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Frugal autobody parts to repair your automobile
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First you will not regret it!
Find the tools that you need to get the job done right
First, there are some tools that are essential to getting the job done. You will need some power tools; some sort of a grinder, random orbital sander, cutoff tool (with the right grinder you can use it for grinding and cutting), drill and a good set of drill bits, a buffer and buffing pads, paint gun, paint masks and gloves. You will need some essential tools; sanding blocks, body hammers, dollies, a good set of hand tools (screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, sockets, etc….) to help in disassembly, body filler spreaders and a good sledge hammer.
Second, when doing Auto Body repair there are some tools that make the job easier for the professional body technician. If you do not repair body damage on a daily basis you do not really need the following tools, these help make a technicians life easier but are not worth the expense if this is not your career. Tools that make the job easier include stud welders for dent removal, drilling a hole is not a option and to much plastic filler will fall out of the repair.
A welder; these are not needed as much anymore with the new adhesives that have currently been created. The new adhesives will work great for non-technicians and technicians alike, you will save a ton of money because you will not need to purchase a welder. An air compressor; if you are not a technician the only time you would need this is when using a paint gun.
There are electric tools for everything now(grinding and cutting, sanding, even painting). In some cases if you talk to, and get to know, your local body shop some of them will rent you a paint booth with access to an air compressor for a weekend. There is also an electric set up for painting but I am not familiar with it so I can not say how well it works.
There is no need for a professional paint booth because you can create a temporary, workable, paint booth. A porta-power; with the right porta-power you can complete minor frame repair, but there is no replacement for a good frame rack. Slide hammers; a small three pound slide hammer works most of the time however there will be times when you need a 10 pound slide hammer (Morgan Knocker).
There are certain powered sanders that make the job a cinch, random orbital, Dual Action (DA), strait line, and a mud hog. There will be times when the technician will need a plastic welder, when the liquid plastic repair will not work. There are two items that if you are going to do body work as a hobby or as a professional that are a must, a curved chisel body hammer and a good toe dolly.
Third, most of the tools in the above paragraph are not essential, they make the job easier, but are primarily used when you are trying to make a living doing body work. You will not need a paint booth, with some well placed fans, furnace filter, and some plastic sheeting you can create the same effect, you do not need a frame machine you can either have a shop do it for you or if it is minor a 10 ton porta-power can do
CLICK HERE to help with ideas for a quick paint booth.
some amazing things. If you do not have a welder that is not a problem you can use panel bonding adhesive. If you use the right adhesive for the job you are completing you will end up with a better repair then if you welded the panel. With a weld you will never be able to get sealers in all of the nooks and crannies of a weld. With an adhesive you do not have to worry about that, everything is now treated. Their will be no areas that will allow impurities to creep into your repair. The new adhesives have been tested extensively; they have found that the metal will give before the adhesive does and that it is stronger than a weld. You will also find that a lot of the work will be easier to just replace.
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Finally, when buying the above tools you do not have to buy the most expensive, I made that mistake when I first started doing bodywork for a living. Remember that you do not have to go crazy buying tools if you are not going to do body repair that often. Some of the blocks can be made with a simple piece of PVC pipe, rolling up a magazine and wrapping with duct tape works
good too. You can make some of your dollies out of scrap metal, be creative it is surprising sometimes what a little bit of ingenuity can make (frugal living at its best).
Get the tools you need to create the best looking body
Auto Body Tools
Auto Body Tools
Always keep your sander flat on the panel you are sanding if you do not you will make the work you are doing look wavy. Always start the sander on the panel so you do not make a divit. Use 80 grit for body work, 120 to 180 to finish body work, use 220 for stripping paint, 320 to 400 for finish work.
Always keep your sander flat on the panel you are sanding if you do not you will make the work you are doing look wavy. Always start the sander on the panel so you do not make a div it. Use this sander to remove large amounts of body filler quickly.
To get the best possible finish you will eventually need a buffer. With that said it does not mean you have to go and purchase the most expensive unit. But it does have to be an 7" adjustable speed non random orbital Dual Action style.
When using a paint gun make sure to overlap evenly. The pattern should be wide and even for proper paint application. When you overlap, overlap about half each time this will make the finished product even.
A paint respirator is a must never paint with out one, if you do you are huffing paint. I had good masks and I blacked out one time while spraying the inside of a horse trailer. With that said always make sure they seal good and get the mask that is made for what you are doing.
There are many different trim tools that you will have to consider. Molding, bumper, windshield, weather stripping the list gets large only but the ones you need because this can get expensive.
Step One Body repair warranty
Now that you have picked up a few tools you will need to find something to work on. Maybe it is a quick repair on your front fender, could be your riding lawn
mower that you want to learn on. I recommend finding something to practice on first, when I was a child I would repaint my bike over and over and over again. I am going to discuss the tools that you will need to use to repair a dent, the procedures that are required and give a few little tips that will make your life a little easier.
To begin with; you will want to figure out what the area that you are wanting to repair will need. Do you need to replace the panel, can it be repaired? Does it have a serious case of metal cancer, rust? Is there a dent? When you have determined what the damage is you will need pick the best way to repair the damage. For a minor repair you can use a suction cup, heat gun or stud gun. The suction cup is pretty self explanatory, the heat gun on the other hand needs to be explained When using a heat gun you need to take the heat gun and hold it close to the panel so that it warms quickly (if you get to close or heat it to much you will boil the paint). You will need to find some sort of a bucket filled with ice water and a cloth, take the cloth from the ice cold water when the panel is very hot to the touch wipe with the ice cold rag. This will make so you are cooling the area very quickly. This will cause the metal to shrink in some cases making a dent disappear. If it is a major dent there will be some more in depth methods that you will have to implement. When you have decided what method you will need to use to repair the damaged area.
Moving on, if there is major damage, a very large dent or a crease, try to get behind the damaged area so you can push out the dent as much as possible. If it is a bad dent and you determined that you are ready to do some body work you will need to make sure that you grind all of the paint off with an aggressive sandpaper or grinding wheel. The old way of getting dents out is with a bunch of drilled holes the problem is if you do not have a welder all the holes will promote rust.The next method is a Stud Welder, to use one of these you need to remove all paint finishes down to bare metal. This is so that the stud will weld to the dent you are trying to remove. Take a draw pin and apply it to the damaged area you are trying to repair. Determine which pulling tool you will need to use and pull the dent until it is repaired, do not pull it out to far because you will stretch the metal beyond the repair point and make a “Beer Can”. A beer can you ask, a Beer Can is the point where the metal is stretched out so far that to the touch it feels like a aluminum can when you push on it.
Further moving on, you might have a cancer problem, aka rust. When repairing rust the first thing you need to do is clean the repair area of flaky paint and metal. To do this you can use a blow gun, scrapper, wire brush or grinder. Once you have the area cleaned up of and I mean clean and free from any bad metal or paint. Sometimes this will require some trimming and cutting. You are ready to use a good rust treatment one that turns the rust into a primer while still killing it is good. I used to use one that was an acid called Rust Mort it worked very good but is sometimes hard to find. Once you have prepared the area and cut any bad spots out, at least an inch away. I have found that the old way of welding a panel together can make air pockets in the metal that promote rusting of the repair that you just completed. I now use panel adhesive, this stuff is great in the testing that they have do it holds so well that the metal will rip and separate before the adhesive ever lets go. Now, yes it seems weird, you just fit the panel where you want it and glue it together.
Now that you have fixed the dent or rust, ground the metal and removed the paint you are almost ready to apply the body filler. Never put body filler of any kind on paint the end result would be catastrophic, I know gloom and doom but the filler will crack and peal. So you need to make sure that you have sanded back any finish away from the repair. Now you should be ready to apply the filler depending on the repair you can use kitty hair or a polyester filler. The kitty hair will be used for something like a crease in a panel that needs a stronger and thicker amount of filler or to build a body line that you desire. Mix the filler, read the directions first, only mix the amount that you are going to use not the whole can. Apply the filler that you choose and allow to dry, do not add to much it is a waste because you will sand it off. Now you need to determine the size and style of sander that you need. Rule of thumb when using a sanding block the longer the better because it promotes a flatter straighter finish. As you sand you should use your hand to determine if there are low spots or high spots in the repair by running it over top of the work you are doing. If you are having a hard time feeling imperfections you can use a thin piece of cloth on your hand it will help you feel more. Sand until the panel feels flat with no dips making sure you have taken enough off so that it does not look pregnant. A little trick that helps if you are having a hard time feeling with your hand, try using some wax and grease remover spraying it on the panel looking down it while it is wet to see if there are any waves or dents.
Now, when you are satisfied with the work that you have completed you will need to smooth the metal or plastic as smooth as you can get it. When you do this it will make the rest of the job easier. When you get this all done you will need to finish this off with fine sandpaper. Start with 36 grit to grind, 80 grit for finishing the filler, and finish the paint with 120-180 grit sandpaper. Keep in mind if the filler becomes thicker than ¼ of an inch you will have problems with cracking. To determine if the filler is to thick, use a refrigerator magnet and feel the pull. The less pull the thicker the filler if the magnet does not stick there is to much. Do not use a Rare Earth magnet they have to much magnetism and will give you a false reading.
Finally; there are a few different options that you have when trying to fix a dent in an automobile. You might be able to do the repair with a paint-less dent removal kit, you might be able to use a heat gun and ice cold water, or you might have to prepare the area for a more intense repair. As you can see with a little work you are more than able to do the work yourself.
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Clean, Clean, Clean and Clean More!:
The most important thing you can do for a awesome paint job is to clean the automobile. Start with standard dish soap, this strips any car wax off of the paint. Then use a good wax and grease remover this will remove any road tar and grease that the dish soap can not remove.
When using body filler use the best quality filler that your budget will allow. The others work but they shrink more than the higher quality fillers do and the good stuff sands easier.
No thicker than a 1/4 of an inch. Any filler will crack and fall out!
Use standard non lotion soap to clean your automobile to strip any automotive wax from your automobile. The wax causes fish eyes.
This is what fisheyes look like in a painted finish, not getting rid of impurites will cause this. Simple soulution clean clean clean!
When working with the fiberglass resin read the directions on the can do not proceed with out doing so. When working with fiberglass tape your sleeves shut so the dust does not get everywhere. When done take a cold shower to rinse off with so that you pores do not open up and cause you a big itch fest.
There are many different items that will need ground down. From the paint to get read for dent repair to grinding of welds and panel adhesives that are to rough for finer grit sanding.
If you do not have a welder you can use panel adhesive. Use the right one and you will have a better repair then if you welded the panel. With a weld you will never be able to get sealers in all of the nooks and crannies of the weld. With an adhesive you do not have to worry about that everything can be treated. The new adhesives have been tested extensively; they have found that the metal will give before the adhesive does.
There are many different plastic items on your automobile that might need repaired. The best thing to do is go to the website of the manufacture of the product to find out what you will need for the repair. You can also get a plastic welder which allows you to add plastic to the area and melt them together.
You will want to kill all of the rust with a treatment so that it slows down the rust. You will never be able to completely stop rust unless you lock your automobile away. Weather, Seasons, Humidity, nature will fight you all the way but you can slow it down.
File papers are for your long sanding blocks.
There are many different sanding machines that you can use to sand your repair and they require special sand paper for the tool.
Wet sanding paper is constructed so that it will not break down when used in water.
Seam sealer does just what it sounds like it seals seams. Use this around panels that you have replaced so that you do not have air, dust and sound coming in from outside.
Step Two Primer Filler
Now that you have your repair is finished and it is completely strait and you have made sure that the filler is not fat. You are ready to make sure that the finished filler is ready for a primer filler. This is an important step if this is done incorrectly it will
show in your finished product. I will discuss the procedure to get ready to prime your work, the importance of doing it correct, and your final product.
To begin with, when you are about to prime your body work make sure that you finish the filler with 80/120 grit sandpaper and feather the paint with 120/180 grit sandpaper. When finishing the work this way (see picture) it will make so
that there will be less of chance of shrinkage. I will also add that if you are preparing a plastic/urethane bumper you will need to use a block 400 grit wet/dry sand paper and wet sand the area. Why you ask would I wet sand over my repair? You are not sanding over the repair you are removing the rough
CLICK HERE to see what the feathered work should look like
plastic that is raised up around the repair, sand until smooth. You can use 400 grit on a DA sander but you will still have the lifted plastic just not as bad. Wet sanding creates a better surface. I cannot say it enough clean everything around the area any contamination will cause fish eyes, poor adhesion, and possible complete failure. If it is not cleaned correctly when you are sanding you are pushing the contaminates further into you work. Cover everything that you do not want paint/primer over spray on, you can use plastic sheeting but you will need to make sure that there is paper along all edges you are priming. If the paint/primer dries and the air pressure from the paint gun hits the dried paint/primer on the plastic it will flake off and contaminate your finished job.
Moving on, shrinkage is caused by scratches being to deep, paint not feathered correctly, a reaction with the old painted surface or not letting the primer cure long enough before sanding and top coating. Always read the back of the primer can each paint company is a little different, plus there are different kinds of primer; lacquer, enamel, urethane and each one is mixed differently and used for different situations. So always read the directions! I prefer a 2k high build urethane primer it seems to be the best. When you read the directions take not of the mixing ratio's, the time between coats and the dry time before sanding.
When you are finished cleaning, masking and prepping the work it is time to start priming. I like to take an extra step that will help the repair last as long as possible. It is called Acid Etch primer, this awesome product will eat into the metal and will make a properly prepped surface that does not rust. I can say that with confidence from experience. I have a 1970 Nova that I restored back in the 90's I did not have all of the money to complete the job all at once. The paint representative at the time told me about this awesome new product that will seal bare metal so it will not rust. I took his advice and coated my car with it, I was impressed this car was my daily driver so I had to drive it every day, problem was it was stripped down to bare metal. I drove the car for three weeks during the rainy season and it rained almost everyday. The car never even got a small spot of facial rust and twenty years later has still not rusted out. With the Acid Etch ready to top coat you can apply the primer filler, start be covering the repair on the first coat using 2.0 tip primer gun. When the first coat has flashed off you are ready to apply a second coat, spray this coat a little beyond the first coat. Now let this flash, now you are ready to spray your third and final coat. This coat is sprayed over the entire repair so that when you finish sand it will make so that it will blend into the old finish.
Finally, now that you have primed your automobile you will need to block the primer. When blocking you can use something for a guide coat, this guide coat is lightly sprayed over your primer and sanded off. When you remove the guide coat with a long block it will show every imperfection, scratch, wave or dent. Do not forget to sand and sand and sand. The more time you spend here, shooting for perfection, will save you time later and make your finished work look as perfect as you can get it. If this step is not done right your finished product will show you. Your ultimate goal is to make your finished product look like it was never touched. I will say this again when you prime your automobile make sure you spend time masking every area that you do not want primer on. It is amazing where this over spray can end up. When I first started doing body work I did not cover the areas good enough and I got primer over spray all over the interior of an automobile this gets expensive and disheartening. Do not forget sand, sand and oh yea sand some more!
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Used to spray on bare metal when you want something that will penetrate the surface and make so that it will not rust. I sprayed my Nova with this stuff and it went through a rain storm and sat for 3 weeks with no extra finish and I did not even get a smidgen of facial rust. Needless to say I am a fan!
Blow Gun:Using a air blow gun will get rid of the dust in all of nooks and crannies that you can not get to. Clean clean clean is the one thing you can do to have a presentable finished product.
When you are finish sanding use the guide coat to show you where any imperfections are. As you sand off the primer and the guide coat the guide coat will stay in the low spots showing you where anything that looks like a dent is.
Masking paper is a good tool to use because it will not hold dust will not bleed through and makes for an all around cleaner paint job. Newspaper will work but it will let paint bleed through the paper causing a big mess, I have used it in a pinch.
Make sure that you use masking tape rated for automotive finishes. The adhesive on the cheaper tapes will not hold, or they hold to good leaving all of their adhesives and coming off in small pieces at a time. The tap causes a mess either way.
A good high build primer filler will fill any of the small low spots that have been missed. When you use a high build primer filler and block the area with a long block it will help you make the panel flat with no waviness.
I always used a gun dedicated to primer alone. Primer gets into every nook and cranny and if you do not get your gun clean enough the paint solvents will loosen them up and will show up it your paint job. You will not have to change the tips a needles all the time either. A good primer gun starts with a 1.8 tip, I used a 2.2 the bigger tip will cause runs and solvent popping if you are not careful, I would start with the smaller tip first and graduate to the larger if you think it is needed.
Use a strainer every time that you put any of the product in your paint gun from primer to clear coat. You do not want to get a chunk of settled product in the paint job.
Step three Primer Sealer
Step three Primer Sealer
Now that you have finished sanding the primer and it has not imperfections you will need to complete a few more steps before it is ready to paint. The next few steps are some of the most important to get a clean and awesome looking paint job. The steps will include cleaning, masking and sealing.
The first thing you need to do is unmask what you just got done priming, any old paper will collect dust and primer that will flake off running the chance of getting impurities in your finished work. I always try to wash any automobile with dish soap, plain dish soap, and water before I paint the item I am refinishing. Dish soap will get rid of the oils from your skin, it removes car wax and most other oil based residue. Use a blow gun to blow out every area that you notice, if it looks like it could hold dust or dirt it probably will. When you are blowing these areas out take your time, get in-between every body panel, door & fender, fender & hood, door jams, window trim, belt molding, door molding I could keep on going but I think you should get the picture, EVERYWHERE. If you are painting something that needs to be blended I will use Ajax instead of a blending prep solution. They do the same thing one is just over a dollar and the other is over ten dollars. These work especially good to remove the yellow tint on white automobiles so that you are tint the color to the proper white instead of a yellowed tint of it. When using either one these prep solutions you will want make sure use them before you do the final wash so that you can get all of the cleaning residue removed.
Moving on, after everything is cleaned up, blown out, and dried up. You are ready to do the final masking of your project. Masking your work determines how the finished product will appear. It will cover anything that you do not want to have paint on, sealing areas that might have dirt and dust in them. Little tricks that will help so that you do not have paint lines all over the place, back too you do not want it to look like it has been refinished.
Some people mistake primer sealer and primer filler. Sealer is the step you use before you spray your color. Filler is used to fill any tiny imperfections in your finished body work. The small sand scratches and helps the paint adhere to your repair.
Use this cleaner as a scrub to get any other residue off of your panels. This will also clean the yellow off of white panels that you are going to blend into. Keep in mind this leaves a residue that will need to be cleaned of before you put any paint product on.
When you use epoxy it forms a barrier around your automobile that keeps out impurities. That is good however if you do not take the proper steps to prep your automobile it also locks those mistakes in and can cause problems. If you drive down the road and you get a rock chip in the car that goes to the metal and breaks that barrier, at the point of the chip you will start to get rust crepe because the epoxy will hold in the moisture. There is a time and place for epoxy like everything, become familiar with the product you are using.
When used in a door jamb or in the jam of the hood or trunk this tape will make a soft edge the does not make a solid line. This also will remove the need to mask the entire jamb because it seals the door from letting over spray in. One other trick that you can use is by rolling up tape and lining the whole jamb.
Latex/Nitrile Gloves help keep the paint job clean by keeping any oil from your skin getting on the job. If you are hairy like me it will also keep any hair on your hands from showing up in the finished job.
There are many different kinds of sealers depending on what you are doing. These help to cover your repair also so that it covers with the paint a lot better.
In between each coat of product be sure to use a tack cloth to remove any dust or over spray residue. If you are getting a lot of over spray residue chances are you are using the wrong hardener or reducer for the air temperature . Use a tack cloth before spraying in step three, four and five. This will help so that you will have a cleaner finished product.
Step Four Paint
Step Four Paint
Now you are ready to put on your color. You have two options when you do this the first choice; base clear and the second choice; single stage. Base clear is a procedure where you spray on a base coat of the color that you want. When you get the base coat on your automobile then you will have one more step which consists of clear coat. This method is by far the most durable it does not fade like single stage paint and you do not have to worry as much when you are shooting metallics, however it is more costly and time consuming. Single stage is just that it is one single step and you have shiny paint job, and it is inexpensive. There are a few tricks to use when shooting metallics because if it is not done right it will look like you have tiger stripes or blotches all over your automobile. Something that I learned when shooting the metallics to make them set right, on your last coat reduce the color down to the point of a very runny liquid and mist it over the entire paint job. This will help the metallics settle where they are supposed to. If you put to much on and it runs you will not be able to buff it out like you can clearcoat. There is one trick you can do with a single stage that makes the luster of the product seem super deep. You can clear coat the single stage and have a very deep appearing finished product that almost looks like you could reach into it. The old lacquer days of putting "28 coats" of paint does to exist with the high quality paints of present day. You should only need two coats of sealer, three coats of color and up to three coats of clear (three coats are needed when doing a lot of buffing) but you usually only need two coats.
Step Five Clear coat
Step Five Clear coat
Clear is the final and a very important step when refinishing your automobile. The clear on your automobile does a lot of important things. It adds protection from the elements, it adds beauty to the finished product and life to your hard earned paint job. When you clear your automobile spray it as even as you can, this helps prevent orange peel, dry spots and gives you a good base when you want to buff. One of the tricks that I was told to do as a teaching tool was to get a metal panel and spray water through your paint gun on the panel, when you can get so that the water does not run and looks even you are ready to spray. Above I said that you can put up to three coats of clear for buffing it is to make so that it is thick enough to sand down. One of the old tricks that still works today to make a paint job as flat as possible, after your second coat of clear let it cure overnight and wet sand it with 600 grit sand paper, as long as you have sprayed the automobile evenly you will not cut through as you are sanding you will see the orange peel and dust disappear. Now put an additional coat or two of clear on but be careful it is slick and everything will end up on the floor. When the clear dries now it will look like glass.
Step Six Detail/Buff
Step Six Detail/Buff
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