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Old 01-03-2014, 06:26 PM
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Factory Paint Question

I'm restoring an old Suburban that I have had in Southern California since I got it new. It has a serious paint problem on the roof and hood that I'll probably have repainted after getting it down to bare metal. But I want to understand what happened to this paint. I have always had a suspicion that something was wrong with it.

Several very large spots on the hood and roof have, over time, begun to look like a cat has been clawing through it. It is just covered with deep scratch or crack or peel marks.

While the hood is fairly rust free, the roof has a lot of surface rust. I started sanding this out to bare metal with my air sander and I notice that the rust looks like it is actually underneath good paint. I was beginning to think there was a brown paint undercoat, but I don't see this when I sand the hood, where there is not so much rust. When I feather these rusty spots out into what looks like undamaged paint, I am still seeing this brown under the "good" paint.

I have heard that sometimes, the factory paint can go bad due to improper surface preparation. Is it possible this was bad right out of the factory? Is there an expression for that? (I may have heard the expression like "poisoned paint" at some time.)

If this is what I have, then I definitely need to go down to bare metal. But I may want to look more carefully over the entire body before I start, to see if the entire vehicle is going to need this.

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Old 01-03-2014, 08:56 PM
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What year is the suburban you are working on? The "brown" you are seeing could be red oxide color primer instead of rust. As for the cracking depending on year of the truck it could be lacquer paint and the cracking is a fairly normal result after several years of weathering. Is there any evidence that the hood has ever been repainted? That could explain the different conditions of the two flat surfaces, as could the difference in the hood being over the engine and the top being over the passenger compartment and getting a different environment fromthe underside. If you provide a little more information we can likely provide the right path for a long lived sucessful repaint.

Kelly
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:32 PM
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That's pretty much normal for original paint on the older stuff (pre 80's) be thankful it isn't newer 90's or newer it'll last 5yrs tops... before that starts...
even though the quality of the paint and clear have been drastically improved to a new level so has the greed of the auto makers.They can now use less paint and clear and the clear that has the most UV protection is very thin..its not uncommon to see a 2010 vehicle with whitish or peeling clear....
but your right to want to strip it to the metal if you want a good, long lasting paint job...always use epoxy primer over bare metal.....or your wasting your time.
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:35 PM
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Well, I can't be thankful it isn't newer 90's. It's a '94. I suppose that rules out red-oxide primer? Also, wouldn't the red-oxide primer be used under all the paint over all of the body?

If it's rust, I am curious how it gets underneath what looks like good paint. It takes a little work to get down to it, as if the paint is really solid. It's not sanding off as easily as the surface rust, which comes off immediately when I hit it with the palm sander.
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:50 PM
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What you have there is your basic factory BC/CC failure that happen with about every manufacturer both domestic and import. From the 80's thru the 90's this was VERY common.

The cause ran the gambit from applying the clear too soon trapping solvent from the uncured basecoat under the clear and it just peeled off in big sheets. To the clear being too thin and not providing the UV protection so the basecoat color simply turned to chalk which was GM's problem I believe.

There were dealers around that were doing darn near assembly line stripping and repainting. I had a place near me that had a full blown paint booth used just for plastic media blasting of near new GM cars and repainting them. I had them strip a few cars for me, they really came out nice.

Brian
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:55 PM
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once the clear breaks down ,and exposing the base and then the primer from the sun beating down on it AND from being too thin theres nothing to prevent moisture from seeping through to the metal causing the rust...
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:57 PM
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Yep, the paint is about worthless without the UV protection from the clear. It breaks down to dust basically.

Brian
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Old 01-04-2014, 06:25 AM
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I agree with what the others have said. The late 80's early 90's were not good years for factory paint. Could you post a few pictures of the areas you are talking about? I am still curious about the possible rust or whatever you are dealing with under the paint. It could likely be rust, if the clear has failed or it has been painted over in recent years, but I am wondering if someone has already done a quicky type job and sanded it down, sprayed a red oxide primer or sealer and repainted. Pictures would help my curiosity, but none the less if you are willing to go to bare metal and start back with quality materials, that is the best way to go regardless of whether it is rust or primer. If you are going to take it to bare metal, I recommend doing it in sections or panel at a time, coating each panel with a quality epoxy after stripping to prevent rust forming again before you get it all stripped and primed.

Kelly
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Old 01-04-2014, 08:28 AM
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I don't know if this is another consideration, but... it seems to me that the nasty paint I saw on some '80s Chevy trucks here in Arizona was attributed to a California GM assembly plant forced to use "environmentally friendly" paint. The paint on them was failing and breaking down when only a few short years old.

I know from my conversations with west coast painters, that even today the paints available for use there are little improved.
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Old 01-05-2014, 05:44 PM
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Some pictures of the paint

As requested, here are some pictures of the paint. This is the original paint, and I am the original owner, by the way. Before I thought to take these pictures, I had already taken my palm sander to the roof and hood and removed nearly all of the visible rust, except that which is showing up under the paint.

This is a wide view of the forward part of the roof. Many months back, I had lightly sanded away the rust that I could see and painted it over with rustoleum primer. I didn't have much rust at all regenerate where I put the primer on. YOu can see two spots sanded down to metal. These had not been primer coated. The later pictures show these spots up closer. (The black line is the shadow of the luggage rack, which is right below the shadow.)



One of the larger spots on the roof that I sanded down to metal. The brown at the feathered edge looks like rust.



Another spot on the roof showing the brown at the feathered edge:



In the roof picture, you can see the cracking of the paint.



Moving to the hood, here you can see how the paint is cracked, but there is no evidence of rust. Not like the roof, at all.



Another of the hood, no rust.



And finally, this shows the edge of the hood (top) and the fender (bottom). What you see on the hood has had very little sanding; it is the damaged paint. The paint looks very good on the fender and on all of the sides of the vehicle. Only the hood and roof look bad. (The good paint is showing the reflection of my hand and arm.) By the way, for what it may be worth, the original paint is called Teal Green, which is a bi-color metal-flake. Depending on the lighting, it can appear to be green or blue.


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Old 01-05-2014, 07:09 PM
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I agree that it appears to be rust in the pictures. I was just wondering if it had been primed with red oxide at some point. From the pictures, it looks like the paint failed and is letting moisture through causing the rust as stated previously by others. Why is the hood not rusted like the top? Well, honestly I have no idea, but that seems to be the way they all do when the paint fails on those models. One explanation I was given years ago was (its a stretch, but somewhat feasible I suppose) the heat from the engine keeps the surface of the hood dryer and therefore there is less rust forming. Now is that the real reason? Doubt it, but who knows?

No matter the reason or explanation, you are taking the right path to repair it. Take it to bare metal, then prime with a quality epoxy, then paint. Keep in mind, even though the sides look fine now they were painted at the same time with the same products and procedures. How much longer will the sides last, is a question without answer. Good luck with the project and thanks for the pictures. I hope one of the replies has offered the help you were looking for.

Kelly
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Old 01-05-2014, 07:43 PM
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Those areas you have shown were repainted in Lacquer at some time. Likely when the paint/clear originally failed back in the nineties. That cracked paint is lacquer.

Brian
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Old 01-06-2014, 05:13 AM
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you shouldnt need to strip the sides ,its pretty common to strip top surfaces only..
.The rustolium is good to temporarily protect the metal but strip all that off too.
I think you should remove the hood and bring it inside where its easier to work on and warmer...strip and epoxy the hood be sure the metal temp is above 50degrees (no less than 60 for me) epoxy dont like to be cold...I use an epoxy from SPI that sands easily so I dont need any other primers...plus its very good quality and the cost is right...once the epoxy has cured ,guide coat it and wet sand with 400 and your ready to paint...the epoxy comes in a few colors but I think gray is your best bet with teal..
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:13 PM
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Also I forgot to mention this earlier, but before you sand yourself to death, try a sharp razor blade to remove the paint. Usually when it is that cracked, you can get most of it off with a razor blade scraper. That will save you a lot of time.

Kelly
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Old 01-10-2014, 11:21 AM
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Thanks for the tip about the razor blade. It works pretty well, and I am getting some quick looks at clean metal when I move beyond rust spots in the pictures. So not all of the paint failed. I guess that could have been expected.
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