Daily Archives: March 7, 2012

Ready to paint

Yesterday, after getting this Mazda MPV back from having the uni-body straightened, we beat and banged on it until we had pounded most of the dents out. We then slathered it in body filler to cover the remaining small dents and ripples, sanded it smooth, and primed the filler.

Today we remounted the replacement door and and sanded the entire area to be painted with a fine-grade sand paper. Once everything was sanded smooth we masked the entire vehicle and made it ready to paint.

We couldn’t get it in the paint booth today because the booth was occupied with another job, but since it is ready to paint we will be able to get it in the booth and painted first thing in the morning.

Ahhhh … I love the smell of paint fumes in the morning. It smells like … progress.


After nearly two weeks we are finally ready to paint the bumper on the Ford F250. I bet you thought I had forgotten about that truck. No … we have just been waiting on parts.

The first picture shows the bumper after the application of the base coat. The base coat is the color layer of the finish, the part of the paint that actually gives the car its color. It dries to a nearly flat finish, as you see in the photograph, but since its sole function to to provide the color, drying to a flat finish is ok.

The last two photos show the same bumper after the application of the clear coat. Where the base coat provides the color, the clear coat, applied over the top of the base coat, supplies the protection and luster. These two coats, base and clear, are designed as a system to provide the high gloss, long-lasting finish of modern car paint.

Peanut butter and jelly … milk and cookies … base coat and clear coat … just a few of the things are that are better together.

Back on the straight and narrow

Out of working order; seriously, perhaps irreparably, damaged: “the door on this Mazda is fubar.” Acronym for Fouled Up Beyond All Repair.

And it is too. As you can see in the first photo the sliding door is … well, let’s just say that isn’t going to buff out. The victim a major parking lot dust-up, this Mazda needed some serious help.

The car was hit hard enough that the structure of the car was bent. This was going to require more than the typical replace a fender or door repair.  No matter how good the replacement parts, if the car they are going on is bent, they’re not going to fit properly. The first thing that had to be done was to straighten the car, so it was sent out to my frame straightening guy. Placing the car on a frame machine, the car’s uni-body can be teased back into specs with millimeter precision. The frame machine is a very large and expensive machine, a machine I would rarely use. By contracting out this infrequent repair I am able to lower my costs and pass the savings on to my customers. But not to worry, all work, whether it is done by JMC AutoworX or one of my contractors, is covered under the JMC AutoworX no-nonsense guarantee.

Anyway … After the car was returned from the car chiropractor we installed the replacement door for a test fit. You can see in pictures 2, 3 & 4 the fit was perfect and the body lines meet with factory like gaps. The frame guy I use … he’s really good at his job. You can also tell that we had done some beating and banging on the car ourselves to get the rest of the body pounded into shape.

After pounding out the bent places as much as we could, we skimmed the area with a coating of body filler. You can see the body filler applied in the fifth picture. Body filler has received a bad reputation from people using it improperly. Body filler was never intended to fill in large dents, rather it is intended to smooth and cover small dents and ripples. Used properly body filler is an excellent tool in the body man’s tool chest and can save a customer a tremendous amount of money by allowing a panel, like on this Mazda, to be repaired rather than replaced.

After sanding smooth, the body filler is coated with a primer to seal the filler and to give the paint that follows a surface for good adhesion. You can see the where the primer has been applied in the last three photos, numbers 6, 7 & 8. The door has been removed so the jamb can be smoothed with filler and painted as well. Obviously the door opening will have to be carefully masked to prevent overspray from entering the interior of the car, but there is no other way to paint the jambs.

Now that the frame machine has put this car back on the straight and narrow, it is up to the JMC AutoworX team to apply a little good old-fashioned craftsmanship to this project and get this car, good as new, back to its owner.


Ford, Dodge and Chevrolet are always taking jabs at each other about who builds the toughest truck. They brag about how strong their trucks are, how much weight they can pull, yadda, yadda, yadda. The tailgate in the first picture shows that no matter how tough a truck you build, if enough weight is set on the tailgate, something is going to give. And give it did. If you look closely  you can see that there is something not right about the tailgate. What’s not right is the tailgate is no longer straight but has a noticeable bow in it. There’s no fixing that. Time to order a replacement.

The next two photos show the new tailgate sanded and ready for paint. I always sand new body panels to make sure the factory applied rust protection is smooth and roughed up enough so the sealer can get its teeth into it for good adhesion.

You can see the sealer in the fourth photograph. The sealer’s job is to, well, seal, the substrates below it and provide a uniform surface for the paint that follows. The sealer comes in one of seven shades of gray, from nearly white to almost black. Each color specifies one of these seven shades in order to produce the proper color. Use the wrong color of sealer and the paint will have a noticeably different color. A a general rule, light colored paints use a light colored sealer and dark colored paints use darker sealers.

Pictures five and six show the tailgate as the base coat, the color if you will, is applied. The base coat is applied in several very thin coats. You can see in the fifth photo that the tailgate is a very light blue, where in the sixth photo it looks nearly black. The difference is the number of coats of color that have been applied. The fifth picture was taken after only one coat, the sixth after two more. Spraying the base coat on in thin coats ensures full and complete coverage without having to worry about runs. The paint looks flat in these photos because it is. The base coat dries to a near flat finish … it is the clear coat which follows that gives the paint finish its sizzle.

The last two photos, numbers seven and eight, clearly show what I mean by sizzle. Where the tailgate was flat and lifeless, now, after the application of the clear coat, the paint fairly pops off the tailgate. The clear coat is what provide the depth and luster to the finish, in addition to provide protection so the paint looks good for many years to come.

After the tailgate dries we can put the hardware back on it and get it mounted on the truck. Then nobody will know that Chevrolet trucks can’t pass the Elephant standing on the tailgate test.

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