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1985 300SD
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey, Is it a good/doable idea to paint the bumpers and middle lower body cladding sections with an "airless" paint gun? Or should I try to borrow a Air one? If any of you did it youself and did a good job, Id love to hear how you did it, where you got the paint, how the job is holding up now, Etc.
 

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CH4S Admin , Outstanding Contributor
1985 500SEC, 1991 190E 2.6.
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39,659 Posts
Hey, Is it a good/doable idea to paint the bumpers and middle lower body cladding sections with an "airless" paint gun? Or should I try to borrow a Air one? If any of you did it youself and did a good job, Id love to hear how you did it, where you got the paint, how the job is holding up now, Etc.
I only know that the plastic requires different primer and paint.
P.S. Scroll down to the help forum, it has a sticky on posting pictures,
Cheers
 

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'91 560 SEC
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71 Posts
I've painted a fender and bumper on a VW with single stage paint a couple of years back with an HPLV harbour freight piece of crap under $100 gun. Don't know about the airless gun but if you're talking about wagner type I would'nt recommend.
Are you thinking of single stage or base and clear? As for the plastics the recommended way is to use a bonding agent first and you have to mix in a flex agent into the paint as well (not sure if this is the case for base & clear paint job) On the VW bumper I only sprayed the bonding agent which came in a can (no flex agent) and to this day I havn't seen any cracking or chipping, though considering I never sprayed anything before that I had quite a bit of runs and bugs in the paint.
Aside from that judging on your post It seems like you're on a budget. If your car isnt anywhere near decent condition I'd suggest looking into the links below. $50 paint jobs using rustolium or brightside boat paint thinned real thin and rolled on with foam rollers! Labor intensive but some people seem to be getting good results (only single colors same applys for single stage paints). I tried this method on a metal floor board lying around, seems to work, might go ahead and paint my home made VW GTI MK2.

Rickwrench, Alfa GTV, Falcon Squire, Corvair
moparts: paint job on a budget!?
 

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Mercedes 420 SEL
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617 Posts
I bought paint from these guys.

PaintScratch Touch-Up Paint (rs), Spray Cans, Spray Paint, Paint Pens, Car Paint, Automotive Paint

Its an excellent match and comes out nicely--especially compared to what you have before.

You can use spray cans so you don't have to buy a gun, compressor, or worry about air or oil getting into the paint. You should stop periodically to check the nozzle on the spray can to avoid 'drips' accumulating that will 'spit' out paint. Get one of those plastic triggers for the gun.

TIP: Start BEFORE the body and continue OFF/AFTER the body. If you start pressing the button while pointing it at the body, you'll get runs, spots, uneven paint application. Start spraying before the body then sweep it across with contiunous flow until you're off the body.

Prep and clean surface:

Wash with dishwashing soap, rinse. LIGHTLY scuff with scotchbrite pad and then rinse off bumper/ side panels.

Tape off wheels/tires, and anything else you dont' want painted. I found painter's tape at any hardware store works well--with the part sticky part paper stuff that peels right off.

DO NOT USE NEWSPAPER. The paint can bleed through the newspaper and onto the rest of your car.

Get two cans of spray paint and two cans of clear coat. Their clearcoat buffs out really nicely, better than stuff in the stores.

LIGHTLY spray a first coast. Do not pour on the paint, even though that is the natural tendency. It'll look very 'sandy', don't worry. Let it sit for fifteen minutes, then put on a slightly heavier second coat. Wait fifteen minutes, then a final coat.

Wait fifteen minutes, then apply a coat of clear, then wait. Then another coat of clear, then wait. Yes, it will look like crap, but its a butterfly waiting to be released by some good old elbow grease and hand rubbing to a wonderful shine.

You'll have to wait 3-4 days for the paint to cure properly--do not touch the paint, you will put a thumbprint in it or worse.

After 3 to 4 days, hand rub with rubbing compound or use 1500 grit WET sandpaper (I prefer sandpaper--but go slow). You can buy it on Amazon.com. Then use 3M swirl remover or equivalent and hand sand with that--or use a dual action polisher like Porter Cable. Wash and rinse, let dry. Then hit it again with two coats of clear coat. and wait another 3 to 4 days and repeat the above. Repeat as necessary until you get a shine that looks like water.

When you sand with the 1500 grit, it will looked 'mottled' and cloudy. The dull parts will be the high points of clear coat than you sanded down (think of a mountain range, and you've sanded the tops off the mountains--but not too much, because if you've hit the bottom of the valley--there is no clearcoat at the bottom of the valley and you don't want to sand through that), and the rest will be the 'valleys'...or the bottom of the orange peel (its called orange peel because it looks like orange peel). When you sand it, you're taking the 'tops' off the hills and shooting more clear to fill in the 'valleys'.

If you want to do it cheaper, you can get paint from Autozone and clear coat from autozone and do the same as mentioned above. I'll find the right paint for the bumper. I did my bumper that way and it looks 100x times better.

.
 

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1982 300SD
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19 Posts
Nice write up, I am planning on painting my bumpers and cladding in the near future.

Could you post pictures to show us how it turned out?
 

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1985 300SD
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203 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
WOW, thx guarddog, very thorough. You should teach a class or something. One question though. After this step:

"After 3 to 4 days, hand rub with rubbing compound or use 1500 grit WET sandpaper (I prefer sandpaper--but go slow). You can buy it on Amazon.com. Then use 3M swirl remover or equivalent and hand sand with that--or use a dual action polisher like Porter Cable. Wash and rinse, let dry. Then hit it again with two coats of clear coat. and wait another 3 to 4 days and repeat the above. Repeat as necessary until you get a shine that looks like water"

When you say, "REAPEAT THE ABOVE AS NESSECARY" are you refering to the paragraph I quoted only with the sandpaper, then swirl remover, then clear coat again, or do you mean repeat the Whole process over again with the paint and everything. This probably sounds like a stupid question but I just really want to be sure and not screw this process up. Thanks again
 

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Mercedes 420 SEL
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617 Posts
WOW, thx guarddog, very thorough. You should teach a class or something. One question though. After this step:

When you say, "REAPEAT THE ABOVE AS NESSECARY" are you refering to the paragraph I quoted only with the sandpaper, then swirl remover, then clear coat again, or do you mean repeat the Whole process over again with the paint and everything. This probably sounds like a stupid question but I just really want to be sure and not screw this process up. Thanks again
I meant sand the clearcoat a bit, but not too much (better too little than too much). First sand the clearcoat with 1500 grit, it will look cloudy and you'll think, "(*&#*($&# I messed up my clearcoat"....but thats not the case. Take a dual action polisher (think porter cable type from Griots--but buy it at Home Depot for a lot less money, you'll need a hook and loop backing bad)..or if you have a lot of patience and time, you can do it by hand.

Anyway, sand the "top of the mountain" or the "orange peel" down a bit, then polish. Wash clean, let dry, then add more clear coat. Let the clear coat dry, then repeat sanding, polishing, until you get what you want.

Think of it as a nice wood table than you've put a glass plate on top. You don't want to sand through the glass plate (the clear) into the wood.

Another way to think of it is you have a glass plate on top, but its all bumpy and not smooth at all. You pour water on top and the water fills in the bumps, and you get a flat 'top'.

Hope that makes sense. I would practice on a piece of scrap bodypart first before attempting it on your own car. It'll take at least three pieces to get it right, so go find a fender in decent shape from a junkyard, and practice on that before ever touching your car.

.
 

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1985 300SD
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Discussion Starter #10
Oh yeah, sry guarddog, one more question: Did you use a primer when painting the plastic or did you only use the basecoat and the clearcoat?
 
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