Restoring Classic Vehicle Bodywork Brings Rewards
A person should take several factors into consideration before restoring classic car bodywork. It is crucial that the vehicle’s final appearance matches the original finish. If this is not achieved, the value will be lowered. Even if a person has does not want to sell the vehicle, owners of classic cars want a finished vehicle that totally reflects the characteristics and appeal of the original.
Body repair preparation involves stripping all of the fixtures and fittings before beginning to work. The exterior is cleaned so all flaws are visible. Visually inspect the classic car and circle all dents and rust areas with chalk. Remove rust using a sander and sanding disc (P80 grit). Keep the sander flat which will prevent the vehicle panels from becoming distorted.
Remove the paint completely from dented areas for up to four inches past the dent using a sander in addition to a disc (P80 grit). When bare metal is visible, application of the body filler can be done. Be sure to properly mix, apply and sand the filler. Sanding is a lot of work and must be practiced so a person knows that it has been done correctly.
Body filler is applied on properly prepared, clean metal or epoxy primer. If applied on epoxy primer, the primer is to be fully dry and sanded. The filler is never applied on etching primer, metal cracks, rust, or to fill holes. The filler gets moisture underneath ruining the hard work completed. Cardboard soaks up resins so it can’t be used to mix filler on. Body filler can be mixed on clean metal pieces or plastic boards. Body filler should be mixed correctly using manufacturer directions since having too much hardener in the filler creates problems.
Before another layer application and after the filler is sanded, it is extremely important to clean off the filler utilizing compressed dry air. It is amazing how much dust comes off showing all the small holes as well as flaws. Areas not yet sanded are roughed up before any added coats are applied. Brazed weld application requires coverage of the brass with epoxy primer. Body filler will not adhere to brass for a long time and will bubble in the end. When dry, use a sanding block to sand everything down. First use P36 grit, next use P80 grit, then finish by using P180 grit. After repairs are finished, the complete car body is sanded utilizing discs (P320 grit). It is a good idea to wear a dust mask when sanding.
Autos should have all the dust removed and washed using panel wipe. Carefully mask the car and then complete the priming and flatting. Application of three complete coats of primer is placed on the exterior of the vehicle. Allow paint solvent applications time to evaporate after coats. This requires use of a professional spray gun. The spray gun can be cleaned completely using cellulose thinners.
Allow the primer to dry. Buff the car using wet-and-dry paper (P800 grit) and a water bucket. Use a sanding block over all the repaired areas. Completely dry the vehicle and clean all the panels with solvent-based panel wipe on a lint-free cloth. Now the auto can be masked up for painting.
Paint the auto with three coats of water-based paint so that each coat has time to evaporate. Check that there is even paint coverage. All hidden areas must be fully painted (like underneath sills and wheel arches). After the colored paint dries, apply two full coats of clear coat lacquer to produce the final shine and for protection. Follow manufacturer specifications for drying the classic car. Remove all masking and refit removed parts taken off for preparation. Wet-and-dry paper (P2000 grit) is used to diminish any flaws. Polish back the shine with a cutting compound as well as a polishing mop.