Tips, Links, Advice: Do it yourself bodywork and prep?

Discussion in 'Classic Mustang Specific Tech' started by 66 BLAKE 96, Dec 3, 2003.

  1. My lovely wife is conspiring to unite with the parents to pool some money to pay for a paint job on the fastback for me for Christmas.

    That said, its only going to be affordable if I put in the elbow grease and do the prep myself. I’m not going for show winning work here, just a nice shiny new coat so that everything is the same color and looks good with the nice new interior. I will eventually give it the big $ paint job in the future, but for now, I’d just like to up its status from 50 footer to 10 footer.

    Any info at all would be useful to help the process. Here are the facts and concerns.

    No air tools. Considering the budget I’m on, just getting the compressor and tools to do the work would cost as much as I have budgeted for the quickie spray.

    I’m concerned with primer. I’ve heard that the foundation for a decent paint job includes using components of a “system”. Meaning, don’t use the primer-in-a-can because it likely will not be compatible with whatever type of paint goes on it. Does this sound right?

    Type of paint. I know there are advantages and disadvantages. As far as I know, acrylic enamel would be the best compromise of price and quality. Am I missing any other good oprions?

    Thanks for reading the novel, and thanks in advance for any input.

    Here's a pic just so we can all apreciate how good a crappy paint job can look at 72 dpi.
  2. I sanded mine down, still needs a ton of body work but I tried aircraft stripper and hated it, some parts would bubble off others wouldn't and it made the paint all uneven. I use a electric sander and it came out smooth. It took some time but i got a pretty smooth finish from the electric sander. I havne't primed it yet i have to take it to a shop and get rust repaired and some dents fixed.

  3. You need to talk to the shop first. Many won’t warranty their paint jobs if you do certain work, like prime & putty… But you should be able to save some money if you strip everything that you can off of the car and strip it down to bare metal. Or the shop may accept having you wet sand the car to get it ready for them to prime & paint. I’d let them handle any bodywork that needs to be done.
  4. if you plan on getting the big buck paint job later on then I would sand down existing color until its basically dull if your just repainting the same color. If it needs body work it depends...If its some serious stuff, then I would strip those areas and fill them or fix them the right way. If they are small "door dings'' i recommend the Ding King. Anyways go to your local House Of Kolar distributor and talk with someone, I went with a entire Vespar system with my car. All the suplies were about 500 bucks including, primer with its hardeners, Primer sealer with all of its accesories, 1 gallon of red paint, 1 pint of white paint, and all the reduceners, then 1 gallon of clear coat with its hardeners. Pretty good deal IMO. Oboebrian is a god when it comes to paint and body contact him.

  5. Blake: I had almost the exact offer many years ago from my wife and in-laws for paint on my '32 coupe. Like you, I had no compressor, no DA sander,etc. My previous experience taught me that a car can be PERMANENTLY damaged by an amateur "quick and dirty" paint job. Therefore, with wifely and in-law approval, I forwent the paint on the '32 until I could afford do it right. The car was NOT a DD and I had a garage so the "deuce" just went dormant for a couple of years while I saved up money for a quality job. I was just starting my career and didn't have the time to devote anyway.

    My previous experience taught me that the errors that needed to be corrected would have been HUGELY time-consuming. My "deuce" was (and still is) a beautiful car largely because I chose to pass up the opportunity for an inexpensive paint job some years earlier. I followed the same plan with my Mustang convertible when paint work was delayed until circumstances improved.

    I believe your car deserves the same consideration. If you DO choose to paint your FB, I highly recommend that you PRACTICE your technique on a lesser car. Prep and paint are FAR more complicated than most imagine. My "practice car" taught me that I REALLY didn't care for that type of work and that I would rather pay to have it done by a pro with tools and experience. My time and patience have a greater value that doing work for which I have no enthusiasm or skill.

    Them's my thoughts.
  6. body work

    I took a adult class in body work at a local vocational school here in Ohio,cost was 140.00 for the classes it was great ,did all the welding of the panels the body work and the paint .I wasn't expecting any thing great, but it did turn out good , won a two second place trophies after completion, All the materials was furnish and the tools, it did take me two coures to complete the project, The only recommendation I would offer is go to one of the classes before you sign up and check it out. Since then I am getting ready to start on a 66 coupe Mytoy
  7. Thank y’all for your comments. I really understand what you are saying with the do it once, do it right sentiment, but perhaps I should elaborate on my situation:

    • A professional job done right is going to cost more than 5 times what it would cost if I do the prep myself.

    • I’ve already gone almost 8 years watching the current paint go to hell, and I’m not waiting another 5 + years to save for a paint job just to have the driveline finally give up on me. I don’t want to own a gorgeous paper weight.

    • This car is a driver. Not daily mind you, but I can’t see spending thousands of dollars on a paint job only to melt down when I find that a rock chip resulted from the day’s corner carving.

    • This car has come along way from its original DSO in New Orleans almost 40 years ago. Changes include a switch from blue with blue interior and a 3 speed stick, to black with red and a C4, and now with black interior and an eventual 5 speed. Its far, far from original, and that’s just fine by me. I’m failing to see what irreparable damage would be caused by a paint job costing less than $2500.

    • The way I see it, I’ve got as much as 50 more years to enjoy this car. In that time, alot is going to happen with it. Rather than rubbing it with a diaper for the next 5 decades trying to nurse a 2004 paint job, or worse, letting it sit while I wish I could be driving it, I want to keep this thing moving. There will come a time where I have the funds and facilities, to completely rebuild this car. Unfortunately, that may be after I’m done sending now-nonexistent kids to college. I’m going to enjoy the driving experience in the mean time.

    • There will come a time where this car is immaculate. It will probably never see a show field, but I will eventually have this thing tweaked, clean, and rebuilt, hell forget rebuilt. I will reforge this tired old pony into my own vision. Its a process and I’ve made peace with that fact.

    Hopefully this gives a bit of context to the situation. For those with whom I may disagree, please know that its not because I don’t respect your opinion.
  8. I haven't actually seen you car so my judgement of the situation may be short- sighted. By permanent damage, I'm talking about leaving "scars" with sanders, grinders, etc. in haste to complete the job. Replacement of panels with repro parts might be in the mix as well. Admittedly, the car can always be re-done to correct faults (see "Timeless Wisdom #8 - below) but why compromise the car? A car is only original once and the farther you deviate the more faults tend be tolerated. Ron and David Bramlett of Mustang Plus are of the opinion that "a Mustang is like a cameleon; ever changing yet timeless". There is certainly nothing "wrong" with that but, to me, the car becomes more of a personal statement rather than the preservation of a classic automobile.

    Then again, perhaps that is what the hobby is all about; interpreting the car according to your perceptions. Good luck! :nice:
  9. I've been there. With my old 67 GT I was tired of driving around in primer waiting for the money to do it right.

    I'm sticking with my earlier post. Work with the body shop to see what you can do to help keep the price down. Each shop will have different views on this. Some don't want you to touch it at all. But find someone willing to work with you & you'll save money removing all chrome, bumpers, trim, antenna etc and wet sanding the car will all save them a few hours labor. You can then put all the trim back on again yourself saving a few more billable hours.

    You can also save some money if you're sticking with the same color & they don't need to paint the door jambs or inside the trunk. Whatever you do, just make sure that they will still warranty the job.
  10. I prepped the entire car either by hand, or with a small 4 inch square orbiting sander. It took so time sure, but I ended up with almost a hand done finish. ANY of today's primers will work. Rattle can or not. I suggest a laquer primer for quick drying. will NOT be rust resistant so keep it out of the weather after you primer it if you go this route. Acrylic Enamel is cheaper and more forgiving. Just be sure to request additives like fish eye elliminator and orange peel reducer. Not everyone can afford a top notch paint job, and it would make no sense to put one on a driver only to have some kid or careless mall parker screw it up for you. There are quality cost effective painters out there. Mostly, the prep will give you a satisfactory job if done right. Bottom line...if it will be put on a trailer or covered up in your garage and only see the road at 2 in the morning when you feel you are safe, put a 5 grand paint job on it. If you plan on driving it the way these cars were intended to be, put on the best paint job that you are comfortable with. Then, when you get a rock chip or scratch, you won't put a gun to your head. :nice:
  11. I think it was Oz that had the Maaco paint job on his car. It looks like a decent job and fairly inexpensive. There usually someone in your area that will lay down an inexpensive driver quality paint job for you. Several years ago I had a 89 broncoII that I picked up with a light front end damage that resulted in me straightening the bumper and replacing the fender. The rest of the bronco was peeling clear coat and decals all down the sides. I took it to a body shop that does a lot of work for used car lots and got a very respectable paint job for $400. That included stripping the decals and sanding and prepping the paint. That's always another option. If you know anyone with a body shop or used car lot, check with them too. You could also prep it yourself and try to find a pro painter to lay the color for a few hundred $$.
  12. Well said SD. To further clarify, I have a feeling my little pony will already qualify as "compromised" to you, but I'm at peace with that. :D

    Oz: sounds like you and I are on the same page here. The one thing I have plenty of is time, and I even have a willing garage monkey buddy to jopin me in the sore arm stage of prep. ;) Its refreshing to hear a success story with this plan.

    Thats the plan. :D

    Thanks again for everyones input. :nice:

  13. Blake i was goign to write a super long response this weekend when i have the time. Until then, you can do the paintjob yourself, along with all the stripping and body work. It may not come out 100% show quality, but if you're really anal and take your time then it can be like 90-95% of show quality. Just keep in mind what I started out with:

    A couple months (of averaging 4-5 hours a weekend):


    A couple months after that:



    Then after probably 8 months of on and off workign on the weekends (for the body work/paint. Sometime I didn't work on it for a couple weeks):

    All that painted in here:

    In my back yard, with a $50 harbor freight HVLP gun (not really recommended for topcoats, if you use it you'll probably be doing a fair amount of color sanding to get the slight orange peel out).

    All in all i have about 100 hrs in the stripping, body work, and painting the shell (not counting sandblasting the engine bay or undercarriage). Then about another 50-80 hours in colorsanding and polishing. The times include the first time i painted the car and there was way too much orange peel (due to the accelerator i used) so after spending a long weekend of trying to colorsand it down, i ended up D/A ing it back down to the primer sealer, re-blocking it, then shooting it again. The second time it only had a very slight orange peel to it. Most of it I believe is due to the gun because i was super anal about my spray distances and overlapps.

    Feel free to PM or email me for more info. I'll try to write-up and even detailed body and paint thread (with pictures) this weekend. But i also have to study for finals too, to i'll do my best to get it done this weekend for you! (and others).

  14. Oh and BTW, the last couple shows i've taken the 72 to, I've gotten many compliments on the paintjob. Most people can't believe i did it in my backyard! It feel soooooo great when someone asks "Who painted your car, it looks awesome!" I just beam and say, I did.

    Of course there are a couple very small things i've missed, but you can't really see them unless you draw the light across the car and look closely. My parents and friends tell me i'm always being too picky anyways! ;)

  15. You're close kirby. It was Earl Shieb.....another Maaco "like" painter. Think about many thousands of gallons do those guys shoot each day-week or year? They should have the application down pat, a trade that most learned while doing time in the big house. Choose your guy wisely and ask to see finished products.
  16. Good man!

    Actually, I was kind of counting on it. :D

    I look forward to the super long response, but don't let me get in the way of finals. I know you are a workaholic and all, but this info can wait. Your school stuff can't.

    Thanks! :nice:
  17. I had an Earl Sheib too, they are the ones that geve me some grief with the warrenty, but I still did some of the body filler work, prepped the car & they shot a sealer over it before they primed & painted it. It turned out OK for a daily driver.
  18. Car looks awesome! I tried painting my first car (a 65 Coupe) and it turned out real bad! I had so much orange peel that I couldn't believe it. Looking back, I wondered what would have happened if I had wet sanded the hell out of it, if it would have cleared up? One day when I retire I'd love to try painting my own car again, I always wanted to learn how to do it right.
  19. Go to they've got a great forum with lots and lots of do it yourselfers and pro's that are really helpful and will fully understand your situation. You won't be sorry.
  20. Ok, I haven't painted a car yet. I have done the prep work for the primer we shot on the Bronco hood, and the fender & door on the 73. First, the compresser we have is WAY underpowered, but it cost $295 and came with a bunch of air tools (home depot). The air gun and air chisel have been invaluable in the past summer, plus it came with a cheap spray gun that actually works better on the marhyde high build primer we used (granted, it was a bad batch, imo).

    As for air craft stripper, I love it (I buy the real stuff from a paint store, the kind with warnings all over them,lol). You have to be patient and let it work, but unlike sanders/grinders, it won't damage the sheetmetal. I use a plastic spreader as a scraper, since a metal one CAN damage the sheetmetal. I found that a cheap $1 paint brush works fine to spread it, and newspaper is awesome to use to get off the little particles left behind by the scraper. The Mach had multiple paint jobs on it, and it worked fine removing them. It will soften body filler though. If you do use aircraft stripper-wear gloves, jeans, and be careful not to get it on you-it burns like hell if you do (I know this from experiance). Also, do it outside, it has some pretty wicked fumes, and dont put so much on that you need to lean over it while it's active (more fumes).

    I just bought a book from John K??? the guy that started House of Kolor paint-IMO, well worth the read. I read though most of it in one shot-interesting stuff, writen in an interesting manor. You might be able to find a copy at a library, I found mine at Barnes & knoble.

    I plan on spraying my truck soon (this summer would be awesome, but with the Mach and Firebird projects both wanting attention, I see my project truck just waiting another year), so I will be getting a bigger compressor, better gun, and some sort of outside air stuff. But for the cost of the new equipment, I'll still come out ahead of paying someone to do it. Plus we have three other vehicles that will need painting! And really, since my husband has done (and will do) most of the mechanical/welding/labor intensice type work, I want to be able to say I did my part in the project too.