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Old 02-24-2008, 01:57 PM   #1
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Car: 1981 Chevy Malibu, 1987 Formula 350
Engine: 229 V6, L98 TPI 350
Transmission: TH350, 700R4
Axle/Gears: 10 bolt ???, 9 bolt 3.27 posi

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Single stage paint vs. Base/Clear, for 1st time DIY'er

I'm considering painting my GTA myself for a few reasons... I want to paint the car for less than a grand, I don't want to stay with the original color, I want a decent quality finish, without paying a ton of money. I've thought about maaco, but based on what everyone has said, although it might be the easiest and cheapest way into a new coat of paint, the quality and durability wont be any better than if I just do it myself.
Anyway, I feel confident that I can spray a decent paintjob myself, and if it doesn't turn out perfect, at least I can say I did it myself and not be kicking myself for wasting money at Maaco.
Anyway, some of my friends who have a little experience with paint work are telling me that for what my goals are, a single stage paint is fine, and that doing a BC/CC job would just be adding money and complication to the whole thing.
I'm not looking for a show car quality finish, the car is my daily driver and I've had cars with perfect paint jobs before and theres nothing more upsetting than finding some jackass scratched or chipped your cars paint with their door in the parking lot or anything like that, so I'm not looking for perfection. As it is right now, anything will be better than what I've got, so I'm looking for suggestions on what kind of paint I should consider?
I don't want to go totally cheap and use something like the Dupli-Color Paint Shop stuff, but at the same time I don't want to spend several hundred dollars on a gallon of paint.
I want to go with a color like this
Click the image to open in full size.

This is what my car looks like now BTW:
Click the image to open in full size.
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1989 Formula WS6 - 355 with a double pumper on top, built up 700R4 (GONE)
1996 Cobra - Bolt ons - (SOLD)
1981 Malibu - 353 with, well, a double pumper on top, built up TH350 (SOLD)
1988 Shelby Z Daytona - 2.2 Turbo, basic mods, A555 5 speed (GONE)
1987 GTA - L98, Basicly stock, 700R4 (CURRENT, and maybe a keeper?)
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:11 PM   #2
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Car: 81z-28,89gta,91z-28 03 1500
Engine: 355,L98vette tpi,327
Transmission: TH350/700R4/700r4/4l80E
Axle/Gears: 3;73/3;27/2;73/3;73

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Re: Single stage paint vs. Base/Clear, for 1st time DIY'er

I'm gonna say single stage cuz thats what I did.
Check out my photobucket album. I'm pretty pleased with my results.
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:16 PM   #3
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Car: 1981 Chevy Malibu, 1987 Formula 350
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Re: Single stage paint vs. Base/Clear, for 1st time DIY'er

Looks good dude! Where did you spray yours? What paint did you use? What sort of equipment (guns, compressors, etc.) did you use?
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:23 PM   #4
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Car: '87 Trans-Am
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Re: Single stage paint vs. Base/Clear, for 1st time DIY'er

I also used a single stage and it is cheaper and still looks very good if you spend the time wet sanding and buffing any imperfections. A good buffing afterward is almost necessary anyway to bring out the shine. My pics are somewhere on this "Body" section under "Finally laid some paint on my Trans-Am...progress pics" Don't get me wrong, BC/CC will look better and you can do it if you've already sprayed the color...clearing will be relatively easy. But for the money you can get away with a decent single stage paint job. I spent a total of like $600 I think, including all my sandpaper, tapes, masking material, etc. not including my time of course :-p
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:27 PM   #5
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Car: 81z-28,89gta,91z-28 03 1500
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Re: Single stage paint vs. Base/Clear, for 1st time DIY'er

Thanks,I love it!
Anyway,I sprayed the car in the barn pictured.I used a urethane s/s black,wetsanded that with 800,and then laid 2 coats of s/s urethane clear on it.I used the cheapy harbor freight hvlp gun,and a craftsman compressor.(5hp 20 gal)
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:38 PM   #6
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Car: 2 camaros 1 trailblazer SS
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Re: Single stage paint vs. Base/Clear, for 1st time DIY'er

I have had to do base/clear cuz of many reasons.

1- I have a new type of clear that doesn't work well at all when dryed in with a base color. And worst with wetsanding. However is the strongest clear available and should help to protect black. fingers crossed

2- as i have 2 colors black and red strips. the clear will make remove the paint line.

3- even with triple black paint I wanted it layed on thick So we can wet sand the crap out of it!
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:12 PM   #7
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Re: Single stage paint vs. Base/Clear, for 1st time DIY'er

if you really dont want to take it to a good shop, which will unfortunately cost more than 1 grand probably, I'd say go single stage for your first time. It's a lil more forgiving if you get a run in a solid color.
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Old 02-24-2008, 05:06 PM   #8
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Re: Single stage paint vs. Base/Clear, for 1st time DIY'er

my first full paint job I ever did was single stage, came out very well, I think I have pics if you want to see any. overall its easier to spray then base/clear and alot cheaper. just get a decent HVLP spray gun and spray some test panels first.
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:38 PM   #9
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Re: Single stage paint vs. Base/Clear, for 1st time DIY'er

I guess a lot would depend on what color you plan to paint. Red is very expensive and black is fairly cheap, also is it going to be a light color or a dark color? Is it going to be a metal flake? Hereís the deal- I started using a single stage for the same reasons you mentioned, I thought it would be easier, cheaper and all I needed for a decent paint job that looks good. I have a black car so I picked up a gallon of Nason single stage, activator, reducer, and flex additive. The total was $160 for everything! Well I went home and started spraying, I wasnít doing whole car just the body parts I was replacing i.e. doors, a bumper cover, fenders so I know I had enough paint. I even had extra to repaint my screw ups. Now I do some painting at work so I have a little experience in painting and prep work, but honestly I was not real impressed with the results of the single stage. It did now want to lay down good (light orange peal) and it showed some sand lines even though I blocked sanded the primer well with 400. I think if it was a lighter color like white or yellow it would have been fine, but being black it showed everything. It took a lot of work to get a nice finish- blocking the primer with 600 and color sanding after. Needles to say the money I saved on paint was being used on labor to make it work. Remember your time is money too!

I decided to change my paint system I decided to try a base coat/clear coat system and let me tell you it was night and day! It was much easier to work with and it looked great! It was not that much harder to spray than the single stage and it was more forgiving. Here is what I used - Dupont CromaBase for the base coat, and Dupont CromaClear Snap Dry clear coat. The nice thing about this system is the base color was already pre-packaged so no mixing, the reducer is also the activator so no need to worry about reducing the right amount, and the clear dries dust free in 10 minutes. In 2 hours itís dry enough to polish! And it was not that much more than the single stage. Just remember to get the right temperature reducer for the air temperature when you spray. It makes a big difference especially if you plan on spraying in warm weather. And use the flex additive for bumper covers! I know there is a debate on this but itís only $5 more.

Base coat/clear coat is not any harder to apply than single stage! Mix the base and spray, clean your gun with lacquer thinner, mix you clear, by then your base has flashed enough and is ready for clear. Spray the clear and our done. Repairs are easier too! If you get a run or dust in your base, wait over night, sand and repaint just that area, then shoot the clear. If you had used single stage you would had to repaint the whole panel. If donít have a paint booth, like most of us, spray and extra coat of clear so you can wet sand any dust out without worrying about sanding through.

Here are the tech sheets for the paint I used. They will give you an idea as to what the steps are. Whatever paint brand you use, PPG Dupont, House Of Color itís pretty much the same application.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf base coat.pdf (88.2 KB, 108 views)
File Type: pdf clear coat.pdf (90.0 KB, 22 views)
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:45 PM   #10
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Re: Single stage paint vs. Base/Clear, for 1st time DIY'er

Or I could have saved some time and directed you to this. Check out Car Craft magazine they have a lot of painting how to's. Anyway, hope all of this helps.

http://www.carcraft.com/techarticles...eap/index.html
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Old 02-25-2008, 12:05 AM   #11
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Car: 1981 Chevy Malibu, 1987 Formula 350
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Re: Single stage paint vs. Base/Clear, for 1st time DIY'er

Wow, thanks for the great reply! I had been thinking that bc/cc would be better to learn with 'cause you can sand down your mistakes and stuff. Hmm.
Now my problem is just finding a place to spray this. Anyone ever spray a car in one of those portable garage things?
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Old 02-25-2008, 07:14 AM   #12
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Re: Single stage paint vs. Base/Clear, for 1st time DIY'er

Yeah, that is a problem for most. Thats why I mentioned spraying an extra coat of clear so you can wet sand any dust out, then buff to a nice shine. Wet sanding and buffing is not that hard either. That's one of the reason I like the CromaClear Snap Dry. It's dries dust free in 10 min so less chance of dust an bugs getting into it and causing problems. Good luck!
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Old 02-25-2008, 12:03 PM   #13
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Re: Single stage paint vs. Base/Clear, for 1st time DIY'er

Yeah Black is a bitch! I also heard metalic colors can show more flaws. My can will be primed and blocked out 3 times to solve and flaws.

I know you don't want to spenf the cash but around me with the market the way it is. Shops are very "cheap". My car from bare metal primed,painted,stripes,clear and all bolted back up $3000-$4000.

That is more than you need but that is a awsome price as supplies are a good $1200. That is at a TOP ferrari,bmw,lambo shop in booth.

It helps that I have sponsors! VISA and AMEX<-----LOL
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Old 02-25-2008, 12:03 PM
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