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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 01-18-2010, 10:35 AM
Rjim Rjim is offline
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New Paint Job: How Much Should it Cost?

Question #1: Starting with a reasonably good finish, no body damage other than a dozen or so nicks, dings and scratches, what should a good job cost? By good I mean not Maaco and not high-end super custom, but equal to factory fresh brand new. Question #2: What type of paint shop is the best bet: large franchised operation like ABRA, dealer, or small independent shop?
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  #2  
Old 01-18-2010, 12:33 PM
nike001 nike001 is offline
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I can only suggest a small independent shop because #1..paint is paint. #2..i doubt a dealer will do any better of a job than a smaller one; except that they may charge you twice as much.

If you have a friend that does paint, that could help you out. When I got my 2nd M5 replica bumper, I got it painted for $40..which was only the cost of the paint. It's good to know people.
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  #3  
Old 01-18-2010, 01:09 PM
THOR'SVR4 THOR'SVR4 is offline
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Ive painted a ton of cars.
1 not all paint is equal. 99% of paints are NOT flexible, which is bad. you need a flex agent!
2 clear coat is not needed on all paints. some are just really glossy even as a 'raw' paint. so you could save a ton of money on clear coat if you use these paints. the down side is that they scratch easily.
3 painting takes NO skill whatsoever. any idiot can do it. what it takes is patience and the willingness to get a show car paint job.

if you have an air compressor, and about 700$ for supplies (paint gun) and paint i suggest you do it your self.

spend a ton of time with 400 grit sand paper wet sanding the car. get off any loose clear coat, bondo/pop any dents. make the body SMOOTH.
paint the car (takes like an hr or two. this is the quickest step)
wet sand with 800, 1000, 1200, 2200 grit sand paper to get rid of any orange peal. this is where paint shops rip you off as most skip this time consuming step. if you look at almost any new car you can see orange peal in the paint. (your reflection is kinda bumpy/blurry) this sanding will give your paint a smooth finish and is what makes it look like a mirror.

IF you need to this is when you clear coat the car. i suggest you do it even if you buy the paint that doesn't require it.

heres a pic before sanding with orange peal

notice how you cant see any trees/cars/ people in the paints reflection. also at the rear of the car you can see how the light comes off at different angles. wet sanding eliminates all these imperfections and the 'matte' look of the paint.

heres a pic of my 3kgts front fender without clear AFTER wet sanding. as you can see its still glossy, but it scratches soooooooo easily.





in total expect $100-150 per gal of paint. 1-2 gal should be enough even if you make mistakes and have to respray a door or something. you'll also need about 2 qts of reducer, a few gal of lacquer thinner to clean the gun, some clear coat, clear coat hardener, and paint activator. in total expect about $400 on paint. a nice devilbus gun is about $300 on ebay for a HVLP one. high volume low pressure guns are great because they don't need a large compressor to run, 8-12 psi and your golden
also make sure to mix bulldog flex agent into your paint. (adhesive promoter)

i hope this helped you out a little

edit: yea i know the roof is unpainted in this photo, it was painted black with metallic green flake.
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  #4  
Old 01-18-2010, 01:27 PM
Rjim Rjim is offline
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Thanks for the very informative reply. My wife freaks out at the smell of paints and solvents. I'll have to send her on vacation for a week before I try spray painting in my garage.
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  #5  
Old 01-18-2010, 01:51 PM
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RRsE39 RRsE39 is offline
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Instead of asking on here why not just bring your car by some local paint shops and ask them, they can give you quote on the spot. Prices will vary from state to state city to city so unless someone lives in the same town as you on here what they pay and what youll pay could be a big difference in price.

Also when you go to any reputable paint shop they should have a portfolio of the work theyve done. The guy I deal w/ has pictures all over his wall and has a huge book w/ pictures and everytime I pass by there its packed w/ cars waiting to get body work and painted and hes been in business for years.

Remember the foundation of any good paint job is ALL in the prep work!!!

GOOD LUCK!
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Old 01-18-2010, 02:10 PM
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I suggest asking a local indy or good dealer for a body shop recommendation; they will also paint, using proper materials, prepping, disposal, venting, etc. Can't comment on price since I've only had panels done, not a whole car.
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  #7  
Old 01-18-2010, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by THOR'SVR4 View Post
Ive painted a ton of cars.
1 not all paint is equal. 99% of paints are NOT flexible, which is bad. you need a flex agent!
2 clear coat is not needed on all paints. some are just really glossy even as a 'raw' paint. so you could save a ton of money on clear coat if you use these paints. the down side is that they scratch easily.
3 painting takes NO skill whatsoever. any idiot can do it. what it takes is patience and the willingness to get a show car paint job.

if you have an air compressor, and about 700$ for supplies (paint gun) and paint i suggest you do it your self.

spend a ton of time with 400 grit sand paper wet sanding the car. get off any loose clear coat, bondo/pop any dents. make the body SMOOTH.
paint the car (takes like an hr or two. this is the quickest step)
wet sand with 800, 1000, 1200, 2200 grit sand paper to get rid of any orange peal. this is where paint shops rip you off as most skip this time consuming step. if you look at almost any new car you can see orange peal in the paint. (your reflection is kinda bumpy/blurry) this sanding will give your paint a smooth finish and is what makes it look like a mirror.

IF you need to this is when you clear coat the car. i suggest you do it even if you buy the paint that doesn't require it.

heres a pic before sanding with orange peal

notice how you cant see any trees/cars/ people in the paints reflection. also at the rear of the car you can see how the light comes off at different angles. wet sanding eliminates all these imperfections and the 'matte' look of the paint.

heres a pic of my 3kgts front fender without clear AFTER wet sanding. as you can see its still glossy, but it scratches soooooooo easily.





in total expect $100-150 per gal of paint. 1-2 gal should be enough even if you make mistakes and have to respray a door or something. you'll also need about 2 qts of reducer, a few gal of lacquer thinner to clean the gun, some clear coat, clear coat hardener, and paint activator. in total expect about $400 on paint. a nice devilbus gun is about $300 on ebay for a HVLP one. high volume low pressure guns are great because they don't need a large compressor to run, 8-12 psi and your golden
also make sure to mix bulldog flex agent into your paint. (adhesive promoter)

i hope this helped you out a little

edit: yea i know the roof is unpainted in this photo, it was painted black with metallic green flake.
good info! where are you located?
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  #8  
Old 01-18-2010, 08:38 PM
jlipton jlipton is offline
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If you want a paint job equal to factory, I would say $5,000-8,000. The cheaper the job, the less time spent on prepping. I would imagine it would cost $500-$1,000 in supplies, plus 50-100 hours for good prep and painting, including door jambs etc.
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  #9  
Old 01-18-2010, 09:42 PM
THOR'SVR4 THOR'SVR4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rjim View Post
Thanks for the very informative reply. My wife freaks out at the smell of paints and solvents. I'll have to send her on vacation for a week before I try spray painting in my garage.
i know that story lol. i used to paint inside but now ive given up and just paint outside in the driveway. you just cant win that battle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chivas View Post
good info! where are you located?
im from CT.
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  #10  
Old 01-18-2010, 09:55 PM
andyffer andyffer is offline
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you want PPG
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  #11  
Old 01-19-2010, 08:43 PM
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lild lild is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by THOR'SVR4 View Post
Ive painted a ton of cars.
1 not all paint is equal. 99% of paints are NOT flexible, which is bad. you need a flex agent!
2 clear coat is not needed on all paints. some are just really glossy even as a 'raw' paint. so you could save a ton of money on clear coat if you use these paints. the down side is that they scratch easily.
3 painting takes NO skill whatsoever. any idiot can do it. what it takes is patience and the willingness to get a show car paint job.

if you have an air compressor, and about 700$ for supplies (paint gun) and paint i suggest you do it your self.

spend a ton of time with 400 grit sand paper wet sanding the car. get off any loose clear coat, bondo/pop any dents. make the body SMOOTH.
paint the car (takes like an hr or two. this is the quickest step)
wet sand with 800, 1000, 1200, 2200 grit sand paper to get rid of any orange peal. this is where paint shops rip you off as most skip this time consuming step. if you look at almost any new car you can see orange peal in the paint. (your reflection is kinda bumpy/blurry) this sanding will give your paint a smooth finish and is what makes it look like a mirror.

IF you need to this is when you clear coat the car. i suggest you do it even if you buy the paint that doesn't require it.

heres a pic before sanding with orange peal

notice how you cant see any trees/cars/ people in the paints reflection. also at the rear of the car you can see how the light comes off at different angles. wet sanding eliminates all these imperfections and the 'matte' look of the paint.

heres a pic of my 3kgts front fender without clear AFTER wet sanding. as you can see its still glossy, but it scratches soooooooo easily.





in total expect $100-150 per gal of paint. 1-2 gal should be enough even if you make mistakes and have to respray a door or something. you'll also need about 2 qts of reducer, a few gal of lacquer thinner to clean the gun, some clear coat, clear coat hardener, and paint activator. in total expect about $400 on paint. a nice devilbus gun is about $300 on ebay for a HVLP one. high volume low pressure guns are great because they don't need a large compressor to run, 8-12 psi and your golden
also make sure to mix bulldog flex agent into your paint. (adhesive promoter)

i hope this helped you out a little

edit: yea i know the roof is unpainted in this photo, it was painted black with metallic green flake.
you have no ideal to what your doing.
anyways, to the op 3500 for an all over is decent now adays, that should cover, small dings, and a repaint with the same paint that's on your car.
here's a few pics.
in my sig. pic. i repainted the car 2 yrs. ago all over. nice huh?
now in the att. pics. i had to reapint the front end and roof, due, to a caddy with some 22's on a fresh paved road. as you can see the paint is slick, and i never sanded the base coat, nor the clear.
now on the last pic. i just wanted to show you, if you never use clear before, and try to spray it for the first time you will either spray it too dry, which looks rough, or like the rookie painter, too wet, and will run the hell out of it.
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:41 AM
repandpresent repandpresent is offline
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Sanding a base coat to remove orange peel? I have never heard of that. The only time you would even dare to touch the base coat with an abrasive is if there is a run or something got into it, even then many painters will spot sand and paint the panel again. Most of the orange peel comes from the clear coat. The base should lay on nicely if the surface it's being sprayed on has been prepped well.
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Old 01-20-2010, 05:45 AM
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chivas chivas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by repandpresent View Post
Sanding a base coat to remove orange peel? I have never heard of that. The only time you would even dare to touch the base coat with an abrasive is if there is a run or something got into it, even then many painters will spot sand and paint the panel again. Most of the orange peel comes from the clear coat. The base should lay on nicely if the surface it's being sprayed on has been prepped well.
for those that just started painting themselves, i'm sure a little sanding to even out the run would be needed.

but... as for pro's, they shouldn't even need to sand the clear coat.

i think the other guy is talking about doing things yourself and being an amateur, sanding will be necessary, unfortunately.
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Old 01-20-2010, 05:56 PM
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lild lild is offline
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even if your an at home diy painter, sanding the base isn't necessary unless you have some trash in it, and if you run the base then you need to stop painting. if you have orange peel in the base then you air psi, is wrong, and the paint isn't thinned right. how ever i can see sanding the clear for orange peel. what people don't understand it is more involved than you think. it's not just pick up a gun and start spraying. also the only paint that dosen't have clear coat in it is single stage. clear coat is far more better to have on your car. like i said the guy that put up is diy, has no clue to what is doing.
and to be clear, the last post i made with the pics., i painted my car, and i've been doing this a long time. don't get me wrong, i have paint a few cars in my uncles garge, but i had all the right equipment to do it, no paint booth, but i know what i was doing, and they turned out good.
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:25 PM
THOR'SVR4 THOR'SVR4 is offline
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the reason i had to sand the base is simple, i didn't clear the paint. the paint that i used didn't need the clear to be glossy. However the clear def makes the paint much tougher so i recommend that you use clear. also IF you use clear, which i recommend, then lilid is correct, sanding the color coat is just not needed. as far as i know the orange peal in the base coat, if you even get any in the base, will be 'hidden' by the clear. but IF you get orange peal in the clear, then you have to sand the clear. you gotta remember IF someone like me paints we have to do it out doors, which means we need a FAST drying clear, the good side is the faster the clear dries the less bugs and stuff gets into the paint, the down side is the faster the clear dries the more orange peal you get. so its kinda a double edged swoard....

from your photos it looks like you've got a booth to work with, which im sure means your paint jobs will be better than a home brew style like mine, but it doesn't mean you cant get a great home done paint job. it just means you need a LOT of elbow grease to make them look better. in a booth you don't have to worry about dust, bugs and stuff like that. in your driveway you do. the best way to get a nice paint job in the driveway is to sand away any imperfections. ie if a bug lands in the base coat, sand the base coat to get rid of the bug before you clear.

its just a different style. painting in a booth (never done it before) i would imagine allows you to use a nice slow drying clear coat, which would minimize orange peal and let you just 'spray and walk away' plus you don't have to worry about bugs or dust or anything of that sort. (again im assuming theres no dust in a pro paint booth, Ive never been able to use one)

like i said you can get a good 'driveway' paint job for cheep, a professional booth job will cost much more. personally i love painting my cars because when people comment on the paint saying how they love it or whatever i get to say "thanks i painted it myself" and they always are astonished and ask me to paint there cars. its just as rewarding as building a strong motor then taking someone for a test drive in it.

edit: YES you are right i did use single stage, and while i love the way the color looks and the ease of use with it, i don't think i will be using it again. at least not without clear coat over it, which kinda defeats the point of using a single stage paint. i decided to experiment with it and it was cool, and i don't regret using it, but it just scratches to easily for my liking. the clear def makes paint a lot more scratch resistant. also its 2:05am and I'm trying to i.m. a friend and type this at the same time so if parts don't make sense or are written poorly sorry about that. ill go back later and try to make my sentences less of run ons later on.

oh and to the mods sorry for the 'poo' words that were orig in there. on other forums that im a member of we can swear, as long as its no at a member, and i didn't realize it wasn't aloud here.

ps to lild i can honestly say i have NEVER had a run. i have had moisture get into the air line and that caused a major headache, but never a run.
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:35 AM
repandpresent repandpresent is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chivas View Post
for those that just started painting themselves, i'm sure a little sanding to even out the run would be needed.

but... as for pro's, they shouldn't even need to sand the clear coat.

i think the other guy is talking about doing things yourself and being an amateur, sanding will be necessary, unfortunately.
I can't stress this any more than I am but you have to try not to put an abrassive to the base coat especially if the paint has metallics. A run can be taken off with a tiny sanding block and some painters will do that when it's not for a show quality ride but the guy above was sanding his whole panel to get rid of the orange peel. Any two stage paint needs to be covered by clear;hence him saying his paint scratches way easily haha

The base should be the last component to have orange peel, if it does its the surface that is being painted on or the material to air ratio is way off. The most common problems with spraying a base is that there is too much air and the paint dries before it reaches the panel and it gives it a sandy feel. The other is if there is too much material and too little air; that will give you runs.

So for DIYers, never sand your base coat. Go back and see why the base is being layed like that. More then likely it's your material to air ratio or your air compressor isn't strong enough.

EDIT- after reading your latest post, thor'svr4, ou know the basic rules of painting but why would you sand a single stage job? the clear is integrated and the "color" levels and the clear/protecter rises. You are right about faster drying clears, they tend to have a bit more orange peeling because there isn't much time to level out but that doesn't mean you wouldn't use a clear. You spent all that time sanding the base when it could have gone to prepping and cutting and buffing the clear. There isn't anything wrong with single stage paints because I know some painters that can make it work very nicely. A lot of older hotrods use single stage paints. But you don't sand a single stage job. It just takes away its protective layer. I've sprayed outside and in a booth. With a booth you have more control of the elements but I could get good work spraying outdoors too. It's way illegal in CA though.

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Old 01-21-2010, 10:04 AM
THOR'SVR4 THOR'SVR4 is offline
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Quote:
You are right about faster drying clears, they tend to have a bit more orange peeling because there isn't much time to level out but that doesn't mean you wouldn't use a clear. You spent all that time sanding the base when it could have gone to prepping and cutting and buffing the clear.
exactly. while the idea of a single stage sounded cool, in the end i felt it still could use a clear coat for protective reasons, which defeats the point of the single stage. in order to get the single stage to look deep and glossy and orange peal / flawless (little black bugs, air-born dust) required a lot more work than i expected. like i said i experimented with the single stage, it was ok but more work than i orig thought it would be. all that extra work could have just gone into using a more traditional base/clear coat type paint. im still 100% happy with the way the single stage looks, theres no flaws anywhere in it. the metallics are even, theres no contaminates in the paint, and its smooth as glass, and very deep and glossy. But it scratches to easily, even the areas i didn't sand like the front bumper scratch easily.
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:34 PM
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it's scratching easily, because it's not cured out all the way. basically, the solvents are not completely out allowing the paint to be hard. that will take a few weeks. and the only way that car is going to stay like that is going to be polishing it a lot, but unforunately, the color will eventaully fade. that's why manufactures went away from. plus, in some brands of paint, like ppg, and dupont, nassons, you can put clear int the last coat of color which will give a glossier look, and a more durable finish, i.e. won't scratch as easily. macco does it, it's how they can legally say clear coat added and they still use single stage. and yes haveing a booth to work in is nice, but don't be fooled, dust, and bugs can will find their way in. as much as i love using slow clear, being a production base shop we need to use fast clear. your right about the clear the faster it dries the more orange peel. but like i said, i've done a few in my uncle's garage, and they've turned out great.
here's a tip for you, stay with the base/clear coat, you can get a kit of clear for under a 100 bucks, well give or take, it's fast, but to get it to lay down slicker, make sure your air psi is at 45 to 50 psi, i like 40-45 my self, and thin down the clear about 50%, even if your useing a 2 part clear kit. a little reducer won't hurt it, doing these two things will help it lay down slicker, and dry a little faster. and if you want to get rid of bugs, try a bug zipper. and if your not doing this i will tell you, weather your baseing, clearing or useing single stage, overlaps should be 50-60%, and for ex.
your painting a car all over, start at the roof, no matter baseing or clearing, start on the drivers side of the roof, and spray to the center, walk to the other side, and spray from center to you. them finish the car. no matter what, on the flat surface's, work from one side to center, then center back to the other side.
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:39 PM
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here's and ideal with a make shift booth for you. get some lights on a pole, one of those canvas type carport covers, the one's you can get at kmart or some where, some sheets, to staple to the top part, these will be the walls, some bricks to hold the bottom of the sheets down, and keep the floor or pavment wet, this will keep the dust down.
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:01 PM
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Depends on the quality you desire. A real crappy paint job can be had for under $300.00 at those chain auto paint places. If you want a professional quality job that calls for proper preparation, no overspray and a good paint application including in the door, hood and trunk jams, I'd say your looking at a good $2,500 to $5,000 total paint job from start to finish, depending on how much prep work is involved (taking out dents, removing layers of old paint from previous work, etc.) Prep work is the most time consuming part of the job and the end result will depend on how well the car was prepped. A good color sanding after the paint has curred also takes resources but really puts a finish to the project. Also depends on if you want to repaint the car in the same color that it already was or if you are wanting to paint it a different color, which means everything at every angle needs to be repainted, or it will look really low budget to have a silver car with red door jams and engine compartment. And not all paints are equal.

I've only had to add a flex agent to paint that was being applied to items such as bumper covers, fins, and stuff that usually flexes. Only time I know of where paint on metal surfaces has cracked is if there was thick bondo body filler under the paint or if the surface wasn't prepped correctly before the paint was applied. I've had pretty good results with PPG. We did my wifes Pontiac piece by piece and it turned out awesome, but that took months and would have cost between $5K - $7K for all the work put into the job had we brought it to a shop to do all that work from start to finish. We did everything except for the actual shooting of the paint onto the parts. Just that alone was $2,000. But there is absolutely no over spray, no sand scratches in the finish or places that were not repainted.

You get what you pay for.

Last edited by BlueSkies10; 01-21-2010 at 07:12 PM.
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  #21  
Old 01-23-2010, 03:42 AM
repandpresent repandpresent is offline
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You can even yield good results from those crappy chains. The reason they are so crappy and cheap is because their prepping is minimal. All the do is scuff up the paint. They don't even wash the cars before hand. They simply scuff up the paint, blow all the dust off with air hoses and then only mask the windows,lights and cover the tires. If you had no choice because money is limited prep the car yourself. Take off all removable panels, lights and bumpers. Cover the small areas you now they know won't tape. Take off the weather stripping around the doors. Most important thing is the color you choose. Solid colors work very well with single stage paints. Metallics not so much. Most metallics look funny because there isn't any dept to the paint. If you had or want to get a metallic job find a color that uses small metallic flakes that way it's not that noticeable.
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  #22  
Old 01-23-2010, 09:34 AM
Rjim Rjim is offline
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I appreciate all the varied opinions and good advice posted on my original thread. As a result, I plan to look for a small shop to spray a two stage urethane, base and clear, while I do most of the prep work. I've done a lot of painting, staining, spraying and finishing on houses and woodwork, but nothing on cars. And I don't want to learn car painting by starting on my 530 and hoping for the best. Thanks to all replies.
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  #23  
Old 01-23-2010, 11:18 AM
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RRsE39 RRsE39 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rjim View Post
I appreciate all the varied opinions and good advice posted on my original thread. As a result, I plan to look for a small shop to spray a two stage urethane, base and clear, while I do most of the prep work. I've done a lot of painting, staining, spraying and finishing on houses and woodwork, but nothing on cars. And I don't want to learn car painting by starting on my 530 and hoping for the best. Thanks to all replies.


Do you just want a different color or is your paint really weathered?
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  #24  
Old 01-23-2010, 08:14 PM
Rjim Rjim is offline
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Originally Posted by RRsE39 View Post
Do you just want a different color or is your paint really weathered?
Neither. The paint is in excellent shape, except for a few dings, dents, scratches, etc. Plus the front end of the hood and front bumper have been sand blasted pretty good over the course of 110k miles. I'm going with the original silver color and just want something closer to a new finish. Don't know if I'll drive it two more years or five, but every time I see a flaw I just wish it wasn't there. Also realize it's a losing battle to keep it looking like new unless its kept under cover in a garage. But after doing a bunch of mechanical work to keep it going for another 100k, I want the finish looking good too.
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  #25  
Old 10-21-2013, 10:56 PM
Greg Lecewicz Greg Lecewicz is offline
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horror

I'm sorry guys but some of you should not attempt to paint any cars as you did. It's simply unacceptable and you would be better off to give it to some el cheapo body shop. I really don't mean to disrespect nor bash you but please, at least ask some questions before you start spraying away in your garage in some unknown humidity, temperature, etc. A good paint job is expensive cause it's time consuming prior and after. You have to specify exactly what you want and discuss details with the body shop. Normally you can paint a car with some very decent effects for 3500-4000 in Florida. This would include all the sanding, removal of the parts, fixing some small nicks , masking, final post clear prep with buffing. If you'd like a professional color correction after that ( 30 days or longer after) you have to add 1000-1200 bucks to get better than factory results. Not many guys can do the proper color correction and many would offer you just a 2 step buff and wax. It costs a grand cause it's not a single day operation some guys do 5-6 step wet sand/buff/wax. If you'd like a perfect, total take apart , show quality multiple layers wet sanded and the final color correction don't be surprised with a 12-15 000 bucks quote. Before accepting any high dollar quote over 3000 dollars I would like to look at the previous work they did providing you know what you're looking at cause to the untrained eye the 600 dollar job shines almost the same as 3 grand job. Anyway you've asked a fairly difficult question.
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