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Are We There Yet?

Keep on sanding, we're almost done

Mike Harrington Aug 18, 2005

Phew! We are nearing the end of our Do-It-Yourself prep and paint. Just when you think, "Are we there yet, are we there yet?" No, you still have more work to do. When I say "nearing the end," I mean we are nearing the end of the preparation stage of our paint project. After this, we still have to shoot it in primer, block-sand, paint it, shoot the clearcoat and color-sand. Have no fear, when you come home from work and are tempted to turn on the tube and tune out, think about the fun you could be having sanding your project car. After all, who wants to watch our politicians constantly argue on the evening news? Let's be diligent and get into the garage! I found that this is the only way to get it done. Every spare hour I could muster up was spent on this Camaro's prep work. And it is the amount of prep work that really makes a paint job stand out and catch your eye.

Why would somebody want to spend so much time doing this? After all, bodywork is very monotonous. Well, if your bank account is as broke as the Ten Commandments (like mine), this is the best option for the budget-minded builder. Not to mention the amount of self-satisfaction or bragging rights that come when you can say, "I did this myself," or at least most of it.


Here we go. It's time to start dismantling some of this car. We started by pulling out the third brake light on the spoiler.

With the brake light out of the way, the spoiler comes off next. A few screws that are accessible on the underside of the hatchback hold it down.

The same goes for the sides. In our Camaro, we had to remove some of the plastic body panels in the trunk area in order to remove the side spoilers.

Now that we took all the inside panels out, the taillights come out rather easy as well.

Here is how it will look with all the trim pieces removed from the rear end.

Now it's time to run around up front and do the same. What we found to be most frustrating was that some of the time, we used metric, while other times we used standard. It makes you wonder what they were thinking when they made the car.

After the front lights are removed, we took out the air intake trim. I recently saw a Third-Generation Camaro where the owner had repainted his as well. He painted the same piece we just removed and it looked great. So if you're painting a Camaro too, think about shooting the intake trim piece the same color as well. It'll look great.

Finally, we removed the marker lights on the side. These sidelights were held in by a small metal clasp and were easily removed in less than a minute.

Once we had removed all the pieces we wanted, it was time to use some tape and mask off our Z28 badges. No sense in accidentally scuffing them while sanding.

While we were playing with the tape, we did the same to all our window trim and T-tops. I would hate to scuff up some expensive, hard-to-find parts.

Here, you can see Grant Peterson using the Scotch Brite pads right next to the window's rubber trim that we just taped up.

We opted to not remove the side molding on our project. Once again, Grant is using Scotch Brite pads to scuff up the molding and the edges of the molding.

After sanding the car down with 320 grit sand paper, we went over the entire body again with the Scotch Brite pads to make sure all the clearcoat was removed, and to give the car a uniform finish. This is just about the most important step in the prep work. Make sure there are no glossy or orange peel spots anywhere or else the primer and paint wont stick. Go over all the nooks and crannies a few times if need be.

In this final shot of the Camaro, we can see that the entire side of the car has been sanded and gone over with the Scotch Brite pads. We only have to finish up the rear bumper where the taillights were. After this is done, it will be shot in primer. So stay tuned!


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