101 Paint And Body Tips

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29. Remove the glass. Some glass is glued in and will need to be cut out. You can do it if you take your time, or just have a mobile glass guy come out and do it for you.

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30. If your car has an adjustable suspension make sure the system is easy to operate. Nothing will tick off a shop as much as a car that leaks down and has to constantly be worked on in order to be moved around the shop.

31. Put old wheels/tires on your car so your new ones don’t get wrecked while at the body shop. Make sure the tires hold air as well. It makes the car difficult to move and if the worker is mad he may not be enthusiastic about doing a good job.

32. Charge your battery. The car will be started and moved quite a bit, but not driven long enough for the alternator to recharge the battery. Another tip to keeping the battery charged up is to remove all your interior lights.

33. Clean the car as much as you can in areas the shop might miss like inside fenderwells, cowl, and down in the doors. Since there will be a lot of air pressure used in the body and paint process the less dirt in the cracks and crevices the less chance of dirt on in the paint.

34. We know there are a ton of patch panels available for repairing rust, but if it is a small area then just pick up a used fender, door or deck lid from the junk yard or swap meet. You can use these to cut out any little patch panels you might need and the metal will be the same thickness making the patch a little easier.

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35. Line up all the sheetmetal before you start body working the car. You don’t want to do a bunch of bodywork and then find out later that your perfectly smooth panels are going to be re-aligned after the parts are painted and re-installed, thus screwing up those perfect jambs and body lines.

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36. Before lining up sheetmetal, it’s a good idea to check and/or replace the body bushings. This is the first step to a nice body gap.

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37. You can drill small pilot holes where sheetmetal bolts together to make lining up during reassembly a snap. When you reinstall the part, all you need to do is use an awl or a piece of sturdy wire to push in the hole to set the proper alignment.

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38. Tape all shims together when you remove them and also mark where they came from to aid in reassembly.

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39. Hopefully you have all the glass out before you start body working to prevent scratching the surface of your windows with the paper or burning it with the welder. If the glass is going to stay in, make sure to double or triple mask the edges and cover large areas with a welding blanket or cardboard.

40. If the glass is out, mask the window opening shut. This will cut down on the amount of sanding dust entering the interior.

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41. If you are going to block the car yourself, then get at least a small, medium, and long block. That way you will have the appropriate size for any area of the car.

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42. Before spraying a new plastic or urethane part, scrub it with Ajax or Comet and a scuff pad. This will remove any mold release chemicals that might still be on the surface.

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43. When smoothing plastic for painting, don’t try and sand the plastic smooth with the sandpaper. Just do a light scuff with 80-grit and then put down a few layers of high-build primer and sand that smooth.

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44. Always look at the charts inside your welder to get your base setting close. This will cut down on the chance you will blow a hole in your sheetmetal because you have the welder turned up to high.

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45. When MIG welding a small hole closed, you can use a piece of brass to back up the hole instead of using a patch panel. The weld won’t stick to the brass and this is much easier than cutting that small of a filler piece.

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46. For filling larger holes, make a small patch piece and weld a small tab on it. This will give you a small handle so you have something to hold onto while you do the first tack-welds.

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47. When replacing pieces of sheetmetal like rocker panels, make sure to have the door in place and properly adjusted before welding the rocker panel in place.

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