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Old 09-23-2006, 10:26 AM
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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
 
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What is your filler/primer finishing procedure?

As you may know these days I am working in a production collision shop. About 25 employees, two down draft heated booths, etc. We do about 150 cars a month, most being only a few years old (or even brand new never sold for Toyota).

We use a DTM iso free high solids (like what isn't these days) primer in the paint shop. I think I know the answer to my question but I am doing this for one of the other bodymen in the shop. If you work in a collision shop does your paint shop block and prime more than once? We finish off our filler work in 180 for the paint department to feather edge in 180 and prime. They apply three coats of primer then block with 220 and 320 and sand for paint (400 or 500).

Most of the bodymen in the shop can easily finish the work off NICE and in 180 so this system works good. I will look at bodywork right after it is primed with this primer that really has a high gloss, almost like a SS paint. If the bodyman did a nice job it looks super nice without even blocking. The paint shop needs to do little blocking and all is good.

Yesterday an apprentice finished a very difficult repair on the rear of a 2004 Chevy truck quarter with strange body lines going every different direction and dips and highs in the stranges ways. He did an awsome job and in shiny primer the only flaws I saw were the featheredge! It looked like it had already been blocked and reprimed, it looked real nice.

Some bodymen can't pull this off though and insist that the it is the paint shops job to block and reprime all work. The paint company tech reps say this is a "standard" what are you doing at your shop?

I should add that we are an hourly shop with bonuses. You will hear from some bodymen that the paint shop doesn't want to earn their money by working and crap like that. But to tell you the truth, it was just the same before we had the bonus program. The bodymen think it is "good enough" and the paint shop should finish it up by blocking.

What is your take?

Doing custom work blocking and priming a couple of times is a given, but I am blown away at how good some of the bodymen can get their work. I noticed that the guy that is complaining the most is a guy who does work at home (some restoration) and does his own priming and blocking. So he feels that the priming and blocking is "needed" because he relys on it. I used to feel the same way, the first time I went to work at a shop who demaned the filler be left in 180 and near perfect I was saying the same thing. But I have found that it really isn't any harder to do that so less primer is needed. In doing restoration or custom work I don't think it should be any different, do the bodywork good enough to only need one application of primer. If you block it and reprime you can really get a super nice end product without much work.

But I am wondering, what are most people doing in collision shops?

Brian

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Old 09-23-2006, 10:53 AM
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Every area is different I guess. Here the body tech is responsible for the finish body work. If the panel is wavy, it is his fault, not the paint shop's. Of 4 shops that I worked in, 3 had the body techs shoot their own primer. The other one had a guy that only did "cut-ins" and primer. Before the cars went to paint, they had a guide coat sprayed on them first. The paint shop sanded only enough to remove the guide coat, and prep for paint. If there was a problem with the body work not being straight, it was the body tech's problem. The paint shop would usually send it back before painting it, although sometimes it went thru that way. If the paint shop sanded enough to hit filler, it was their baby then. They were not even allowed to have any paper courser than 320 in the paint shop at one place.

I know, if you look in the "Estimating Guides", in the "P pages". it will say "finish to 180". Although I always felt as though I was required to go further than what I was being paid for, the finish product was my responsibility. If I replace a quarterpanel, and the sail panel isn't right, it isn't the paint shop that the customer is going to blame, it's the body man that worked on their car, that didn't get it right. They don't know who did the sanding and priming.

Then again, except for the small shops, here everyone is paid on commission. You only get paid to do it once. Not much time for screwing around.

Aaron
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Old 09-23-2006, 10:54 AM
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There are all different levels of collision shops for sure Brian. I've only worked in a few over the years, but most didn't do anywhere near what they tell you to do for a correct reapair. The dealership I worked at in the early 90's would do things like spray lacquer primer on stripped bumpers or sanded down hoods and prime within a half hour or so, Didn't even bother using a sealer on things like that. They did use 2k primer on the exterior body, but never an epoxy primer. A used car dealer, bodywork was done, 2k primed and bodywork areas were blocksanded with 180 and then gone over with 320 on a da before paint and sealed. The semi place I work at now, Primer doesn't get blocked, we just do the bodywork, finish it down to 180, prime and da the primer. Sometimes they are sanded only with 180 and sealed on old bones, newer ones 320. I do believe the painters normally variprime baremetal, rust areas, but bodywork is done right over metal. Some things I just shake my head and don't like doing, but if you do the mudwork well it can look pretty straight and nice, at least out the door it does. These places all abused fiberglass filler at times. Only the shop I worked in part time while still in tech school and one other collision shop has used any epoxy primer and blocked out primer and reprimed. They also did wetsand final which the others did not, and either finished out the metalworking well or replaced the part.The boat builder I worked at acid washed, etch primed, did filler work on the fabricated parts, Then they got 2k primed, board filed with 180, reprimed and 320 da'd. There was some pretty large areas we had to spread filler on to straighten. At home I normally only need one priming, block with 180 and its pretty straight in most cases.I do wetsand my final prmer with 400-600 and seldom ever use a sealer. When you work in shops taking such shortcuts, a used car dealer where sometimes whole quarters are filler, and doing large areas on fabricated parts, you learn at least how to do good straight filler work without a bunch of pinholes and finished out well enough. You also get pretty good with a 8" orbital. Good thing I didn't pick up bad habits and do much more on stuff I do at home, but you do know some things you can do to save some time and still have a good repair.
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Old 09-23-2006, 12:20 PM
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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
 
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I have started using a procedure that really helps with feeling the filler. A lot of what you are feeling on the final stages finishing off filler are scratches or irregularities in the surface texture and not highs or lows in the filler. When block sanding you are of course going in a number of different directions, this causes an irregular texture that can be felt and throw you off, good and bad ways. You could "think" there is some high spot there that you need to block (and you continue sanding) all the while it was perfect and you were feeling this texture of scratches from previous blocking.

So, what I have begun to use on a regular basis is a piece of 400 and sand the panel in a circular motion to "kill" all the irregular scratches from the blocking.

It works like a charm and you can REALLY feel what you have.

Brian
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Old 09-24-2006, 10:23 AM
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I would say that 99% of the time the job should be able to be completed with only one application of primer. Once in a while a job comes along that may be an exception, and in those cases the bodyman should talk to the paint shop about the possibility of a reprime. Most shops I have been in will accommodate this every now and then on difficult repairs, though usually the paint shop will prime and send it back to the bodyman for blocking in these cases, since really it's the bodyman who is responsible for the shape and straightness of the panel in a collision shop.
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Old 09-24-2006, 10:29 AM
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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crashtech
"since really it's the bodyman who is responsible for the shape and straightness of the panel in a collision shop".
You said it all right there. The paint shop is GOING to block it so they should of course make up for any tiny irregularities but the work shouldn't need to be "fixed", isn't that what the bodyman was supposed to do? Thanks for the imput.

Brian
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Old 09-24-2006, 02:08 PM
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You know, there are two sides to every story. After thinking about my experiences in different shops over the years, it's clear that no technician is perfect. Each will have his strong and weak points. If management retains a tech that has poor filler finishing skills, it's most likely because he is really good at something else, or so fast that monetarily it still makes sense to keep him around, even if the paint shop has to spend extra time on his work. In a perfect world, all tech would have perfect skills. But that's not been my experience.

If the tech(s) in question have other redeeming qualities, perhaps they could be paired with helpers who have better filling & blocking skills, or if they don't really have much to offer, they should be fired. I say that as someone who has personally attempted to change the habits of techs in my charge, and has seen others attempt the same thing, with an extremely high failure rate. Good luck trying to change a guys ways. Women have been trying unsuccessfully for years, lol!
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Old 09-24-2006, 03:17 PM
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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
 
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I am not trying to "change his ways", I am actually asking this question for him. He as complaining about it and I just said, If this is a standard of the industry then WE have to learn to work with it. If the paint manager is asking more than that then he will have to learn to work with us.

He is a very good tech in every single thing except that final sanding of filler, he has a problem with it. He is not the only one, there are a couple of guys who have a problem on a regular basis. All of us do including me, once in a while the paint shop turns somehthing down that all of us do. Sometimes I think they are going over board but most of the time I think they are right and I am happy to correct my mistake to complete the repair and get it out the gate. The thing is this guy and another are getting really pizzed at it and I honestly think they need to change thier ways for the paint shop. It seems like the right thing to do for the shop.

The one guy who I am actually posting this for even when to the "MARTINSR" filler class I worked with him for a few days and he really came around but he has a blockage on the whole "Paint shop is getting away with murder" line that just stops him.

Brian

Brian
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Old 09-24-2006, 04:51 PM
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Maybe now that he has been to the MARTINSR filler finishing class, he needs to attend the new "MARTINSR paint shop diplomacy class"
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