1200 is on a different grading scale and actually a lot more rough than the regular 1200. Also, most paint companies don't want you using wax on new finishes for 90 days atleast, so be sure to account for that if you're repairing scratches within 90 days of a repaint, in that case, the best choice is to use glaze instead of a wax. Meguiars make good products as well for buffing purposes, such as glazes and waxes, and usually your local paint supply stores, will have everything you need to complete this in one stop, and most will even sell the sandpaper by the individual sheets.

Q:how can i properly prep my body before taking to a body shop for paint?
A: A lot of people like to do the prep work themselves because usually depending on the shop, they will get a little bit of a discount, so while it is good in that way, it's also bad in the way that, more than likely, since you did the prep work yourself, the paint job will carry no warranty with it, but as long as you're confident in your prep abilities, there shouldn't be any reason you can't do it yourself, and your prep work yield a high quality finish. There are several different scenarios in which cars would be prepared for paint. Wether it is an overall refinish or a blend, wether there was a lot of body work, panels replaced, etc. etc. As far as areas that have bodywork on them, the body filler needs to be primed, then block sanded with 180 grit, then the sanding dust cleaned, and the area re-primed and then block sanded with 400 grit. Usually this is the best route to go to be sure that everything is leveled out and any sand scratches or smaller pinholes filled in.
There are several different ways to block sand. Some people fold paper and do it by hand, some people use rubber blocks, wood blocks, and things like that. But me personally, I like to take a paint stick that is straight and flat, and wrap my sandpaper around it and block sand with it. The paint stick is a good choice to use because while it will remain straight and level, it also has a little flex in it which makes it good to block sand curved areas, where if you had a wood block and tried to sand on a curve, it's not going to be flush against the surface, and the overall result is not going to be good. While Im getting a car ready to paint, usually the areas I like to prime and block out are usually any areas where there is body filler, and any new parts that have been bought that are in black primer, although usually the black primer parts only need to be primed once, and then sanded with 400 grit. If you are going to be taking your car/truck in and have the paint blended, usually that's prep work that needs to be left up to the painter's decision on where he wants to blend to and how, but as far as an overall refinish, usually DA sanding with 400 grit sandpaper is a good way to go. a DA sander, is a dual action sander, creates a nice smooth sand finish, so where a high speed sander spins fast in one directions, the DA kind of spins back in forth in opposite directions so it smooth out nicely and doesn't leave a visible sanding scratch pattern. Air is the way to go if you have a air power, but electric da's can also be purchased, and I've used them in the past and they're really not bad. Always remember though when DA'ing to keep the DA flat at all times as much as humanly possible because if you rock the DA up on it's side it's going to dip out your finish and cause a ripple or low spot to appear in the new finish.

Q:how can i fix dents?
A: Always a popular topic, the best route for your dent repair will depend on what type of dent you have. Some of the most common dents or the unavoidable door dings received in parking lots. For the smaller door dings I usually scuff the dinged area and slightly around it using some 80 grit sandpaper. Once scuffed, blow the area off to get all of the dust gone, and then mix up a small amount of some spot putty. Spread the putty on to the ding being careful not to go past where you've scuffed. The reason for this is the scuffed paint provides the tooth for the putty to stick to, if you get the putty on the non scuffed paint, it may stick and you never have a problem, it may flake off while you're sanding, if you're lucky, or it could stick and then decide to fly off later on after the repair has been painted. Usually for my door dings, I use a cut down paint stick with some 80 grit sandpaper wrapped around it, and I sand it down level. Usually the door dings are very easy to do if you'll cut the stick a little larger than the area and the excess paint stick acts as a bridge to help level it out well. For bigger dents, a little metal work vs. piling the body filler in the dent, will make life a lot easier. Usually for the do it yourselfers, one dolly, and screw type dent puller, and a body hammer with a flat end and a pointed end, will be all the metal work tools you'll need. While Stud Guns make life easier, and a 20 piece hammer and dolly set will speed things up, you may never do enough dent repair and metal work to really need all those things. But for dents, you can take a drill and drill in a sheet metal screw along the line of the lowest point in the dent, and then attach the dent puller, attach to the screw and using the slide hammer, slide the weight back against the handle to use force to pull the metal back out. Don't go too crazy with force though because you can pull the metal out too far. usually with dents using multiple screws makes things easier vs. 1 or 2 screws. While pulling against the metal and applying pressure, you can use the body hammer to more easily tap down any high spots or ridges caused from the impact of the dent. Once you have metal worked the area and have it as close as possible to it's original shape, you're ready to grind your dented area to the metal with the grinder, then scuff 2-3 inches around all your edges with 80 grit, blow off the area, and then proceed with your body work as described earlier with the door ding, except using body filler this time instead of the spot putty. With dents and metal work, to really do it quickly and nicely, it just takes practice. And sometimes your vehicle isn't the best learning tool at first. 99.9 % of body shops throw all of their wrecked hoods and fenders, and all other metal parts that were replaced in a pile behind their shop, and they usually give it to people that come around and collect them to sell as scrap metal. They usually just give them away to get them out of the way. So try going by a few of your local body shops and asking to have some old hoods and fenders to practice on. Then find a fairly undamaged area on it and hit it with something.

Q:how do i repair spot rust?
A: Depending on your kind of rust, will determine the best option for your repair. Most surface rust spots, are usually just caused by a scratch or rock chip that was to the metal, and over time the metal started to rust, and then surface rust developed on the surrounded metal under the paint, which caused the paint to chip off, and slowly become a bigger rust spot over time. usually a DA sander and some 80 grit sandpaper will solve a surface rust problem.The key with surface rust is though is to make sure that all of the rust is gone, not just visible rust, make sure to go to the metal about 2-3 around your spot to make sure that you've gotten any developing rust under the paint that wasn't visible. Then switch over to 180 grit on the da sander and smooth the area out. Then you're ready to prime, usually since there was rust there arleady, doesn't hurt to first seal everything off with a bare metal etch primer, then a urethane filler prime, block sand with 180, re prime, block sand with 400. While the 80 grit and the da sander may take a little longer than just grinding it with a grinder, it keeps the area a lot smoother and won't require any extra work to fill in deep grinder grooves. If you have bubbling rust, that's a good indication that theres a rust hole though. First grind out all of the rust with a grinder to see what you're dealing with. Then for some smaller rust out holes, Evercoat Tiger Hair does a good job to fill in the hole. Most people gasp when they think of trying to fill in a hole with body filler, but the Tiger Hair is a fiberglassed reinforced filler, so the repair will be very strong, and unlike regular cosmetic filler, Tiger Hair is water proof, so it won't bubble up from moisture.
Major rust out holes though, you just have to cut out the rusted metal and do patch panels if possible, either using fusor or welding, or sometimes replace entire panels.

Last edited by DevilDriver; 08-17-2005 at 02:37 AM.
Old 08-17-2005, 02:22 AM   #3
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Re: Please Read: Body/Paint FAQ

Q:what is the best kind of body filler?
A: I tend to use Evercoat products exclusively. But certainly very cheap body filler is a good way to go when practicing on old car hoods and fenders and things like that.

Q:how much does a paint job cost?
A: Usually for something the size of an s10 or smaller car, a lot of shops will usually estimate around 30 hours or so for a vehicle in that size category. So depending on the shop's labor and supply rates, the typical paint job would cost around 1,500-2,000 dollars dependant upon their rates. That would cover sanding the vehicle down, getting masked up, and painting it. That wouldn't cover any major bodywork needed. A few dents and door dings really wouldn't raise the price too significantly. As far as a color change, you should look to add on about 600 dollars at most shops. Higher priced colors, graphics, pearls, and other options would also raise the price significantly.

Q:what are the advantages/disadvantages of one stage paint vs two stage?
A: As far as the life span of a paint job, the two stage, basecoat/clearcoat system is going to last a lot longer than a single stage finish. So if you have a vehicle that you know you will be keeping a while, I'd suggest the BC/CC (basecoat/clearcoat) If you have a 1987 cavalier with 200,000 miles on it that you want to drive around hopefully 2 more years while you're saving for a new car, but you just want the car to look a little better than what it does, Yeah, I'd have to go with single stage. Single Stage paint jobs usually have about a 3 year life span being they really start to dull out and look bad. And that's your higher priced single stage enamels like acrylic and urethane.. Some of your cheaper synthetic single stage enamels is the paint that winds up on a lot of dirt track race cars if that gives you any idea about their quality and lifespan. 6 months if you're lucky, if you wax it every now and then maybe a year. That's also coincidentally the paint that a lot of your cheaper economy paint shops use. Another big advantage to BC/CC over Single Stage is for graphics use. Since paint edges are buried in clear so you can't feel them, if you have a paint that you don't clear, and then you put flames on, there will always be a very noticeable paint edge there. However, there are some advantages to single stage in certain other situations other than a high mileage car that doesn't have long left anyway. single stage is a good choice in a lot of restoration and customization scenarios as well. Not for the actual body. But as far as having a detailed suspension that's painted, or the underside of a restored car painted, or the frame of a old car/old truck/or mini truck, single stage isn't a bad choice because you can get high gloss w/out having to clear, and suspension parts, engine bays, and underbodies aren't really exposed to the sun, you'll have a lot higher life than a regular single stage finish. I have an old mustang that I'm going to restore hopefully within the next few months, and the engine bay, underbody, and all the suspension, and the rear end will all be done with a glossy black single stage.

Q:what type of primer should i use?
A: The type of primer that you will need to use, will depend upon what exactly you are wanting to do. If you have a bare metal part that you are installing, like a roll pan or full skin, or if you are taking the vehicle back down the metal, you will have to put on a primer for bare metal first for corrosion protection. The most commonly used is an Etch Primer. Depending on the paint company you buy it from it could be called Self Etching, Acid Etch, or just Etch. Usually though the word etch is a good indication that it will work for bare metal. If you’re not quite sure you can always ask the person working at the Paint store you are buying materials from and they can tell you what they have available. As far as primer for putting over bodywork areas, and sanded surfaces, a 2k Urethane Filler Primer is the best way to go. The urethane filler primer works well over very small bare metal spots but has very poor adhesion to overall bare metal parts, which is why you’ll need to use your primer for bare metal first. But the 2k urethane filler primer will fill in small nicks and sand scratches in the filler, as well as level out the area nicely if there is still some un-evenness in your body work itself. Most people will also say to stay away from rattle can primers as well, which is in part true, and in part false. If you are using a 3.00 rattle can primer from an auto parts store, yeah, you probably don’t need to use it. If you are using a 17.00 can of primer from a name brand paint line like SEMS or DuPont, and you’ve purchased the rattle can primer from a paint/body supply store, that primer will be as good as what you’ll buy in the quart or gallon form. The rattle can primer is also a good way to go if you have a vehicle that you are wanting to do minor body work to, such as a few small dents and door dings, or if you are shaving a few items like the handles, 3rd brake light, hood squirts, or antennae. Smaller bodywork areas like that are easily repaired with use of the rattle can primers. The bonus with that is that the drying times on the rattle cans are a little faster, and the recoat times are quicker, and you don’t have to clean out a paint gun. As far as me personally, I tend to use the Nason Etch primer for bare metal, which reduces 1:1 so that‘s a big plus, the Nason 421-19 2k Urethane Filler primer, and SEMS High Build rattle can primer. Any primer from reputable paint lines should work well, and the only primers I’d really stay away from are all primers containing Lacquer in any way shape or form.

Last edited by DevilDriver; 08-17-2005 at 02:36 AM.
Old 08-17-2005, 02:23 AM   #4
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Re: Please Read: Body/Paint FAQ

Q:what type of sealer should i use?
A: Usually you’ll want to use the same line of sealer as base. So when I use a Nason base I use the Nason Ful-Seal and when using a Dupont Chromabase I tend to choose the DuPont Velvaseal. That’s once again a personal preference on my part, the Ful-Seal will probably work with a chromabase and vice versa. However, one thing to look out for with sealer is to try and find a 1k Sealer. 1k means 1 Part so it doesn’t need to be reduced or activated or mixed in any way. That way the sealer is ready to spray, and you can pour the sealer from the can to the paint gun, and then back from the paint gun to the can. With most 2k Sealers, it’s more like a primer so you can’t save your leftovers.

Q:what type of paint should i use?
A: That’s really just personal preference, but again like with everything else paint related, I’d stay away from Lacquers and oil based and synthetic enamels as well. A lot of single stage paint, is an acrylic enamel, and will work and look good for a while, so if it’s a vehicle you don’t expect to last much longer, that would be a route to go for paint, but if it’s a show vehicle, or something you want to keep for years to come, I would definitely use a Basecoat/Clearcoat paint system. You probably will want to stick with a paint system that’s a bigger name brand, like DuPont, House of Kolor, Standox, Spies-Hecker, Nason, Valspar, SEMS, and PPG are usually safe paint lines and good choices to go with. Me personally, I usually use DuPont Chromabase paint. The biggest reasons are that it reduces 1:1 so 2 quarts of paint would mix with 2 quarts of reducer, yielding 1 spray able gallon. Plus, since it’s not being activated, I can reduce all the paint at once, and make it ready to spray, and you can save your leftover paint that way, and unless you let the paint freeze, it will stay ready to spray and work fine.

Q:what type of clear should i use?
A: Like with paints, just a personal preference, but If I were using a DuPont paint, I wouldn’t put a PPG clear on it. Not that it won’t work, but it’s generally just a better idea to stick with a system, or at least a company exclusively. I say company because, Nason is a line in the DuPont family, just like Spies Hecker and Standox, so lots of times I use the Nason Clear vs. the ChromaClear when I choose a clear. Some clears also you can put 3 coats on and some say to just put 2 coats on, so if you know you will be wet sanding the entire vehicle and buffing, or if you are going to be doing graphics and needing more clear to help bury the edge, finding a clear that you can put 3 coats on will help out. Even with the 2-coat clears, you can put 3-coats on and sometimes you can do it with no problems, but sometimes you can also cause a milky look in your clear.

Q:what type of compressor should i use?
A: People generally speak of compressors in gallons and horsepower, which isn’t necessarily the case. You could have a big compressor gallons wise, and it be low powered, and even with the bigger tank you won’t be able to deliver as much air as a smaller size tank with a bigger motor. When deciding on a compressor you need to look at the cfm @ psi rating more than hp/gallons. Find the air tools that you want to run, ie grinders, sanders, die grinders, paint guns, etc, etc, and find the tool that needs the most air, make sure your compressor will exceed the rating needed, and you’ll be in the clear for running your tools. I’ve also had a lot of questions to me asking about, if you have a smaller compressor would intermittent sanding and painting be alright. Well, in theory yes you can grind a little bit or sand a little bit and then let your air build back up, but it’s not the best thing for a compressor. If you are a just a hobbyist you may not use the compressor enough to have long term problems, but intermittent painting is never a good idea. One, you need a constant consistent pressure the whole time to make sure your paint is going out evenly and correctly, and two if you were to paint a fender, and then stop to let the air build up, then go on to the hood, and so on, all of your panels are going to have very different flash times, and that’s going to be a problem with the rest of the coats you’ll be putting on.

Q:what type of gun should i use?
A: The paint gun question is also a big topic of discussion. The most important thing to look at when buying paint guns is the fluid tip sizes. 1.3 and 1.4 are the most common tip sizes for spraying base coat and clear coat and sealers. Usually a 2.0 and 2.5 tip would be very good for spraying urethane primers since they are thicker. For most hobbyists a single gun set up is more than enough so you can buy a gun set up, with several different tip sizes so you can spray paint, clear, sealer, and primer with one gun. That’s not the most accepted gun system, and most people will try and say you need a separate primer gun and this and that, but when cleaned well, and taken care of, there is nothing wrong with using one gun for hobby use. I did it this way for years, but as my talent and skills expanded, and I went from doing work on my own vehicle, to doing work for other people, and eventually doing it as a profession, my tool line expanded as well. I have separate guns for primer, base, and clear, and I benefit from this setup, but or hobbyist painters, I would recommend buying a low line paint gun from a good name brand like Sharpe, Devilbiss, Sata, or Anest-Iwata. You can buy a good gun from a good name for around 100.00 even and the low line gun will do probably just as good of a job as a 400.00 gun. The only difference is going to be your life span. If you tried to paint a multiple cars per week with the 100 dollar gun, it’s going to wear out, where as with the 400 dollar gun you’ll still be spraying. Another good thing to look for when gun shopping is the quality of the gun’s paint atomization. Atomization is how well the gun busts the paint up and sprays it. If you have a gun with good atomization you’re going to have low overspray, so the transfer efficiency is good, so you’re getting more paint on the car, than what’s going in to the air as overspray, and you’ll also use less paint to do the job. A gun with poor atomization is going to create a lot of overspray and you’ll wind up using more paint and clear and primer in the long run.

Last edited by DevilDriver; 08-17-2005 at 02:36 AM.
Old 08-17-2005, 02:24 AM   #5
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Re: Please Read: Body/Paint FAQ

Q:how much primer/paint do i need for one door?
A: Mixable primer is available in a quart size as the smallest option. Usually a quart of primer will do the bodywork on a vehicle easily, unless the entire vehicle is being primed. If less than a quart of primer is desired, the rattle can primer is an option to consider, as long as it’s a good quality rattle can primer, from a good name brand, that’s available at a paint/body supply store. As far as paint, it really depends on how you are wanting to paint it, usually just repainting one panel, isn’t going to look nice because of the slightly different shades the paints will be, even when using the stock paint code. Usually a good choice for blending shaved handles, or dents in the door, or any bodywork at all, would be to go ahead and use a paint like Chromabase that reduces 1:1, and either buy a half pint that will mix with a half pint of reducer and yield a spray able pint, or buy a pint of paint, that will mix with a pint of reducer and yield a spray able quart. Depending on the size of your blend, I’d probably get a spray able quart to be on the safe side. When estimating the amount of paint needed, also be sure to take in to account your paint gun’s transfer efficiency.

Q:how much primer/paint do i need for my tailgate?
A: Mixable primer is available in a quart size as the smallest option. Usually a quart of primer will do the bodywork on a vehicle easily, unless the entire vehicle is being primed. If less than a quart of primer is desired, the rattle can primer is an option to consider, as long as it’s a good quality rattle can primer, from a good name brand, that’s available at a paint/body supply store. Usually, when just wanting to do a tailgate, you can repaint a tailgate and not have to blend in to the bedsides. Or blending within the tailgate if possible, is also an option, but the smallest amount of paint most paint stores will mix, is a half pint. So, I would buy a paint like Chromabase that reduces 1:1 and buy a half pint of paint, that will mix with a half pint of reducer, and it will yield a spray able pint. When estimating the amount of paint needed, also be sure to take in to account your paint gun’s transfer efficiency.

Q:how much primer/paint do i need for my entire vehicle?
A: For a vehicle the size of an s10, it won’t take a gallon of primer to prime the whole truck, block sand, re prime, and block sand, but with most pricing, by the time you’ve bought 2 quarts of primer, it would have been cheaper or the same price to buy a gallon of primer. Then you’ll have primer already, in the event you ever need anymore. As far as paint, usually to repaint an s10, a spray able gallon is a good idea. Then you know you’ll have enough paint, and you’ll have left over paint for future repairs and touch ups. When estimating the amount of paint needed, also be sure to take in to account your paint gun’s transfer efficiency.

Q:what is the best glazing putty/compound to use for finishing?
A: Wasn’t sure if this questions was more about glazes and compounds for buffing, or spot putties, so I answered both. I personally use Evercoat Easy Sand finishing putty, but as described, it’s for finishing. The putty is so incredibly thin, that it has very little build characteristics unlike evercoat body filler. The spot putty does work well on small door dings however. As far as glazes and compounds for buffing. I usually use Meguiars Glazes and the 3M Perfect It II buffing compound. The 3M buffing compound is a little more high priced, vs. some of it’s competitors, but from the experience of having to use a different buffing compound at work, and then using the 3m at my shop, the 3M is definitely well worth the extra money. As far as the glazes, Meguiars work really well, also a little pricey at some stores, but well worth the money as well. If you really want to get looks, try buffing with the Meguiars Show Car Glaze, then following it with the regular Glaze.

Q:what tool(s) should i use for sanding?
A: If you’ve read many of these already, then you’ll already know that I almost use a paint stick exclusively for sanding body filler, not to say that some of the rubber and wood blocks aren’t good as well. I also have one big blue rubber block made by the Eastwood Company called the Tru-Flat, and it works exceptionally well on flat areas like hoods and doors. As far as picking out sanding blocks, whether it’s a wood block, rubber block, or paint stick, you have to look at them closely to make sure the sanding surface is level and flat. Any small curve, nick, or bend, will transfer itself to the filler while you’re trying to sand. As far as air files, I really don’t use them much, I have an air file sander, but I more or less use it as decoration or a paper weight. I bought it at an import tool store for about 20 bucks and every year or so it comes in handy, so I really wouldn’t invest a lot in one, but if you can find a cheap one, it may eventually come in handy. And for sanding down the car to prime or paint, and using a sander, you should buy a DA sander, (dual action) and if you have enough air power to buy air, that’s the way to go, but they also make electric da sanders that work pretty well also. But as like previously stated, paint sticks work wonders in a lot of different situations. Also, for really extreme curved surfaces, it’s always helpful to have a few flexible hand sanding pads. They really work well especially on areas with high arcs and bends like motorcycle fenders.

Q:how close should i hold the gun to the vehicle?
A: Usually about 4-6 inches away from the vehicle. I usually hold mine around probably 5 inches away.

Q:how much overlap should i have when spraying?
A: With probably all paint, you’ll need to do a 50 percent overlap, so your second pass needs to cover up half of your first pass, and so on. House of Kolor Kandys, use a 75 percent overlap, however the Kandys are extremely hard to spray, and will require many years of spraying to successfully do without light and dark spots and streaks, so my philosophy on Kandys is…… why bother, use a Kandy basecoat. Looks the same, still transparent, and spray a lot easier.

Last edited by DevilDriver; 08-17-2005 at 02:35 AM.
Old 08-17-2005, 02:25 AM   #6
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Re: Please Read: Body/Paint FAQ

Q:how long should i let the primer cure before spraying?
A: That’s also going to depend on your primer you choose, the primer I use, is 10 minutes between coats, and 2-3 hours before fully dry.

Q:how long should i let the sealer cure before spraying?
A: The sealer I use, there is about a 30 minute wait before applying the basecoat. But it’s going to depend on your brand of sealer, you can get a tech sheet at the paint store where you’re buying your supplies.

Q:how long should i let the paint cure before spraying?
A: It will depend on your line of paint you are using, the paint I use is 10 minutes between coats, and 30 minutes before clear.

Q:how long should i let the clear cure?
A: It also depends on the clear you’re using, always good to have a tech sheet on the particular product which can be found at the paint store you buy the clear from, the clear I use, is 5-7 minutes between coats, and it’s fully cured after about 12-16 hours depending on temperature, when being air dried.

Q:how many coats of primer should i do?
A: Generally I like to put 3 coats of primer on so I know I will have enough primer on the area to block sand it out nicely, without sanding threw the primer.

Q:how many coats of sealer should i do?
A: Most sealers, if not all sealers, only need one coat. As far as what to seal, any bodywork you’ve done you’ll want to seal those primer spots. Any areas where you may sand threw the base coat in to the underlying sealer from the factory, you’ll want to seal those also. Sometimes if you are going to be repainting the entire vehicle, it’s usually a fairly good idea to seal the whole vehicle. But as far as doing a blend, you’ll again just want to seal your primer spots from your bodywork.

Q:how many coats of paint should i do?
A: Most paints say 2-3 coats, but really it’s as many coats as it may take to cover. You wouldn’t want to put an excessive amount of paint on a vehicle, but if it takes 3 coats to cover and even out, then put three one, put four if it needs it. Generally speaking though, most paints usually cover very well in about 3 coats.

Q:how many coats of clear should i do?
A: It depends on the product you are using, the clear I use, 2 coats. Q:what should i use to wipe down the vehicle/area before painting?
A: Before painting or priming for that matter, you always want to make sure that your surface is cleaned properly. Another issue in the pre paint prep, is adhesion. If you do your final sanding of your truck or primer spots, or whatever you’re wanting to paint, you only have so long of a window before your adhesion from the sanding is gone. Without adhesion your paint is not going to stick. That’s where having some gray scotch brites purchased from a paint store is going to be beneficial. So really it’s more than just a wipe down involved in the pre paint steps, so that’s why I thought I’d mention it as well. The easiest route to take before painting, I do it this way sometimes, and sometimes I do it other ways, every job really depends on the job itself and which course of action you think is going to be best for completing the task at hand. But the process would be to first, blow the vehicle off with an air blower, then mask the vehicle, usually after that, even if I am still within my adhesion window I still scotch brite everything to be sure with a gray scotch brite, then blow the vehicle off again with the air blower, you can do a wipe down with wax/grease remover, the using a tack rag, wipe everything to be painted down. As for the wax/grease remover option. If you visibly see contaminants on the surface such as finger prints, then you probably need to use the wax/grease remover. Usually I don’t use it, but that’s because I wear latex gloves in all the pre paint stages, usually I wear gloves when doing anything to a car/truck, plus since I always scotch brite to be on the safe side, that usually removes anything that may be on the surface anyway. If you may be interested in doing things in this way, you can even mask up a vehicle wearing latex gloves if you’ll first the tips off of the index fingers and thumbs off of the latex glove. That way the tape won’t stick to your gloves when trying to pull it, and you can still use your finger nail to pull the tape off the roll, and all at the same time any area that your hand may be coming in contact with, you want be transferring anything to the surface. Also a side note on tack rags, after you take it out of the pack, it’s always better to completely unfold the tack rag and then lightly ball it up and use it that way to tack off the surface, instead of just using it in the little square it comes in.

Q:how should i properly adjust the gun?
A: You will want to set your gun up according to your personal spraying tastes. If the trigger control is all the way open, you’ll have a full trigger pull and more paint will come out, you can move faster, but if you don’t move fast enough you’ll have too much material coming out and you’ll have runs in the paint or clear or primer. So that’s something you’ll have to adjust to your tastes. Usually a good learning set up is the trigger half open. That way you can move a little slower and get a feel for the gun itself and concentrate on your overlaps until they come natural to you. I usually have my trigger control about three-fourths of the way open for paint and clear, and usually all the way open for primer. As far as your fan control, usually about a 4-5 inch wide pattern, and your air pressure will depend on the product you are spraying and what the tech sheet calls for on that particular product. It’s always a good idea to buy a gauge for your spray gun so you know exactly how much air pressure you have at the gun. You can have a gauge on your compressor, but pressure will be lost threw the air hose, so that’s why having one at the gun works out well.

Q:what grit should i colour sand with?
A: It really depends on a few different factors, including the amount of clear on the vehicle, on what grit would be best. 1000 Grit will definitely do a good job leveling out a paint job, but sometimes it’s a little too aggressive, and the last thing you want to do is wet sand off too much clear, because then you may have the possibility of clear coat de lamination later on from the UV rays from the sun baking the clear off. If you’ve ever seen a car that looks like the paint is peeling, but the color is still on and it looks like a white film peeling off, that’s clear coat de lamination. Sometimes in a little heavier areas of orange peel or dust nibs, or when leveling out a run in the clear, I’ll use 1000 grit, and I try to use around 1200 or 1500 overall. The biggest key to remember when wet sanding and buffing your new finish, is that you can’t really see how it’s sanding off because of the water keeping the clear looking shiny, so always have a small rubber squeege that you can buy at a paint store, and squeege off your water so you can see the dulled out clear. That way when using 1000 especially, you won’t sand too much, you’ll be able to see when the area you are sanding is smoothed out, and then you can move on. To help level it out nicely also, I’ll again, wrap the sandpaper around a cut down paint stick that’s flat, and use that to wet sand vs. hand sanding. Also when color sanding, always remember to be sure and get regular 1000, 1200, 1500 grit sandpaper, and not P 1000, etc, etc, because it’s a different grade, and actually rougher than the regular grade.

Last edited by DevilDriver; 08-17-2005 at 02:34 AM.
Old 08-17-2005, 02:25 AM   #7
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Re: Please Read: Body/Paint FAQ

Q:how should i buff after clearing?
A:Whether or not you want to color sand or not is up to you, but all clears will look better at least having a galze buffed on. The glaze helps the shine and protect the new clear like a hand wax would, but it’s not harsh on new clears like waxes are. Most clears say to wait 90 days before wax is applied, but it can be glazed immediately after it’s cured. But the act of buffing is pretty much the same regardless of whether you’ve wet sanded and are buffing compound, or if you are just buffing a glaze. You will need a buffer, I prefer electric, that will deliver RPM’s in the range of 1200-1800. Buff about a 2 square foot area at a time. Always keep the buffer moving at all times vs. leaving it sitting in the same area, because it is very possible to burn threw the paint. Also try to avoid ridges and edges because they are very easily burned threw. Be careful when buffing curved areas as well. Overlap your buffer passes by 50/50 as if you were painting. Buff only until compound or glaze is gone and try to avoid buffing the paint without the compound or glaze on.

Q:how can i get rid of orange peel?
A: The easiest way is to take a cut down paint stick that’s flat, wrap some 1000 grit sandpaper around it, and use that to wet sand the area, use plenty of water to keep the paper clean. Usually I like to let water run on the area that’s being sanded, as well as having a bucket of water that I can further rinse the paper out in. Always be sure to use a 3M wet sanding squeege to squeege off the water so you can see the dulled clear. Only wetsand in the area until it’s flattened out, and then move on. If you use the 1000 grit paper, you may as well invest in a better compound, like 3m’s perfect it 2 or 3. Otherwise you’ll buff quite a while with a cheaper compound.

Q:how can i get rid of fish eye?
A: If you have a fish eye in the basecoat, it’s usually a little easier to correct than a fish eye in the clear. When it’s in the basecoat, it’s a pretty simple concept, just restrict the trigger flow a little bit and turn up the air pressure a little higher than normal, and back your gun up more than normally, maybe even a foot away from the surface, and dust on very light coats of paint one at a time until the fish eyes have leveled out. You don’t want to wet these coats at all, you want them to be dry coats. Fish eyes in the clear aren’t really as common as people getting fish eyes in the basecoat, but they are still possible. Sometimes if you use the wrong hardener in your clear, the fish eye risks increase. Sometimes if they are small on the first coat, the second coat of clear will fill them in, and then you can wet sand and buff the affected area to level it out, usually though, you’ll have to wet sand and re clear if the fish eyes are bad enough.

Q:how should i position my fans in reference to the angle at which i paint?
A: You always want to hold your gun at a 90 degree angle and run spray parallel to the vehicle. Also don’t be fooled in to trying to follow in curves and body lines because by holding the gun parallel and at a 90 degree angle, paint will get in to all those surfaces you are worried about, and instead of having a heavy spot of paint where you’ve sprayed in the body line, you’ll have an all over even coat of paint, without light dark spots or an un evenness in metallic finishes. If you ever try a true House of Kolor Kandy, and don’t follow this spray pattern process to a science, it’s definitely not going to look right. A lot of painters even like to spray any paint job by walking the length of the car, not just kandy jobs. Jon Kosmoski, the House of Kolor guy, paints everything he does this way, and while I have never tried regular paint jobs in this matter, I can see his point.

Q:how do i create ghost flames?
A: The easiest way to do ghost flames is by using a pearl midcoat. There are a lot of different references to pearls in the custom paint world, dry ice pearls, a pearl in the clear, this, that, and the other, but this is a midcoat that would be used in a tri coat pearl finish, like you would see on more expensive vehicles. To make things more simpler, instead of trying to look threw probably hundreds or different mid coats from the factories, DuPont has a fleet color of about a dozen or so midcoat pearls. One that I use a lot especially on red vehicles is the fleet color, Champagne Gold Mid-Coat, it’s in the Chromabase series. The mid coats reduce 1:1 like the other paints, but sometimes when doing the ghost flames, you want the pearls to be a little less stand outish, so lots of times reducing it 1 part paint 2 parts reducer will kill the pearl a little more and do a lot better. But basically you need to do a let down panel to know how many coats of pearl you will need to do to get your desired ghost look. The let down panel is one of the easiest but most under used concepts in custom painting and can make or break a ghost flame job. To do the panel, take a piece of metal that’s ready to paint, or my personal favorite, an aluminum sign blank that you can buy off the internet, and use that as your panel. If you have a piece of metal you’ll first have to sand it, prime it with some rattle can primer, sand, seal, and then you’re ready for color. Still use the better can primer because a cheaper primer could alter your finished result. If you buy the sign blank, usually they come powder coated white, and you can just scuff it with a gray scotch brite and you are ready for base. You’ll need probably a half pint of paint that’s the same color of your vehicle, and a half pint of the pearl midcoat you want to use. Then once reduced, if using Chromabase, you’ll have a pint of each to play around with. Paint your panel the color of your vehicle first, once you’ve put enough coats on to cover, let it dry, and then mask off half of the panel and cover that half up, so that you will have the color of your truck, next to the coat of pearl on the other half, and have a better ghost reference. Using two inch tape, and starting from the top, mask off two inch section of the half that wasn’t masked, going all the way down the panel, or until you have around 4 or 5 sections. Leaving the bottom section open, spray a coat of the pearl. To further tone down the pearl and let it come on slowly, which is desired, restrict the trigger a little more than normal, cut the air pressure up just a little more than normal, hold the gun back further from the panel, probably a foot away, and also use a fast gun speed. Still maintain your correct 50/50 overlap. As soon as you’ve sprayed your first coat on the unmasked square, immediately take off the taped square above it, and completely spray another coat over all of the exposed area. Then the area that was already sprayed with one coat, will now have two coats, and the above area one. That’s the general idea, continue unmasking and spraying coats in this manner until finished. Then the bottom square will have 5 coats of pearl, then the above squares will have, 4, then 3, then 2, and then finally one coat at the very top. When the pearl is dried you can unmask the other half of the panel, and then clear. I always like to clear my test panels because then you can really see what it’s going to look like a lot better. Once the clear has dried you can look at the panel and see which coat of pearl is going to give you the effect you want the most. You can even put the panel down and walk away from it and see which number of coats is going to be visible at different lengths away and basically that’s how your overall flame job would appear. Once you have decided which coat you like the best, you will know how many coats to put on your flames. After that you need to decide where the flames are going to go and what areas will need to be re-cleared. Some of the most popular ghost flames are usually found on the hood, then running in to the fenders, in the doors and stopping at the end of the doors before getting in to the cab corners or bed. The reason for this is, because it’s not quite so much to have to re clear. If you were wanting to do it that way, you could wet sand the hood, two fenders, and two doors with 1000 grit sandpaper, or you could gray scotch brite the hood, two fenders, and two doors. Which way you want to do it, is up to you. Then you can proceed with the flame outlines, and flame masking, as they are described in the overall flames process question. Then when you are ready to spray your pearl. Remember to have the gun set up to same way you did for your test panel, and hold it the same distance away, and same fast gun speed. Also, when doing the ghost flames with a midcoat pearl, remember to walk to length of the vehicle, or flames, in the case. The reason being is the more coats of pearl the darker, so you want them all to be one nice even coat. Once you’re finished with the pearl, after it’s dry, you can unmask and then clear.

Q:how to paint flexible plastic?
A: Most paint companies have a flexible primer for plastics, and you can use those if you are going to be priming the entire bumper cover or something like that. Or you can add a flex additive in your clear for just sanding down plastic and repainting and re clearing. Sometimes even if you have used the flexible plastic primer, sometimes I like to use the flex additive in the clear as well, depending on the types of job. If you have a car that you want to repaint and it has plastic bumper covers on it, and you can look on the bottom of the cover and see a lot of drag marks where the person has been scraping the road, usually that’s a good indication you will want to use some extra precautions such as the flexible primer and the flex additive. When the bumper covers, or side ground effects, come in contact with the road, they will flex and twist, and could cause the paint to crack if it goes past the flexibility of the paint and clear on the covers. If you are sanding down and painting interior pieces of a car, usually there is no need to do things like this, and your regular urethane primers will work in these situations. If you are doing the work yourself, sometimes it isn’t even necessary to do all the extra steps because there may never be a problem with the paint cracking from flex on the plastic parts. Just like I usually spray on adhesion promoter before painting plastic pieces, there may never be a problem with the paint adhesion with out using the promoter, but for a shop, or a person doing work for someone else, sometimes it’s better to spend a little extra money to take a few extra steps, than risk having to paint those items again later on for free.

Last edited by DevilDriver; 08-17-2005 at 02:38 AM.
Old 08-17-2005, 02:26 AM   #8
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Re: Please Read: Body/Paint FAQ

Q:how can i paint a single panel and still have it match the other panels on the vehicle?
A: You can not. Even though you are buying the same color paint that the paint code on your vehicle says it is, the two paints won’t be the exact same color, from the simple facts of age and fade. The color is so insignificantly different that it’s usually not even visible to the eye, until you try to paint a single panel. For instance, you hit something and it messes your fender up, and you decide to replace the fender, but just paint it and then put it on, the gap where the fender and the door meet is a very hard line and will definitely make the difference in paint very noticeable. Luckily though, doing a blend is not very difficult or anymore time consuming, but the extra hour or so it may take to do the blend can be the difference between a vehicle looking good, and looking awkward. For example’s sake let’s say you did need to change the fender out. There are several different ways you could do the blend, and you need to decide how to do it first. You could mask the hood off, repaint the fender, blend in to the door, and then re clear the fender and re clear the door. You could blend in to both the door and hood, and re clear, or you could try blending your clear coat as well. As far as clear coat blending, there are a few different options on how to go about doing that as well. My opinions on blending clear coat, it just depends on each situation. For blending purposes, like repainting a fender and blending in to the door, I’ll re clear the whole door, never trying to blend the clear vertically. That’s going to be as noticeable to the eye as panel painting in my opinion. Even when using the clear coat blenders to try to melt in the edge, and wet sanding and buffing, there is still a slightly visible bulge in the clear from different thickness. The only real way to blend a clear and not be noticeable, is a at a body line, like on a truck. Since most cars don’t have a body line quite like the ones on trucks, then you really just need to re clear the whole panel. But if you shave the door handles on an s10, you can usually blend the paint, and reclear the door above the body line, then unmask, wetsand the edge of the clear down, and buff, and non one will ever know the difference. One other thing about blending clears in this manner, masking tape lines generally make too hard of lines to wetsand and buff out, so I usually use the 3M Soft Edge Trim Mask. It’s like a white foam cord with a sticky side, and it’s very useful for masking hood, trunk, door, tailgate, and gas lid openings, as well as leaving a soft edge when blending a clear. As far as doing your actual blend. If you were wanting to repaint your fender and blend it in to the door. You proceed with whatever steps you need to to prep it for paint depending on whether you bought a used or new fender, once the fender was ready and had been sanded with 400 grit sandpaper, you would wet sand the door with 1000 grit sandpaper. Then I usually like to also scotch brite the very edge of the door where the blend is going to be, with a gray scotch brite. Then mask everything off but the door and fender. Paint your fender but instead of stopping at the edge of the fender continue in to the door with your passes about 6 or 7 inches in to the door and then fan the paint off towards the back of the door by rotating your fan towards the rear while your hand stays in place. It’s all a nice fluid wrist action and may take some time to get used to but when well done it’s the key to a nice blend. By doing the end of the pass in this manner instead of having a hard line where you have stopped you’ve gradually fanned the paint in to the door. Then proceed with all of your passes in this manner until finished. Also do your next coat in this manner. Once you’re paint is covered, there is one more step to assure a nice blend. Take your gun, and turn the pressure up a little, and restrict the flow of paint just a little. Then holding the gun further away than normal, about a foot back from the car, fan on a light dust coat in the area where you stopped your blend. It’s like an X. Your first set of passes with the drop coat should all be in this \ direction followed immediately by the second set of passes in this / direction giving you and end result of X. It’s almost like the cross hatch pattern of sanding so there is no visible sanding pattern when doing body work. By doing the X drop coat you will further soften the line where you blended. After you are satisfied with your paint blend, you can proceed with clear.

Q:what is the general process for doing flames? any tips or tricks?
A: First you will have to wetsand the area you want to flame with 1000 grit sandpaper, or scotch brite it with a gray scotch brite. For example, if you want flames on your hood fenders, and doors, you’ll need to do those areas. Once that’s done go ahead and mask off the truck. Then using the blue 1/8 inch fineline tape, you can draw your flames on using the tape. And yes, I did make that sound a lot easier than it is, so it never hurts to buy a few rolls and practice your tape layouts before you are ever ready to do your flame job. The great thing about the fineline tape is though, that it’s totally reposition able so if you don’t quite get the look you’re going for you can easily correct it. One tip for the actual layout of the tape is, lots of people struggle trying to envision where the flames need to go to keep the flames stretching out further and further, so I usually just draw out the flame, and end it. Then since the blue tape is repostionable you can open up one of the tips of your flames, and then add another on to that and carry your flames on very easily. As far as masking the flames off so you can paint them, lots of people will cover the flames in 2 inch masking tape and then use an xacto knife to cut them out. And that’s one way to do it. But if you cut too deep you’ve scratched the underlying paint and you’re going to have trouble with the paint lifting. So I usually like to mask off my flames by using the three quarter masking tape that you would mask your truck off with. The tape has a little curl to it, and you curl the tape around the blue fineline tape and mask your flames off in this way and not have to do any trimming. And since you’ve overlapped all of your tape, you can just pull off all practically all your tape at once when unmasking. Where if you’ve trimmed out your design with an xacto knife, it tends to want to pull off one or two pieces at a time. I used to be a trimmer myself until seeing House of Kolor’s Jon Kosmoski do it like this in an instructional video, and then trying it myself this way. The more time spent masking with three quarter tape is definitely made up with the time saved by not having to do trim work. Once your flames are masked off, I usually like to scotch brite the area to be painted to give it a little more tooth for the paint to stick to, especially if I’ve wet sanded with 1000 grit. After you’ve done your flame painting, you can unmask. Also another option is to unmask the flames, but not take off the blue fineline tape yet, and then mask off the very inside of the flames, and airbrush some drop shadows under the flames with some black basecoat that’s a little over reduced. The big help with doing the drop shadows with the blue fineline tape still on, is that, vs. doing them freehand, the tape will leave all shadows at an equal distance away from the edge of the flames. Drop shadows are optional, but nice additions. You could also airbrush skulls in the flames before unmasking them, or do all kinds of other effects including pinstriping. Another very popular flame is the faded flame from white, to yellow, to orange. To pull this off, first paint the entire flames white to give the yellow an orange a good even base. Then move on to yellow and painting reverse, from the back of the flames forward, and with the fan smaller, paint the yellow and fade the yellow in to the white. Finally, using an airbrush, you can add the orange by airbrushing the tips orange and the inside edges of the curls. Also remember to pull the blue fineline tape off by pulling it away from the graphic at an angle. Once you’ve finished your painting, and you’ve unmasked, you’re ready to clear.

Q:what type of airbrush should i use?
A: the Iwata HP-C is a very well known airbrush, but pricey. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg, but you’ll want to invest at least 100.00 or more in your airbrush. The top feed airbrushes are popular now, but I think the bottom feeds work just as well, and usually have a little bigger cup. But you’ll definitely want a dual action airbrush, which means you will press down for air, and then pull back for paint. If you pull back a little, less paint and a finer line, and it you pull back a lot, more paint, and a wider fan. Those are very helpful and easy to use as well. Airbrushes generally do not need a lot of air pressure, so also make sure you have a compressor that you can regulate the pressure with. If not you’ll have too much pressure and instead of a fine line, you’ll just have a lot of paint spitting. I’ve been told that for some reason, airbrushing is very intimidating to people that want to try it, but I think it’s probably one of the most fun aspects of custom painting, and definitely one of the most profitable. If you want to start airbrushing, Craig Fraser’s book, Automotive Cheap Tricks and Special F/X is a must buy. There’s a lot of great airbrush artists on the market today with books and videos, but if you don’t have at least one book or video by Fraser, you’re not really getting the most out of your airbrush. Unlike some of the others, on his website, you can email questions, and with all the work he has to do, and probably the high level of questions he receives, it’s both impressive and amazing just how quickly he will respond to your question with an answer.

Last edited by DevilDriver; 08-17-2005 at 02:33 AM.
Old 08-17-2005, 02:27 AM   #9
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Re: Please Read: Body/Paint FAQ

Q:how to put in plate box?
A: License plate boxes are something else that I usually just order instead of trying to make. They’re a pretty simple concept and design, but I do not have a sheet metal bender, therefore I order. I usually get the boxes from FBI @ www.fbimini.com When putting in your plate box the main thing to remember, as with any type of shaving or custom concept with sheet metal, it’s only going to be as good as it’s backside. The first step always needs to be to sand down the backside of your filler plate, patch panel, or plate box, and then prime it with and etch primer. Once it’s dried completely I’ll usually use my mini grinder with a 2” disc and grind the edges were the heat from the welds will mostly be, back to the bare metal and then prime those edges with a weld-thru primer. You don’t have to do this, but the heat could burn off some of the etch primer and over time the welds could rust threw to the front side, so my philosophy with metals especially is better safe than sorry. Once you have completed your corrosion protection of the backside of the box, then it’s time to decide where exactly you want your box to be. I usually like to leave the tailgate on threw these steps so you can get a better picture of how the finished product will look. If you want your box to be straight instead of angled, having one of the small mini levels is always helpful in getting the box leveled out. For holding purposes, I use some of the welder’s helper holding magnets. You can order these at places like Northern Tool, or find them on the shelves at places that sell welding supplies, and they’re quite handy. If you want it angled, using the magnets you can easily reposition it at several different angles until you get the look you want. Once you have the box where you want it, trace around the edges of the box with a black sharpie marker, unless you have a darker colored truck, where one of the silver metallic sharpie markers work very well. While the box is still in place I like to write, Top, Bottom, Right, Left in those locations as well. Once you’ve traced your box, you can take the box away from the truck and set it aside. You will now have the outline of where you need to cut, minus, where the gap from the magnets are. You can fill those gaps in with your marker and a ruler. Now is the time I usually like to take off the tailgate because the sparks from cutting, grinding, and welding can cause a lot of damage to all areas of your truck, paint, glass, plastic, etc. Once the tailgate is off you can proceed with cutting the section of metal out. There are different cutting options and the easiest would be using a plasma cutter. Since most of us don’t have a plasma at our disposal, I like to use my DeWalt electric angle grinder with a cutting wheel on it. Always stay on the very inside of the black line, so your space for your box to go will be a little too small instead of too large. It’s easier to file down metal or gind it instead of having to fill a sheet metal gap with welds from the area being too large. Test fit your box once the hole is cut. To get it to fit right, it may require some grinding, if so, I like to use my die grinder so I can get in to the tight spaces a little better, and usually it grinds a little slower than my dewalt and that prevents over grinding. Grind a little and then test fit, and so on and so on until you are satisfied with the fit. Once you have it where you want it, you’ll have to trim the excess plate box off. Most of them come so they’ll have a lot of excess on the sides so you can have a universal fit. Trace around your edges so you will know how much excess to cut off, then cut the excess metal off, staying on the very outside of the line, and then you can use the die grinder to grind the rest of the way and maintain a perfect fit. Now it’s time to test fit again, this is where having the inside of the box labeled, top bottom right left, makes life easier. Once you have it re fit, you can now use the mig welder to tack the box in to position. I usually like to do the 4 corners, then 4 tacks along the top and bottom, and 2 down the side. Then you can put your tailgate back on and make sure everything it to your liking. If you absolutely hate the location, you can still change it, although it’s easier said than done, but if you are not pleased with it now, having all the body work done and the tailgate painted isn’t going to make you any happier. So if you really want to, it’s better to change it and get it how you want it. If you are happy, you can proceed with doing small tack welds at a time to prevent warpage. By having your tailgate off, you can take a wet towel and lay it all the way around the edge of the box about 2 inches away from the line of welds. This will help keep the heat from moving out in to the tailgate further. You can use another wet rag to cool each tack rag individually as well. I like to make tack, and then do another tack as far away from that one as possible, and so on, until you have tack welds about every quarter inch apart. Then I like to grind those tacks down at that time. It’s just easier to grind small tacks instead of a full bead of tacks all the way around the box. Also avoid staying in the same place too long, like trying to grind down the tack weld one at a time. The grinder will actually be easier to warp the metal with than the welding itself. So I like to go the entire length of the top side back and forth a few times, cool the area, and grind again back and forth a few times, cool, and repeat until smooth. Then do this the same way for the right side, left side, and bottom as well. Then proceed with more tacks in the same manner that the first tacks were completed until fully welded up, then grind the second set of tacks down. Once you’re fully welded your ready for body work. First I like to blow the area off with an air blower, and then mix up some Evercoat Tiger Hair filler. This is very extra strength fiberglassed reinforced filler, and I like to use it on weld seams. Using your finger while wearing a latex glove, apply the Tiger Hair directly on the weld seam. Once it’s dried, since it is very hard to sand, I use my small grinder with the 2” 80 grit disc and grind the filler smooth to level it out. After that I like to sand the metal that was welded with a da and 80 grit sandpaper, and then scuff the inside of the box with 80 grit sandpaper, blow off with a blower, tack, and then spray on a coat of etch primer. I usually always keep a can or two of Evercoat rattle can etch primer on hand for doing things like this. We will do the rest of our body work directly on top of the etch primer to assure the longest life possible for our custom work. I know what you’re thinking, we’ve already put filler down, but the Tiger Hair is waterproof, unlike cosmetic fillers. Once the etch primer is fully dried, scuff it lightly with 80 grit, blow it off, and then spread on some Evercoat body filler. Once the filler is ready to sand, using a paint stick that’s flat and straight, wrap some 80 grit sheet sandpaper around the paint stick and sand your filler with that. Always use the X pattern so that you will not develop a set pattern in your sanding, because that can be visible in the final finish. So you will sand for a while in this direction / and then back across that area in this direction \. Always sand down at an angle vs. straight across because you will have an easier time leveling it out. To get the area perfectly flat, you may need more layers of filler, so continue to sand until you’re happy with your bodywork. Once you’re satisfied, I like to go back over the filler work with 180 lightly, and then 400 lightly. Also I like to sand 3 to 4 inches around the edge of the body work with 400 grit as well. Then your are ready for primer. Prime the area that was body worked only and leave the extra edge that was sanded with 400 alone. That was to make sure that the very edge of the primer, would also be on scuffed paint so it would stick, rather than shiny paint, where it would may not stick. Once you have put on around 3 coats of primer and they have dried, you can block sand with your paint stick and 180 grit, blow off, tack off, and re prime with 3 coats, then once that’s dried, block sand with 400 grit, and then you’re ready for paint.

Last edited by DevilDriver; 08-17-2005 at 02:32 AM.
Old 08-17-2005, 02:31 AM   #10
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Re: Please Read: Body/Paint FAQ

Q:how to shave antenna?
A: Click Here

Q:how do i shave handles?
A: Click Here

Q:how can i relocate my tailgate handle?
A: Click Here

Q:how can i suicide my hood?
A: 1st gen
2nd gen

Q:how can i convert my 94-97 front end to 98+?
A: Click Here

Q:what parts do i need and how can i do an envoy front end?
A: Click Here

Q:how can i install a trenz billet grill?
A: Click Here

Q:how do i install stepshavers?
A: Click Here

Q:can i do a trailblazer conversion?
A: Click Here

Q:how do i install street scene mirrors?
A: Click Here

Q:how can i suicide doors?
A: Click Here

Q:where can i find my paint code?
A: this can be found amongst the other rpo codes in either the glove box or the door jamb. It is the bottom number or letters after (bb/cc) and should say something like u8555 or 260B or something of the like. However, your paint may have faded over time making the stock paint code inaccurate when compared to your current paint. The best thing you can do is go to a paint store that uses one of those paint code cameras and this will give you the most accurate match.

Q:how can i set up a temporary paint booth in my garage?
A: Click Here

Q:how can i tint my own windows?
A: Click Here
or
Tint Dude

Last edited by DevilDriver; 10-07-2005 at 04:38 PM.
Old 08-22-2005, 01:58 PM   #11
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 12,179
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Re: Please Read: Body/Paint FAQ and How-To

Q:how to shave taillights?
A: The tail lights on an s10 truck especially, have a really complex curve to them, which makes, even for companies with computerized press rollers, makes for a hard time to get a very precise fit for the filler plate, so if you buy some fillers and you put them up to the truck, and they look off, don’t get upset, because usually they take some adjustments to get the right fit.

NOTE: There are constant complaints about so and so's taillight fillers and their fitment. The company with the best ones i have seen thus far are from Grant Fabrications because they leave a little extra around the filler, allowing you to cut down where it is needed to fit. This is best because it's easier to cut or grind down a little metal than it is to try and fill gaps when welding.

I can go to dealership sometimes and buy a replacement panel and bring it back and it not line up right without some minor tweaking. With the tail light fillers, usually the curve is either not curved enough, or curved in too much, so the first thing I do, is test fit the filler plate so I can see what I’m dealing with. Ok now, instead of grinding paint off where your tail lights were and welding the filler plate up, you have to do some filler plate prep work because your repair area or custom work is only going to be as good as what’s on the back side. So the first thing to do, scuff the backside of the filler plate, with 80 grit sandpaper, usually for scuffing I use the 80 grit DA paper, vs. the sheet paper because the DA paper is not quite as aggressive. The 80 grit will get off any surface rust that may have formed on the backside already, and then you can finish scuffing it with some 180 grit DA paper, then proceed with blowing the backside off, and applying one coat of some Evercoat Etch Primer from a rattle can. I always keep a couple cans of this around my shop, because it works great for these situations. Once the etch primer is dry grind off the very edges of the backside of the filler and then spray that with some 3M Weld-thru primer, because the etch primer will burn off from welding, where the 3M won’t because it’s a weld thru primer, but I always feel a little more comfortable having the majority of it primed with the etch. Once you are finished giving the filler plate some corrosion protection, it’s time to grind around the tail light openings and get them down to the bare metal. When finished with that, I always like to hit that edge and especially inside edge of the opening with some weld thru primer, just so if the heat burns any of the paint off on the inside edge, it will be protected as well. Now you can begin tacking your filler plate in to position. If you have one that fits perfect, great, if you have one that doesn’t fit too well, no problem, now it where you can begin to adjust. For the sake of example, let’s say that the front of your filler plate fits well, but towards the rear of the truck near the tailgate it curves in too much. The easiest way is to take a longer screw driver, and begin to pry the plate back in to position as you continue to tack it in to place. That way you are slowly curving it back out with the help of the welder. Once it’s in place you can begin tacking it up with small tack welds at random places as far apart from the previous tack as possible, remembering to cool each tack weld with a wet rag, and so on, until you have tack welds about every quarter inch apart. Then I like to grind those tacks down at that time. It’s just easier to grind small tacks instead of a full bead of tacks all the way around the box. Also avoid staying in the same place too long, like trying to grind down the tack weld one at a time. The grinder will actually be easier to warp the metal with than the welding itself. When the row of tacks if ground down, continue in this manner until your filler plate is fully welded and the welds ground down. Once that’s done, I usually like to DA my whole filler plate area with 80 grit at this time. Then mix up some Evercoat Tiger Hair, and apply that with my finger, while wearing a latex glove, to the weld seam area, once it’s cured, I take my mini grinder, with a 2 inch 80 grit roloc disk, and grind the Tiger Hair level. At this point you could do your body work, or the way I like to do on larger bare metal areas such as this, is to first, after it’s been scuffed with 80 grit DA paper, spray on a good coat of the Evercoat Etch Primer again, let that fully dry, and then usually the next day, scuff that with the 80 grit DA paper lightly, and then do my bodywork on top of the etch primer to have a little bit of a water barrier, because you can be the best welder in the world, but to really smooth out something nicely, you need body filler. Not an excessive amount, it’s not a cure all for bad welding, but body filler in addition to good weld technique, will turn out a very nice custom application. When the body filler is cured, level it out with 80 grit sandpaper, sometimes I usually like to rough it in with 40 grit, then switch to 80, then when I’m satisfied I will hand scuff it with 180 grit DA paper to smooth it out. Then when your body work is complete, it’s time to mask, primer with a good urethane 2k filler primer, block sand with 180 grit, blow off, re prime, and then re block with 400. Then you’re ready for paint.

Last edited by DevilDriver; 10-07-2005 at 04:37 PM.
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