Monthly Archives: March 2012

Why does my paint look like this?

Today, with this post, I am adding a new feature. I occasionally have people send me questions about the paint on their cars. I have been answering them as I receive them, but now I will begin to answer them here, in a post, in case someone else has the same question. I am calling this feature … Mail Bag.

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Our first question is from 58Setlak …

I drive a Toyata Camry. My car is a metallic black color. I am washing it but something is wrong with the paint work. Day by day, it gets lots of swirl marks and hairline scratches. I have tried washing it, but still the scratches won’t come clean.

It looks like you have great knowledge over cars. I request you to reply in comments or post a new blog post. This will be of great help to your blog readers.

Thank you so much.

Ok, Setlak …

First off, if the finish on your car is already marred and swirled, washing it isn’t going to help. So that is problem number one. The bigger question is, why is the finish marred in the first place?

It is important to know what you are seeing. The swirl marks you see are just what you described, very fine scratches in the paint. Since you described them as swirls I can rule out any kind of environmental damage like  sand or debris. These marks were caused by a person wiping on the car in a circular motion. And no matter how much elbow grease you apply, scratches will not wash off.

But how did they get there you ask?

There could be a number of reasons. If an abrasive polish was improperly used on the car, that could easily mar the finish. Washing the car without first rinsing the car thoroughly to remove loose debris could also cause the marks. Finally, not keeping your wash mitt, rag, or sponge clean while washing the car could also cause these swirl marks. Paint is a fragile thing and it must be treated with care. I have on this site a list of do’s and don’ts for paint care that I give to every customer. You can find that list here, or you can download your own copy here.

So now you know how to prevent swirls in the future, but what about the swirls you have now? Well, you are going to have to polish them out. Polishing is not the same as waxing, though many people use the terms interchangeably. Polishing is the use of a cutting compound to repair damaged paint where waxing is applying a protective film to your cars finish.

Let me be very clear on this … if done improperly, polishing your car can irretrievably ruin your car’s finish. I can’t stress this enough. If you do not know how to use a buffer properly, have someone show you or take it to a professional detailer. Polishing a car is not difficult, but done improperly it can ruin your car’s finish. Did you notice all the italic type? That means I’m not kidding … this can really mess up your car’s finish. So much so that your only recourse is to paint it.

I am not going to try to explain here how to polish a car. I can’t do it, so find someone to show you how it’s done or take it someplace. If you are determined to do it yourself, and you have no one to show you how it’s done, Youtube is your friend. It’s not hard to polish a car, but this is one of those cases where seeing it done is worth a million words.

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If you have a question you would like to see me try answer, post your question in the comments section or send me an email. I will do my best to provide a clear, and hopefully correct, answer.

Flame out!

As if a gloss black crotch-rocket fitted with red LED’s in the head-lamps for that evil alien look at night isn’t eye catching enough, the owner wanted some red flames put on his motorcycle. But not just any red … oh no … he wanted the most retina searing red he could find. OK … I got’cha covered.

The first three pictures show me masking off the pieces to make the flames. I did most of the cutting of the flame shapes in the office so what you see in these photos is me covering everything else. After the masking is complete, the black is what is going to be red, the flames, and what is covered in white paper and yellow tape will remain the factory black.

There are two pieces that are to be painted, but it is really just one part of the bike. The back part, behind the seat, and the fender that covers the rear wheel. They attach together to form the back of the motorcycle.

The next three pictures, numbers four, five and six, show how I get the retina searing in retina searing red paint … it is silver paint. Sprayed as an undercoat to the red candy that is coming later, this combination of silver and red will kick this already vivid red up a notch … or five.

Pictures four and six are of the fender, and you are actually looking at the bottom of the fender. That scooped out looking area is where the tire goes. So yes, the effect after the bike is assembled will be that the flames are coming from the tire. And yes, the design of the bike is such that the underside of the fender is visible if you are low … say like sitting in a car.

Pictures seven, eight and nine show the red going on over the silver. This is a candy red, which means the paint is somewhat translucent and that will allow the silver to show through. And that will seriously amp up this red.

The last four pictures, numbers 10-13, show the final results. I am a little disappointed in how these appear in the photos. In the pictures the red appears red, vivid red, but in person … its, “Ahhhh! My eyes are on fire!” red.

After the parts dry I will give them back to the owner, who happens to work across the street, and he can put them back on his bike. Evil red eyes on the front and scalding red fire shooting out of the back. It’s subtle … nothing too over the top … but I can appreciate that.

The gangs all here

After weeks and weeks of sanding, it is finally time to do a little assembly.

The first picture shows a couple of the major components … the chassis, and behind that, the body. With those two parts, you have most of a car, but also in the shot are the two inner fender wells. Not visible in this shot, but scattered around the shop, is the hood and the front fenders.

The second and third shots show the heart of the car … the Heart Beat of America so to speak. This is the famous Chevrolet small block, a 5.4L mill more famously know as the Chevrolet 327. The refreshed but original drive-train also features the highly desirable four-speed transmission to make this one of the more rare Chevelles. Nice …

The fourth picture show a nice upgrade … the adjustable upper control arms. Being able to adjust the upper arms on the car allows the owner to dial out unwanted suspension movement under hard acceleration. This will give the car better traction at launch by adjusting the pinion angle for reduce wheel hop. And … they look awesome.

Next week we should get the body back on the frame, then this collection of parts and pieces will once again be car. But not just any car … a Chevelle.

Off to bed

Murphy Rod & Custom is about to finish up on Terry’s El Camino. All the major rust repair is complete after the installation of the bed floor. There is still a bit of rust repair needed, but compared to where the car was when he bought it, it is all but rust free now.

Very soon now the car will be turned over to me for paint. When I put my High Performance Finish on top of Murphy Rod & Custom’s excellent metal repair and fabrication, I think this is going to be one to watch.

Sand man

There was a break in the hectic routine of the shop today … enough so that we were actually able to get in a couple of hours of work on the Chevelle.

Last week we final primed the Chevelle after all the blocking. This primer coat covers all the bare metal that was revealed when the car was blocked while also filling in all the sanding marks. So what do you do after you prime the now dead straight body? Why, you block it again of course.

The first two pictures show Jordan blocking the car yet again, but this time with a much finer sand paper. This further smooths the car so when the sealer goes on it will be as near perfectly smooth as possible.

In the last picture you can see the quarter panel that Jordan has already worked on. The majority of the fender is already blocked, with only the very bottom and a bit around the bumper mount and wheel well left to sand.

All this sanding is time consuming, tedious, dirty and hard work. But it is absolutely necessary to achieve the High Performance Finish the customer is expecting.

Happy trails

Now that the rush in the booth is past, I could devote some time to painting this trailer. The first two pictures show the trailer after primer, applied Monday, is sanded smooth. As you can see in the second picture, we at JMC AutoworX use out exclusive anti-grav technology to suspend objects for paint. Pay no attention to those things that look like wires … they’re nothing.

Pictures three and four show the trailer after the the application of the base coat, the color part of the finish. The base coat dries to a near flat finish, as you can see in the photos, but we will fix that in the next step.

The last four pictures, numbers 5-8, show the trailer after the clear coat has been applied. The clear coat not only protects the base coat with a tough plastic shell, it also give the paint its depth and luster.

We will let the shell hang out in the booth for a little while, until the clear dries, then we will take it down and apply some striping to match the trike that will be pulling it.

Then the owner will be ready to hit the trail with their color-matched trailer in tow.

Saying goodbye to an old friend

After being in and out of the shop several times over the last year or so, this 1950 5-window Chevrolet pickup is ready to go home for the last time. Obviously it isn’t finished finished, but the owner will take over once again to fully finish the project.

While this truck didn’t receive the full High Performance Finish treatment, it nevertheless turned out very nice. I’m proud to put the JMC AutoworX stamp of approval on this project.

Dressed out in it’s drop-dead gorgeous red candy pearl paint, this truck can, and will, stand out in any crowd. I once had a customer exclaim that he was going to have to buy another old car for restoration just so he could have it painted this color. While that is a bit over the top, there is no doubt that this red looks fantastic on this truck.

And to keep it looking that way until the owner picks it up, I have put Roxie, the shop dog, on the lookout to make sure no rascally cats jump onto the truck and leave paw prints. You can see her on sentry duty in the first picture. She must be doing a great job because I haven’t seen any cats around.

Scratch that …

Yesterday we sanded down the scratch mark left in this Nissan Rogue by someone with too much time, too little sense, and a key. We weren’t able to get it in the booth yesterday, but today we did.

Because we were painting over good paint, this car didn’t need the normal sealer that some car do. Simply sanding the paint to rough up the clear coat so the new paint could stick is enough. The first two pictures show the Rogue after I sprayed on the base color. Not  a very attractive color is it?

Actually, it is a very nice deep red, but because the base coat has almost no gloss when it dries, the color isn’t shown to best advantage. After the base coat dries I will shoot the car with clear to perk the finish up.

The last two pictures show the same car, same paint, but what a difference the application of clear makes. Where the base coat alone is, well, dull, the clear adds not only protection, but depth and luster to the paint as well.

And yes, the rear hatch and the side really are the same color. The apparent difference in color is just an artifact of how the camera sees the paint when the flash reflects off the paint.

White out

Here is the Jeep fresh out of the paint booth. So fresh, in fact, that the paint was still a little soft when I shot these pictures, which explains why the masking tape is still on the vehicle.

Now that fender is painted back to its original gleaming whiteness, with no ugly cracks, we just have to wait while the sun finishes baking the paint dry, remove the tape, clean it up, and this rugged rig will be ready to go bashing about in the outback once again.

Cracking up

This Jeep has led a rough life. Several years ago the SUV took a tumble down an embankment and into a creek. Looks pretty good for a car that has been rolled doesn’t it? I don’t know who did the original repair, but they did a bang-up job.

Unfortunately for the owner, when the repair was made from that major accident, a little place was missed from on the right front fender. As you can see in the first photo, it isn’t a very big place and while the metal is straight, the paint is cracked. So we sanded it off, down to the metal.

Once the damaged paint was removed, we primed it to make it ready for paint, as you can see in the last two photos. Now it just a matter of finding some time in the booth to get it painted and back to the owner.

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