Daily Archives: May 23, 2012

A better bimmer

Now that all the bent pieces on this BMW have been massaged into shape, it is time to paint.

The first photo was taken at the end of the day yesterday. It shows a bit of the car in primer, but because we had to wait for the primer to dry we weren’t able to start painting until today.

The second and third photos have the car and bumper in the booth and sprayed with sealer. The sealer seals all the primers and body fillers use before and prepares the surface for paint. It also provide a consistent base color, selected from one of seven shades of gray and determined by the paint color, so that the paint will match from section to section.

The fourth photo shows the car after the base coat has been applied. The base coat is the part of the automotive finish that actually provides the color to the finish. The base coat dries to a near flat finish which is why the paint looks so dull and lifeless in the photograph.

The remainder of the photographs, numbers 5 & 6, show the car after the clear coat has been applied. Clear coat is a tough, thick, coating sprayed over the base coat to provide protection and gloss to the finish. As you can see the clear coat makes a huge difference in how the paint appears, brightening and adding some zing to the previously dull finish.

Now that the car is painted we will let the paint dry thoroughly overnight and we will begin putting it back together tomorrow. Then this bimmer, better than ever, will be ready to go home with its owner.

Pull it out … pull it out … pull it waaaay out

The door for this Civic, damaged in a parking lot mix-up, is a total write-off, but the fender is a different matter. That we can save with the application of a little brute force.

The technique we use, demonstrated in these photographs, is typically called pulling the dent. In the first photo you can see that a stud, the little metal barb that looks like a nail, is welded to the car body where the dent is to be pulled out. The slide hammer, the device seen in the hand, is attached. The ram, which you can see cupped in the right hand, is slid along the length of the shaft until it strikes the anvil. The force of the blow is transferred to the attached stud, pulling the metal out.

By varying the force of the blow and the location and direction of the stud, a body man can tease the sheet metal of a car back into position … or close enough that the final smoothing can be done with body filler. The second photo shows the dent after it has been removed.

The last photo shows me first cutting off, then grinding smooth, the attached stud.

Now that the dent has been pulled we can smooth over any slight deformations left in the bodywork so the damage is completely hidden.

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