Bob Story's Automotive Paint Frequently-Asked Questions
For more information about this faq, please contact Bob Story at
bob.story at gmail dot com
Please check that your question is not answered before asking
me a question.. Thanks.
FAQ Revised: Saturday 01 December 2001 13:14:06
Table of Contents
- 1. Adjusting Paint Gun
- 2. Aerosol
- 3. Air Pressure
- 4. Air-brushing
- 5. Antique
- 6. Application
- 7. Automotive Paint
- 8. Bare Metal
- 9. Base Coat Re-coat Window
- 10. Base Coat Sand-ability
- 11. Bird Droppings
- 12. Blending
- 13. Blending Clear Coat
- 14. Brain damage
- 15. Brand Names
- 16. Brush Painting
- 17. Budget work
- 18. CFM
- 19. Can I Do It?
- 20. Candy Colors
- 21. Catalysts
- 22. Cement on paint
- 23. Cleaning Paint Equipment
- 24. Clear Coat
- 25. Color Bleeding
- 26. Color Change
- 27. Color Codes
- 28. Color Mismatch
- 29. Color Wheel
- 30. Compressor PSI
- 31. Cost of Metallic Paint
- 32. Decals
- 33. Delamination
- 34. Different Brands
- 35. Engines
- 36. Fiberglass
- 37. Fish Eyes
- 38. Flash Time
- 39. Flex Agent
- 40. General
- 41. Grounding the vehicle
- 42. HVLP
- 43. HVLP spray gun
- 44. Heat
- 45. How Much Paint?
- 46. Isocyanates
- 47. Lacquer
- 48. Lacquer Gloss
- 49. Mercedes
- 50. Metal Flake
- 51. Mixing Ratios
- 52. OEM finishes
- 53. Orange Peel
- 54. Overspray
- 55. Paint Application
- 56. Paint Brands
- 57. Paint Chipping
- 58. Paint Chips
- 59. Paint Components
- 60. Paint Guns
- 61. Paint Problems
- 62. Paint Stripe Removal
- 63. Paint Toxicity
- 64. Painting At Home
- 65. Painting Plastic
- 66. Painting at Home
- 67. Painting in Sections
- 68. Pearl
- 69. Pearl Paints
- 70. Peeling Paint
- 71. Polishing
- 72. Polishing fresh Paint
- 73. Preparing for the Body Shop
- 74. Pressure Pot
- 75. Prices
- 76. Priming and Sealing
- 77. Rail Dust
- 78. Reducers and Thinners
- 79. Reference Books
- 80. Removing Clear Coat
- 81. Rust
- 82. Rust Inhibitors
- 83. Sand-blasting
- 84. Sanding Affects Color
- 85. Sealants
- 86. Sealer
- 87. Sectional Repair
- 88. Shelf Life of Paint
- 89. Single Stage Paint
- 90. Solder and Brass
- 91. Solids
- 92. Spray Cans
- 93. Stripping Paint
- 94. Swirl Marks
- 95. Tar on finish
- 96. Technique
- 97. Touch Up Paint
- 98. Tree Sap
- 99. Uncatalysed Paint
- 100. Ventilation
- 101. Vinyl Wash
- 102. Water Spots
- 103. Weld Through Primer
- 104. Wet Sanding
- 105. Wheels
1. Adjusting Paint Gun
- 1.1. How do you properly adjust a standard spray gun?
- I'm assuming a conventional suction feed spray gun. An HVLP is a little different. Set your air
pressure first. The gauge at the gun should read approximately 55 lbs with the trigger pulled far
enough to allow air and not fluid. Point the gun at a piece of masking paper, and pull the trigger
a bit further to allow fluid. The pattern should be convex, with slightly more paint in the center
than the edges (I'm going to have to put some pictures on my page since this is a commonly asked
question). The idea is with a 1/2 overlap, to evenly distribute the material.
- 2.1. Do i have to strip the current paint job on my car if i want to try and use aerosol spray paint
to re-paint my car...and do you recommend this...will it work?
- No. No. Not very well.
3. Air Pressure
- 3.1. I have read your recommendation for a compressor that will put out 20 cfm
at 90 pounds of pressure and don't quite understand why such a large
compressor since I have so far not found a spray gun that calls for more
than 10 cfm. Can you explain the recommendation for a 20cfm compressor more?
- Theory and practice are like apples and oranges. Does a compressor really put
out it's rated delivery, and does a paint gun really require only 10cfm? Or does it
meet VOC requirements if you spray at 10cfm? I've been spraying paint for a long time,
more than twenty years, so I suppose I'm just asking you to take my word for it.
- 4.1. Can these same tips be applied to air-brushing? I am trying to air-brush designs on my
motorcycle. Please let me know.
- I generally use acrylic enamel (uncatalyzed and
reduced to a very thin viscosity) for air brush work, although I admit I don't do much of
it anymore. It might be a good idea to get your base color finished with a urethane clear
coat so you have a nice base to work with. After you are happy with your design, clear over
the acrylic enamel with the same urethane clear. It sort of goes against the rules, since
uncatalyzed acrylic enamel SHOULD wrinkle when clear is applied over it, but maybe because it
is so thin it doesn't (or at least it hasn't for me). Lacquers dry too quickly and plug up on the
tip of the air brush, and catalyzed paint cannot be stored. Acrylic enamels are cheap,
and you'll only need a few basic (bright)colors to tint with blue red yellow black and
white to give you all the colors. Oh yes, one last thing, don't buy tinting colors, buy
mixed colors. The tinting colors don't have driers added and may not work properly.
- 5.1. I have a 1928 Model 72 Chrysler that requires painting. I understand the present paint is Duco.
Can I obtain this type of black paint?
- Duco is Duponts old lacquer system. It is very inferior
to their current line of paint products, so unless you absolutely insist on original paint, use
the newer urethanes.
- 6.1. I just painted my truck a dark metallic blue with acrylic enamel. This
is my first paint job on a vehicle and now that it is dry it looks very
uneven. Shiny in certain places and dull in others. Is there anything
that I can do other than repaint the whole thing again. I am not looking
for a perfect job but I don't like the uneven look either. Will wet
sanding or using a rubbing compound help at all?
- Unfortunately with metallic acrylic enamel, the only solution is to repaint.
7. Automotive Paint
- 7.1. WHAT TYPE OF PAINTS ARE USED ON AUTOMOBILES?
- Japanese Varnish: In the early years, between 1900 and the 1920's, Japanese varnishes were used.
The varnish was applied by brush. Nitrocellulose Lacquer: in the 1920's, several paint manufacturers
were involved in the development of nitrocellulose lacquers. This paint had rapid drying and low
viscosity properties, and was applied with air pressure through a spray gun
leaving a hard dry finish in approximately one hour. When rubbed, polished, and waxed, it far
surpassed in durability and appearance the qualities of the Japanese lacquers. Synthetic Enamel:
In the mid 1930's, a new and completely different type of paint was developed, the alkyd or
synthetic enamels. It proved to have superior qualities in film strength, adhesion, luster,
flexibility and durability over all previous paints. The resin base was developed from the reaction
between phthalic anhydride and glycerin, with gums, oils and plasticizers added during the
manufacturing process a drying oil such as linseed, a polyhydric alcohol, such as glycerine,
and a dibasic acid, such as Phthalic Anhydride. It dries by solvent evaporation, like the lacquer
paints, but the resin remains soft and sticky when no solvents are present. It cures to a hard
finish by absorption of oxygen from the air. The curing process can be accelerated by heat, and
several methods of baking enamel were developed. Unlike lacquer, when dry, it needs no polishing
to produce a high luster finish. Acrylic Lacquer: As time passed, chemists developed a substitute
for nitrocellulose lacquer, using an acrylic resin as a base. The resins used in acrylic lacquer
tend to be slightly brittle. This deficiency is overcome by the use of a plasticizer ( a liquid
that is a solvent for these resins and softens them slightly). A cellulosic resin is any resin
derived from cellulose (pure cotton). Acrylic lacquer was used extensively by General Motors.
Acrylic Enamel: During the late 1960's and early 1970's, technology brought on the development
of acrylic enamel, which was harder and more durable. Chemically, it is a cousin to synthetic
enamel, but is modified with acrylic resin, and is not soft and sticky with no solvents present.
It cures further with the absorption of oxygen from the air. Unlike the lacquers, which remain
soluble in solvents, the enamel family is insoluble in solvent when cured. An acrylic resin is
chemically any polymer whose basic monomers are chemical derivatives of acrylic acid.
Polyurethane Enamel: In the mid 1970's, polyurethane enamel was developed to withstand the
severe stress of high speed airplane surfaces, which are subject to rapid temperature changes
and flexing. This paint was much more durable than the acrylic enamels. Acrylic Urethane Enamel:
Acrylic urethane enamels were developed to withstand environmental elements, such as acid rain
and ultra violet rays. It is the most durable paint to date.
8. Bare Metal
- 8.1. I am using R-M Under-coat Zinc Phosphate 834 ZIP over bare metal . The ratio I was given was
1: primer to 1: lacquer thinner #2 and no hardener was required. I was told that you did not have
to sand that you could top coat right over it. I was also told that I could paint right over the
primer there was no need for a sealer. 1) Do you have to use a hardener for the Zinc Phosphate?
2) Do you have to sand once you apply the Zinc Primer? 3) Do you have to seal the primer before you
- No, no, and no.
- 8.2. If I take it down to bare metal, then do I need to do a phosphoric acid wash? I know there may
be places where I can't get to clean metal and the phosphoric acid will convert rust, but what do
I need to do to bare metal? I don't need or want a high gloss surface, just something durable
that will prevent rust. What kind of paint would
- Use the acid wash and zinc chromate primer (it
is usually green) on the bare metal before you seal and paint. Any of the name brand paints are
- 8.3. WHAT DO I APPLY OVER BARE METAL?
- Use a zinc chromate primer which is essentially a metal
treatment. Follow this with a good quality primer surfacer (a brand name that requires a catalyst
(urethane or epoxy)). All the major manufacturers use a form of a seven stage process before
priming.1. Hot detergent wash to remove grease and oils. 2. Water rinse to remove the detergent,
since the detergent interferes with acid. 3. Acid wash to remove scale and open pores in metal.
4. Water rinse to remove acid. 5. Zinc phosphate acid treatment for corrosion protection and
paint adhesion. 6. Water rinse to remove acid. 7. Bake dry.This is followed by a primer coat
of melamine polyester resin (Japan), polybutadiene (Europe), or a polyester or epoxy ester system
9. Base Coat Re-coat Window
- 9.1. After spraying a base coat do I really only have 30-45 min. to spray the clear coat?
- No, you can apply the clear much later if you like. There seems to be a difference of opinion
on the maximum time frame; I've heard anything from 72 hours to infinity. I asked the Dupont techs
on their tech line, and they don't seem to know either, and it isn't listed in the technical manual.
I've done it three days later with no apparent ill effects.
10. Base Coat Sand-ability
- 10.1. How come you can't sand a base coat in a BC/CC combination if there are imperfections?
- You can. I usually go over the base coat quite carefully before I clear, and fix any
imperfections. You should use very fine paper.
11. Bird Droppings
- 11.1. Bob, I have recently discovered some bird droppings on my 81 Mazda RX7. They have started to rust.
Any suggestions on how to deal with this?
- One of these days I have to check into the chemical composition of bird feces. It
is very hard on paint. If it is rusting it will have to be repainted.
- 12.1. I was wondering if you could share your insights with me concerning the
application of colors, or base coat, (especially when blending) in
regards to air pressure and the distance you hold the gun from the panel
- I've answered this somewhere else in this FAQ, but the short answer is,
blending, use the lowest pressure you can, as long as the material is atomizing
- 12.2. HOW DO I BLEND PAINT?
- Good question, since the majority of paint repairs are blends. We will use acrylic enamel for
this example (others are similar). After you have repaired the area (body filler, polyester putty,
primed, etc.), you must clean the surrounding area with soap and water and a good scrubbing with a
final wash solvent (mild, silicone free). I cannot stress the importance of this step enough. It is
the singular most important factor in your blend. Clean to the edges of the panel (where the
masking starts). After the area is sufficiently cleaned, follow with a thorough compounding of
the area (my personal preference is #4 or #2 McGuiars and a wool pad). This will remove old
oxidation, and disturb the surface enough to promote adhesion. Clean off any polishing residue.
Reduce the air pressure to the gun to around 15-20 psi (siphon feed), and spray the repaired area.
Wait for the coat to tack sufficiently, then apply successive coats until full coverage is achieved,
slightly extending the coats each time to melt in any dry spray from the previous coat. On the
last (blend) coat, reduce the paint in the gun (you may have to pour some out) 100% with blending
solvent. Carefully blend out the dry areas. Further addition of blending solvent may be necessary,
or if you are very careful, you can lightly blend the edges with 100% blending solvent.
** Note** If you don't have blending solvent, you can use medium reducer, although it doesn't
work as well. Don't use fast dry or slow dry solvents, as they contain additives which are not
conducive to good blending.
13. Blending Clear Coat
- 13.1. I have a few places of clear coat peeling off about the size of a quarter.
Can this be repaired or does the bottom of the car need to be completely
repainted and clear coated?
- Depending on the size of the affected panel, if a large panel, then it can be blended.
A small panel, best to re-clear the panel.
14. Brain damage
- 14.1. I was reading your site and was wondering how in the hell can you give out
the advice that you do. A post asked you about brain damage from
isocyanates and your response was to drink more alcohol.
- Perhaps a couple of beers would get rid of those really weak brain cells that you
seem to be thinking with. And since I am explaining things to you, that too, was a joke.
15. Brand Names
- 15.1. WHAT BRAND OF PAINT SHOULD I USE FOR MY FIRST ATTEMPT AT SPRAY PAINTING?
- All major brands
of paint perform well and it is not my intent to recommend any one particular brand. However,
certain paints are better for the first time painter, although they may have inferior qualities
in other areas. A novice or first time painter might try Dupont acrylic enamel (Centari (tm)).
It is one of the most forgiving paints, as it dries quickly, melts in over-spray well, and does
not run easily. These positive features outweigh the negative effects of quick dry times, which
are mentioned elsewhere in this FAQ. I don't know if they still make it, but Deltron(tm) by PPG
is also an excellent product for a first time attempt.
16. Brush Painting
- 16.1. I've read that automotive paint can also be applied with a brush and with
good results. Do you have any experience with this approach ?
Can it possibly yield OK results ?
- No. A professional spray gun is an expensive precision tool. With today's mica's and pearls,
the finish has to be finer than 320 grit, or the particles will not orient themselves correctly.
The paint gun has to provide a fine, even mist to enable the correct transfer of material which may
be less than 1 mil (one thousands of an inch) thick for some base coats. As for applying these coatings
correctly with a paint brush there would be a better chance that a random collection of atoms in
outer space could gather together to form a Nike running shoe.
17. Budget work
- 17.1. I know this is kind of like
blasphemy within the professional auto painting industry, but what do
you think of Maaco's jobs? I know you all say "you get what you
pay for", was wondering if you could qualify this with respect to
- I have never dealt with them, but I'm sure they provide a good budget
service. Most shop rates here are close to $50.00 an hour, so divide that
by the cost and you get how much time they can spend on your car and still
show a profit. No one should expect a complete restoration for a budget price.
- 18.1. My question: WHAT SIZE AIR-COMPRESSOR DO YOU NEED TO PAINT A CAR? Will a 25 gallon 5hp compressor
work for painting that has a 5 SCFM @ 90 psi / 7.5 SCFM @ 40 psi. If so, any limitations? If not,
what kinds of problems will I most likely encounter?
- You will run out of air. This will lead
to dry spray areas, since you will not be able to paint fast enough to keep the surface wet.
- 18.2. WHAT SIZE AIR-COMPRESSOR DO YOU NEED TO PAINT A CAR?
- The compressor should be capable
of delivering a minimum 20 cfm at 90 psi.
19. Can I Do It?
- 19.1. I am restoring a 65 Triumph Herald an am considering painting it myself. I have never attempted
a paint of a complete car. Any suggestions or am I in over my head. The body is straight and I plan
to paint it white.
- If you are doing the restoration yourself, you will receive a great deal of satisfaction in
painting it also. All the trials and tribulations will be worth it in the end, and it will be an
invaluable educational experience.
20. Candy Colors
- 20.1. I want to change the color to ppg radiance 2 wine berry over pure gold. I used the proper primer
and all the steps needed . I painted the door jam areas, the inside of the fenders and under
the windshield area with this color. Unfortunately the areas were painted at two different times
as my free time would allow. I have discovered I have two different colors!
- Candy, or
tri-coat colors must be painted in one step. Unfortunately, you will have to redo the vehicle.
- 21.1. DO I HAVE TO USE A CATALYST OR HARDENER IN ACRYLIC ENAMEL?
- You should, to speed up the
curing time of the paint. However, acrylic enamel will cure over time by absorbing oxygen from
the atmosphere to complete the molecular cross linking needed to create the polymer. The addition
of a catalyst accelerates this process greatly (a few days versus a few months without a catalyst
agent). Most catalysts contain isocyanates which can be a health hazard if inhaled. A fresh air
supply is strongly recommended. And warning labels are often not as adequate as they should be.
Methylenedianiline is used primarily as a chemical intermediate in the closed system production
of isocyanates and polyisocyanates and is also a curing agent for epoxy resins and urethane
elastomers, a dye intermediate, and a corrosion inhibitor.
22. Cement on paint
- 22.1. I have a few cement splatters on my 96 Monte Carlo. They came from a
truck on the highway.
The splatters have dried. How do I remove them without damaging the
- Everything depends on the type of paint on the vehicle. If it is a urethane then a solution
of muriatic acid (household name for hydrochloric acid) should work. Try a weak solution on a small
area first. The concrete should foam and turn yellow. Then wash off with water..
23. Cleaning Paint Equipment
- 23.1. to clean wash primer out of my paint gun with? It's Corlar 810R mixed
with Corlar 815R activator. My brother in law bought the stuff and got me
Varsol to clean up with. It just curdled the paint in the gun.
- Most shops use gun wash, a cheap blend of strong solvents used exclusively for clean up. Varsol is not strong enough to dissolve most of the newer paints.
24. Clear Coat
- 24.1. In Panama we have such a humid weather and a high salinity content environment because we are
so close to the sea, so all brass pieces, including such well known brands as Baldwin and Period
Brass which even have clear coat paint, begin to tarnish and rust quickly. We have not at this time
found a good clear coat that will hold up with out turning yellow or even blistering or pealing
off so that we can use it as an extra protection for our gold. It needs to be very resistant,
even to soap and water stains.
- The expensive and best way is to use powder coating. A less
expensive way is to use a product called Egyptian Lacquer which is manufactured
by the Egyptian Laquer Company in Lafayette, Indiana (765-447-2136).
I'm not familiar with the product, it was referred to me by a paint chemist.
25. Color Bleeding
- 25.1. IF I PAINT IT A DIFFERENT COLOR, WILL THE OLD COLOR SHOW THROUGH?
- If the old finish is of
poor quality (enamel or lacquer), you must use a sealer to separate the two finishes. Sealer is
an inexpensive insurance policy to prevent COLOR bleeding, which was quite common with enamel
reds during the sixties.
26. Color Change
- 26.1. WOULD PAINTING IT THE SAME COLOR BE CHEAPER THAN OTHER COLORS?
- Of course, painting the
jambs, door posts, and underneath the deck and hood will increase the labor hours. Other than
that, pigment is the determining factor in the cost of paint. Blue, for example, is made from
cobalt, which is relatively inexpensive. Red pigments are by far the most expensive, perhaps three
times the cost of whites (titanium dioxide).
27. Color Codes
- 27.1. . . . in finding my motorcycle honda CBR1100xx's color which is candy red and coded as (R-101C-U),
as i couldn't find it in my country.
- That would be something to discuss with your local paint rep. I try to answer questions relating
to application procedures only.
28. Color Mismatch
- 28.1. I bought a white Nissan maxima and have noticed that the color of the
bumpers does not match the color of the body. It seems like the bumper is
a couple of shades darker than the body. I have noticed this on other pearl
white maximas also.
- The flex additive used in the paint on plastic parts often darkens the color. This is quite
common, as most of the plastic parts are painted separate. A painter in a body shop will blend
the paint from the bumper into adjacent panels to camouflage the change in color.
- 28.2. We just finished painting two front panels with Endura to match the
complete paint job done one year earlier in Endura in the same color.
When we compared the color the next day, the paint shades between the day
old paint and the year old paint were noticeably different.
- Unfortunately it is very common for paint not to match the original finish. If you don't have
a tinting system, you'll have to set up the job to blend into the adjacent panels.
29. Color Wheel
- 29.1. What is a color wheel, and what is it used for?
- A color wheel is used to adjust the color
30. Compressor PSI
- 30.1. but it only put out about 9 cfm @ 90 psi. Am I nuts to hope to do any painting with a rig
like this? It looks like a two stage almost doubles the price. Let's assume I'm not after a show
quality paint job. I'm considering painting an old
- You can, but it will be awkward. When your
pressure drops the paint will not atomize well, and will orange peel. If you wait for the pressure
to build up, the paint will dry and you will have dry spots. Maybe if you do it in sections?
31. Cost of Metallic Paint
- 31.1. IS NON METALLIC PAINT CHEAPER THAN METALLIC PAINT?
- No. Metallics are made with the
addition of crushed aluminum and/or mica, and is not expensive.
- 32.1. I've got a 77 Jeep CJ-7 that has the original paint and Decals on it. The
decals on the hood cover nearly all of it and have dried up and cracked.
What is the recommend method for removing these decals?
- A wheel eraser on a drill. Buy a good one. The cheap brands don't work well.
- 33.1. have a 1994 Lincoln black. The clear coat is coming off in several
places mainly on the trunk lid. Is the only correction to have the clear
coat redone or is there a product that can be put on like a wax?
- It will have to be repainted, and re-cleared.
- 33.2. I have a 1994 Lincoln black. The clear coat is coming off in several
places mainly on the trunk lid. Is the only correction to have the clear
coat redone or is there a product that can be put on like a wax?
- It will have to be repainted.
34. Different Brands
- 34.1. Getting to the point - putting a sealer and poly topcoats from one
manufacturer on top of epoxy primer(s)/substrate from another manufacturer
- Although the manufacturers may void any product warranty if heir paint is top coated over
another manufacturers sealer or primer, they have essentially the same characteristics. The
urethane and epoxy based primers are extremely durable, and to my knowledge can be top coated
with anything. However, the reverse is not true. Urethane and epoxy paints cannot be applied
over some primers (nitrocellulose based lacquers for example). And, the strong solvents used in
urethanes can cause sand scratch swelling or feather edge lifting in air dry primers. Of course
there are exceptions to this rule (e.g. using urethane over an enamel sealer) but these are special
circumstances and I'm not going to get into that now.
- 35.1. Got a question for you. What is the best brand of paint to use on
- Any of the major brands will work ok.
- 36.1. After sanding, do I need to put a primer? And If I do use a primer what
color of primer do I use?
The topper is not Gelcoated like a boat.
Do I need any thing special to paint fiberglass?
- The color of the primer isn't important, but you can choose one that is close to
the top coat color. That will help with coverage. But, remember, fiberglass stores
a lot of static electricity, so be careful when wiping it down with final wash. Use the
plastic type of cleaner or one small spark could cause a nice fire, and if you are holding a
paper towel soaked with solvents things could get unpleasant.
37. Fish Eyes
- 37.1. How do you remove fish-eyes or water spots that end up in the paint due to the compressor?
- You can't. The affected areas will have to be sanded and repainted. A good water trap is very
important when painting.
- 37.2. I have a question referring to fish-eyes on paint. What exactly causes it? How can it be prevented?
- Fish eyes are caused by contamination usually containing silicon, that screws up the surface
tension of the paint. To prevent them you need a very clean surface and a clean air supply.
As a last resort you can use some fish eye eliminator, but use caution since it might result
in loss of adhesion.
- 37.3. My question(s) are: 1. What causes fish-eye. 2. What do i do to prep the hood for repainting.
3. Is there an additive that will stop this from occurring?
- After sanding, ensure the surface is
clean by washing with a final wash like Dupont 4105, and check your air supply. You need a good
water trap and clean lines. Acrylic Enamel is prone to fish-eye easily. If you must you can use a
little fish-eye eliminator, but only if you absolutely need to.
38. Flash Time
- 38.1. The term Flash refer to? For example, the directions for paint application say the following:
Apply base color to hiding. Flash Base coat 15-30 minutes before clear coating.
- Flash refers to
the waiting period it takes the solvents to evaporate from the paint before applying another coat.
When using base coat, the paint will look lose it's shine.
39. Flex Agent
- 39.1. i have to paint some golf carts and i was wondering if i should use a flex agent in the paint
or will they be okay with out it
- If you cannot bend the parts easily, you can skip the flex agent. If it is bare plastic,
you will have to use plastic prep and plastic primer before painting.
- 40.1. I am going to be painting my v.w.baja
bug soon and i need to know if i can use a oil enamel industrial paint ?
i'm looking for a reasonable amount of shine but more concerned with
durability. the guy at the paint store said this paint will work fine.
- It might, just don't make any mistakes when you spray. Uncured enamels
are difficult to repair. And, remember, you get what you pay for.
- 40.2. I am painting my CJ-5 a royal blue and then adding flames. After color
sanding the body and flame edges Is it possible to add a clear with a red
pearl over it at a later time to add more of a purple color.
- You can. I suggest applying a clear coat before you color sand. this will
cut the masking edge of your flames, and also eliminate the chances of sanding
through one of the colors.
- 40.3. I have tried twice to paint a car with a primer, base and clear-coat
system. the primer went on fine. the base coat went on a little rough like it was drying before it was
hitting the surface. the first attempt at clear coat yielded to many runs.
i started over from scratch, and again at the clear coat stage i first
applied a tack coat then waited for 15 minutes for it to flash. I applied
the clear-coat wet as possible it seemed to going on like it was
splattering instead of a fine mist.
I was using an HVLP gun with a 1.3 mil nozzle and about 13 psi at the
I have to redo it again as the car has 90% orange peel.
- Crank the pressure up on that gun so that you have about 50 psi
going into it. Higher if you want. the manufacturers give specs that meet
environmental regulations for low over-spray, but aren't practical in real life.
41. Grounding the vehicle
- 41.1. HI Bob I have a question,Ive always been told its good to ground a car before painting.
Does this really do any good?
- In theory it should help, and some painters swear by it. Personally, I haven't found much
difference. Cleanliness is the most important thing.
- 42.1. I've been looking around at HVLP guns, and my question isn't so much which brand to buy,
but rather which type - gravity feed or suction feed. Do you have a recommendation, or pros
and cons for gravity vs. suction?
- Gravity feed.
- 42.2. WHAT IS THE HVLP SYSTEM?
- A High Volume Low Pressure system designed to increase transfer
efficiency by eliminating excessive over spray, which creates high VOC emissions and material
waste. They've had a bad rap in the past because the early models didn't work well, if at all,
without a sufficient volume of air. Physics dictate that to move a certain volume of mass requires
a specific amount of energy. To do it with less air pressure should require a greater volume of
air, which should produce the same amount of total energy. Of all the models I've tried, most
were poor, some were good, and one was so good I bought it.
43. HVLP spray gun
- 43.1. OK, I read the Q&A and saw where you had liked an HVLP system so much you
bought it.. are you going to make me try them and find the one that works
the best for me or will you save me a lot of time, effort and money and tell
me which one?
- OK.. so many people have asked me this I am going to break one of my rules about
being product specific. I'm not employed in sales, and don't want to promote one
product over another, but the paint gun I use is a Sata NR95. I found it to be
superior to the other models I tried. Excellent compression design, and good weight
balance.. The trigger isn't long enough for me, but then again, neither were the others. Or
maybe my fingers are too fat.
- 44.1. I'm trying to find a source for heat resistant (to
about 300 f) that I can use to paint a design on the side of my
- I can't answer this yet, but I will check on it.
45. How Much Paint?
- 45.1. HOW MUCH PAINT DOES IT TAKE TO FULLY PAINT A CAR?
- It depends on the size of the
vehicle, and the type of paint used. There are formulas for sq. ft. coverage, but in my
experience are not always reliable. Let's take a 92 Cutlass Ciera for example, which would
be a fairly common size. In a base coat /clear coat (BC/CC) application, I would mix 2 quarts
of base coat, (perhaps one quart with an HVLP) which thinned to spraying consistency would give
me a gallon of spray-able material, and should provide adequate coverage. However, some are more
transparent than others, and additional or less material may be required. Paint booth lighting
is essential to ensure proper coverage. After applying the base coat, I would mix two quarts of
clear, which reduced would give me three quarts of spray-able material (two coats at approx
1 1/2 quarts per coat). An additional third coat could be applied if desired, but be sure to
watch for excessive film build which can lead to dulling or solvent popping problems. If you
don't have access to a paint mixing system, then buy more than you need. There is no way to
fix a paint job that does not have adequate coverage except for repainting the entire car.
- 46.1. Do you know of any instances of automotive painters who have been using
isocyanates for many years and have incurred health problems or dementia?
- The only way I know of to prevent damage to the brain is to drink large amounts
of alcoholic beverages. This destroys the weak brain cells ;)
- 46.2. I'm wondering about the these two part paints containing isocyanates and hexamethylene
diisocynates. Even with a chemical respirator and spraying outdoors I'm getting the impression
that it's simply to dangerous for your average car nut to use. Am I stuck with these low budget
lacquer primers from Canadian Tire. How much of this isocyanate can one be exposed to before
permanent damage results.
- Good question. I wish I knew the answer. Most of the people in the trade have been exposed to
a lot more than you plan on, myself included, and most of us seem to have escaped any ill effects.
- 47.1. After spraying a metallic paint do you need to do anything like rubbing
down/cutting prior to applying a lacquer coat?
- Only if you are using lacquer paint.
- 47.2. After appling gloss laquer does it need to be wet sanded and polished or only
polished to achieve a good shine? I am not planning on using a power buffer,
only elbow grease.
- I don't recommend using laquer for any reason. It is, and I've mentioned this
several times in this FAQ, the least durable of all the paints made. It does not
last long, has no uv resistance, and is not resistant to solvents. And, to make things
worse, if you want to repaint over it after you decide its not what you wanted, you
have to strip ALL of it off. Every tiny speck. The new urethanes don't agree with it
and will blister if there is a small trace of it left on the vehicle. I didn't know it was
still sold, since it does not meet any of the new VOC emission rules.
I am doing sectional repainting on a motorhome with OEM gloss laquer thinned
at a 1 to 1 ratio.
48. Lacquer Gloss
- 48.1. Will I *really* get a high gloss finish by putting say 6 very thin coats of lacquer on ??? It
just seems to be building up to a 'satin' finish.
- Lacquer is unique, as it does not undergo any
molecular changes when it cures. It dries by solvent evaporation alone. The reason for applying
several thin coats is that the solvents may become trapped, and the paint may appear dry on the
surface, but will be wet underneath. Also, piling on heavy coats may result in checking problems.
Nitrocellulose lacquer, or acrylic lacquer will dry to a dull shine (satin). It has to be polished
to get a good gloss. Fortunately, although lacquer has many drawbacks, it is very easy to work
with. Apply it, wait till it dries thoroughly, and polish it.
- 49.1. My 83 Benz needs a new paint job. What paint do you recommend? I live here
in Texas and most the time it's hotter than hell.
- Mercedes makes perhaps the safest car in the world. It deserves a good
high end quality paint job. The Princess Di accident is a good example of how safe this car is.
A direct impact with a cement wall at 80mph, and the body guard in the front seat survived.
Had the Princess been wearing her seat belt in the back seat she might have walked away.
50. Metal Flake
- 50.1. I am soon going to be painting a car with a full flake job, do you know how many coats of clear
i should use over the flakes?
- You will have to apply a couple of coats, then sand out the flake
nibs that are above the surface so it is smooth, then re-apply another couple of coats of clear.
51. Mixing Ratios
- 51.1. l purchased a gallon of Western Automotive Enamel, the hardener has to be
added as well as the reducer,and there instructions leave a lot to
desire, it has the hardener Glaspak W1029, and reducer,WS61, any help on
the reduction would be of great help
- The paint and catalyst are the important ratios, and should be displayed on
the containers. This is VERY important. As for the reducer, if you aren't familiar
with spraying, add some until it takes about three or four seconds to drip off
the stir stick.
52. OEM finishes
- 52.1. Is original factory paint job better than aftermarket paint job because
higher bake temps are used?
53. Orange Peel
- 53.1. I just got a paint job and it came out with an orange peel look over the entire car, what
causes that look??
- The paint wasn't reduced to the proper viscosity, or your pressure wasn't
- 53.2. I used a Sata gun to paint my car, I used acrylic enamel paint. I have severe orange peel,
can you please give me suggestions for making the paint look better without sanding and repainting?
It doesn't have to be perfect, just look a little better.
- Unfortunately, the only cure is to sand
- 54.1. Hello!I have a question,my husband was at work where they were spraying some parts with industrial
enamel,the mist form the paint covered our truck.It is dark blue and the paint was yellow.I was
wondering if there was something that is made like a wash that will or would take it off?
- Try enamel reducer first. It is not a harsh solvent. Or grooming clay might work.
55. Paint Application
- 55.1. I was wondering if you could share your insights with me concerning the =
application of colors, or basecoat, (especially when blending) in =
regards to air pressure and the distance you hold the gun from the panel =
being painted? I've been told that those factors can determine the final shade of your =
color? Is this true?
- Yes. With metallic colors high pressure tends to lighten the color. And, when blending,
try to use the lowest pressure that you feel comfortable with. It helps to eliminate the over spray
which can be a problem.
56. Paint Brands
- 56.1. Anyhow to make a long story short , I have 2
shops in mind that seem to do very good work. One uses Sikkens And the
other Uses PPG.. I have no opinions on either paints as of yet,,and was
wondering if you we're going to have your vehicle painted,,which paint
would you want used. My most major concerns are durability and looks.
- Usually I don't answer questions concerning brand names, because I want
to be as neutral as possible. But, the short answer is, it depends where you live.
If you live in a northern climate like Canada, where the temperature has drastic changes
then use PPG.
57. Paint Chipping
- 57.1. Is it possible that slapping, or even hitting a car can cause the paint to
chip? What does cause paint chips??
- Paint chips from a loss of adhesion to the substrate. This can occur as a result of several
factors. First, poor prep work before painting, inferior product, or sometimes from a sharp impact
from a hard object, which might abrade the paint. (Hail does not chip paint, but gravel will).
Perhaps if you were wearing a ring it may cause the paint to chip. It is very unlikely that the
impact from a hand would cause properly applied paint to chip.
- 57.2. I have a 1990 Evergreen Camaro, the paint is chipping and I have noticed another camaro, same
year and color is doing the same. What would cause this so soon?
- Eleven years of rock particles hitting it at 60mph.
58. Paint Chips
- 58.1. what reason is it for our 1988 Mercury sable's outer paint has been
flaking off,I have noticed many different make of cars that this has
happened to, have the car mfg. sold us a bill of goods when it come to
the paint jobs on our cars? What can be done to fix this situation up, do
we need a new paint job every time. As senior citizens we need better
than that, the car is in excellent operating condition and many more
- Good one!
59. Paint Components
- 59.1. WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS OF PAINT?
- All paints consist of pigments resins, and solvents. The resin provides the coating material,
with the pigments creating the desired color, and solvents reduce the material to a workable viscosity.
60. Paint Guns
- 60.1. I am a custom painter and would like your opinion about what is the best spray gun
- I'm sorry,
but I am not affiliated with any company, I try to remain neutral.
61. Paint Problems
- 61.1. I had some panels made out of raw sheet metal. I sanded them down with 600
and shot 2 coats of epoxy on them. The epoxy went on real smooth. I let
them dry for a couple of days. Then I scuffed the epoxy down with 600 wet
paper. Then I shot 2 or 3 coats of Del-Star acrylic enamel with catalyst. I
let that cure overnight.Then I let them air out in the shop for 2 or 3 more
days. It looked real good and laid out with a little orange peel. Then I put
them in the back of my blazer (that I am using for storage) for about 2
months and when I checked it, they were crazed like the City of New York!
Did the sun cause it to craze or did I lay the enamel on too thick? The
blazer was airtight. I would appreciate your answer. No one in the local paint shops can tell me
what went wrong.
- The only thing I can think of would depend on the type of epoxy you used.
If it contained an acid (e.g. phosphoric) etch, you CANNOT wet sand it because
you will re-activate the acid, and this will affect he top coat.
62. Paint Stripe Removal
- 62.1. What is the best procedure to remove factory applied lacquer
paint stripes (pin stripes). The stripes are over a clearcoat finish and the car is 2 years old. I've been told
to use fast evaporation lacquer thinner as it will not harm the clearcoat if not left on the paint very long.
I was also told that the lacquer thinner may cause hazing, cracking and/or crazing, if not immediately,
from 6 months to 2 years. Another person mentioned that the only safe way is to wet sand the stripes,
or use rubbing compound.
- Wet sanding is probably the only viable solution, and even that will not have
satisfactory results. The problem is not in removing the stripe, but in the inevitable color
mismatch. the paint underneath the stripe is protected from weathering and will be
a different color than the rest of the paint. If you feel they have to come off, then wetsanding
and polishing afterward will give you the best results.
63. Paint Toxicity
- 63.1. I've just read your FAQ, and I just thought you could point me in the right direction.
Do you know anyone who painted in a poorly ventilated room, finished the job, then drove down the
pub for a quick pint ? The chap was stopped by a policeman as he waited outside the pub. He was breathalised, and failed.
They reckon he was 2.5x over the limit (About 8-10 pints). He only had one pint.
- It seems every good auto body person enjoys tipping back a few, and over there in the UK
it seems the same as here in Canada. I know a lot of guys in the auto body trade, and most of them
have had similar experiences, but I don't recall that defence ever working for any of them. I hope
that the police conducted themselves in a courteous and polite manner, because as we all know,
their vehicles eventually end up in the body shop at some time or another :)
64. Painting At Home
- 64.1. My question is I have a 1988 Delta 88 which i did some body work to in the garage. I would now
like to paint it in the garage. I have plenty of room and not bad ventilation. would you recommend
this ,and would the job come out OK?
- No, and no.
- 64.2. i am trying to heat my garage, should i check the surface temp.of the car before painting and
what is the lowest temp. you would recommend painting.
- Painting in a garage is very dangerous,
and perhaps illegal. There should not be an open source of heat inside the paint room since the
atomized paint is very explosive. But, to answer your question 70 to 75 degrees F should be the
correct temperature range.
65. Painting Plastic
- 65.1. Is there a specific paint and/or process for painting plastic bumpers? I was advised by a panel
beater to sand the bumper using a 400/600 grade sandpaper and then primer it and paint as per usual.
Does this sound right?
- Sounds fine, if the bumper you are working on has some kind of existing
coating already. If it is bare plastic you will have to wipe it with plastic prep, and spray on a
coat of plastic primer or adhesion promoter before top coating. If the bumper is very flexible you
might want to add some flex agent to the paint but it is usually not necessary.
- 65.2. MY 91 INTEGRA GS COUPE HAS A BLACK PLASTIC BUMPER STRIP ALL AROUND THE CAR, CAN THOSE BE
PAINTED BY THE PAINT SHOP?
66. Painting at Home
- 66.1. I have a question...I have seen many ads about HVLP systems for painting
a car in your garage. They tout the low pressure and low over-spray as
making it feasible to be done in a small shop environment. I am
concerned about the safety of doing this in my garage. I'm concerned
about the potential fire hazard of airborne spray, but have heard that
there are water-based paints which virtually eliminate this concern. Is
this true? And I am also concerned with the potential health risks
- At the end of the day, you will have turned your air pressure way past
the recommended levels to get an acceptable spray pattern from your HVLP,
so there will be plenty of over-spray. I'm not saying don't do it, just use caution.
67. Painting in Sections
- 67.1. Can I paint my car, a panel at a time, over a period of a few weeks?
I've been told that I will experience color matching problems, but I don't
understand this if I'm using the same reducing ratios and everything is
protected from the sun.
- You can, but there are a couple of drawbacks to
painting in this manner. This is an operation where the sum of the parts
are greater than the whole. It takes more time to paint individual parts, than to paint the
complete vehicle. I would suggest assembling the vehicle first, ( sometimes assembling later
damages the paint) and doing some meticulous masking. Make sure the car is prepped to your
satisfaction. Get everything ready, and leave the painting for one Sunday. The actual spraying of
the car will take you about two or three hours. Then another hour for cleanup, etc. The rest of
the day you can spend admiring your work, or wondering how you are going to fix any imperfections
that may have occurred.
- 68.1. I was wondering if you can use a clear coat over 1 stage paint with pearl in it and
then put more clear over the clear and pearl mix?
- 68.2. Can you put the pearls into acrylic paint? How does the pearl effect the
color of the paint? I want to paint my truck Bright blue with a purple
pearl tint. I was told by a friend to add 2 purple pearls to each gallon
of blue paint. Would this work? If not... How would I achieve the whole
blue/purple pearl effect?
- Pearls do not usually go well with acrylic enamel paints. Not that putting them in the paint
will create a problem.. you just won't be able to see them because of the high hiding quality of
acrylic enamel paint. Most formulas that use pearls have a translucent quality.
69. Pearl Paints
- 69.1. Also, he showed me some kind of special paint called Pearl that would make
my car looks different in color under different lighting, how does that work?
- Pearl is a material that reflects light (like metallic) but also allows some of the light to pass
though and reflect back from the surface below. The light reflected may be un-obstructed, or may pass
through another particle of pearl, adding the illusion of depth, and altering the hue. Paints
containing pearls usually contain a higher resin to pigment ratio and require more coats of
material to obtain full coverage. The newer tri-coat systems involve a base coat, a clear/tint
coat, and a final clear coat. This creates a very nice effect, but makes spot repair more
70. Peeling Paint
- 70.1. My son purchased a 92 Dodge Dakota last fall. It was peeling on the top and
hood. It has since peeled almost completely to the primer on the top, hood, and left
side. He took it to several shops and they all told him it has to be stripped to bare metal. Estimates
range from $1200. to $1400. The truck is not worth putting that kind of money into. He wants to
try to paint it at home. Would you recommend taking it to bare metal ? What would you use on the
bare metal before priming??
- The only way to repair peeling paint (delamination) is to strip to bare metal.
- 70.2. WHAT KIND OF PAINT WON'T PEEL OFF A WHILE LATER?
- The technical term is delamination.
There are two methods of paint adhesion. Chemical and molecular attraction. Properly prepared
surfaces and substrates, and properly applied coatings should have excellent adhesion. Why then,
are there so many instances of peeling paint in recent years? The problem seems to be in the
quest to meet increasing VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions by using water borne or water
based low VOC products. The topcoat should slightly penetrate into the substrate and bite into
it with a good chemical adhesion. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case when working
with incompatible solvents. Notwithstanding all precautions, poor adhesion may result because of
faulty product, which happens occasionally. The reps are usually quick to recall it when the
problem is discovered, but I remember a few years ago spraying a couple dozen or so that you
could peel the clear off in sheets.
- 71.1. i painting my 74 dart sport with centri ultra but someone told me if i put lots of paint on
i did when its hard can wet sand all the little mistakes like orange peel and specks of dirt out
then buff the shine back i know you can do this with base-coat,clear-coat but i wasn't sure if it
would work with acrylic enamel
- You usually can if it is a solid color. If the color has metallic or pearl,
you can't because it will disturb the metallic pattern.
- 71.2. I'M A NOVICE AT THIS AND NEED SOME ADVISE ON HOW TO RUB OUT THE NEW PAINT TO GET THE
GLOSSY FINAL FINISH.
- You will need a 7 grinder (something that runs at about 1000-1200 rpm, no faster or you will
have many problems. Panhead wrote and chastised me for neglecting to mention this important tidbit
of information), McGuiars #4, #2, #7, #9 compound, a bucket of clean water, a stiff foam sanding
block, and some sheets of 8 micron (1500 grit) or 10 micron (2000 grit) wet sandpaper.
Do not attempt to polish in direct sunlight. If the paint is non-metallic or clear coated,
then wet-sanding is recommended. Do not attempt to sand a metallic paint that has NOT been
clear coated as you will disturb the metallic pattern. Wash the car thoroughly. Use 8 micron
(1500 grit) or 10 micron (2000) grit wet sandpaper, and fold three or four sheets into three
sections so that none of the abrasive sides are touching (from the back, left side in two
thirds, right side in one third) and put it into a bucket of CLEAN water. Have a coffee or
cold beverage and do nothing for about twenty minutes. This will allow the sandpaper to
become soaked and flexible. If you omit this step, you will likely put deep paper cuts into
the paint that won't polish out.Use a firm foam sanding block, keep the surface wet and sand
the surface, squeezing the water off every once in a while with the sanding block to check
for imperfections in the surface. Stay away from edges or high crown lines, as the polishing
wheel will burn through these areas very quickly.Once you are satisfied, put a clean wool
polishing pad on (if it has old polish on it, then spin the pad and clean it with a
dressing tool or something that's clean and not sharp), and apply some #4 McGuiars
onto the pad. If you have used 2000 grit to sand the surface with, you might try #2 first.
Polish the surface, moving the pad steadily to prevent heat build up (except for lacquer,
which can be re-flowed). In a few minutes you will see a good shine develop. Continue
with the remaining panels. Put on a foam pad, and use #9 , followed with #7 compound,
to bring up a deeper shine and eliminate any swirl marks. Wash off any compound
residue when finished and have another cold beverage.
- 71.3. It was very icy in the parking lot, and my car slid, scraping against the side of the building.
I couldn't have been going more than 5 mph, so the only damage was a white paint stain on the right
corner of the bumper. This is my question: The stain, which I assume is ordinary latex or oil
based paint, won't come off with soap and water. Is it okay to use paint remover to get it off,
or will that damage the underlying car paint?
- Don't use paint remover because it will remove
all the paint from your bumper. Use coarse or medium polish, and polish by hand.
72. Polishing fresh Paint
- 72.1. How long would you recommend that acrylic enamel be allowed to dry before
wet sanding and rubbed out?
- If you used catalyst, I'd wait a couple of days.
73. Preparing for the Body Shop
- 73.1. HOW CAN I (AND SHOULD I TRY TO) GO ABOUT PREPARING THE CAR BEFORE I TAKE IT TO A PAINT SHOP.
- I want to be cautious dispensing advice on this subject, since it is easy for someone who is
inexperienced to create more work by attempting to do too much them selves. Body shop costs are
calculated from the hourly rate the shop normally charges multiplied by the hours required to do
the work based on Mitchell Guide Flat Rate manuals. Let's say the hours required to re-finish a car
is quoted at 23 hours, multiplied by a shop rate of $42.00/HR, plus an additional charge of
$19.00/HR for paint materials, we would arrive at a cost of $1403.00 plus any applicable taxes.
Body work is extra, usually quoted at the shop labor rate plus an additional charge of $9.00/HR
for shop materials. To reduce some of the labor time, one could remove all chrome and trim that
has to be removed for painting. If the sheet metal is straight, then sanding with 180 grit or
finer would also cut down the labor costs. But then again, putting additional divots with the
sander, or denting the sheet metal while removing the trim will only increase the labor hours.
I would suggest consulting with the body shop that you intend to use, as to what you can do.
How much and what you decide to do is at your own discretion.
- 73.2. I am having my 75 Camaro painted and would like to know if it is necessary to strip paint to the
bare metal, also do you recommend removal of all chrome, i.e. bumpers, etc.?
- Yes, if you want a quality paint job.
74. Pressure Pot
- 74.1. I'm planning to use a 2 quart pot, but have no idea what to set the gun
pressure and pot pressure to. So far, no one I've talked to seems to know
much about this. Have you used a setup like this, and could you give me
some starting points for the pressures?
- Start with a low pot pressure, approx. 5-10 lbs, and air pressure at about 40 psi to the gun
(this is measured with the trigger pulled). Adjust your fan width so you have an long oval shape
(thickest in the center). Overlap 1/2 on each pass. Oh, first do the trouble spots like the wheel
openings and edges on the panel you are painting. Don't stop the pass on the edge of the panel or
you will get a large accumulation of paint on the edges. The first coat should be light, and don't
worry too much about how it looks, although it should be fairly even. Let it tack up to almost dry,
and follow with a heavier coat. The first coat will act like glue, and hold the second coat from
running. On your final coat ( probably your third or fourth) reduce the paint a bit more and
increase your air pressure to the gun slightly and move you hand back a couple of feet from the
vehicle and spray a light mist coat in all directions to even out your metallic (I'm assuming you
will have a lot of striping). Do this immediately after spraying the last coat or the mist coat
won't blend into the paint and will look dry.
- 75.1. I recently bought a 1984 Coupe De Ville. It's in great shape, but the paint is faded and
scratched in some places. I was wondering what the cheapest price I could get a paint job for is
or how much i should expect to pay.
- You'll have to check with your local area shops to find who
is the cheapest, but remember, you get what you pay for. Quality paint materials are expensive, and
are not used on cheap paint jobs.
76. Priming and Sealing
- 76.1. I plan on re-painting the entire truck the same color with acrylic enamel.
I'd like to know if I'll get good results without priming or sealing the
entire truck, with exception to priming the repair work....also what should
go onto bare metal?
- If your prep work is good, you shouldn't have a problem. Use some etch primer on the bare metal
areas (you can do this in the booth just before top coating). I would recommend a quick coat of
sealer though, as it is cheap insurance.
77. Rail Dust
- 77.1. I'm having problems with the paint on my '97 Dodge Ram pickup. All over the exterior (mostly
lower exterior) there are these small pin head size rust spots. The color of the truck is white
and these spots really stand out. I've tried everything under the sun to get ride of the rust-paint
cleaners, clay bars, etc., etc.; and I get them off and apply wax, and a month or two later they're
- Good question, and one which may have several causes. First, it may be environmental.
Since it is confined to the lower part, do you drive near an industrial manufacturing area or
a rail yard. Fine metal particles may be on the ground, and may cling to the car, rusting when
they get moisture. It could be a problem with the paint (I've known of cases where the paint can
lining dissolved and contaminated the paint). And then again, I've seen cases where someone has
cleaned the chrome on their vehicle with steel wool, and the particles of steel wool that cling
to the car rust. Sorry I can't be of more help.
78. Reducers and Thinners
- 78.1. WHAT ARE REDUCERS OR THINNERS AND WHY DO WE NEED THEM?
- Aliphatic hydrocarbons (Mineral Spirits- V M P, Naphtha) Aromatic hydrocarbons (Toluene, Xylene)
Esters (Ethyl Acetate, Butyl Acetate) Ketone (Acetone, Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK)) Various
combinations are used along with other additives (retarders, accelerators, and levelers) to reduce
the viscosity of the material to a spray-able consistency and accommodate climatic conditions.
In general, the smaller the molecular size of the resin (high volume solids), the less reducer
will be required. Some products require very little or no reduction. I recommend following the
manufacturers directions unless you have extensive experience in spray painting automotive finishes.
However, in a pinch, the general rule is that reducers are downward compatible (i.e. you may
substitute acrylic enamel reducer for enamel reducer, but NEVER vice versa. The solvents are
weaker and you'll end up with an ugly curdled mess in the bottom of the paint gun).
79. Reference Books
- 79.1. I am looking for publications
to read that would go just a little deeper than your page. Hopefully,
with that and practice panels I can finish my 53 chevy pickup. Can you
recommend any such material?
- I will post some reference shortly. I can't remember the publication we used
in school off the top of my head, but it is the Bible of auto body repair.
80. Removing Clear Coat
- 80.1. the cab and the hood--in these areas it is chalky looking where the clear coat is broken down..
the color coat is good enough that I would be satisfied if there was some way to remove the clear
coat and re-coat the color coat
- No. You will have to sand everything off.
- 81.1. WHAT CAUSES RUST?
- Corrosion is caused when an area of metal has a positive charge and
another has a negative charge. Water acts as an electrolyte, allowing current to flow between
these areas. During this process the metal absorbs oxygen from the water and forms iron oxide
(rust). Salt water conducts electricity better than fresh water so in areas that use salt on
the roads, this process is greatly accelerated. The objective of applying a protective coat of
paint is to insulate the metal from water. To ensure that no rust is present before we coat the
metal, we clean the metal with an acid (phosphoric based, which leaves a thin film of iron
phosphate or zinc phosphate that prevents flash rusting), and then apply a zinc phosphate
coating which neutralizes the acid, and promotes primer adhesion. Zinc (galvanized and zinc
rich primers) competes with the iron for oxygen, and becomes the sacrificial metal which
corrodes, leaving the iron undamaged.
82. Rust Inhibitors
- 82.1. There are two small rust spots that i need to scrape and paint. I got this spray called Defender
II Corrosion Converter. It's used on pipelines and is supposed to convert rust to a protective
coating. I was wondering if this would be a better primer than rustoleum or if i should put
rustoleum over it
- As for the rust, it should be removed completely (usually this requires
some sand-blasting). The conversion coatings only work to the depth they penetrate, and some
rust may still exist below the converted coating. It appears you are looking for quick fixes,
and there aren't any.
- 82.2. I did not see any mention of using products such as Rust-Mort or POR-15. These products are used
on pitted rust areas where it is next to impossible to get all of the corrosion out.
- These products promote a rust conversion process. Most contain some phosphoric acid which
reacts with iron oxide (rust) which is chemically converted to an inert material. Sold under
many different brand names, they are a common product on auto body shop shelves.
- 83.1. I have sand-blasted the underside of my car and was told to go ahead prime right after a good
sandblast job.Is that ok
- Sure. But I'd suggest you sand with 180# to clean up the metal just
to make the prep work a little easier.
84. Sanding Affects Color
- 84.1. . . . I intended to color sand and buff out. Unfortunately this didn't work. As soon as I used
the 1500 grit paper the color changed dramatically...to something MUCH more orange.
- Some red
colors are notorious for pigment separation. I don't know why, but to my knowledge, it is something
that affects only the reds. Sort of reminds me of the time I decided to wet sand a small spot of
Martin Senour etch primer before I painted a quarter panel. The technical notes said in large
capital letters, but I did anyway since it tends to load dry paper. Nothing happened. What the
heck do those guys know anyway? I blended in the repair. The next day there was a large green
stain in the orange paint. It turns out that the etch is acid based, and likes water, so the
green pigment was free to bleed through to the surface. Seems those tech notes are worth reading
after all. Anyway, back to the red problem. If you're not sure, lay a couple of coats of clear
over the paint. That will leave you some meat to sand (just don't go through to the color),
and it polishes nicely.
- 85.1. I bought a new Ford F150, the dealer recommended that a Royal Guard protective paint coating
be applied at a cost of approx. $400. What is your opinion of this and are there other options
available or required to protect the paint of one's truck that will probably seldom be waxed?
- Save your money.
- 86.1. If I use a sealer, do I need to wet sand?
- Sealer is usually designed as a "wet-on-wet" application. Spray it on, let it
flash off, then paint. It is designed to seal the substrate from the top coat so wet sanding may
impair its ability to seal.
87. Sectional Repair
- 87.1. My question is I am replacing a rusted out quarter panel in the rear of my
nova. I have been told that after welding all that needs to be done is sand
down the weld line and bondo over it. So the real question, will this blend
well with the rest of the car and do you have any idea of what type of welding
rod to use, and the type of bondo
- That is the basic procedure. Remember tig or mig welding as acetylene will create warp-age
problems. I recommend letting the pros do this type of repair as there may be legal and safety
88. Shelf Life of Paint
- 88.1. How long can you keep unmixed paint after you have opened it?
- It depends on the type of paint. Some paints (urethanes or epoxies for example) do not
depend on air to cure, so they will store well, in some cases indefinitely. Other types such
as enamels utilize the properties of air to cure (solvent evaporation and oxygen to induce cross
linking) and have a relatively short shelf life.
89. Single Stage Paint
- 89.1. I recently had some painting done and the painter said he would use a one step process. I gather
this eliminates the need to clear coat. In your opinion does this process provide a finish which is
as hard and durable as paints that you would use with a clear coat.
- They are one and the same,
except the clear doesn't contain any pigment. Color Changes
90. Solder and Brass
- 90.1. have body soldered some parts and metal/resin filled other parts of the body work. Is there
anything that should be done to stop flux/acid reactions.
- Soldering parts is not something that
is done often. Like brazing, the flux and the electrolysis between two different metals creates
problems, usually affecting the adhesion of the body filler that covers it. Try and clean the
area well before using metal prep and etch primer to remove any trace of the zinc chloride flux,
although I can't honestly say what effect, if any, it will have on any coating applied over it.
- 91.1. WHAT DOES THE TERM VOLUME SOLIDS MEAN?
- On the technical data sheet, volume solids refers
to the percentage of actual film formers in the paint. The remainder is lost to evaporation.
(e.g. 32% solids means that 32% of the material applied forms the coating; 68% is reducer or
92. Spray Cans
- 92.1. I tried using spray cans and
ended up with pretty good results, but then
the clear-coat caused everything to wrinkle.
- Spray cans usually contain uncatalyzed enamel. It would take something
like six months of air dry time before you should consider applying a chemical
as harsh as clear coat over it.
93. Stripping Paint
- 93.1. WHAT IS THE BEST AND QUICKEST WAY TO STRIP THE PAINT OFF OF A CAR?
- The most common methods of paint removal are sand-blasting, plastic blasting, chemical
stripper or sanding. Sand-blasting is not recommended as the high energy tends to create
heat and warp the sheet metal, which creates a whole new set of problems. Plastic blasting
is good, but expensive. Chemical stripper is fairly inexpensive and fast, but it is quite
messy and be sure to mask or remove all the trim and plastic lens coverings. Additionally,
caution must be used to avoid skin or eye contact which could result in severe injuries. A
dual action sander (set to strip mode) with 80 grit paper will do the job nicely, although
it may take a while. Follow with 180 in oscillating mode to remove the circular patterns in
the sheet metal.
94. Swirl Marks
- 94.1. The previous owners of our car at one time washed it and apparently didn't
rinse off all of the residue...therefore, on the hood there are definite
swirl parts where they had wiped and the residue etched into the clear coat
paint. The underlying paint seems to be all there. Is there anything that
can be done to resurface the clear coat to make it look factory new again?
- Residue from hard water, un-rinsed soap or dried wax or polish, usually require power polishing to
remove. If you haven't had experience doing this yourself, I suggest speaking with the local auto
detailers. A polisher can cut through the paint on the crowns rather quickly which will mean a trip
to the body shop for some expensive repairs.
- 94.2. I have a black dodge it has a lot of marks on it. What is there that will take them out
- If the marks are not too deep, you can sand them with 2000 grit wet sandpaper, and polish
95. Tar on finish
- 95.1. My new car, (less than two weeks old and less than 1000 miles) was hit by
mist from a roofing contractor. The contractor tried to get the substance
off using "Clay Magic" scratching the paint and still not getting off the
- Grooming clay is a wonderful invention, but for tar a try using something like Duponts
3919. It is designed to remove tar.
- 96.1. WHAT IS THE BASIC TECHNIQUE OF SPRAYING?
- You're in the paint booth, and you've used compressed air to blow dust from the panels, edges,
beneath the mouldings and lights, and from the masking paper and the wheel covers ( You do this outside
the booth first, then again in the booth with the exhaust fan running, starting furthest away from
the fan). You then have washed the vehicle with a Final Wash or Prep Wash (other washes contain
silicone which cause fish eyes). You finally wipe the vehicle with a clean tack cloth and you're
ready to spray. Occasionally, even after reducing the paint to the manufacturers specifications it
may be too dense to spray properly. The usual specs is about 15 seconds in a #4 Ford viscosity cup. Translated into English, that means about 4 seconds to stop dripping off the end of the stir stick. Turn your regulator to about 50 lbs, and get a nice oval pattern. Trigger the gun so that air passes through the cap, but no fluid comes through. Holding the tip of the gun about 8 - 10 inches perpendicular to the surface, start your pass along the panel at a hand speed of about one foot per second and squeeze the trigger to allow fluid. At the edge of the panel, release the trigger to stop fluid but still allow air. This constant air flow ensures that the air is not pulsing with bursts of pressure. This could cause excessive build up at the ends of you pass, leaving runs and sags. Don't stop at the edge of panels either, as this will also cause build up of material. On the back stroke, overlap half the first pass (the edge of the paint should appear dry, and the center wet. This is known as a medium wet coat), triggering the gun as before. Always begin painting furthest away from the exhaust fan, so that you are painting over the over-spray. Otherwise, over-spray will settle onto the painted areas and may not blend in, leaving the surface dry and dull in appearance. With base coats, wait until the coat of paint is DRY before applying the next coat. Otherwise wait until it is almost dry, but a little sticky (the directions are usually close). If you get runs, drips, sags, don't try and fix them while you are painting. You will likely create more problems. They are easy enough to repair after the paint has cured.
97. Touch Up Paint
- 97.1. Recently I went to an automotive paint supply and asked about repairing
a small area of damaged paint on my car. They said they could put acrylic
enamel in an aerosol can for me but it would only contain pigment and
solvent; no hardener. I was told that if I used it in conspicuous place
it would be highly noticeable due to the fact that it would never be glossy
nor could it be buffed. My question is why sell the product this way and
could I , in your opinion, use this method on an 8'' x 8
; section on a fender and get decent results? How come no catalyst in these
- When catalyst is added to paint, the paint cures very quickly. In a few hours it would be have
the consistency of Jello-O, and in a few days it would be rock hard. At any rate, you would have
to use the paint within a couple of hours at best. Acrylic enamel will cure without hardener by
absorbing water vapor from the atmosphere, but the process is very slow. I don't know if you would
be happy with the results of painting a section of a fender with a spray can. The paint is quite
thin, and will require many coats for coverage. The edges will be dry, and the color probably will
not match. It seems like a small job that your local body shop shouldn't charge too much for.
98. Tree Sap
- 98.1. Due to limited space at home I park my truck beside the garage. This
causes my truck to become spotted with tar or pitch from the pine trees.
How can I clean the pitch off my truck without damaging the paint.
Also what type or brand of wax would be best to protect the paint and
make it easier to clean when needed.
- Warm (on the hot side) water and dish detergent seems to work the best for tree sap. As for
the waxes, most of the main brands are good.
99. Uncatalysed Paint
- 99.1. Are there any one part paints - as in the days of old - that you would recommend? Some of us
have older cars that we want to maintain but the current paints (base coat, top coat, and curing
agent) might be beyond us - in skill and safety.
- Acrylic Enamel is still used these days. It
is recommended that you use a catalyst, but is not absolutely necessary. Fairly easy to work
with, and most of the newer colors are available with the exception of some pearl and/or mica
- 100.1. WHAT DO YOU NEED IN THE WAY OF VENTILATION?
- Nearly all the materials used in automotive
re-finishing are hazardous to your health, the paint especially so. The catalysts usually contain
Diisocyanate Prepolymer, and it's the that is the main concern. It attacks the central nervous
system, and can cause permanent injury. A good air flow, and a fresh air mask should be used.
If you don't have any bronchial problems, then an activated charcoal mask can be used. I have
used the charcoal mask for years, but now my lungs seem to have an asthmatic reaction to the
fumes and I strictly use the fresh air system. Also, some paints contain lead, which may have
negative effects on your health when painting or sanding,
101. Vinyl Wash
- 101.1. One question I have now is the use of a so called vinyl wash and how it
fits into the prep sequence. How does it compare to a self etching primer?
Do I have to prime after the use of vinyl wash? Do I need to use metal wash
- Vinyl Wash primers are used over properly prepared bare steel. The basic function is to promote
adhesion of the paint to the steel. Metal wash is a low concentration of phosphoric acid (sometimes
with fluorides) that is wiped onto bare steel, and removes oxidation and slightly etches the metal.
The vinyl wash primer is sprayed on after, and followed with a primer surfacer. The metal etch wash
(that is wiped on) goes a long way, as does the vinyl wash primer (since it is used only on bare
steel and applied lightly as it has no filling qualities). There is no need to buy large quantities
of either. Of course there are other uses for the metal wash like cleaning mineral deposits from
the kitchen taps (phosphoric acid cleaners are often sold under trade names such as CLR).
You really can't skip the metal wash sequence over bare steel or the primer surfacer will have
102. Water Spots
- 102.1. Bob: I have a gray 1999 Chevrolet Silverado that is badly water spotted.
It is not garaged and has been exposed to back spray from my water
sprinkling system. The entire truck is covered with white circular
rings(spots). I have tried many kinds of waxes and two rubbing compounds to
no avail. Th dealer says it is my problem and has been of no help. Is
there a product that you can recommend that I might try?
- Machine polishing works. Those sodium spots are a nuisance, so you
must hand dry the vehicle immediately after washing it. I have the same water
problems in my area.
103. Weld Through Primer
- 103.1. Most of the rust on my car is between the sheet metal joints that were spot-welded together.
I've drilled out the spot-welds and removed the glass and I'm removing the rust, but when I get
ready to weld the sheet metal back together, I don't know how to protect the areas where the
sheet metal is sandwiched together. I'm concerned that the heat from welding will burn away any
protective coating I might put on the metal leaving me with a worse problem than the one I'm
trying to cure. Any advise?
- Use weld-thru primer.
104. Wet Sanding
- 104.1. I am looking for something that will teach me how to wet sand the car
including all the steps and so forth. Got any places to look?
- Wet sanding involves using a specific type of sandpaper. The benefits are less loading of material
in the paper, a better visual view of the sanded area (the sanding dust is rinsed away), and allows
the use of a much smaller grade of sandpaper than dry sanding (anything over 400 grit tends to load
the paper almost immediately). The drawbacks are that is is a bit messy, and that the surface has to
be thoroughly dried before painting, as water can become trapped in seams and moldings. Wet sanding
isn't very complex. Water, some 600 grit wet paper and a lot of elbow grease. Sand until you don't
see any orange peel (it shows up well when the water dries) and small imperfections are feathered.
Use the block to squeegee off the excess water. If the water you are using has a high mineral
content, don't let it dry on the car. It could leave spots which may bleed through the new paint.
- 105.1. How do you paint wheels on a car that has a coating? What types of paint are used to resist
the paint coming off?
- Usually the wheels are sand-blasted to bare steel, then primed with etch
primer, and painted with acrylic enamel or bc/cc.
Copyright (c) 2001 Bob Story