Monthly Archives: August 2012

Bed time

Near the end of the day we had about an hour or so that we could devote to some small job. While this El Camino project is no small job, it is composed of many small jobs. One of those jobs is to prepare the inside of the bed for priming.

The first photo shows the bed as it was when we started. The new floor, installed by Murphy Rod & Custom, looks great, but the walls and wheel arches … not so much.

We spent a few minutes trying to pull a dent out of a wheel arch but the metal there is thick and tough. It didn’t me very long to realize that trying to pull the dents was an exercise in futility, so we just filled them. There were only a couple of dents that I would have liked to have pulled before filling, the others were to small to worry with, but even the big dents were within the size that can be repaired with body filler.

As tough as the metal is, and as big and deep as some of the dents were, a previous owner must have been chucking boulders or something into the back of this thing. Yeesh. Still, no problem that a little body filler can’t solve as you can see in picture two.

The last picture shows Chris sanding away on the filler. Because this is the inside of the bed we won’t have to make it as nice as the outside. Oh sure, we are going to smooth it up as best we can, but because the inside of the bed is little more than curves and angles, it will look great without the laser straight perfection required on the outside.

I had big plans for this car this week, but alas, circumstances didn’t cooperate. Next week, though … next week.

Rub a dub dub …. big red gets a scrub

We had a minor change of plans today with big red here. After looking over the size of the truck and the size of my paint booth, it became crystal clear that it was going to take two trips through the booth to get this truck painted. There just wasn’t room in there for both the truck and the replacement bedside. I obviously wasn’t thinking yesterday when I said we were going to paint both sides of the truck at the same time.

Be that as it may, we did in fact get the replacement bedside painted today. Looks good too. You can see the side, along with the fender flairs, painted in the first two pictures.

While the bedside was drying in the booth, Chase and I scrubbed down the left side of the truck so it can go in the booth tomorrow and get it’s coat of paint. The process of scrubbing the paint with a fine abrasive, as you can see use doing in the last photo, gently roughs the paint so the new paint will stick.

We won’t get the truck finished tomorrow, but we are going to shoot some paint on it … and that will go a long way toward getting it done and back in the owners hands.

A two-fer

Sometimes all it takes is a nudge, or in this case, a crash, to get you to do something you have been meaning to do all along. Take this Chevrolet truck for example. You can see in the first three photos it took a pretty good whack to the right side. The fender is torn away, the inner fender is damaged and the rear bumper is mangled. This obviously has to be repaired for the truck to look decent again.

So, while the truck is in for these major repairs, the owner decided he would have some work done on the left side of the truck as well. It is not uncommon for an owner to bring me a car or truck that has had some fairly serious damage that insurance is paying for and, while the car is in the shop, have me repair additional damage out of pocket. Such is the case for this truck. Insurance is picking up the tab for the damage on the right side, the owner the bumps and bruises on the left.

The fourth picture show an example of damage to the left side. Nothing serious, something that the owner didn’t feel warranted a trip to the body shop on it’s own. But since it the truck was in the shop anyway …

Picture five shows the tailgate removed from the truck and repairs started. The tailgate was only lightly damaged and you can see in the picture that little more than a sand and paint is going to be required to make the tailgate like new again.

Obviously the right side, with the exception of the tailgate, was too far gone to save and we are going to have to have replacement parts. While waiting on parts, we attacked the much less damaged left side. Pictures 6, 7 & 8 show how we touched up the bumps, rubs and scratches with a bit of filler and sanded it smooth. These areas will be painted later with the rest of the truck, but getting all the preparation work done while we wait on the replacement parts means we can paint almost as soon as the parts arrive.

After getting the body filler sanded smooth, we masked up and primed the repaired areas. You can see me masking the truck in picture nine, and the primed areas in picture ten. Primer seals the repairs and protects them from the elements, ensuring a long lasting repair. It also gives the paint a surface that it can get it’s teeth into for good adhesion.

Once the replacement parts arrive we will be ready to get big red here painted up and out the door.

Into the paint booth!

While the Nissan was out catching some rays, the Ford was masked off, scuffed up, and rolled into the booth.

The first picture shows the truck with the left bedside sanded flat. We will use this panel to blend the repair at the corner and the existing paint has to be roughed up so the new paint will stick.

Blending is a technique  painters use for hiding a repair. The human eye is very good at distinguishing between two colors, even if they are very close in color. An added complication is that it is very difficult to exactly match a color. You can get it close. Really close. But getting it close enough so the eye can’t pick out the difference … that’s hard. Really hard.

Luckily for paint and body men there is a way around the problem. The eye can only distinguish very subtle changes in color if, and only if, the color are adjacent and divided by a clear line. Blending denies the eye that clear line by carefully feathering the new color into the old. This blends the transition, hence the term, between the colors and the eye looks right over the change in color, if there is one, without seeing any change. It’s a handy skill for a painter to have in his tool kit.

The last three photos show the truck after painting. The application of the clear over the sanded area restores the gloss and the truck looks good as new.

We still need to put the truck back together … install the tail-lamp, tailgate and emblems, but for all practical purposes, this truck is done.

Ready to unwrap

First thing this morning we got cracking on this Nissan. Because the car was ready to paint when we called it a day yesterday all we had to do to get started on it this morning was our standard before paint wipe down with a tack cloth.

After the car was painted we let it dry in the booth for a while, then once the paint was dry enough so that dust and debris would no longer stick, we hustled it out into the sun. This not only speeds the drying of the paint by taking advantage of the sun, but it also cleared the booth so we could get something else in there for paint.

These two pictures show the car just after it came out of the booth. The paint is still too soft for us to unmask it, but even with the masking hanging all over it, this is still a good looking car, and that color isn’t hurting it any.

After the sun bakes the paint for a bit we will be able to get the wrapping off the car then, after a quick cleanup, this one will be ready to go home.

Every little bit helps

Even with everything else going on in the shop today we managed to put in a little time on the Satellite.

You can see in these two photos that we have removed the fenders and hood. This is done to simplify the painting process, especially on this car where the fenders and hood are a different color than the top and doors.

We didn’t make a lot of progress on the car today, but we did make some. Sometimes you just have to take what you can get. You know the old saying, “Every little bit helps.”

What a shame

This Nissan 370Z convertible is in the shop for a bit of a touch-up. I’m not sure what happened to the paint on the hood and deck lid … acid rain maybe? … but something made a mess of the paint. It’s a shame too because except for the hood and deck, this is a good looking car.

The nice thing about this type of work is it doesn’t require a lot of work to get ready to paint. Since the paint only looked like poo but wasn’t actually failing, a quick surface sand to rough it up and it is ready to paint.

These two pictures show the car sanded, masked, and ready to shoot.

Any openings?

Yesterday we beat and banged on this Ford F150 until we mostly knocked the dent out. We also had time to get some body filler over the repair to smooth up the repaired area and get the tailgate sanded smooth.

Today we sanded the area under the tail-lamp and got both spots, the area under the tail-lamp and the tailgate, in primer. Primer is used to seal the body repair underneath, to protect it from the elements and thus prevent rust. Primer also provides a surface so that the paint, when applied, has something to grab onto for adhesion.

Now that the truck is ready to paint, we just have to find an open slot in the paint booth schedule.

Welcome EG-6

This is our new Snap-on ECOPlus Air Conditioning Service Center. This handy little device will make it so much easier to service air conditioning systems on damaged cars because we can now do all the service in-house.

But really, Snap-on ECOPlus Air Conditioning Service Center? That’s quite a mouth full. “Quick, someone bring me the Snap-on ECOPlus Air Conditioning Service Center!” Nope, I don’t think that is going to work.

I hereby dub thee … EG-6.

Putting it all together

Friday we painted this Escape so that today we could focus on getting all the parts put back on. You can see in this series of photographs the assembly of the Escape.

The truck arrived back in the shop on Wednesday of last week late in the day. We ground the welds and smoothed the repairs on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday, and painted it on Friday. Today we spent the entire day working on the reassembly of the vehicle, trying to expedite the repair since it was at the frame straightener for so long.

Tomorrow we will send this truck to cleanup then it will be ready to go home. It took a while to get started on the repair, but once we started on it, we rolled pretty well.

%d bloggers like this: