Daily Archives: March 15, 2012

The ol’ bump(er) shine

We are doing a quick turn-around on the Nissan Versa that arrived at the shop yesterday. Bumper in hand, it is time to get this thing painted so the car can go back to its owner tomorrow.

The first picture shows the new bumper in the booth after we masked off the lower grill area. After masking, the bumper is sanded, as shown in the second photo, so the sealer can get a good grip on the surface. After sanding, the bumper is ready for paint.

The third photo shows the bumper after I applied the sealer. The sealer, as its name implies, seals the materials under it and provides a smooth and even surface for the paint. The sealer is available in several shades of gray … from nearly white to almost black. Each paint color specifies one of seven shades provide the best color match. Light colored paints, like this Sentra, generally use light sealer, where a dark colored paint would use a darker sealer.

The fourth photo show the bumper after the application of the base coat. The base coat is the pigmented paint that actually provides the color to the automotive finish. As you can see in the photo, the base coat is a rather drab finish with almost no gloss. This is normal in a two stage paint finish like the one we use in the JMC AutoworX shop.

Also in the fourth picture you can see me inspecting the bumper to make sure that the bumper has received an even coat of paint and I have achieved full coverage. The base coat is applied in several thin coat which allows me to  fully hide the sealer underneath without worrying about runs. After two, three or four applications of base I inspect the piece to make sure there are no thin spots. Fixing a thin spot now is as simple as applying another coat of paint and is much easier than trying to fix said thin spot after the clear coat has been applied.

After I’m satisfied that the base coat is properly applied and it has dried, I tack the bumper to remove any dust or other contaminates before I apply the clear coat. You can see me tacking the bumper in the fifth picture. Tacking is nothing more than using a lint free cloth treated with a chemical to make it just slightly sticky, like the back of a PostIt note, to wipe the surface of, in this case, the bumper. The cloth picks up any dust or other particles that may have settled on the surface and traps it in the sticky surface. A paint booth is fairly clean environment, but it never hurts to just make sure everything is as clean as possible when painting.

The sixth photo show the clear coat being applied. Not only does the clear coat provide a tough protective barrier for the paint, it also provides the shine that makes automotive finishes so attractive. You can see the difference the clear coat makes in the luster of the finish in the last photo. The bumper has gone from drab and lifeless to full of zing.

After the clear dries overnight, it will be but a few minutes to snap the bumper back on the car tomorrow. In and out in less than three days … not bad if I do say so myself.

Well, shoot

I think I need to shoot some paint.

You can see a new Nissan Altima fender in the first picture. Already in the the booth, the black rust preventive coating, applied at manufacture, is lightly sanded so the sealer has a surface that it can get a good grip on.

The second picture shows the fender after the application of the sealer. The sealer seals all the layers below it and gives the paint that follows a smooth surface so the paint lays down nice and even. Sealer is available in seven shades of gray, from nearly white to nearly black. This is one of the lighter shades.

Sealer is a good product for protecting the metal, but paint looks better. You can see in the third photo the fender after the application of the base coat, the actual color of the car’s finish. The base coat dries to a nearly flat finish, but that’s ok because the base coat is only to give the finish it’s color. It is the next step that gives automotive finishes their lustrous appearance.

The fourth snap shot shows me, from my good side too, shooting the clear coat. The clear coat not only provides the tough protective coating to the car’s finish, it also gives the paint its depth and gloss.

The last photo, the fifth, show the finder after the application of the clear coat. As you can see the fender now has a rich, deep shine that is the trademark of automotive finishes.

We’ll let this fender dry overnight and then we can install it on the car tomorrow.

Sealing the deal

We finished up the body work on the Chevelle today, right on schedule. All it needed was a bit of final sanding with a fine grit sandpaper to remove the heavy sand marks from the blocking process, and a little touch up sanding in the the corners and such. Since Jordan lives to sand, you can see him sanding out the final places in the hard to reach corners in the first two photos.

After we finished sanding, first Jordan, then I, used compressed air to blow the sanding dust off the car. Because this car required more sanding than the typical car, there was more sanding dust than normal. When Jordan first started blowing the car clean there arose a dust cloud of epic proportions. In the third picture you can see me going over the car again, blowing off the sanding dust after I cleaned body filler out a couple of seams on the car.

In the fourth photo you can see the final step before the car goes into the booth for primer … seam sealer. Seam sealer is applied to all body seams and welds so any imperfections are sealed and protected from moisture so the red menace, rust, has no place to get a toe hold. It takes a few hours for the seam sealer to fully cure, so we will allow the car to sit over night.

A 1965 Chevelle is a good looking car, of that there is no doubt. But I don’t think this mottled camouflaged scheme is the best look for the car. I think we will change that tomorrow.

The finishing touches

Here are a couple of the pieces of the truck that we painted yesterday installed in their proper place. The top most bit, where the chrome cap is sticking out, is a custom made piece.

I painted it, but this custom radiator cover is another example of the metal magic worked over at Murphy Rod & Custom. I think it’s a nice finishing touch.

Say no to crack

This Nissan Versa arrived at the shop yesterday with a slightly damaged front bumper. I thought the damage would buff out but the owner wanted it repaired.

Actually, it takes a pretty good wallop to do this much damage to a bumper. I don’t know what happened to the car, but if you look closely you can see a mark on the corner of the bumper … I am guessing that is the point of impact.

What ever the cause, the bumper was torn away on the left side and there is a nasty crack right in the center of bumper. As bad as this looks, the owner is actually pretty lucky. It is a relatively simple repair, requiring only a replacement bumper and a few clips.

Because of the simple nature of the repair we are going to try to do a quick turn-around on this and have it ready for delivery Friday. Here’s hoping.

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