How to: Repaint your car

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How to: Repaint your car

Post by ColdFusion » Thu Jun 03, 2004 1:31 am

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How to: Repaint Your Car
Equipment needed: (what I used)
Air Compressor (Craftsman 5hp, 150psi max, 8.6 scfm @ 40psi)
Paint Gun (Craftsman Gravity Feed HVLP Gun)
Complete Paint System (DuPont Nason)
Sandpaper (3M 180- 240- 320- 400-grit Wetordry Sandpaper)
Some kind of paint booth


Repainting your car isn't really that bad. The key is having the right equipment for the right job. If you have a small compressor, make sure your paint gun doesn't require more scfm than the compressor can put out. As long as you match everything okay, you'll do fine.

I've divided up the repaint into three stages. The first stage is preparation, the second is paint application, and the third is detailing.

Stage 1

First thing you need to have is a place to paint the car, or a paint booth. I made one out of a mini-garage/canopy cover.


Some people can do it in their garage provided they have enough room and are willing to put plastic up all over the walls. Since I don't have any room in the garage, this had to do.

Wash the car off with a lot of soap and water. Make sure you get all the little places and the bottom side skirts. I'd recommend blowing out the wheel wells with compressed air as well. The next step is called dechroming, which is just taking off all the trim pieces. If you don't want it painted, and you can't take it off, then it needs to be masked, which is the next step.

Some books say to mask first and then scuff, but I went ahead and scuffed first and then masked. Scuffing is actually in stage 2, though. Since this was my first time to paint a car I double taped it. I outlined everything I was going to mask off with tape, and then went back over with the actual masking paper and tape again.



Stage 2

In order to make the primer stick to the current paint job, you need to scuff it up. Using 180-grit sandpaper, sand any areas that you are going to paint until you dull the finish.


Once you've scuffed up any areas you plan on painting, you are ready for priming. Wipe down the car (or area) with a tack cloth and mix the primer surfacer with the appropiate thinner (depending on weather conditions). Spray on one medium coat of primer surfacer and sand it with 220 grit once it's dry. It's a good idea to tack the car before any application of paint so you might want to tack again. Apply two more coats of primer surfacer and wet sand it with 400 grit sandpaper.



Clean it off good and apply one coat of primer sealer. The sealer will cover the 400 grit scratches and provide a good surface for the base coat.



Dust control is now your primary concern. The next step is the basecoat application. Mix the basecoat with the hardener and spray two medium-wet coats with a 5 - 10 minute flash time between the coats. By the time you finish painting the entire car you can probably start the next coat. Give the base 15 - 30 minutes until you apply the clear coat. Mix the clear coat with the activator and apply 3 medium wet coats. The clear coat sprays a little differently than the base coat. Just be aware and make any adjustments you feel you need. I had to slow down my stroke to get a more uniform coat. It took 2 coats for the clear to start showing a good uniformity.



Stage 3

Let the clear dry for about 12 hours (overnight) until you polish it. I had a lot of orange peel so I went ahead and remove all of it off with 800 grit sandpaper, leveled with it 1000, smoothed it with 1500, and went over with 2000 just for that extra touch. Then applied the polish and buffed it out, followed by glaze and finally wax. I would recommend using a professional quality buffer if you choose to do that. Also, check out the write up I did for that on a hood I repainted.

Pictures of Stage 3 coming soon.

Here's a list that I printed off and stuck in my garage to keep me on track; I encourage you to do the same thing or something similar.

Stage 1

Build paint booth

- Wash car with soap and water
- Use compressed air to blow out wheel wells

- Remove trim
- Remove bumpers
- Remove spoiler

- Mask any trim not removed
- Mask off areas not to be painted

Stage 2

Surface Preparations
- Sand all painted panels with 180 grit sandpaper
- Final wipe down with tack cloth
- Mix thinner with primer-surfacer
- Apply one coat primer-surfacer
- Sand primer with 220 grit
- Apply two coats of primer-surfacer
- Final sand with 400 grit sandpaper
- Apply one coat of primer-sealer

Basecoat Application
- Mix base color with hardener
- HVLP set to 7 – 9 psi
- Wipe down with tack cloth
- Spraying medium coats, apply 2 coats with 5 – 10 minute flash time
- Allow 15 – 30 minutes dry time before applying clear

Clear Coat Application
- Mix clear coat with activator-reducer
- HVLP set to 8 – 10 psi
- Spray 3 medium coats with appropriate flash time (depends on activator-reducer)
- Remove masking tape when touch-dry
- Allow appropriate time to polish

Stage 3 (see Removing Orange Peel for a detailed write up)

- Sand using 1200 - 1500 grit sandpaper
- If needed finish with 2000 grit sandpaper
- Apply polish and rub in manually with polisher
- Run polisher at ~1800 rpm moving around constantly
- Apply glaze and repeat
- Apply wax by hand
Last edited by ColdFusion on Thu Jun 03, 2004 3:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
1997 Dodge Dakota
1966 Mustang

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Post by STeeL » Thu Jun 03, 2004 2:04 am

Great write up :D

I have a question though. Where is a good place to get the actual paint for the car?
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Post by deuce » Thu Jun 03, 2004 9:51 am

Yea awesome write up. I would like to attempt this one day.
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Post by Wilson! » Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:42 pm

glad i found this :D nice refresher since i have held a paint gun in about 8 years :shock: hopefully i can get my car in the booth soon. i have all the chemicals, just need to grab sand paper and tape.

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Post by awebb » Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:14 pm

Link doesn't work FAIL!

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Post by OMGWTFBODY » Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:02 am

awebb wrote:Link is 6 years old FAIL!
STeeL wrote:Not a bad price for unlimited dicks.

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Post by Wilson! » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:29 pm

he has it spelled out, do you really need a link :lol:

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Post by w30post » Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:15 am

Wilson! wrote:glad i found this :D nice refresher since i have held a paint gun in about 8 years :shock: hopefully i can get my car in the booth soon. i have all the chemicals, just need to grab sand paper and tape.
You need any 800 grit wet dry, let me know. I have a sleeve of this stuff.
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Post by Wilson! » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:02 am

wouldn't be 6" would it?

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