1996 Chevrolet Impala SS Body and Paint - Stay Shiny

We wheel a well-worn ’96 Impala SS into the shop for some body and paint rehab.

Patrick Hill Apr 15, 2014 0 Comment(s)
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Cover Repainting 2/47

17. Because we’re repainting the Impala its original color, we don’t have to prime the entire car. But we do need to clean and scuff all the surfaces so the new paint will have a solid foundation to adhere to. Aldrin uses red Scotch-Brite to go over the entire car. After that, he’ll wipe all surfaces down with a tack cloth and wax/grease remover to remove any contaminants from the surface.

Summit Urethane Primer 3/47

18. For primer, paint, and clearcoat, we went to Summit Racing. We chose Summit’s high-build urethane primer, PN SUM-SWSP310G-12. It’s designed to go over factory finishes, fiberglass, sheet-molding compounds, and refinishing lacquers, enamels, and urethanes. It features a two-hour drying time, so you can be sanding and doing finish work in the same day. It’s used with Summit’s 2K HS hardener.

Flush Spray Gun 4/47

19. Before spraying anything, Aldrin always flushes out his spray gun with solvent to make sure it’s clean. Even a little bit of contaminants left in a gun from the previous job can cause problems and affect the results. For the primer, Aldrin used an HVLP (High Velocity Low Pressure) SATA KLC gun with a 1.7 tip.

Compressor Air Clean 5/47

20. Before spraying primer, the car was totally blown clean with compressed air while the exhaust fan in the paint booth was running. For our Impala, we pitched the factory hood and went with an aftermarket fiberglass one. The Summit primer had no problems with this. Aldrin lays down the primer in nice, even coats, watching for any runs or issues.

Black Guidecoat 6/47

21. Once the primer was dry, Aldrin laid down some black guidecoat for doing his final bodywork. Once again, our Dura-Block sanding kit was put into service while doing the final prep for paint. When sanding, it’s important to never sand in one direction for too long. Also never use your bare hand on sandpaper. Sanding in one constant direction can leave scratches that will come through after the paint is sprayed. Sanding with your hand can leave fingerprints and uneven areas in the primer, which will instantly show up in the finish, especially with a dark color like the black we’re using.

Low Spots Dark Areas 7/47

22. You can see here the dark areas are where low spots still exist in the panel, highlighted after sanding over the guidecoat.

Spot Putty 8/47

23. To even out any remaining low spots, Aldrin uses a spot putty to fill in the low spots. Any spots where putty is used are allowed to dry/cure, then sprayed with primer to seal them up.

Sanding Roof 9/47

24. When sanding the roof, you have to be extra careful not to bear down too hard while sanding and risk denting the roof. Let the paper do the work. If you notice it’s not sanding well, go to a fresh piece of paper. Again, Aldrin’s using 320-grit paper for this final work.

Old Clearcoat 10/47

25. Here, we have a booger of old clearcoat from some previous repair work done on the decklid. It’s easily fixed, though. Using an orbital sander, Aldrin will sand down the area until the high spot of clear is gone and the whole area is even enough where a shot of high-build primer will make everything uniform.

Orbital Sander 11/47

26. When using an orbital sander on a car, never, never, never do this while sanding! Not only can you end up sanding all the way through to bare metal, but all the pressure and heat from putting all that pressure on the sanding spot will distort and warp the metal, meaning more bodywork to be done. Always keep your sanding block or orbital flat on the surface you’re sanding.

Thin Coat Putty 12/47

27. After sanding, the high spot is gone. A thin coat of putty, and this area will be good to go.

Summit Basecoat Clearcoat Paint 13/47

28. Time for color! For this, we went with Summit’s two-stage basecoat/clearcoat products. For the basecoat, we used Jet Black, PN SUM-SWBC538-12. It’s mixed in a 2:1 ratio with Summit’s two-stage basecoat reducer, PN SUM-SWBR565G-12.

Primer Basecoat Mixed 14/47

29. At all three stages (primer, basecoat, clearcoat), the products were mixed according to the included directions in correlation to the ambient temperature and humidity. Spraying products when it’s either too hot, too cold, or too humid when they’re not mixed for those conditions can wreak havoc on the results, and in some cases you end up having to strip everything off and start over from the beginning.

Compressed Air Wipe Down 15/47

30. Before laying down the basecoat, Aldrin blows the car off once more with compressed air, while wiping all the surfaces down with a tack cloth.


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