Time to fix the ManFood-mobile

I made the most of the nice weather by riding my bike to run errands, fixing my bike and then last but not least to fix my car.  I had gotten a scratch a while ago, and finally got around to fixing it.

Now before we even start, I want to make it very clear I am not a body man!  I like working on my own cars and am pretty knowledgeable as a backyard mechanic.  However, when it comes to bodywork, I get the job done – but it’s not always pretty.

My motivation is to prevent rust, not make the car look like a show car.  I’ll admit, if this was a Jeep or my old pickup, I would be tempted to primer the whole thing and then make it camo.

Before we even begin this I want to stress that this is a job that requires safety gear! (I rarely comment on these links I toss in… but that video is disturbing but hilarious)  Personally, I wore Mechanix gloves, safety glasses and a hat.  A hat?  Yes, just a regular baseball hat.  It keeps stuff from getting in your hair which can be real irritating considering you are sending tiny bits of metal everywhere.  You may want to consider a mask to cover your nose and mouth, too.

At any rate, the damage is mostly a scratch along with a small dent which isn’t really that noticeable.  The plan is to sand off the rust, prime the area then repaint with OEM color paint.

The hardest part of doing work like this is the masking.  You want to make sure that only what you want painted gets paint on it.

Since I had to do some sanding on the door sill, I put plastic over the interior to keep the dust off the seats and the car.

When sanding off the spots where there’s rust, be careful to ensure all the rust is cleaned off.  Any little tiny spots of rust will be trapped by the primer and proceed to bubble up underneath your nice new paint job.  It’s tedious, but I like doing a job right the first time.  It’s also important to make sure you light sand over the good parts of the paint so that the primer and paint will stick to that area as well.

On the door,  there was only a few small rust spots.  However, I don’t want to only have a few small patches of touch up paint.  If you can paint a bigger panel, and match that up with body lines, it’ll be easier to blend the touch up paint into the existing paint.

Keep sanding until there are no rust spots on any surface that you want to paint.  It’s helpful to keep an old rag with you to wipe off the sanded off paint.  This is especially true if you use a grinder or Dremel like I did for most of the sanding.  I would recommend sanding the good paint by hand as you only need to scruff it up a little bit and not completely take it off like the rust.

You want to get the rusty area down to bare metal as shown in the pic.

After you are satisfied with your sanding, you need to clean the areas you will be painting.  To clean the soon-to-be-painted areas all you need is some mild detergent mixed with water.  I used regular dish detergent mixed with water.  I used a shop towel type paper towel and cleaned where I’m going to be painted.

After the areas are sanded clean of rust, wiped clean and then washed clean it’s time for another tedious and time consuming part.  Masking.

Masking for sanding isn’t as tedious as masking for painting.  Paint has a habit of going everywhere – including (especially) places you don’t want it to go.  This is especially true for paint jobs done outside and not in a paint booth.

My job in particular is tough since I have to paint the door sill and need the door open to do so.

When you paint with the can, take care to move the can quickly in uniform strokes in the same direction.  I move the can horizontal back and forth.  This ensure two things.  First, you won’t miss a spot if you use the same motion as opposed to all over the place.  Secondly, if you move in uniform strokes fairly quickly (but smoothly) you lower your chances of putting too much paint on an area and getting drip marks.  These aren’t the end of the world, but it just means more sanding after you paint.

You’ll want to do a few coats of primer.  I do one coat and let it sit for a few minutes.  Then do another coat and repeat a few times.

After you do your multiple coats you can take off your masking.  The primer should be given the chance to dry and cure before you add your top coat.  I like to take the masking off to see if I missed areas and to really see what the paint lines look like.

That’s it for today.  It got late out, and I need to by the finishing paint anyway.

Honestly, for older vehicles you can stop after the primer.  This will prevent further rust and work fine, it just won’t be pretty.

Top coats to come tomorrow!

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~ by NJC on October 29, 2010.

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