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3,226 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So wether I end up just sticking it out with my S, swapping to FI, or getting an Si, I want to try something:

A *quality* spraybomb paintjob. I'd have to wet-sand all the time, and then do a final sand and polish, but it might work. I might only get through a fender all summer, but I'd feel like I accomplished something in life.

I could also buy a spray gun, not that expensive, and we have an air compressor. But automotive paint is *expensive* Three big cans of dupli-color would cost about $20, and probably be enough to cover a front quarter panel. Maybe four cans. I'd be doing a lot of sanding, so I'll need to have a lot of paint on there.

edit: I have an orbital buffer thing, too, and a power drill, and i can get discounts on all the 3M automotive finishing products at work

Anyone ever try this?

978 Posts

$80 per quart - look up paint colors + costs
1 - 2 quarts of paint for one coat
filler for small cracks/dents.. necessary
Acrylic urethane/urethane based are most effective/last longer
Use compliable priming/painting supplies. cheap primers will not mix with expensive paint
alot $75 - 100 for clear coat. VERY IMPORANT!!!
remove everything possible, including bumpers, quarter panels, tail lights, head lights, glass, etc.
mechanical/chemical/abrasive removal
mechanical is hard to reach spots, chemical is good but can leave some behind, abrasive is best, but needs compressor and bucket and sand


mask is very important as fumes will cause central nervous system damage. find mask apropraite for diisocyanate exposure. paper mask won't do anything. with the right mask you won't smell thinner/chemicals. $20


air guns rated at 10 - 50 psi
get a compressor rated ABOVE the gun requirement
7 - 10 CFM at 30 - 90 psi, 3 - 5 hp in a 25 - 35 gallon tank ($150)
Before spraying to remove water open all of the valves to remove pressure and place in dry area (garage)
do not pressurize until an hour before spraying. maybe pressurize for test run then de-pressurize overnight


guns can be rated from 9.5 to 14.5 CFM or more and 10 - 50 psi and can be picked up for $50
make sure compressor is rated above gun, or learn to pause


use cardboard or plywood to test different settings of air and CFM to find best result
use flat piece of metal under similar conditions (primed) to see how much paint is required to run and find ratio
FIND GOOD RATIO. DO NOT USE OTHER NUMBER. too much paint will cause runs, too little wont cover
it. too little air will make the paint splatter and too little will make it mist. watch the air inlet hole and make sure it doesn't get clogged with paint, and also check the nozzle
once you spray the panel, keep the air flowing on the panel to help it set. not too much air or it will blow around and sag, but enough to help it set. DO NOT SPRAY, JUST AIR


A gallon of fresh clean thinner. The solvent that is made to "cut" the paint that you will be shooting, you
should get it at the same place you buy your paint.

A clean, glass kitchen type measuring cup (yes, BUY one, don't steal the wife's!!)

A stack of clean, large (like 12 oz or better) paper or plastic cups. If you use plastic, test one first with
your thinner to make sure it doesn't dissolve it. Some cheaper plastic cups will dissolve. CLEAR

Paint strainers, a box of them. Cheap, get them at your paint supply store, and I think Harbor Freight sells them.

A whole bunch of clean popsicle sticks or something else to stir paint with and dispose of.

A bag of latex painters gloves. Home Depot sells a bag of about 100 for cheap. VERY IMPORTANT. Thinner will harm
hands. Get them, very important, keeps skin oils off freshly prepped surfaces too.

A large jar or can to pour waste solvent into.

(for HVLP guns) Some kind of rig to hold your gun while you put paint in it.

You will need to get catalyst/hardener/thinner to mix with paint. DO NOT GET IN PAINT CAN. mix seperately

check pot life of the paint, and do not leave excess paint in the gun. clean gun when paint is removed. do not let sit.
hardened urethane paint cannot be cut with a thinner


DO NOT RUN WATER THROUGH GUN. EVER EVER EVER. Use thinner and run the gun until liquid becomes clear. judge the amount of time and do the same when cleaning clear coat. when it is mostly done, (with goggles and mask) spray some thinner on the paper towl (make sure its thinner! pour more if nec.) and wipe the gun down. make it count
if this is the final cleanup, take the nozzle off and check the air passages and blow air throughout the nozzle/cup


DA (dual action) sander will not leave marks and is preferable (DA prevents swirl marks in the paint)
may cost $50 so borrowing one is preferable
electric wood sanders SUCK!!!!. Do not use them. limited sucess. DO NOT USE THEM!!!!!!!!
wet sanding is a possible option but get the right papers, wet panel and paper, and do not use fingertips


buy a couple of *NEW* rolls of masking tape in 1" and 2" patterns
MASK EVERYTHING OFF. Wheel wells, windows, etc. anwhere that isn't painted SHOULDN'T BE PAINTED


work in a clean, dry, dust free environment. a garage type area with good ventilation and no wind is preferable
dust is the enemy. clean out the garage by hooking up a gun and cleaning EVERYTHING out. garage should be empty and completely clean


before you "think" you're done, grab a light and go over the surfaces, at night if nec. then leave, do something, come back, and do it again - it's worth it
go over every piece of tape and masking and check for gaps. get small pieces of tape and cover crevices if nec.
before you paint, spray the floor as the dust will stick to the water and not the paint

then, pull the car in and wipe it down with a lint free rag, clean it, then do it again
dial up the gun to 40 psi, and spray the car down with air
get as many lights as possible and shine them in every angle possible. natural light can disguise imperfections even when well lit


find a way to maksk off or paint transitions on hard/rolled edges to make it flow. re-sand the areas that were painted undesirably if nec. do not paint over them as you will create a high spot
you may want to check the engine bay/jams/etc. if the car is a vastly different color make it match


3M respiratory mask - $20

suit -

3 - 5 hp compressor - $150

DA sander - $0 - 50

sanding tools in respective grits (80 - 1500) - $5

degreaser - $4

filler - $15

lint-free rag - $5

spray gun (HVLP pref.) - $35

2-stage urethane primer - $30

2-stage urethane base coat - $75 a quart

2-stage urethane top (clear) coat - $30

masking materials (tape, paper) - $20

Wash the car! remove any dirt as well as you can. after the car is originally cleaned, remove certain things (head
lights/tail lights/mirros etc to get dirt that you may find later

Remove all excess panels not related to the actual frame. Front bumper/quarter panels/doors/rear bumper/etc.

Grab sand paper/block and go over everything including removed parts to get hard dirt spots

wipe the car down with de-greaser to remove invisible oils. THEY ARE THERE!!

put on filler very lightly (not to cover dents) to even the painting surface, let cure, and sand with 220 grit

mask the car for primer, going over the body with a light to CHECK ALL FILLING/SANDING

blow off the whole car with clean (no oil/water!) air, sweep the garage, spray the car again, spray the floor with water and then wipe the car down with a clean lint free rag

get clothes ready and mix primer

prime the car checking for all imperfections and make sure you cover the WHOLE!! car

sand the primed coat with 400 - 600 grit sandpaper. re-spray if nec. when you are satisfied, wipe the car down with a clean, wet rag, then blow it dry with compressed air

prep car for base coat

spray the car down with clean air, wet the floor, wipe the car down with a lint-free rag

mix up the paint and shoot. keep the air flowing!! let dry

spray an additional coat. the more the better.

inspect the base coat and wet sand it down with a 600 - 1200 paper until glass-smooth. wipe down with a wet rag, blow it dry with clean air, then wipe down with a lint-free rag

spray the car with a urethane clear first in a light coat, let it flash dry (10 - 15 min) then spray a heavy coat


There's my notes from when I studied up on it. Hope that helps.

3,226 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Holy shit. See why I wanna do spray cans? :D
even conservatively, at 1 coat primer, 2 coats color, 2 coats clear, that's like $250 on paint alone. I can get 20 spray cans for $100.

The whole point is that I want to do it with spray cans. Experimental, like.

978 Posts
Sure, you can do spray cans. I used them on my mirrors.. but you get what you pay for.

3,226 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh no, my friend. :D I tend to get more than what I pay for (at least monitarily). The effort of proper surface prep and between-coats sanding, I'm confident, will pay off.

And hell, if it does go to hell after a year (the resprayed bumpers haven't so far) I'll just sand it all back off and take it to Maaco or something :D

978 Posts
Eh.. I used primer and base coats on my mirrors with no clear.. and when they get wet the water beads, and if you don't dry it, the marks are permanent. Kind of sucks..
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