My 20 year old son is buying a 1989 Chevy Van and has asked me to help paint it, seeing that he barely talks to me normally, I want to take advantage of this oportunity. I have painted lots of machinery and have a HVLP gun and general skills. But other than touch ups, I have never painted a car or truck. We will probably go with Martin Seynor premixed black or Jaguar Green, Any general advice? Body is in pretty good condition
Use that prep-sol stuff, or some kind of deglazer (like "liquid sandpaper") to give the surface some tack before painting.
Lol, I used a roller and Benjamin Moore's Impervo Enamel when I painted my '73 beater Chevy Van way back when. It levelled right out !! I've been a fan of that stuff ever since.
Just remember, you learn from mistakes. I am not a professional painter, but I have made more mistakes painting cars than in anything else I have ever done, therefore I have learned a lot. One thing is to read all about it. Everything you can find on automobile paints and techniques. I would advise an acrylic enamel with hardener, not the polyurethane enamels which are very toxic. Toxic meaning you have to have full body cover with external fresh air piped into the suit.
Surface preparation is much more critical to final results in cars than on farm equipment I would think.
Sand, sand, sand, prime with epoxy primer, sand with 400 wet or dry paper. Clean with solvent. Have a moisture trap on your regulated line. Follow the thinning directions on the paint can. The brands differ in how they recommend thinning and painting technique.
Use a good masking paper, not just any old paper because the paint will go through just where you don't want it to. I won't use anything except the best 3M masking tape bought at the automobile paint store.
You can do this in your shop, just set off an area by hanging some of those cheap blue tarps from hooks in the ceiling and set up a fan to exhaust the fumes. Then clean, clean, clean. Sweep, sweep, sweep. Wipe the car off with a tack rag just before painting.
Have a pattern set before you start. I like to start on the top, then go to one corner and work my way around the car. Use the same pattern of moving the gun on every panel, don't go by how wet the paint looks. Don't keep going back over spots on the panel because you think you missed something. You will catch that on the second coat. Let the paint set about 20 minutes and do the second coat unless the directions on the paint can say something different. And don't let the hose rub on the new paint you just sprayed. And don't fall into the paint. (Gee, how do I know these things..?)
Let it dry overnight before taking off the masking tape. Then you can sand with 1500 or 2000 grit wet or dry paper and then buff. Keep away from the edges or you will go through the new paint very quickly.
At least that's the way I would do it.
Here's a few things I've learned in painting several cars over the years....most learned the hard way
-A color change means at least double the work, and sometimes more, unless a person is satisfied with job where the door jambs, etc are the original color. This is even more so on trucks and vans, since the outer body color typically carries to some of the interior parts of the doors, kick panels, etc.
-Stay away from metallic colors such as the Jag green until you've had lots of experience with laying down car paints. A slight roll of your wrist near the end of the stroke is inconsequential with solid colors, but changes the way the poly flake in a metallic lays, and therefore changes how it reflects light. This changes the appearance of the paint in daylight, and there's no kind of buffing or polishing that will get rid of the light and dark areas.
-Chevy began using basecoat/clearcoat paints in the late 80's. I know 89 pickups had 2 stage paints, so I assume the vans did too. The clear didn't holdup well on those, and most were pretty dead looking by the mid 90's. In order to get a lasting job, its necessary to get rid of any remaining clear. On most of these, any remaining clear is poorly bonded and will tend to lift due to the solvents in the new paint. If you're sanding with a DA, its easy enough to tell where there's clear by the color of the sanding dust.
-A palm type DA gives better results than one with a handle if the user is inexperienced, as there is less tendency to rock it up and try to sand with the edge of the pad. Use the white stearate coated stick on discs to prevent loading. 3M's discs are a little more expensive than the others, but worth more than the additional cost in my experience. Use 3M autobody masking tape for masking. It is run thru some additional processes during the application of the adhesive as compared to other masking tapes of the hardware store variety, specifically to keep the solvents and sunlight exposure from welding the tape to whatever surface its applied to. Once again, more expensive, but well worth the difference.
-2 stage paints are out unless a person has a downflow booth. They take a while to dry tack-free and attempting to use them outside a booth will end up with excessive lint and dust in the paint. In a relatively dust free garage you can get good results with either catalyzed enamel or catalyzed acrylic enamel. The catalyst improves the flow-out, thus increasing the gloss, and it speeds the time to tack-free drying over the un-catalyzed equivalents. There's no such thing as too much light when painting, and its good to have a couple of 4' 2 tube fluorescents that you can move around to check for coverage down near the rocker panels and lower valance panels.
-Use tack rags to wipe the car down immediately prior to painting. Get one of those disposable painting suits made for car painting, as almost all the lint which ends up in the paint job comes off of that old pair of jeans and shirt that are only fit for wearing while painting. Thin the paint per the mfgr's directions, using the recommended thinner. Too thin is a disaster. Having a compressor with a flywheel/fan running in the same space where you're painting isn't good either.
-All the labor is in the prep work, but the final results are heavily dependent on the cleanliness of the environment and the skill of the painter at handling the gun. It might be worthwhile to talk to a local painter and find out how much they'd charge to spray the van with you doing all the prep work. For an enamel or acrylic job, his cost for spraying it in his booth might be less than you'd think.
I used to paint vehicles on a regular basis.In all honesty I can't suggest using anything other than urethane enamels.I know,I know, the real professionals use so and so,and this and that,but if you want this paint job to last urethane enamel will out last them all.I'll almost bet that if the paint on this van is the original,it is flaking off.GM had a horrible problem with this starting around 1986,when they changed to acriylics and two part systems.What most people didn't realize is that GM was mandated by the Feds to correct the situation.In other words they were supposed to repaint any vehicle produced after a certain date.Yes urethane is toxic but if you wear a $2.50 painters suit and a respirator you don't have anything to worry about.Most urethanes are photochemically reactive.That means don't paint your vehicle in the direct sunlight.If the old paint is just faded don't prime any more than you have to.Old paint,when sanded properly,will hold new paint better than new primer.I'd suggest wet sanding it with 3M 400 grit.Don't bare down,all you want to do is scuff the old paint,make it look dull.If you don't have an explosion proof exhaust fan borrow one or better yet some paint shops will rent a paint booth for X amount of dollars per day or half day.There are a couple around here that will rent by the hour but you really need to have your $%%t together to do it this way.Use 3M blue masking tape.Newspaper is fine as long as you double it up.I've heard all the wives tales and horror stories about newspaper.It's pure bunk.I've never had a problem using it.Use Prep-Sol and finally a tack rag just before you start to paint.A tack rag gets what the Prep-Sol leaves behind.If you do decide to use urethane you won't have to do any post-paint work.The only thing better than urethane IMHO is Emron but you really got to have it together when using it.Last time I used it it was over $110.00 a gallon and that was 15 years ago.These guys are right,this isn't like painting a piece of equipment but you CAN do it.
One other thing on painting;make dead sure that there isn't and hasn't been any silicone of any type on the metal surfaces.Silicone will ruin any paint regardless of the type.I know a lot of professional painters who want touch a vehicle that is suspected of having been subjected to silicones.Armor-All is one of the worst.Ditto on what metalmunchr posted.
What people are saying here is good advice, maybe you can combine it with what you and your son already know and do a decent looking job.
A few things off the top of my head, after about 6 years on and off in production type body shops:
-Don't bother washing it with soap and water before you start. Simply use some paper towels soaked with laquer thinner/then follow with dry ones to wipe down the entire thing to remove any grease BEFORE you even start sanding (otherwise you may actually embed/spread the grease into it as you are sanding and surely get fisheyes, and wonder where they came from). Then I hope you have a large compressor, so you can blow it off really well....and concentrate on all the seams, between panels, wheel wells, "under" window seals, all nooks and crannies, etc.. doing this will lessen the chances of grit/dirt "appearing out of nowhere" when you're spraying the final paint. Repaeat the blowing off after sanding. An air fitting/nipple in the airline coupler without any blowgun attached gives the best volume of air if your compressor can handle it.
-Take the time to remove some ot the easy to get to trim pieces, mouldings, grill, etc.. Lay a sheet of paper under the hood and completely seal it off by taping around edges. When you wipe the thing down with whatever degreaser you're using, also wipe the window rubbers and let dry/wipe dry so the tape will stick.
-320 grit on a finish quality DA (dual action) sander should give a good enough sanded base for a work/utility type vehicle *if* you spend some time on it. If you are going to wetsand it, use a light colored primer and when the priming is done, take a black spraycan/bomb and "piss" on a cloudy/spotty coat of black-purposely holding can far away. Then when you wetsand, you will be able to see any low or high spots in the bodywork (which will be inevitable in that vintage of a vehicle-no offense), and you can use finish putty to correct/fill the imperfections and also any pinholes in the bondo. That technique is known as a "guide coat", it works.
-If possibel don't sand it in the same place you plan on painting it. (sanding outside is not unheard of)
-Blow yourself off also before entering spray/booth/whatever area.
-Any overspray on glass can be removed when you're all done with some SOS pads/ fine steel wool during buffing/washing/recon phase.
-Take care of (prime+sand and/or paint) any "inside" work (bottoms of door jambs, under the hood, etc.) before even bothering to start on the real exterior panels, because waiting until the end for that stuff is a hassle in my opinion.
-There's more but I hope this liitle bit helps, as each bodyshop I ever worked at did things a little differently, and all claimed that their way was the best. In the end who cares as long as it looks decent.
Final words-Paint it white...(hides the most irregularities - black and metallics are the worst, will show every ding/sanding mark and even if everything is right it's a crapshoot)
goodluck, and if anything I've said here sounds stupid, simply ignore it [img]smile.gif[/img]
Our daughter was 17 or 18 years old when I bought, rebuilt a wrecked VW beetle for her first car and use at college. When it came time for paint, the color choice was hers with one hook: With my coaching, she would do all the prep work without questions, until I informed her it was ready for paint.
When her fingerprints became invisible, I suggested she was about half way there. There were days when she did no work because her fingers were too sore and about to bleed from working the sandpaper.
The paint job turned out 99.99% perfect. She had found four well oxidized mags in a junk yard and spent the rest of the summer refurbing them.
The car took her away for 4 years of college and later, marriage. She eventually sold the car for about 3 times the value we had in it. The evening she sold it, she disappeared for about an hour's walk, by herself.
My fatherly relations with the daughter could never be improved on. Good luck with your son and repainting the Chevy, you can't go wrong.
Good lighting is absolutey essential. Put up a bunch of halogen shop lights both below and above the vehicle so there are no shadows.
Get your materials ready to go before you begin spraying. That means paint mixed, strainers ready, solvent and wipe towels at the ready. Take a pee, hold phone calls, whatever! You do not want to stop once you start spraying.
Preparation is the most important thing by far. Spend the time up-front to get the car ready for paint. Look closely for scratches and imperfections. Paint will not fill much of a scratch and sometimes you will even encounter something called "sand scratch swelling" when the paint is applied. Mask carefully and be sure to keep the mask line off the painted surface. You can use braided cord to raise the rubber molding around windsheilds etc. Be meticulous in preparation, wipe the car down with a paint prep solvent such as Acryli-clean. Do not use paint reducer for this. Do a low pressure air-gun dust using your hand to wipe as you cover every square inch of the car. Strain the paint into the gun.
Do not load the gun and just start spraying! There are so many ways a gun can screw up that you need to do a test on another surface first. When you are sure it sprays with the correct pattern and amount of material then go for it. Never-ever be satisfied with a gun that has a bad pattern or erratic spray. Fix it now and you will be much happier for it. Remember, preparation, preparation, preperation....
Usually, try to spray wet as possible without causing a run or sag. Wet means better leveling and higher gloss. Most paint require a "tack coat" and then several full wet coats after tack. Follow recommendations from your paint supplier closely.
If you create a run or sag leave it alone. More damage will be caused trying to correct it while wet so just continue spraying and address it later after the paint has dryed.
You must be able to see. If you normally wear glasses wear them. Don't guess at the finish. You must actually be able to see the paint go on and lay down. Buy a cheap pair of glasses at the drug store if need be.
Important!! Wear a respirator and cloth hood and keep friends and pets away. You need to concentrate. This is not a social event.
When done, turn off the compressor, walk away and forget about it. Do not walk around admiring your new paint. Get away and let it dry without any undue activity that can spoil the job.
Hope this helps.
Good advice. Black doesn't hide any sins at all. Two kinds of people paint cars black. The guy who knows the bodywork is flawless and wants the rest of the world to know it too. And the guy who looks at that perfect bodywork and thinks a shot of black would turn the family sled into an equally glistening jewel. The second guy usually ain't too happy with the result
Final words-Paint it white...
And ... what's wrong with Black?
Ken, that's an example of the first type. You probably have no idea how many guys have looked at that Merc and decided to paint the family Nash black...Maaco Supreme, of course....soon followed by wailing and trading of cars
Lots of good advice, especially the "paint it white" [img]smile.gif[/img] I will only add a suggestion you explore Len Stuart's site at http://www.autobodystore.com
wheeu! this has got to be a record on responses. thanks.
If you have to fix any dents, I check to see if they are really invisible by spraying a very light fog with a spray can primer of a different color. Sanding it off under good light will show if you have any high or low spots. Find any flaws before you start putting the paint on.
what about using this quarter inch paint I keep hearing about?
surplusjohn,perhaps You could enlighten us on the 1/4 inch paint.I'm open to most new products.
You have recieved a lot of good info here and one thing I might add that I don't believe has been mentioned yet is the quality of the paint you use. It makes a big difference as far as I am concerned. A painter told me that when I wanted to learn how to paint. I took his advise a I couldn't believe how nice my first job came out! The cheap paint I will use for things like shelving in the shop and projects that I build but for a auto that has to be in the elements the better paint will last. I am sure you have painted something at home from a "bomb" an then noticed a year later it is faded and pealing off.
Surplusjohn, there has been a lot of good advice so far but let me go back to the most important part of your first posting. The opportunity to do something with your son!
RUN, don't walk, to the shop with your son. Before he gets discouraged and loses interest. Don't miss this opportunity. Have him do some of the research, let him give a lot of ideas to the project, look into the local vo-tech for a class on restoring vehicles that both of you can attend together.
When the job is finished and you take off the masking and roll it out into the sunshine, the feeling you get when you look at the paint on the van will be awesome. Then when you get a pizza delivered to the shop and you two guys sit down and talk about the project, the feeling you get then will last far, far longer than the glow of the paint.
Been there, done that, glad I didn't waste it. Go for it!