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Old 10-10-2012, 06:46 PM
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Look, I'm all for DIY, but how many times have you handled a paint spray gun? You need a reasonably good one, though you can make do with a Harbor Freight special.

The best way to get a good but cheap paint job is to take it to Maaco or whatever the cheap paint job places around are. Now hold off and listen guys!! You do all the body work as if you're going to paint it. Include removing all the trim and everything. All you want Maaco or whoever to do is spray on paint. You might get a run or two near the rocker or something like that, but what do you think you're going to do? Unless you're fairly handy with a spray gun and get it set up just right you'll have more than a couple hard to find runs. If nothing else the kid at Maaco can handle a spray gun better than most first timers. If he's only worked there a week he's already sprayed 20+ cars, so he's had a little practice. Prep is 90% of the paint job. YOU DO THAT!! I've had a few cars sprayed like this at different places (I was USAF for 24 years, didn't stay in one place long enough to have anyone paint two cars!). They all came out AT LEAST as good as I could have done it myself, and for not much more than paint would have cost me (they get it at a discount since they buy so much). They also have a proper spray booth. Every time I've taken a car over that was 99% prepped for them they have taken a bit of extra care spraying it. One because I saved them a lot of time and work, and two because it's obvious I want it to look as good as I can for a limited budget. Well, they just like spraying something out of the ordinary too -- gets looked at, you tell where it was painted, they get more business. So it pays them in the long run. Where they make most of their money is in extra body work. Take it in there for the $250 special (no door jambs) and they will lightly scuff it, mask it off (will mask over anything left on), and spray it. You probably want to get the sealer (seals old paint before spraying new), but I'd skip the clear coat. So you end up with around $400 in a paint job. You can spend that on paint and a cheap spray gun.

You might want to get a touch-up gun and spray the dash and door jambs, and maybe under hood and other places yourself. For those I'd use a single stage and spray in light coats (kind of like spraying with a rattle can).

Base/clear is considered easier for a novice because the base goes on rather dry and doesn't easily run. It will be flat. The clear can run easy, but you can sand runs out as long as you don't over do it and go through the clear. If you do go through the clear you have to re-clear the whole panel. You can't touch-up base/clear easily. You can get by clearing from a body seam or trim line down (or up, or across) to the edge of a panel, but if you try to mask off an area and just clear that you will have a very hard time trying to blend the clear in. Some say they can do it/have done it, but I don't know of a commercial shop that will even try to touch up a small area like that. If chips and touch-ups are a concern, use a single stage paint.
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