Preparing your vehicle – Minor Body Work 

First of all I want to stress that this is only a guide, and that unless you are skilled, there are no shortcuts to a good job. The bodywork of your car should be thoroughly inspected to assess whether the vehicle is worth restoring/ painting. Then the old paint should be inspected to see if it has to be stripped back to bare metal or not. Generally any EJ/ EH should be stripped back to bare metal before respraying, unless it is in exceptional condition. 

There are several methods of removing old paint finishes to bare metal.

They are:– Removal of old paint by sanding with orbital or disc sander. The advantages are that it is low cost, will not attack or remove previous repairs, and large areas can be covered quickly. Against this, is the inside of doors and under bonnet areas are tedious, having to be done by hand and some of the hard to get at corners are near impossible. When doing the large areas, lift the sander regularly to prevent clogging. Any corners or areas that you can’t sand, you will have to get at these later with paint stripper or a small hand sand blaster. If the old repairs are sound condition, and you don’t want to remove all the old filler, then sanding is the go. If the filler looks defective it will have to be removed and preferably beaten out. 

– Removal of old paint using chemical methods such as paint stripper. The advantages are that it is excellent for fiddly areas, will not damage metal, works quickly on thin paint films and enamels. The disadvantages are that it requires gloves and protective clothing, is messy, for vehicles with thick dried old paint the stripper requires several applications and it attacks rubber and trim. Firstly double mask all rubbers and interior trim, or remove them. Generally the softer and thinner the paint, the easier it will be to remove. Instructions are always on the can, and for most vehicles you will require 4-6 litres. Be careful when using paint stripper as the residue can stain concrete, kill lawn and in general is a messy job. 

– Complete paint removal by beadblasting. This will give complete paint removal with little effort, removes rust leaving shiny metal, clean and fast, leaving metal with an etched surface. The disadvantages are that media particles will lodge themselves everywhere, and the biggest concern is rippling of panels. Only use media or bead blasting, and make sure that the blaster is experienced in blasting vehicle panels. The body shell must be devoid of all trims, glass, etc.Whatever method of paint removal you use, the bare steel should be primed as soon as possible. A two pak oxide primer is preferable, as filler can be placed over it. 

Used at length in the repair industry polyester fillers are recommended for the repair and levelling of vehicle panels before refinishing commences. Preparation-Clean surface thoroughly with Wax & Grease remover and dry off with clean rag. During all cleaning constantly replace old rags with new clean cloth. Complete any required panel beating or removal of paint. Polyester (Plastic) Filler-Mix as per makers directions and apply. When cured shape the filler with a body file, sanding disc or sander. Sand finally with abrasive paper no coarser than P180 open cut paper or similar product ensuring a smooth level surface and removing all tacky residue.

Next feather all edges (remove abrupt edge of old paint) of the repair to bare metal with P240 open cut paper and finish with no coarser than P240 dry paper or P240 wet paper. Ensure to extend the sanding beyond the anticipated edge of the primer. Note: Polyester or plastic filler edges over previously painted surfaces may lift or fry when painted. This may particularly happen with lacquer type substrates. Bare steel-Note: All areas of bare steel that surround the filler must be treated with Deoxidine or recommended metal conditioner, but do not get it on the filler. Mix and apply your metal conditioner as per manufacturer’s directions. Priming-Thoroughly dry the surface to be painted and remove all dust with compressed air or similar. Mix and apply primer surfacer or Hi-Fill primer filler (as per directions) within one hour of the surface being treated.

Overview of manufacturers directions for two part polyester putty which will fill and bond to almost any surface. Sets rapidly, won’t crack/shrink and may be painted, sanded and drilled. Preparation, thoroughly grind or sand surface to be coated to remove paint or rust. If dents to be filled are more than 6mm you may require more than one application. Clean surface with Wax & Grease Remover to remove all wax, grease, oil and moisture. Mixing thoroughly stir contents of container and knead hardener tube. Place filler needed for job on a clean non absorbent surface. Mix 1 part of hardener to 30 to 50 parts of filler using a firm wiping action until an even colour is obtained. Never return mixing material to can. Replace lid to both containers. Usable life of mixture is 4 to 15 minutes, depending on temperature. Application, apply a light initial layer with firm pressure, then build up layers to required thickness slightly over filling to allow for later shaping. Allow to cure for 30 minutes. Finishing when cured sand or file to desired contour. Allow 1 hour and coat with primer surfacer. Use spot putty or spray putty to fill any minor irregularities. Re-prime and top coat as required. Clean Up and clean tools and equipment with all purpose thinners. Store in a cool dry place.

Possible consumables requirements are coarse, medium and fine wet and dry paper, wax & grease remover, primer surfacer, spray putty or spot putty, finish coat, all purpose thinners, dust mask, filling blade, body file, rust converter, clean rag, spray equipment, etc. Safety Avoid skin contact and breathing the vapours. If poisoning occurs contact a doctor. Always use a dust excluding mask and ensure adequate ventilation. Flammable Material 3 UN 1133 Class 3.7–HAZCHEM. 3WE