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2003 Volvo V70 5 Speed
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Ok so my rattle cans of color and clear just arrived from automotivetouchup.com and now I just want to make sure I have the process right here. The fender has been taked down ti bare metal and any imperfections have been filled and sanded smooth. So just to confirm the steps:

1. Apply several coats of primer. Allow to dry and them wet sand smooth

2. Apply many light coats of color allowing for the even dispersal of the metallic paint until even color is achieved. Allow to fully cure

3. Apply light coats of clear. This is where I need the most help. How many coats of clear do I need? I've also read about compounding which I know nothing about. Is it necessary? How do I do it?


So please tell me if I need to add anything to my steps, instructions would be great, experiences and tips also...
 

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2003 Mercedes S430
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You'll need to wait about three days before you wet-sand the primer to make sure that all of the solvents have gone and the bondo has sufficiently cured. Otherwise, you risk painting your fender and then the material shrinking. That makes your paint a mess.

Wet sand and let dry, wipe down with a lint-free cloth after wiping down with a mild grease/wax remover.

You will need 4-5 coats of base color if using cans. With a spray gun, about 3. Same with clear.

Don't let the clear completely dry between coats, it needs to melt together.
 

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Clean the metal with Prep-Sol. It's a solvent made by DuPont. If you see any spots the primer seems to avoid (fisheyes), you probably have silicone on the metal, and you'll need to clean it really well and then sand it again. If you didn't use the solvent prior to sanding, it's likely you got some silicone into the metal. Silicone is used in a lot of waxes that are not "paint shop safe".

Don't let the colors completely dry between coats, and don't let them fully cure before applying the clear (I don't think). I think that would lead to bonding issues. You want it to dry to where the tack is gone between coats. If something gets into the paint when you're spraying, try to use some compressed air to blow the dirt away.

I would use a high build primer if you can because it fills in any rough sanding marks, but it's quick to clog the sandpaper.

Once the clear is finished, you'll want to sand with a 600... maybe better is 800 grit, and then work up to around 2,000 progressively (it will look HORRIBLE, but have faith). You do not have to sand if you don't want to! It will however help remove any orange peel or imperfections if you have them. If you sand, be careful, use a block, let the paper soak 20 minutes before hand, avoid the corners, edges, etc.

If you sand or don't, the next step is to use something like a Meguiars Diamond Cut #85 for the "compounding" (small bottle is more than enough) with a high speed buffer(that's the one I used) and a "wool" bonnet. It will look almost perfect when you're done with this step (it's a mess though, and that stuff is hard to clean up). Then you'll need to use a swirl mark remover (Meguiars #9) and foam bonnet to get the final marks out of the paint. Watch again on the corners and edges so you don't burn through the clear coat. I found that the Diamond Cut stuff (despite the name) didn't run any risk of burning through. It's extremely gentle. DO NOT use any old "buffing compound"! My friend ruined a paint job using some kind of Turtle Wax buffing compound that was like sand. It burned through everywhere in the matter of 2-3 seconds. It took a while to make it look better, but would have had to be repainted to be fixed since it went to the primer in spots.... Eek! I don't think you can even feel the grit in the #85 polish. And I'm not supporting Amazon or Meguiars, I just wanted to give you examples.

Wait at least 90 days before waxing so all the solvents can get out of the paint.

It sounds complicated, but it's really not that hard. I painted my whole car, and the results impress everyone that sees it, and it was my first attempt. I even used tractor restoration paint that was on clearance! Just stick to the professional buffing products and you should be ok. Remember, you can always sand it and try again if it doesn't look right. :D

Use a respirator, gloves, long sleeve shirt, pants, safety glasses, and other Personal Protective Equipment as recommended on the cans or by a local paint supply house. I used a P-100 respirator with organic vapor cartridges.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
so one last question. Do I spray the clear after the color has cured, flashed off, after night, or what?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
anyone?
 

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Are there any instructions on the cans? Like surface temperature, cure time, time between coats, etc? Most paint cans have this info. If not, query the place you bought it from, or the manufacturers website. Any info you get on here is going to be opinions. And you know what they say about opinions.....
 

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Google says that you should sand the color coat if there are any imperfections and then apply the clear coat about a day later.

I think that maybe the clear coat goes on within 4 hours of the color coat, or 24-72 after. If you don't wait long enough (or is it too long?) the clear coat will wrinkle.

You could go to the local NAPA (CMAX?) or some other sort of automotive repair supply shop and ask the guy at the paint counter. They're usually happy to have someone to talk to, just don't provide any opinions or question what they tell you (ask us later!). :)
 

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Practice on a small piece of metal first, something like 18" square. This'll let you understand spray pattern overlap, distance from the surface to hold the can for best lay down and drying times between coats. With spray can paint you can't get it as wet as you have been advised earlier, don't try. The paint will bond properly if it has dried for several hours between coats. The key to all this is proper prep in all stages and making each stage a smooth as possible before you move to the next. Bare and repaired surfaces should not have any scratch larger than 120 grit before primer is applied. Spray can primer should dry for at least 2 days if possible and should be sanded smooth with 400 to 600 grit. Base coat (color) should be smooth and even before clear is applied, you might apply 3-4 coats of base, sand with 800 grit to smooth the surface and apply 1-2 final coats of color to even out the surface appearance. Apply enough clear to allow you to sand it smooth with 1000 grit paper before you move on to 1500 grit and finer to give you a slick surface that you can buff out.
Buffing must be done with a buffer. Hand buffing doesn not generate the speed required to break down the compound and create the shiney result. Compound is not a product that you put on and take off, like wax. It has to move in a circle hundreds of times to create the gloss.
Consider dividing the finder in half, taping through the side moulding holes, when you paint it. The base color and clear will be much easier to apply if you are working smaller areas. Spray can paint is not really designed to provide a professional appearance on areas much larger than 24" square.
Keep the surface as clean as possible throughout the process, dirt is the enemy.
Hope I didn't confuse you. Good Luck
 

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Dude99, thank you for the post, I'll be doing the same job between the holidays with the same paint! GOOD LUCK!

AUBS, I read every word of yours to insure I do a great job, thank you. Cause you know I would have been in the garage spraying away with no pants on.
 
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