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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 03-19-2010, 12:06 PM
Daytona_BMW Daytona_BMW is offline
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Location: Daytona Beach
 
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Mein Auto: Bimmers are sold :(
Post Now i finally understand the meaning behind the "blood, sweat and tears" saying..

We finally got our little 3 series painted...

It has been a painstaking two weeks to get her done.

This has got to be the hardest jobs I ever did on a car before. I am sorry if the story is somewhat long and maybe a little dry, but we wanted to share our experience with the rest of you out there so you won't make the same mistake as we did. Please ignore if you find any typos. I've been sitting here writing for over an hour


Here goes...

Around three weeks ago, me and my wife figured we'd finally get the car painted. Ever since we bought the car, there has been a hell of allot of dings and dents on the car. I do not know what the previous owner did to the car, but there were dents absolutely everywhere... So we wanted to get the car sold, and for us to be able to get anything for it, we figured we had to put paint on it and get the dents out of it.

So I jumped on the phone to get estimates for a paintjob from local paint shops, and the price was horrible... Nowhere could I get an estimate for less than 2000 dollar. So we started looking for other possibilities, and almost went for just spray cans and do the car our selves. But I though, hell no!! So the other option was to just invest in a good compressor and a spray gun... So we did... I have an education within automotive and have painted some cars before, so we figured this would be the best route to take to save some money.

Now what paint to paint it with? With this just being a cheap job, we finally decided to go with the Duplicolor Championship white that you can get from any AutoZone or Advanced Auto Parts store. It looked okay and easy enough to paint with... So we did it... At the same time, we picked up this cheap spray gun at the same Auto parts store.

So we started the project... Sanding down the car and pulling dents. Some bondo went into the dents to make them perfect, and finally priming and filling... Our fingers bled, but she was ready for paint...

I covered up the whole garage, masked everything that didn't need paint on the car, started the compressor and filled my spray gun... I was ready thinking this was the last step before the car was done... No more sanding or bleeding fingers

So I started painting. Adjusted my spray gun the best I could, and went to work on it. I noticed that the gun wasn't laying down the coat the way I wished it to be, but I was almost sure that the paint would settle by itself after just 30 minutes. So I continued painting the whole car... After I was finished, I looked it all over and thought to myself; Hmm... The paint is still very orange peely... Oh well... It will get better with the second coat on it... So I went ahead and laid down another coat. And man was I wrong... Oh my god..! I have never seen a coat looking the way it did. Orange peel everywhere, and absolutely no shine... Now what!!!??? An hour later my neighbor dropped by to have a look, and we both decided that it will probably look better once we get the clear coat on it.
So again, I filled up the spray gun and went ahead and laid down two coats of clear on it...

Now the car looked even WORSE!!!! I really wish I took pictures of how the car looked after the clear coat. You would cry to... I sure did Just nasty orange peel everywhere...

So bright and shiny we woke up the next day and grabbed our sanding paper, and sanded everything down again to the primer... Just imagine the job... Now our fingers were bleeding more than ever. I returned the spray gun back to the shop and asked them for a refund on it as we was sure there was a problem with the gun. Picked up another round of paint, and headed to Harbor Freight to pick up a new HVLP gun before heading back home to try all over again...

Okay so now we were ready again... I fired up the compressor, filled and adjusted my gun and wham... Same **** again... I tried and I tried to adjust everything I could on the gun and the compressor... I tried to put the paint on thinned, and not thinned. I mean I really tried everything I could. So we decided to just lay down this couple of base coats with a heavy layer of clear on top of that just so we could buff it to a nice shine later...

Well how wrong could we be??? After one more round to Harbor Freight the day after to pick up a high speed buffer, we sanded the car with 2000 grit and began buffing.
We managed to get some gloss in the paint, but the orange peel was so deep that after finished buffing, we were down to the base coat again...

Oh well we thought... Better just start sanding her down to the primer again... And we did...
Imagine the fingers now... Hehe... We kept the spirit up, and though better luck next time. Three times the charm right???

Okay... We got her sanded and ready for the next paint... We headed again to Harbor Freight to pick up yet another gun that didn't consume so much air as the previous ones did. Also we picked up some more equipment to draining our compressor for moisture and dust particles... Dropped by Advanced Auto Parts and picked up another load of paint and headed home...

I was 100% sure that it would come out great this time. We had eliminated every possibility of faults in the equipment, and everything was laid up for a good quality paint job... (Sort of)

So..... I fired up the compressor, filled the spray gun and thought to myself that this time; I will only try the trunk of the car to see what the quality comes to... And I'd be damned, the same old orange peel and poor quality again!! What???? What am I doing wrong here??? Of course you start losing faith in yourself believing that the problem is my painting technique... WTF??? I just screwed over a 02 BMW with cheap ass paint in a cheap ass garage... So again, we sanded the car down... Ahh my fingers...

The next day we considered to just put the car in a paint shop to have them put down the base and clear... But something told me that it had to be some problems with the cheap paint we had been using... So... One more time we figured that we would try one more time to paint it our self... BUT! This time we would not go with the cheap paint that we had been using up to now. So I ordered up some professional urethane enamel Alpinweiss III paint from Ben's Paint Supply in Daytona Beach, and 400 dollar later I went to work again...

So........ I fired up the compressor filled the spray gun and with serious doubts in my mind, I started spraying... To my nice surprise, it laid down the paint PERFECT!!! Just stunning... So I continued laying down three coats of base coat, and two heavy coats of clear coat... At three thirty in the morning I was done... And now the car was just as glossy and perfect as it would come right out of a professional spray shop... Absolutely no orange peel and just like a mirror...

My self esteem was boosted, and now I was angry with Advanced Auto Parts and Duplicolor... I gathered all our recipes and went to Advanced Auto Parts and claimed all our money refunded for the paint we had been using... They agreed to it finally and I was somewhat happy with the outcome...

So the conclusion for this long story is as follows...

If you want to do a cheap paint job on a car, PLEASE, PLEASE don't save money by buying cheap paint. Especially not Duplicolor... You will get nothing but heart aches and sore fingers... You absolutely need good quality paint. You can save money by doing the paint job yourself, but that's it.

By the way, if you ever considered painting your roof black, all I have to say is go ahead. It is awesome and makes the car look wider and lower. Just awesome. We are so pleased with the outcome of this paint job that we decided not to sell the car and keep it to our self. Next month the car is coming with us to Europe on a container ship to live happily ever after

next are some pictures of the project from during the job and the end result...


Here we are laying down the last primer on the car before the first try on painting it.




Here's a picture of me spraying the Duplicolor white on it.



And the result after the first try with base coat and clear on.. You see any gloss?? No? Me neither..



And here is the end result after four attempts and finally some real paint



I love how the black roof came out. It fits in so good.



And one shot from the rear quarter. I love it!





I hope the story serves some purpose to someone that is considering painting their car on their own. I am signing off as my sanding fingers hurt
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Last edited by Daytona_BMW; 03-19-2010 at 02:35 PM. Reason: Typo
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  #2  
Old 03-19-2010, 12:28 PM
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jvr826 jvr826 is offline
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Nice job!

When I was in college I undertook a revamping of my car which involved two weeks of grinding, filling, and sanding to get it ready for paint. Upstate NY winters ate my car!

After the final sanding just before paint my finger tips were gone too. I wore band-aids to work and had a hell of a time with the keyboard for at least a week. I vowed never to do that again!
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  #3  
Old 03-19-2010, 12:29 PM
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Missmodena310 Missmodena310 is offline
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wow amazing! wanna do my car for me in......hot pink...
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  #4  
Old 03-19-2010, 12:39 PM
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jmanscotch jmanscotch is offline
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WOW she turned out looking sharp, good job man!

My girl badly needs a dent taken out of the hood and hood repainted, and then buffed like nobodys business on the whole car. You almost inspired me to think I could do it myself...nah I'll either live with it or save for it.

Enjoy Europe
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  #5  
Old 03-19-2010, 02:56 PM
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jonathan2263 jonathan2263 is offline
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WOW - nice job . Worth all the effort in the end .
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  #6  
Old 03-19-2010, 06:17 PM
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Looks good congrats.
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  #7  
Old 03-19-2010, 07:31 PM
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phlfly phlfly is offline
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So is it worth to do? or $2000 was just easy to pay, consider your own time and supplies. ($400 paint, compressor, sprayer, sand paper, 4 weekends at least?)
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Old 03-19-2010, 07:51 PM
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goosefoot33 goosefoot33 is online now
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Wow, car looks great and like you did a real professional job!
Daytona Beach isn't that far away from MA, maybe I will swing down one night and we can do my car

Looks great
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  #9  
Old 03-19-2010, 10:11 PM
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Amazing story! Makes me believe diy painting is doable!
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Old 03-19-2010, 10:32 PM
ThreeTwoFive ThreeTwoFive is offline
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wow, what an amazing job. I cant believe you pulled it off!
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  #11  
Old 03-19-2010, 11:31 PM
jacknjilloff jacknjilloff is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Missmodena310 View Post
wow amazing! wanna do my car for me in......hot pink...
oooh i want hot pink too for my m
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  #12  
Old 03-20-2010, 08:32 AM
Daytona_BMW Daytona_BMW is offline
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Mein Auto: Bimmers are sold :(
Quote:
Originally Posted by phlfly View Post
So is it worth to do? or $2000 was just easy to pay, consider your own time and supplies. ($400 paint, compressor, sprayer, sand paper, 4 weekends at least?)
Well.. It depends on the eye of the beholder..

How I see it is, once the compressor and spray gun and all other equipment is bought and paid for, I will be able to use those items for years to come. Also if I ever wanted to paint another car in the future, all I need is some paint since I allready have everything else.

So for me, It's totally worth it. Also I saved around 1000 dollar by doing it myself.

Thank you all for the kind comments..
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Old 03-20-2010, 12:19 PM
Starless Starless is offline
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DaytonaBMW, how long do you think this painting job will last versus factory paint? Any insights on that?
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  #14  
Old 03-20-2010, 01:00 PM
Daytona_BMW Daytona_BMW is offline
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Mein Auto: Bimmers are sold :(
Yes.. I have had experience with this before, and as far as I can remember, the paint will last for as long as you want it to. There is no trick to keeping this paint up to par compared to factory paint. Just care for it like you would with the original paint. (Waxing, polish, cleaning and so on..) BTW, Do not polish or wax your new paint with anything containing silicone until atleast 2 to 3 weeks after painting.

Of course if I'd had a choice, I would definately have kept a factory paint on a car. Especially on a BMW. The stages they go through to get them painted at the factory is outstanding compared to many other brands of cars.

But you know.. When you have no choice but to paint the car like I had to, I would say; just go for it and don't worry. But for god sake, you have to do as good of a job as you possible can when it comes to all the sanding and priming of the car that comes before the actual painting. Because if you don't, it will reflect on the rest of the paint job. Also, Google and YouTube is a very god friend to have when you need tips for the different stages in your project.
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:18 AM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
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My car needs a repaint too
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:25 AM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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Congrats on the persistence and the achieved results. And my commendation on using HVLP gear, not only will you save a bit on paint, but will be contaminating less.

As for the thread title, wait till the starter or the CVV go, and "blood, sweat and tears" will take a whole other dimension...
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:32 AM
Daytona_BMW Daytona_BMW is offline
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Mein Auto: Bimmers are sold :(
Hahaha... Thanks for reading my story folks.. I appreciate it.

The HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure for those that don't know) spray guns are awesome..

Luckily, I have allready changed my CVV valve, so I've been there But I am not looking forward to the starter when it decides to fail

Thanks again everybody..
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:36 AM
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AlboBMW AlboBMW is offline
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Impressive results imo. Your hard work paid off. I dream of a new paint job, since the previous owner never waxed or took care of the paint like I do.
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:37 AM
Daytona_BMW Daytona_BMW is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mujjuman View Post
My car needs a repaint too
Well.. Buy a used compressor on Craigslist, a spray gun at Harbor Freight, some sand paper and bondo at Advanced Auto Parts, some paint at your local paint supply store and a nice garage. At the same time, read up on painting techniques and you're all set my man.. Go for it!
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:42 AM
Daytona_BMW Daytona_BMW is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlboBMW View Post
Impressive results imo. Your hard work paid off. I dream of a new paint job, since the previous owner never waxed or took care of the paint like I do.
Yes I know what you mean.. It surprizes me somewhat how sloppy some people can be when it comes to taking care of their cars. Especially like the previous owner of my car did. She bought it brand new in 2002 and have kept it all the way up to 2009. The paint was terrible, dents everywhere you can imagine, and the interior had never been cleaned.

I am amazed to say it the least.
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  #21  
Old 03-21-2010, 10:09 AM
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B/\/\W B/\/\W is offline
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I'm surprised you kept painting the whole car and getting it wrong, should have just tested a small area each time!

However, it turned out well and it looks like a great job.
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