Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sill the Deal!

Today I shot the sills. Originally these were black, and have a factory applied texture. Unfortunately, they were half yellow and the texture was missing in a couple of spots. Why not make it factory fresh? I used PPG's DX54 Roadguard on top of DPLF primer. Mixed with DTL reducer it has the cosistency of warm queso. Mmmm queso.....

After getting the air, fan, and fluid knobs adjusted properly on some masking paper, the factory texture can be matched exactly. Steady gun distance and speed is important here to get an even texture.

The texture came out well. Exactly what I wanted. DX54 is great stuff! Cleanup is a mess, though. After a thorough gun cleaning, I loaded some DCC black and sprayed it up...

After flashing off, I peeled the tape! No lifts, thankfully!

A close up of the texture.

Final buff, reassembly and it will be time to hit the open road!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


First task today - fix the corner of the engine cover. Here's the result of it dropping:

Ouch! A little old-fashioned hammer and dolly work:

Led to this:

A buzzing with grinder took off the stretched metal, then some filler:

Good as new and ready to spot prime.

I shot DCC Black on the trim pieces. The other pieces got DBC/DCU2021 (bc/cc). I forgot to shoot the side-vent cover with bc/cc. Not a big deal, I'll hit it when I shoot the engine cover and front bumper.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Original plan was to be in NOLA all week. But I had an unavoidable meeting on Tuesday. Otherwise, I'm on vacation. I'm using my time off to finish up the car! I have a good deal of loose parts that need to be painted. These include the engine covers, rear wing, headlight covers, and window trim. I gathered all the window and rain gutter trim. Lots of pieces.

The first problem, how to hold them for painting? These pieces snap onto a goove on the back. No way to hold them by hand. I thought for quite a while before coming up with this idea:

A little clothesline wire wedged into the groove worked great! The larger pieces were easier, as they had holes in them. Then I strung up three 'clotheslines' in the bubble like so:

The black pieces toward the front got DPX801 Adhesion Promoter followed by a coat of reduced (flexible mixture) of DPLF. The rear body colored pieces got a coat of K36 Primer/Surfacer.

One small disaster happened before the sparying though... The last 'clotheline' fell down! The engine cover almost fell on me, too, as I was stooping down to tack the side vent cover. Luckily it didn't hit me. Unluckily, the corner of the cover got bent. Tomorrow the trim pieces get a coat of black topcoat and the body-colored pieces basecoat/clearcoat. After, I fix then engine cover corner!

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Lesson In Solvent Pop

I wheeled the MR2 out of the garage and looked over the bumpers. The front bumper looked like crap. Lots of sanding scratches under the basecoat. A huge run was on the lefthand end. And there were lots of teeny "craters". I probably could have lived with any one of the three, but the three combined, made a respray necessary. So I got out my 400-grit eraser and went to work...

When I shot the bumpers I was super, super careful at controlling the dust. I even shot without the fans on. I laid the basecoat down, inspected carefully for dust - none. I laid the first coat of clear down, inspected carefully for dust - none. I laid the second coat of clear down and had "dust nibs" everywhere! This can't be right I thought to myself.

My friend JP suggested the possiblity of solvent pop. He asked how thick I was laying out the clear. I was laying it on about as thick as I could get it and not have it run. "Too thick!" he suggested. I took this photo of my roof when I painted it in December.

Some time spent with google yeilded this this this webpage. The pic at the bottom of the page looks like it could have been from my car!

I setup an experiment with the valence that goes underneath the front bumper. It's not visible, so I wasn't too concerned with small defects. I painted the right hand side using thin coats of clear. I painted the left hand side using thick (as before) coats. Sure enough, the right hand side came out great, the left hand side had "craters". Lesson here, don't lay out the clear too thick, it will solvent pop. There were still some tee-small dust particles, but nothing very significant. They will probably come out with a good buffing. Had I known this before I could have saved a lot of work wet sanding the body. Live and learn!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lovely Day For A Spray!

Woke up to anther lovely day. Time to finish up the car! I finished back-masking to protect the good finish from overspray. I used some 3M plastic masking. It's wonderful! Like Saran Wrap for your car!

Masked off the sills to. These will get stone chip gaurd, then a black topcoat. But it needed another coat of DPLF primer. I used paper where I'd be spraying directly, rather than the plastic. I wasn't sure how the plastic would hold up under the air pressure...

Then I gathered all of the different paint components. I have a vertible chemistry set in here between prep solvent, adhesion promoter, primer, primer activator, base coat, reducer, clear coat and clear coat activator, and gun-cleaning solvent.

Time to say goodbye to the ugly bumper...

One coat of DPX180 adhesion promoter, two thin coats of DPLF primer, two coats of BC, and 4 coats of CC. The result...

It's red. Yay! All that's left is to paint the trim and sills black. I hadn't planned to paint the trim. But the car turned out so well, I just can't put on the chipped trim. I've created a bit more work, but the end result will be nicer.

Wrapping Up

Tough week of training this week. Started the week with a long endurance-pace ride. Followed that with 4-days of hard intervals. And combined the intervals with lots of sleep! Friday was a rest day that found me laying on the couch and eating pizza - from Chicago Pizza. That's a new place on Main St, and it's very, very good. I kinda miss the taqueria it replaced though...

Saturday started out with buffing the passenger side of the MR2.

For some reason I had a bunch of sanding scraches left in the clearcoat. It was more work than I anticipated. I colorsanded it, and left it as is. I'll buff this side out with the bumper covers.

The next task was prepping for the final spraying. I need to shoot the bumper covers, the c-pillar butresses, and the sill panels. I left the bumper covers because they get a different type of primer prep. Plus if I needed to re-shoot any of the car, I had a second chance. Good thing.

I had a massive brain fade when I painted the c-pillar butresses. I didn't get into the corners down by the engine cover, and I had a couple of gi-nor-mous runs. Too little in one spot, and too much in another.

Ouch. Luckily, it's an easy fix. Since the new paint is mechanically sound, its simple to prep. Just break the glaze and flatten the runs with some 600-grit paper and mask off. Speaking of masking off, I got started with that process too...

I left the car as it looks above and headed to the Houston International Festival. I've never bothered to go, as it's just before JazzFest. But today I decided to go. The music line up was pretty decent for the $15 admission. I saw the Red Stick Ramblers, Buddy Guy and Grupo Fantasma today. Here's a pic of the ramblers...

In typical Houston style the crowd was absolutely flaccid. Not a single person dancing. Everyone just sitting around with their arms folded. The crowd seemed more interested in the shopping midway than the music. I'm not sure what I expected...

The music line up is good though. Trombone Shorty plays this Sunday and Taj Mahal closes the festival out next Sunday. Not a bad alternative if you can't make it out to NOLA for JazzFest.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Aww Yeah! I Feel Good Again!

A trip to LakeLake today. Perfect weather. Felt great to be on the dirt again! Gosh, I can't imagine how I ever got through life without biking sometimes. Nice to get out of the city, out of the traffic, and in the sun.

I rode the first lap very slow. Intentionally. The dirty little secret of mountain biking is the faster you go the easier it gets. Coming from a car racing background, the first thing you learn to do is be smooth - smoothness maximizes traction. Same with a mountain bike on a loose trail. I have a nasty habit of sawing at the handlebars. Weaving and over-correcting. It killed me at Bar-H.

Thus, the focus for the first lap was to be smooth. Everytime I caught myslef sawing back-and-fro on the bar I told myself "STOP IT". I focused on hitting good lines, and nailing apexes in the turns. All stuff I do on auto-pilot in a car, but am still learning on the bike. It helped! By the end of the first lap I was feeling looser, smoother, and wanting to go faster.

Fast was saved for the second lap. I'm pretty sure it was a PR for me at LakeLake. Not sure because I didn't hit the "Lap" button on the GPS. Regardless, it felt quick.

The other thing I did on the ride today was to try out a pair of Kenda Smallblock 8's.

I've been running Kenda Nevegals on the trails. Good tires in really loose stuff, but for the most part - they are too much tire for most places in Texas. Certainly were at Bar-H. The SB8's have the same exact tread pattern as the Nevgals, except the knobs are much smaller.

I likey! They are very progressive in transition from grip-to-drifting. No surprises. They are VEERRRY fast rollers! The only thing they lack is braking traction. I found myself locking up the wheels on several occasions. Nothing I can't get used to.

Reveiw of some recent physio-testing results tomorrow!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Procrastinating Rest

My legs were sore today from buffing on the car. Is buffing cross-training? Maybe. It definitely required some awkward positions, reaches, and squats. My hamstrings were barking. I wanted to just stretch them out. Instead of resting as I was supposed to do, I elected for a light spin. Just an innocent light easy spin.

Yeah right.

Going up Heights Bld. came up to 11th street in the bike lane when this jackhole in a green Acura spins out his tires to pull out of traffic into the bike lane! Dang near hit me! I figured he was going to make a right, but he didn't! Instead he went straight! He damn near hit me, just so he could get three cars ahead at the traffic light! This pizzeled me more than a bit, so I hit the gas! I caught him at the 14th street light, and proceeded to, err, give him some "safe driving tips". The lady in a convertible behind him - who saw the first incident - gave me the thumbs up and a smile. Normally, I'm a very passive person, but this one ticked me off!

About 20 minutes later I come to 13th street. I'm zoning in on avoiding the roadkill that was in the bike lane when I see a young lady rolling onto the street. She got hit by a car! The lady driver stopped, and the young jogger was mostly OK. Just some scrapes and a good scare for everyone. It scared her really bad! Understandable!

I decided to go back to resting for the day!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Death, Living, Riding and Polishing

Friday brought a funeral for a co-workers son. Third funeral this month. So much for sping renewal. After that I just wanted to get out and appreciate life. I got home, changed, and took off on the chi-chi bike.

The clouds were looking ominous, but I kept going. Soon after that pic, it began to rain. It felt strangely good. Symbolic perhaps?

Saturday brought sunshine and work on the MR2. I hit it with the buffer and wasn't happy with the results. There were lots of dirt nibs left. I considered just living with them. I didn't want to reshoot. I didn't want to sand them out, risking a burn through the clearcoat either. The would require a respray, too.

My buddy Mason pointed out there was no reason not to go for it. The worst result would be to repaint just the hood - not so big of a deal. If it worked well, the entire car would look better. Here is the hood after wet-sanding out the dirt nibs with 800 > 1000 > 1200 grit. Very dull, but very flat.

Mason was right. No burn throughs and almost all of the defectos were gone. The PPG Brand DCU 2021 clearcoat I used is veeeery hard! I'm impressed. It doesn't hurt that I have 4 or 5 coats either.

Next came the cutting compound and buffer. I'm using 3M Extra Cut Compound. It works wonderfully well!! I highly recommend it, but beware it is veeerrry expensive... This stuff works like magic. Just a couple of minutes of buffing and the shine just jumps out. Only this time without (as many) defects.

My biggest worry was hooking an edge with the buffer and ripping off the clear. I tested an edge of the door-handle-hole. Since it lies under the door handle, it wouldn't show. I ground with the buffer and compound and never broke through the clear! No worries there! The DCU is very, very hard!

The results are excellent. A reflection...

And some wildlife bouncing off the hood...

... and rear decklid...

... Mason reflects on the shine...

Puppy was excited about the results, as you can see!

I'm both pleased and relieved. The buffing goes much faster than I thought it would. I'm surprised I didn't burn through while wet-sanding or buffing. I held off paining the bumper covers "just in case" I burned through anywhere. That way, I could re-shoot any screw-ups without another setup. No worries now. One step closer to done!

This is a scheduled rest week. I'll be doing some testing, and working on the car.