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1990 560 SEL with Euro engine, 1998 SL500 Sport
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As I have mentioned several times, I attempted to paint my car. It's coming along just fine after months and months of trial and error, numerous mishaps and lots of money re-purchasing extra supplies since i had to do the panels over several times... 5 to be exact. That's every panel in the car prepped and painted five times!!!

I'm down to the last 2 panels and a spot repair on the hood and low and behold the paint creeps on me in several spots. I had a gorgeous even flow and the paint reacted due to bad sealer underneath. ARGHHH! It looks like a spider web around the affected area. What a heartbreak after coming so close to finish.

Now it's attempt number 6!

I guess I'm just venting and making a comment for anyone attempting to paint their own car. It can be done but man it's a lot of frustration. So many things can go wrong.

This is arguably the most difficult and frustrating project I have ever had to do. It's certainly in the top 5. The upside is that most of the other parts on the car are show car perfect.


EDIT NOTE: I meant to say "Trials and tribulations..." in the title.
 

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1991 300SE W126 Collector owned, maintained 90k mi
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177 Posts
painting

As I have mentioned several times, I attempted to paint my car. It's coming along just fine after months and months of trial and error, numerous mishaps and lots of money re-purchasing extra supplies since i had to do the panels over several times... 5 to be exact. That's every panel in the car prepped and painted five times!!!

I'm down to the last 2 panels and a spot repair on the hood and low and behold the paint creeps on me in several spots. I had a gorgeous even flow and the paint reacted due to bad sealer underneath. ARGHHH! It looks like a spider web around the affected area. What a heartbreak after coming so close to finish.

Now it's attempt number 6!

I guess I'm just venting and making a comment for anyone attempting to paint their own car. It can be done but man it's a lot of frustration. So many things can go wrong.

This is arguably the most difficult and frustrating project I have ever had to do. It's certainly in the top 5. The upside is that most of the other parts on the car are show car perfect.


EDIT NOTE: I meant to say "Trials and tribulations..." in the title.
Single stage or 2 stage? The more coats you add you're increasing the chances of problems due to reducers drying over time and not allowed to escape.These problems may not show up for some time later.
 

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1990 560 SEL with Euro engine, 1998 SL500 Sport
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2,957 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I did base coat and clear coat... so yes, it was two stage. I agree, the more steps the more can go wrong. There are literally a dozen things at once that can go wrong if all isn't in order. I didn't do multiple coats either so there was no off-gassing issue. The sealer was applied two days ago. I purchased a cheap sealer locally on Sunday and it was obviously not compatible with the paint I was using. I should have known better but was anxious to finish and wasn't patient enough to order the sealer I was used to using online. As an aside, I typically wait 30-45 minutes between coats of basecoat.

I'm sure anyone who's painted before has encountered the same issues I have while learning. Funny thing is, the very first car panel I painted came out very well on another vehicle i did three years ago. I even used a cheap value line paint (Omni PPG) I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and got lucky. I had no runs, very little orange peel and perfect flowout. That experience gave me a false sense of confidence and was the driving force in deciding to do my w126.
 

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1967 250 S (sold) 1986 560 SEC 1987 560 SL
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I did the 2-stage also-just finished last weekend. Got some runs, rampant orange peel, and a circular blemish on the hood where I left the can of degreaser just before the last coat of clear. I guess the tack cloth attached to my hand missed whatever invisible debris was on the bottom of the can. Oh, forgot the cat hair on the driver's door...

I spent most of the summer prepping and painting this car and I am somewhat disappointed in the outcome. If I squint my eyes from a distance, the paint looks fine. :D At least it's better than the bubbled and faded mess that was the prior paint on this car. Now, I just have to let the frustration go and enjoy the car again.

As graftdesign said, there are so many variables in the process that can frustrate best efforts. And I totally agree with him that this was probably the most challenging project I have yet to dive into. That being said, I will paint another car some day as more things went right than wrong.

John
 

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1990 560 SEL with Euro engine, 1998 SL500 Sport
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2,957 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I did the 2-stage also-just finished last weekend. Got some runs, rampant orange peel, and a circular blemish on the hood where I left the can of degreaser just before the last coat of clear. I guess the tack cloth attached to my hand missed whatever invisible debris was on the bottom of the can. Oh, forgot the cat hair on the driver's door...

I spent most of the summer prepping and painting this car and I am somewhat disappointed in the outcome. If I squint my eyes from a distance, the paint looks fine. :D At least it's better than the bubbled and faded mess that was the prior paint on this car. Now, I just have to let the frustration go and enjoy the car again.

As graftdesign said, there are so many variables in the process that can frustrate best efforts. And I totally agree with him that this was probably the most challenging project I have yet to dive into. That being said, I will paint another car some day as more things went right than wrong.

John
I feel your pain. But all is not lost. I think you can save your finish. As far as your runs go, you most likely had too much fluid and not enough air... unless you laid down too much paint at once. You really need to go slow and let EACH coat flash before applying more paint. Patience is key.

You CAN get rid of the orange peel provided you have enough clear on the car. I had some orange peel but was able to wet sand it to a perfect finish. Wet sanding is very key. Start with 1000 grit, then go to 1200, then 1500. Some go even higher but I didn't. Then compound and polish with a buffer. It should look like a mirror after that. This process took as long as the prep!

There are guys that can lay down paint and clear with no orange peel. Typically they have top of the line guns - one for BC and one for clear. One shouldn't skimp on a gun if you want professional results. Avoid guns from places like Harbor Frieght at all costs as they will ruin all your hard prep work. I have great guns, but they probably could use a rebuild soon.

It's no wonder a great paint job costs thousands. I would guess if I sent my paint job out it would cost $10k to get the kind of finish I got (except for the recent screwup). It really is looking near perfect.... but I paid dearly in time and supplies.
 

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1991 300SE W126 Collector owned, maintained 90k mi
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177 Posts
painting

I feel your pain. But all is not lost. I think you can save your finish. As far as your runs go, you most likely had too much fluid and not enough air... unless you laid down too much paint at once. You really need to go slow and let EACH coat flash before applying more paint. Patience is key.

You CAN get rid of the orange peel provided you have enough clear on the car. I had some orange peel but was able to wet sand it to a perfect finish. Wet sanding is very key. Start with 1000 grit, then go to 1200, then 1500. Some go even higher but I didn't. Then compound and polish with a buffer. It should look like a mirror after that. This process took as long as the prep!

There are guys that can lay down paint and clear with no orange peel. Typically they have top of the line guns - one for BC and one for clear. One shouldn't skimp on a gun if you want professional results. Avoid guns from places like Harbor Frieght at all costs as they will ruin all your hard prep work. I have great guns, but they probably could use a rebuild soon.

It's no wonder a great paint job costs thousands. I would guess if I sent my paint job out it would cost $10k to get the kind of finish I got (except for the recent screwup). It really is looking near perfect.... but I paid dearly in time and supplies.
If you're shooting 2 stage you only need 2 coats of base. The durability and shine comes with the clearcoat. Allowing coats to flash will help with runs along with fluid control. Clear should be applied with a gun designed for this coat. Add enough clear and you can wetsand the daylights out of it. You can save alot of time using a DA with a wet sanding compounding for clear. Don't forget your air...must be clean, clean, clean. Spend the big bucks on a dessicant/filter/regulator. It makes a huge difference eliminating fisheye and a separate hose just for painting is a good idea minimizing your risk of contaminated lines. Good luck
 

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1990 560 SEL with Euro engine, 1998 SL500 Sport
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Discussion Starter #7
I only did one coat of base. No sense in doing one more after the paint reacted. I normally do 2 coats of BC and about 4 coats of clear. I typically wait 45 minutes between coats of clear.
 

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1967 250 S (sold) 1986 560 SEC 1987 560 SL
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You guys hit it on the nose. I was not patient and I am sure I did not wait long enough for flashing. Also, I purchased a cheapo regulator/water trap-now I realize it was a bad idea as it could not keep up with the gun air demands. I will try the sanding idea-I think I have enough clear on it to get it flat, but I sure wish I could buy some kind of alarm that would screech if I was close to breaching the clear...:eek:

Hat off,

John
 

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1973 W107 350SL, 1985 W123 280TE, 1983 W123 230E, 1996 W202 C280
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the first step in painting anything is to prepsol ( removes wax etc etc ) the panels.

Did you do this?
 

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1990 560 SEL with Euro engine, 1998 SL500 Sport
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2,957 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
You guys hit it on the nose. I was not patient and I am sure I did not wait long enough for flashing. Also, I purchased a cheapo regulator/water trap-now I realize it was a bad idea as it could not keep up with the gun air demands. I will try the sanding idea-I think I have enough clear on it to get it flat, but I sure wish I could buy some kind of alarm that would screech if I was close to breaching the clear...:eek:

Hat off,

John
Well, the good news is that you can always just wet sand the orange peel partially and then just add a few more coats of clear - then wet sand until all orange peel is gone.

Sanding clear is VERY forgiving as long as you have enough coats. Just be careful not to sand through the base... especially around edges and body lines.
 
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