Monday, November 12, 2007

Ready to Take On Ralph Macchio

The original plan for painting the MR2 was simple. Just, prime over the existing paint applied by the DPO*. But the more I looked at the existing paint, the more concerns arose.

First, I found a couple of spots where the filler was popping off, and not sticking to the substrate. Not a good sign.

Second was the thickness of the exiting paint. In spots it was THICK. Like almost 1/8" thick! I really didn't want to put 3-4 more layers on top of that! In spots it was too thin, and barely had adequate coverage. You could see thorugh the original red color bleeding through. Getting this leveled flat would be near impossible. At best, it would require a *lot* of sanding.

The only other option also required a *lot* of sanding. That was removing the DPO's work back to the original paintwork. I tried to rationalize every possible reason NOT to do this, but in the end, I decided to take the paint down to the OEM coating.

After a two full days of sanding, 90% of the DPO yellow paint and primer is off of the MR2!

No wonder the Karate Kid could kick butt! It was a lot of work. But, I have no regrets. I'm lucky I did this. In spots, the primer was too thin. The paint had not cross-linked (cured) properly, and was just waiting to blister up. Had I painted it like it was, the solvents in the fresh paint would have gotten underneath the yellow topcoat and bubbled up, causing blisters.

The existing yellow paint wasn't mixed correctly either. In spots it just crumbled away under the sand paper (not enough activiator). In other spots, it was like sanding glass (too much activator). The paint wasn't mixed thoroughly enough or accurately. Here's a hard thin section (under the block) and a too thick section all in the same photo - HA!

The hardest parts were the nooks and crannies. Sometimes you have to get creative with things like windshield washer hose. What the heck it fit the body contour perfectly!

All work was done under the supervision of my buddy's dog. His name is Puppy. Here he guarding the sandpaper.

Today my arms are sore as heck! I'm going to have arms like Popeye before this project is finished! The good news is - this stage is done. Next, I'll grind off the filler spots, put a prep-wash on the bare metal spots, and then shoot the epoxy primer.

Timing and weather gets critical now. The epoxy primer must be coated with the K-36 primer-surfacer within 7-days. If not, it means more sanding. The weather plays a part as well. I need stable temperature for about 6 hours. Hot or cold doesn't matter so much. What's important is that it doesn't vary too much from shooting the paint until it flashes off. There will be much studying of the weather forecast tonight!