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86-95 Trucks & 4Runners 2nd/3rd gen pickups, and 1st/2nd gen 4Runners with IFS

Base Coat Clear coat Painting 101

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Old 09-13-2007, 11:40 PM   #1
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Base Coat Clear coat Painting 101

After reading about the $50 dollar roll on paint job on this forum, it's unorthodox way made me cringe. I just want to say, there is no way in hell I would do that to my automobile! Rollers are for houses! If anyone is interesting in learning about spraying base coat clear paint on their 4runner, I will tell you how I do it from my expirence. My way of wording or explaning things may be because I'm tired, nevertheless, I hope somebody will learn something from it.

Ok, so your working with new fenders. SO, you will paint the entire fender. You prepped the fenders with 220. Get it in primer before it rusts! Two coats of primer, wait 5-10 minutes between coats. Try not to run the primer. wait 30-60 minutes for primer to dry, sand with 400 grit sand paper until it's smooth, but don't break through the primer to metal. The edges will be most easiest to go through, so do the edges LAST! Rinse well, dry well.

TIP: When prepping or sanding, do not let dirt or grit get under the sandpaper, doing do will scratch the finish. You should beable to feel and hear it! It's always best to wash and rinse (well) the vehicle first! Also, if you run the primer make sure you sand it out after drys good!

0. If your painting a dark colored vehicle, buy very dark grey or just BLACK primer since your car or truck is of a dark color, this helps paint to cover the primer easier. You could just buy the cans already mixed for properly mix ratios, otherwise mixture of primer and thinner is 1:1 depending on your needs, thicker for rough scratches, thinner for well sanded areas (thin primer is a SEALER, thick primer is a FILLER). Buy 1 pint of paint (more than enough to do two fenders). Sorry to tell you, clear is not cheap, I've only bought it by the gallon, I really don't know if you can find less. One gallon of clear would do your whole car with 3 nice coats on it, if you don't waste spraying it in the air, you'll have some clear to spare or maybe not with a big SUV. I use cheap omni clear at the shop, it mixes 4:1 with hardener, as most other clear mixes do. I sometimes use a little bit of thinner maybe 1 part to thin it out, for very nice flow, for fast drying, less accidental running, and to save money Buy a couple of mixing cups, paint sticks, clear harder for the clear, strainers, and grease and wax remover, masking tape, roll paper, retarder /or reducer, tack rag, and fisheye eliminator optional (that's up to you).

TIP: If you have sprayed silicone on anything (AmourAll or other rubber protection) like on rubber seals lately, you should wash that competely off of the automobile, wash it with lots of soap and water several times, rinse well, with new water each time and dry using compressed air. Wipe down with grease and wax remover. Then, wait till tomorrow after you had a shower and changed clothes! At least now you and your 4runner will be super clean! Buy fish eye eliminator. You will know fisheye when you see it! Your painted area should have no fisheyes and that's ideal, sometimes 1 or 2 which is not bad at all, but when you really got it bad, you'll see HUNDREDS! Is luck on your side? DO NOT HAVE GREASY HANDS! WIPE DOWN WITH GREASE AND WAX REMOVER. at least TWICE! Failing to do so may cause FISHEYE fingerprints, AND YOU WILL KNOW WHAT THAT IS WHEN YOU SEE IT!!! Grease and wax remover will remove base (safe to use/wipe on lacquer primer or urethane primer)! Once base is down on the main outside body panel, DO NOT USE IT AGAIN! DO NOT USE AMOUR ALL OR ANY KIND OF SILICON SPRAY OR BE NEAR IT, SILICONE FLOATS IN THE AIR! THIS WILL CAUSE SEVERE FISH EYES! WHEN IN DOUBT, WIPE IT DOWN MANY TIMES PRIOR TO PAINTING!!! I can not express this enough!

1. Base painting. When you get your paint, dupont, ppg, or whatever you get, it's not thinned out. It's going to be thick. STIR WELL! I CAN NOT STRESS ENOUGH, STIR WELL, the pearls, metal flaks, and colors sometimes don't get shaking up enough from the store when they shake it, if it's not stirred completely, it will change the shade of the paint! Retarder or reducer slows the dry time down and it helps the flow of how metal flak lays down in the base, little is needed, like 1:6, just depends on how hot the day is and humitity, and it's not really needed all the time either, you could do without it, but is sometimes preferred.

Use your paint cup to stir in, pour only a half of a pint of WELL MIXED paint into the cup, mix less than 1:1 thinner with the paint (better thicker than too thin for the time being, so less then, I just eyeball it). You don't want the paint too thin because the paint must cover nicely and lay down nicely too. You should beable to cover it in 3 coats, and shouldn't have to do no more than 4 to make sure! Remember, you still have a half pint left, so use your paint sparingly! If it's too thin add little bit more paint!

2. With the fender off, base the inside (jams), such as, inside fender where the hood is, door is, and where the wheel is. If you want to and have a LOT of paint to waste (I wouldn't you only have a pint, spray wisely! OR use another paint), paint inside of the fender for a little bit of protection against rust. Spray at the angel as to not try to paint the main outside body panel surface. First coat should be a light coat, to help avoid fisheye. Base the jams about 2 or 3 times until covered. Try not to run the base. First coat lightly (this helps prevent fisheye), next two coats are full coats, and should be well covered. wait 5-10 minutes between coats, if it's cold, wait even longer. Let dry for at least 30 minutes.Don't worry about clearing the jams, clear spray will make it's way to it's destination good enough.

3. Mount the fenders.

TIP: When taping off a vehicle, use masking tape and paper on a roll, it makes it much easier to cut off what you need. Take your time to do a neat job, overlapped tape or paper on the body panel makes for a crappy job. When taping off rubber or seals, it's best NOT to overlap on to the body at all! After painting and clearing, it's best to carefully remove tape and paper after about 30-60 minutes after it flash dry, this is so it doesn't fully cure and bridge to the paint. This applies especially around rubber seals!

TIP: Ok you have muliple options. The problem with painting a whole body panel is you can't blend the paint, and if the paint isn't PERFECT, it's gonna show up easily from body panel to body panel. I see it all the time, guess it's the trained eye. So this is how I do it at the shop.

4A. Tape off front door, hood, bumper, and use a tire cover.

***OR*** if you want to BLEND for a seemless color match like a pro ->

4B. Tape off rear door, hood, bumper, and use a tire cover. Prep FRONT door with a piece of 1200 grit sand paper *OR* use Comet and a grey Scotchbrit (GREY for pearls and metalflake or any, RED for solid colors) THOROUGHLY! Until there is NO SHINE LEFT ANYWHERE, the finsh will look competely dull when cleaned and dried, careful not to break through the old clear, if you see a ring in the clear, you broke though into the paint, which you do not want to do, it's REALLY hard to do with 1200 grit sandpaper or Scotchbrite, so don't worry about it. Stay away from edges until last!), and shouldn't take no more than 5 minutes to do it! Rinse well and dry well. Prepping the door this way should be considered beforehand, this is so you don't get paper and tape wet.

TIP: Make sure all jams, rubber seals, door handles are dried about by using compressed air! Nothing worse than water trickling down as you are painting!!!

TRICK: After properly taping up rear door, and after you have prepped the front door, temporarily tape it off from the fender with a couple sheets of paper. Later after you've painted the front fender well with 3 or 4 good coats, and is dry, you will take this paper off of the front door and blend into the front door about 10 inches or even to the middle of the door, but don't go past the middle!! When blending, you will thin your paint down even further like 2:3! Think of GRADIENT on the front door when painting it (I hope this makes sense). Paint doesn't always match old faded paint, if you paint it right, nobody will notice it's been painted. Heck, I can make two shades off color look like it matches!

Here is my example of gradient blending:

.............^FULLY PAINTED
...........^PAINT 3x (paint is thinner than before)
........ ^ LESS PAINT 2x
...... ^ LESSER PAINT 1x
.....^ NO PAINT!

Now you see the basic of blending. This is the idea behind how I paint small repaired dents in a small primered area. We can blend into just one panel too, if the repair doesn't bluntly meet another panel.

4. Wipe the entire outside painting area down with grease and wax remover. Try not to touch the jams (jams won't show, just dry it quick if you hit it). If you need to, and the outside feels rough (probably will), hit it again with a piece of 600 grit sand paper (careful not to break through the edges of the primer). wipe it down again. Feel smooth? OK good. Your done with grease and wax remover, don't use it again.

TIP: Sometimes you may get too much base on the outside panel or may the base may be too rough, you may just need to sand it lightly with 600 grit paper and and use a tack rag only using no grease and wax remover. Surface should be smooth, not rough.

5. Use a tack rag and tack it off. Base the panel with a light coat (to help avoid fisheye), let dry. Tack it, spray a nice good coat for the second, let dry longer. Tack it again, spray another good coat third coat, let dry longer. If you need a fourth, which you probably will, spray it again.

TIP: Watch for steaking in your base as you spray, you pattern in your gun may not be adjusted right. Metalflake tends to streak, as solid colors do not after clearing.

6. Clear coat. After the base is on and dry. It's time to clear. Temp, climate, and cleanliness plays a big role on how well the job turns out. It is wise to have a dust free area and have the car in a room like a garage where wind, insects, and other elimates won't interfere. Wetting down the floor will help capture dust that will be move from the air pressure from the spray gun. Ideal temp would be 75 degrees. You can buy activtor/harder for clear specifically for tempertures and it will slow or speed up dry time. When you mix the clear 4:1 with harder you can thin it down a little bit with thinner to make it stretch farther or to flash dry faster in between coats, do note though when you thin it, only use one part of the ratio do so (4:1:1, 2 at the very most), because the more it's thinned, the less clear will actually be on the automobile when it's dry! The beginner may want to thin it a little to help prevent runs when clearing. When you spray your first coat, you don't want to try spray a lot on at once, instead clear the under side and edges first then procees with the outter facing panel as a light coat. Ideally you want to see shiny, BUT it's ok to see patch of DRY spots on the panel on the first coat. This first coat called a tack coat, it allows the second coat to cling to the first coat so it doesn't run! Subsequently, if your body panels aren't sanded good (I.E. front door of this documentation), the first coat will run right off, causing nasty looking tidal waves or icing! After about 10 minutes (again depending on temp and climate), check that the next coat is ready by touching the taped up panels of paper, as your clear would have most certainly sprayed on it. If by touching and pulling your finger back it is stringy, it's not ready for second coat, if it stick super sticky feeling, THEN your ready for second coat. Spray the next coat on as if you were looking for glass on the whole panel. Never stop spraying on one spot, take full long even stroke with the gun. After second coat your done, but if you really want to, follow second coat step for the third coat.

TIP: If you've never sprayed clear before, I highly suggest you find a test panel to practice on. This way you can get familar with your spray gun.

TIP: If on the first coat you see fisheyes, add a couple cap fulls from the fisheye can to the clear. Also note that the dry time between clears will be longer and the clear will be runnier.

TRICK: Spray pattern when spraying clear. To spray clear, your first stroke from the gun will be halfway on the paper at the top and half on the panel. The next stroke should overlap each other by half stroke. Picture the spray pattern as two halves and a whole, two halves equal a whole on the next stroke. Never stop in the middle of a spray stoke, if you do, it's a guaranteed run.

Ok, I'm done, and the clear looks perfect!


No wait, I messed up and it looks horrible! What did I do wrong?

Theres a solution to this, and it will make the crappiest clear job good look fantastic, and I'm going to tell you how.

When you have a really crappy looking clear finish after you clear or if you just want perfection, you must wait at least 8-10 hours for the clear to harden enough to fix it. You need a have good buffer and nice wool buffer pad, heavy buffing compound, and finishing glaze for it, you must also have 1000 or 1200, 1500 or 2000 grit sandpaper, the finer the paper, the easier it is to buff, but harder to sand out anything. If you happen to get a run in the clear, you can use 1000 or 1200 grit SP and a small rubber block to sand it out. If when sanding a run out and the SP looks like it's balling up or smearing on the paper, you must wait additional hours, pull it out in the sun and let bake on. Only sand the run out enough the where the run is gone, only appling presure to the run itself with the block trying not to sand the outside clear because you do not want to break through the clear. Next, look at the panel and see if it looks orange peely, sand the rest of the panel with 1500, USE LOTS OF WATER WHILE SANDING! As you sand all the orange peel out, use a rubber squeegy as you go along and check for complete smoothness and dullness. Carefull trying to sand fisheye out, because you don't want to go so far through the clear you break through it. Next, if you've never used a buffer before, practice with it, learn the rotation of the buffer, and ALWAYS remember the rotation of the buffer. A buffer will burn the paint right off edges very quickly! Use a couple squirts of heavy compound, do the center of the panel first while appling a little pressure to heat to the clear with friction going back and forth in small areas. After center is done and see how compound and buffer pad works together to make it shiny you can go on the edges. When doing edges, make sure the rotation of the buffer pad goes off an edge or even and never against it, if you go against it, this will certainly burn the paint right off. After buffing with heavy compound, it's time for finishing glaze, and this take out swirl marks and make it even shinier! Wax by hand and 100% cotton towel. When your job is done, it should be like showroom glass and look BEAUTIFUL!

TIP: When you wash and dry your car, only use 100% cotton!!!

You have any questions, let me know. I'm may still modify this first thread for clarity. Please correct me there is something you unsure of or I messed up somewhere. If fact, I must have somewhere, just getting tired of reading and writing all this! I will re-read it later

This I hope is the most fundemental thing you could learn with a couple tricks you may not have known! I hope it helps you in your quest for an AWESOME looking 4runner!

These are my own words, so if I messed somewhere, sorry! I'll correct it later! ...

Last edited by corvey; 09-15-2007 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 09-14-2007, 12:44 AM   #2
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Old 09-14-2007, 10:56 AM   #3
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Wow! very well explained and detailed... thanks can't wait to read the rest of it.
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