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nightrain_rod 12-12-2003 05:44 PM

Maaco vs. At-Home Paint Job
I've been stumped at the decision on what to do about my 1992 Ranger.The paint is faded and I'd really like it to shine better.More or less,it's heavily oxidated.After you wax it out,it'll look good for awhile,then it'll go back to the same state.Of course,this is a "hand-wax job" so to speak.I haven't used a buffer or consulted with a detail shop about a professional buffer job.I will probably spend my money on that first before I decide on what to do about a paint job.

Now,here's the thing..If it does come down to a paint job,should I do it myself or take it to Maaco?If I get a better paint job than their "economy" shot,would it be just like a professional job and last for years?What I'm looking for is a paint job that is equal to a new factory job or better.Can Maaco give me that and it actually last for 5-10 years or longer if it's taken care of properly,(i.e.Weekly wash,Monthly wax,etc.)?

Or,do I do it myself?I have no experience in body work,but my uncle is certified in auto-body.The only thing is,he doesn't really have a "paint-room".Of course,he does have the proper painting setup,he just lacks a dust-free area.He does have a shop though,so I figure that we could throw up some plastic and create a make-shift paint booth.

I just want to get it over with for a decent price.I don't really want to spend over $750,but I guess that I could mark it up to $1,000.That will make the truck look better and also have a better resale value if it ever comes down to that.

Any help on this is appreciated.If you've had any experience with Maaco or know anyone who has,let me know how it went.I know that none of you really approve of them,but if I can get a quality paint job,they'll work fine for me.



Centerline 12-12-2003 05:53 PM

When it comes to quality paint jobs and Maaco the two don't even belong in the same room together.

Any paint job from one of the mass production paint shops, Maaco, Earl Shibe or whatever will be of low quality simply because they are interested in high volume at a low cost. Thats how they make their money. That and talking you into $500 worth of body work while they're at it.

You can do the paint job yourself and yes plastic will work for a temporary paint booth. The big concern is breathing equipment. If you use any modern paint you will need pressure breathing equipment. The Iso's in todays paints can kill you so make sure you protect yourslef.

Good luck,


Mav 12-12-2003 06:17 PM

I disagree
I disagree centerline ... About 6 years ago i went to maaco with an 88 buick laSabre ... The body was cherry exept for the paint , It was flaking off .. I did all the prep work my self ,sanding exc. they shot it the same color and it was beutiful ... I sold the car last year and it still looked like it rolled off the show room floor ...

About 4 years ago i had a 78 ford PU painted by maaco, Again I did the prep work only this time there was alot more body work involved. But when they got it ,It was ready for paint ... 4 years later the truck still looks great ... They used the Shermin Williams brand paint with both cars and if i remember correctly the buick cost me about $400 and the truck was a little over $500 Because they shot the bed with rino coat ...

If you have your car painted there just remember this ... After its done ,If your not satisfied with the quality (Orange peal,runs what not) make them do it again ... Dont accept the car until its done to your satisfaction ...

nightrain_rod 12-12-2003 06:19 PM


Originally posted by Centerline
When it comes to quality paint jobs and Maaco the two don't even belong in the same room together.
Thanks for the tip Centerline.I wasn't sure,so I figured that I'd ask.My uncle is sure to have everything we will need to do the job,but if he doesn't,he knows where we can get it.

Are those paints,primers,hardeners,reducers,clearcoats,etc. off of eBay worth the money or would it be better to go with brand-name painting products?


mitmaks 12-12-2003 06:39 PM

maaco sucks *** man, do it yourself, im so pissed at them stupid *******s, wont give me job for over year, saying that they "dont have business", bull crap, whenever im there its full of cars.

adtkart 12-12-2003 06:51 PM

I have seen alot of posts for and against Maaco. I will only say this. The shops all have the same name, but they are all independantly owned. The quality of the work depends on the onwership and management. At one time we had 3 Maaco shops in this area. 2 of the shops have now changed their names. They had real good reputations, and appear to have just gotten away from the name and costs of the franchises. The other shop is still in business and doing a ton of business. The owner of that shop deals with his customers daily and takes pride in the work and his business. If I had to take one of my vehicles into a shop to be painted, I wouldn't hesitate to use them Also one of the previous Maaco shops painted my mother-in-law's car about 10 years ago. She is 79 years old and doesn't put many miles on the car, but doesn't take care of the exterior either. It is parked in an apartment parking lot most of the time. The paint still has a great shine and has had no problems with peeling. The only problem I had with the paint job was that they painted over the parking dings, rather than selling her the repairs, because she only ask about having it repainted.

Centerline 12-12-2003 07:38 PM

Re: I disagree

Originally posted by Mav
They used the Shermin Williams brand paint with both cars and if i remember correctly the buick cost me about $400 and the truck was a little over $500 ...
Having been a manager for one of those shops in my younger days I'd be willing to bet that your vehicles received the same quality paint in the same amounts as their el-cheapo paint special.

I can't prove that's actually what happened but that's the way these high production shops operate. They get them in the door, then sell the body work and whatever paint job the customer has in mind. However once t car gets in the booth each one gets exactly the same treatment. Same paint, same quantity and same quality.

It would appear you took good care of yours since they looked good for that long.



Originally posted by nightrain_rod
Are those paints,primers,hardeners,reducers,clearcoats,etc. off of eBay worth the money or would it be better to go with brand-name painting products?
Paint is one thing I would never buy off e-bay. You can't be sure of the age, color or anything else that way.

Shop around your area and find out what manufacturer has a good local supplier. Buy all your paint from the same place and always use the same brand from start to finish. Modern paints are marvels of chemistry and they are formulated to work together, primer, color, clear, etc. They often don't work well with another brand because of differences in the chemical makeup of the paint.

Good luck,


nightrain_rod 12-12-2003 10:38 PM

Thanks again Centerline.

Okay,so let's say I go with an at-home paint job.I've got all of my tools,masks,etc.All I need to get is my paints and my supplies.Could you give me a list of the things that I would need,(i.e. Sandpaper,Masking Tape,etc.)?That would really help.The paint job on my Ranger is the original,so I'll just rough it up,then primer,paint,and clear.How does that sound?


kenseth17 12-13-2003 02:41 AM

Yes, if the original paint is in good condition, not peeling or anything like that sand and paint over it. factory paint in good condition is a great base. Get a two part filler primer if you have any bodywork that has to be done. Not seeing the vehicle makes it hard to give you a list of what you need. Any areas like dents would have to be ground to metal, filled with plastic filler, block sanded with 36 grit and then scratches smoothed with 80. If its just a small dent you can just block with 80. Then prime. Get a can of flat black spray paint and mist over the primer area and block it with 180. If it is a real dark color primer, mist on a lighter color spray paint. Keep sanding until the black is gone and its smooth. If there are any low spots or imperfections in it the black will stay in those areas. Keep priming and blocking until it is all good. probably only take one priming of a couple coats if a small dent, then another priming to fill the 180 scratches. Once you have all the bodywork areas done sand the whole truck with 320 dry on a da or 400 wet. If you da it with the 320 it might be a good idea to go over it with 400 wet, but sanding with the 320 on a da is a lot less work then just sanding with 400 all by hand unless you can get one of the da's for wetsanding. They make 400 grit dry da too I believe, can't remember why I don't use it, think cause it tends to wear out to fast. You can go even finer sanding if you like but would not go any finer then 600 wet or the paint won't stick well, there wont be enough grip. Dry the car and make sure you don't have any shiny spots left, if you do sand them. I would recommend a sealer prior to spraying the color because it prevents a lot of potential problems and sealer isn't all that expensive, plus it gives you one color to cover. Try to find a sealer close in color to the color you are going to spray. How much paint you need depends on how well the color covers. For a really cheap paint job use a single stage paint like Dupont Centari or ppg omni. A cheap basecoat/clearcoat job I use PPG omni base, but I use marhyde all purpose clear cause I think the ppg omni clear is too thin, it has a decent shine, but watery. The only thing bad about the omni base is it isn't good for color match and some colors don't cover well, but it is a whole lot cheaper then the top line stuff, you can get sticker shock in a hurry. Some people don't like omni very much, but I haven't found anything in its price range that can match it in appearance. I think the omni base runs between $60-$130 a gallon depending on color. I think marhyde clear with hardener is around $100 a gallon. If it is a metallic color I would go for the basecoat clearcoat because it is easier to spray metallic with base-clear and painting at home your gonna get some dirt specs and imperfections so it will need to be wetsanded and buffed, and with a clear you don't have to worry about screwing up the metallic. Solid colors are the easiest to spray. The basecoat clearcoat has a better deeper shine that will probably last longer. I think I picked up a gallon of white omni single stage with hardener around $90 and its looks pretty good three years later, didn't even fade. You will need some 1000 grit wet sandpaper for sanding out imperfections and a buffer and rubbing compound and a finish glaze for buffing out when it is painted and dry enough to buff. Buy some really cheap home depot paint and practice on some garbage cans an old trailer, anything, to get use to handling the gun and getting your spray motion down , knowing how far to hold the gun, keeping it parallel, the right overlap, how fast to move. Look around on the web for a sight that shows you the pattern your gun should make and how to adjust it. Sorry for the long post, but I am trying to help you out the best I can. If you go to my website. the car on the front page was painted at home. Ohh yeah get some good 3m masking tape and don't use newspaper, use masking paper. The cheap masking tape either will not stick right and you'll get overspray on stuff, or will stick too much and won't come off when you go to unmask. I would stay away from the ebay paint, it doesn't have a hardener with it so you can't buff it out, it will never truely harden all the way through. Read all the labels on the paint you get and follow all the reduction and the mixing ratios and the spray pressure. See if the paint store guy or gal has a product sheet on it. Make sure you get plenty of ventilation when spraying, auto paint is nasty stuff. My old bosses dad sprayed for years without a mask and now his nervous system is all screwed up. Iscyanates, cyanide in the word, cyanide kills, makes me wonder why I worked so many years doing bodywork for cheapskate companys that wouldn't pay ya a decent wage.

Ohh sorry, missed how much you were willing to spend. You can get ppg deltron line or dupont chromabase in that price range, more top of the line then the omni. Try to get plenty of light, wet down the floor prior to spraying, and drain the compressor before painting and use a water trap near the gun.

Kevin45 12-13-2003 07:47 AM


maaco sucks *** man, do it yourself, im so pissed at them stupid *******s, wont give me job for over year, saying that they "dont have business", bull crap, whenever im there its full of cars.
MitMaks....I hate to say but maybe with that attitude, that's why you can't get a job there. Everything goes hand in hand. As far as their paintjobs...I've seen good and I've seen bad. I think a lot of it depends on the manager and the type of people they hire. Personally I would do it myself. But then again I know how. For others it depends on how particular you are on the paint. The bottom line is...YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. Period. You pay for a $200 job you get a $200 job. And for $200 you DO NOT get a show car paint job. It just does not happen. You pay $4000 for a paint job then you had better look at some of the work the guy has done before. If you don't, then don't complain that his work is no better than Maacos. I have seen many a show car come out of someones garage. They have taken the time, used the proper materials, and made sure that the temporary paint booth was set up properly. It's all in the prep work, materials, and workmanship if you want to do it yourself. It can, has been, and always will be done. Take your time, read literature on it, and ask many many questions before you attempt to do it yourself. And before you paint an overall job, buy some cheap paint, or go to your local jobber and ask if they have any paint that was mixed wrong, then get ahold of some body parts (preferably automobile) and practice on them to get the feel of the gun. If you screw up, let it dry, sand it down and try again. When you feel comfortable, then go for the whole car. Also remember that with a $79.00 paint gun you can get get a good looking paint job, but with a $4000 paint gun you have more insurance that it will turn out better. The better the equipment the better the results, but technique is a huge factor.


nightrain_rod 12-13-2003 11:33 AM

Thanks a million kenseth17!!That helps alot.

Let's say that I used all of the techniques that you reccomened,and possibly went with 2 coats of basecoat.Would I have to worry much about fading?That's what I'm worried about.I want something that will last,but I guess that this is just a risk that you take when doing it yourself.But,maybe if I make a good choice of paints and supplies,and take good care of the paint,it should last for a long time without any problems.

Even though my Ranger was made around those few years that paint peeling was a big problem here in the United States,I have no paint flaking off my truck.My only problem is just a faded,oxidated factory paint job.There are also a few minor dents,but they're not going to be a big deal.If it would've been taken care of,it would still look new,but we can't pick or choose what we get.Another thing that I don't like about it is the lady that owned it before me accidentally sideswiped a parking post with the right rear fender and she took it to a body shop.They fixed the dent and repainted the fender.It has a fresh,bright red color and shiny clearcoat,while all of the other is dull and oxidized.Check out my photo gallery.There is a picture of my truck right after I finished waxing and washing it.It looked good for a month or so,then it went dull again.Notice that brighter rear fender.

Whatever I do,I want it to come out the best as possible.I'm not going to go through all the trouble to do the body work and then take it to Maaco or some similar auto-body joint just to spray some paint and clear on it.This will give my uncle and me a good project to work on here in the next year or so.If I do paint it,I'm waiting 'till the spring.The humidity is much too high right now and during the summer,so the spring-time is perfect painting time here in my area.

Thanks again and keep the ideas coming!



Originally posted by kenseth17
If you go to my website. the car on the front page was painted at home.
I saw that car.Nice job.How long did it stay looking that good after you painted it,or do you know?


4 Jaw Chick 12-13-2003 11:41 AM

Ya gets what ya pays for.
Nuff said.


jimos67rocks 12-14-2003 01:46 AM

maaco or my-self?
1 Attachment(s)
i've been painting since i was 18 yrs. old and i've even painted cars out side in the summer, right at day break and they've come out slick! having a nice down draft booth would be the coolest, but going to maaco thats something i wouldn't do.

maaco can do nice work but you are going to pay for it. i've had to do alot of redo's that maaco had painted and customer wasn't happy, but than again they only spent 399.00 on the paint job.

the way i look at it if you know someone that can paint and you want to use a paint booth-- rent one. there is always a shop around that will let you rent it. maaco can do good work if they have a painter with some skill. it'll run you up in the 1500.00 dollar range. thats if its a scuff and shoot- no body work.

but hey! if you are willing to pay that and you know someone that can spray, do it your self. depending on the color you shoot might be able to keep it under 1000.00. ask the person thats going to paint for you if you can go in the booth and watch? you'll learn alot from this. painting is a art and fun to do!

hope this helps



kenseth17 01-11-2004 07:25 AM

Okay, this post is a little old, but since I caught you asked a question... You shouldn't have to worry as much about fading with the basecoat clearcoat because there is no pigment in the clear to fade out. The clear could lose some gloss overtime, but the higher line paint I would guess should last 10 or more years. I've done most of my painting in shops and school and the cars go out the door and don't see them again (Thats might be a good sign). What I have painted at home I haven't owned for that many years or it was a side job and I don't see it anymore. The engine probably wore out before the paint. Dupont and PPG make good products and I think R-M, sikkens and other respected brands should be just as good. Stick with a brand name thats been around for years and it should last, with the higher lines lasting the longest. I would think if you asked that question to some of the rodders on the board, some more then likely still have a car that was painted 10 years ago and you can ask them if the shine is just as good. Dupont Chromabase and PPG Deltron systems have been around since basecoat/clear came out, and is still around today. Talk to some of the guys and see what paint they used on that rod that was restored over 10 years ago that they still own today.

nightrain_rod 01-11-2004 11:43 AM

It's never too late to answer that question ;) lol.Is the PPG Omni a good line?What about PPG's Omni Clear?I have heard mixed opinions on the Omni Clear,but what do you suggest?I have since received a quote from a local painter and he told me $400 for labor.That's if I bring him the primer,paint,clear,and bondo.I'm going to have it done this spring when the humidity is at it's lowest and I can really pay attention to it's needs.This thing is going to be babied after it's painted.I don't want to have to do this again lol.He said that he would probably do it for $300 if I caught him at a good time.He painted my grandfather's truck 15 years ago with the factory paint after it was wrecked.It looked great,especially since he never took care of it,(no wax,washes,etc.).I have been helping him restore it and he took it back to him to have him paint it again.He went with the same paint and no clear.He shot 2 coats with hardener.4 months later,it's still perfect and no wax or anything has hit it since.It looks like it just drove off the showroom floor.So,I think that I'm going to get that dude to paint it.He's got a paint room and all...You know,the pro setup I guess you could say.He's retired and this is what he does on the side.

So,here's a few more final questions.If possible,could you mention an estimated price for each product that you suggest?

Each of these questions is based upon my application,(solid factory paint and a few minor dents).

1) What's the best primer to get if he hits the factory paint with 400 grit and sprays it on,then the paint,and clear?

2) What paint should I go with?FYI,I am going to go with a bright red since that's my truck's original color and I don't feel like paying to have it completely changed.

3) Which clear should I get?I think that I'm going to stay with PPG all the way.

4) What's the best dent filler for my application?I don't have very many dents,but if I'm going to have it painted,I want the body to look straight with that shiny new paint job.

Now for the fun part...

Remember,this is a Ford Ranger and how he sets up his spray gun,etc. is going to affect this next question.How much of each product should I get?I was thinking a gallon of primer,paint,and clear,and maybe 2 quarts of body filler??I want him to shoot 2 coats of basecoat to ensure that it stays on there,and then I guess 1 coat of clearcoat.Should I get more clear sprayed?In the quote price listed above,he's going to buff it out for me when he's finished.

BTW,I can probably get it done cheaper than that because I didn't mention who I was and that I was the grandson of one of his best buds.I'll mention that later when I setup the appointment :D .

Does PPG have a website where I can look up their paint colors?

Any insight is appreciated.


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