Ready For Paint?

It's The 11th Hour, And This Camaro Is About TO Recive A New Colored Skin

Mike Harrington Sep 19, 2005 0 Comment(s)

This is it! All the endless hours of sanding are at an end...or are they? Well, not really. It's time to work your tennis elbow a little bit longer. We got the chance to do something a little unique with this segment of our story. The project Camaro soon found its way to the local High School Auto Body Program located at Chino High. It was here that instructor Roy Landgrave lent us his professional experience and services. Any students that were also interested in helping had the chance to cut their teeth on this Camaro project. True, we had the use of a spray booth at the school, but that does not change the fact that if there was room in my home garage (and the equipment), we could have shot the primer and paint at home.

After every nook and cranny had been sanded down on the Camaro, it was thoroughly washed to get rid of all sanding dust and dirt. As soon as the car was clean we rolled it into the paint booth where it was dried by air hoses. The compressed air forced any hidden water drops out of every possible jam and body seam on the car. The last thing you want when shooting the primer is to have hidden water drops emerge and run down on your freshly sprayed panels. Here is Roy with his student Adam Jimenez blowing the car dry with the air. After the car was dry, Grant Peterson and I spent the next two hours meticulously masking off every inch of the car that we did not want covered in primer. We also took a few extra minutes to once again blow the car dry, in case any water drops were still hiding. Once that was done we went over the entire car with a tack rag. Now it was time to shoot the primer.

We picked up a gallon of this Legacy urethane primer at a local body supply shop. This primer is an extremely high-build high fill, and sprays on thick. The temperature in our booth that day was a very hot 95 degrees. We ended up reducing the primer with acetone because it already started setting inside the spray gun. Nevertheless, we solved our problem and managed to get the Camaro thoroughly covered in primer. This was only the second time for me with a spray gun in my hand; with some help and coaching from Staffer Grant Peterson, it turned out great.

After the primer had dried, it was time to shoot on the guidecoat. And guess what...it was time to have more fun with sandpaper! Thanks to our student painter Steven Garcia for shooting the guidecoat on the Camaro.

Now the fun part begins! It was time to sand off all the guidecoat and find out if we had any hidden high or low spots. First, we started by using a 320-grit paper. After all of the guidecoat was removed, we went over the entire car again with 400-grit paper. Luckily, this Camaro was in great shape and there were only two low spots and a few rock chips up in the front. Here we can see Mary Lou Vasquez and Grant spending hours wet-sanding the guidecoat. After a few hours of sanding guidecoat, the day was over. The Camaro followed me home where I spent the rest of the weekend sanding in my driveway.

Now that all of the guidecoat had been sanded, it was time to fill in the low spots of the car with some body filler; but this wasn't just any type of filler. This is a polyester glaze fill coat that is used for light imperfections. There is no need to sand down to the metal substraight. You wouldn't want to use this stuff for anything else other than very small areas.

After you have spread the filler, guidecoat one more time in the area and wait for it to dry.

Conclusion
This is the very end of our "Prep for Paint" story. We have one more installment left and that is the actual painting of the car. We are going to try a new water-based formula from Auto-Air Colors. Yes, you heard right. We are going to shoot the Camaro with a water-based paint. Stay tuned for the next issue and we will tell how the paint worked for us.

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