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Old 08-04-2004, 09:31 PM
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Spraying tri stage bc/cc question

I'm considering redoing the rear wrap around bumper on my 02 Bravada. Its the tri stage paint, which i've never done. What are the steps for doing this? I figure scuff the paint with 400 wet then start. I assume its a base coat, a pearl coat and then clear. Any info greatly appreciated.
Thanks, Jerry

ps: the left quarter, rear door and wrap around were repaired/painted after an accident and they had to respray the quarter panel and door, but forgot the wrap around. I don't feel like taking it back to them.

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Old 08-04-2004, 11:25 PM
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Not knowing the color we don't know if it is a mid coat pearl or a "candy" like mid coat. But either way the plan of attack will be basically the same.

First off, why do you want to repaint it? Does it have some damage?

We will forget about damage, that is a whole different issue and just start with repainting an already painted bumper.

Depending on the paint you are using there are some recommendations for adding hardener to the base (if that is not a standard procedure with that particular base) hardly any quality urethane clears will require a flex additive so you most likely can forget about that.

As far as the three stage, matching color is the biggest issue. The rest is a piece of cake. You will want to do a "let down panel". This is where you get a spray out card or similar (the spray out card is a black and white card stock paper card you get from your paint store) and paint the base color on it. Then you will want to mask off about three quarters of the card and paint one coat of the mid coat on the remaining one quarter section. After some flash time remove the masking and move it back a quarter, spray another coat over both the bare base and the area you applied the mid coat first. Then move it back another quarter and spray another coat over the whole thing, the bare base, the second place you uncovered and the first, then with the last section exposed spray the whole thing. After a full flash (look at the tech sheets, around 30 minutes)
What this will do is give you a spray out card with the mid coat in one, two, three and four coats. The color will be different with them all, you need to find the one that most closely matches your cars color. Hold your sprayout card up to the car near the back where the bumper meets the body. Do this in the sun so you get a true color representation.

Pick the one that most closely matches and now you know how many coats to apply on the bumper.

Wash it with soap and water, then wax and grease remover. I prefer to scuff something like that bumper with a gray 3M scuff pad and "scuff gel" instead of "sanding". After that, wash it down with soap and water, wax and grease remover again and you are ready to rock.

Spray the base, then after proper flashing apply the required coats of the mid coat to acheave the color match and then clear it. That is all there is to it.
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Old 08-04-2004, 11:53 PM
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Thanks for the info. Its a red tint metallic. The wrap around is close and probably most people wouldn't even notice. But i know it's not the same so i'm always noticing it. I really haven't decided whether to spray it or not, but wanted the info just in case i get crazy and decide to try it one day.
Jerry
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Old 08-05-2004, 12:02 AM
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That would be a candy mid coat. The base believe it or not may not even be very red at all. Some are a very blue red and the red tinted clear mid coat makes the color that you see. A "Let down" panel is an absolute necessity!

Using the same brand paint they used at the shop would greatly increase your odds of a good color match, at least to that new paint.
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Old 08-05-2004, 08:15 PM
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Jerry

Martinsr has some good points. I do want to point out that the bumper covers do not normally match perfectly from the factory. As an insurance adjuster and also as a body shop estimator, I used to always point that out to the customers when I was estimating the vehicles. I have seen many times, when the bumper cover was painted at the same time as the rest of the vehicle, that they still didn't match exactly. I am not a paint expert as Martinsr is, so I can't say scientifically why, they just don't. I would suggest that you look at both sides and see how close it is. If it somehow ends up matching the side that was repainted, it may be worse off on the other side. Atleast if you are going to repaint, compare the card to both sides before spraying anything. You may be surprised how different the colors are on the sides.
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Old 08-05-2004, 10:57 PM
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Jerry, you are absolutely right. I should have mentioned that. I am always the guy to "talk you out of it". There is no need to paint the bumper if YOU are the only person to see it. I can not stress enough, if you have asked others and they don't see the mismatch, for goodness sakes leave it alone.

Honestly Jerry, the reason the bumpers don't match is simple, application variance. There is NO reason what so ever why the bumper wouldn't match perfect. Other than the days of flex additives, which are not needed as a rule anymore.

Many times the bumpers are painted off the car, they are simply painted a little different than the car by the painter. A little drier, a little wetter, less coats, "Something" is different between the two parts.

I am of course talking about when the car, or part of the car that is adjacent to the bumper are painted at the same time as the bumper. If the bumper is painted at a different time with different paint, than of course the mismatch could be simply the paint isn't the correct color.

My previous statments where refering to when the bumper and quarter panel were painted at the same time in repair of accident damage.
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Old 08-06-2004, 01:01 AM
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I've painted overalls with the bumpers on the car and had them come out darker almost every time. Simple logic will answer that one. Dissimilar materials. uneven dry times due to the difference in temperature, material, etc.

Something else that I have never done is to paint a let down panel. OK, let me re-phrase that, I did it once, piddled around forever trying to get it just right, then decided screw it, I can blend it and have it done in about a tenth the time it takes to paint the let down panels, keep checking for color match, etc. I;ve never had a problem blending tri-coats. Probably due to the custom paint experience that most production painters don't have. I'm not saying I'm better, I just have no use for let down panels, so it's not a necessity for everyone. Only if your scared to blend tri-coats. The local Chevrolet dealership can't paint a tri-coat to save them!! Every one I've seen that they painted looked horrible!

Unless you plan to blend into your quarter, leave it be. You'll never be happy with it.
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Old 08-06-2004, 07:04 AM
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I never use a let down either and agree.

One of the best things you can do as a novice painter is go down the phone book and call paint jobbers and see who has the tri-stage in a single pack. Some of the premium paint companies such as SPIES, DEBEERS and a few others have the base and 2nd stage mixed together. Color match is top notch and even though the premium companies charge more it will be cheaper to buy one quart than two quarts. And most important its more fowl proof!
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Old 08-06-2004, 07:18 AM
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Thanks for all the replies everyone. I probably won't attempt it, but i wanted to know just in the off chance i decided to try it. Since my wife is already talking about trading in a year or so, i may as well leave it alone.
Jerry

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Old 08-06-2004, 08:14 AM
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Jerry, I think you are dead right in leaving this one alone.

Randy, your theory on dissimilar materials and heat makes sense. If a part of the car were subjected to different temps, than it will be a different tempature. However, if all the part have been in the same place and subjected to the same temp, THAN THEY ARE THE SAME. The way one material disapates heat may be different, but the item it's self will be the same heat as all the other items subjected to the same heat. The tiny bit of disapation difference "can" make a difference in how metallic is laid. However, not enough to show the difference that is usually seen in these color mismatches. The factory (most cars) paints the bumper at a different time than the car, sometimes in a different factory! Of course the colors are going to be off.

If the dissimilar materials were the answer than a late model Camaro, Fiero, Some Mercedes, Some Cadillacs and many other cars with plastic fenders, doors, aluminum or fiberglass hoods and so on matched with steel quarters, doors would look like a rainbow.

The substrate color, or spraying application is what changes the color on those bumpers. I am not saying "Some" color difference can't be blamed on the material. What I am saying is it is an "old husbands tale" to say the bumper doesn't match because it is not steel.

You are right, a custom painter should be a lot better at application of three stage than a production painter. However, I have to assume Jerry is not a custom painter so I would think an explaination of how he would do it is what he was after. An explaination of how a pro does it may not help.

I personally do a let down panel. Color matching every day is the job of a production painter. Knowing when the car goes in the booth you have the color and you just shoot the thing is the key. When you have five or six cars waiting behind it you want the car to leave the booth and move on to the next step, not have to be redone.

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Old 08-06-2004, 09:21 PM
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Brian,
Maybe I have a more color variation sensitivity then you, cuz I do see a difference in the color on cars with plastic fenders. Normally mostly on the Camaro/Firebirds since the same, or very close to that of the bumpers. Different materials will not be the same temp. We have one of those fancy 'touchless' temperature read out dealies that the boss uses to check exhaust temps of each cylinder on his race car. According to it, there's a big enough difference to throw the color. You can also see it in flash times if you pay close attention. Maybe I'm too fanatical.

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Old 08-12-2004, 05:07 AM
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I've had several '90s vintage Cadillacs. I don't notice it on the fenders but the rear plastic cap and the mirrors have been a detectably different shade on every one of them.
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