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Old 10-19-2006, 06:08 AM   #1
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Default $40 Paint Job

Hi folks,

I have been requested to do a write-up on my $40 paint job that I did on my Miata/MX-5 and here it is;

Background:
Thie idea of re-spraying my car started at the back of my mind a few years ago, and as the "Classic Red" looked more and more like "Sunburnt Pink" I was getting closer to making the jump into re-spraying it no matter what the cost.

Then I stumbled across the moparts forum where there was a post circulating about a "paint job on a budget" where some guy was talking about the $50 paint job that he did on his Charger, and damn it looked great in the pics that he posted.





Testing:
I had a spare bootlid sitting in my garage, so I decided to give it all a try to see if the whole thing was crap or gold.

The paint that was used on the charger is called Tremclad (as sold in Canada) or Rustoleum (as it's sold in the States). The paint is thinned with mineral spirits, applied with a high density foam roller and after seven or so coats and a whole lot of wet sanding, a finish like that of the charger can be achieved. Or so they were saying on the moparts forum....

As you may have guessed, I live in Australia and I had no hope of buying either the Tremclad or the Rustoleum, so I ended up using a local paint called Tremco Metal Armour. I have always thought that black Miatas/MX-5s look like sex on wheels, so I shelled out for a litre of the Gloss Black.

Anyway, after 10 or so coats on my spare bootlid, I was confident and skilled enough to give it a go on my car.

Technique:
I applied the same technique as described on the moparts forum of thinning the paint with the mineral spirits until the mixture was about the same consistency as water. That is really, really thin for paint. As I was doing all of the painting in my dusty garage, I changed the moparts recipe of wet sanding between every second coat, to my recipe of wet sanding after every coat with 1500 grit paper.

Painting:
It would take for ever to go through everything I did with my seven coats of paint, so I'll mainly let the following pics do the talking.

Ready for the first coat







After the first coat







So after doing one coat of paint per day, a week and a bit later my car was looking like this.







As you can see it is quite a transformation over the old "Sunburnt Pink" and I was really happy with the results.

Unfortunately though the paint was prone to water damage and every time that it rained the paint changed from a gloss black to a satin/matt black.....

In the mean time the first moparts "paint job on a budget" thread filled and the new "paint job on a budget - continued" thread started to include the trials of a marine paint called International Brightside.

The Brightside is available in Australia, so I went to the local marine supply store and $37.50 later I had a litre of Brightside Gloss Black. After sanding most of the previous black paint off the car and applying two coats of the Brightside (without using any thinners at all);









Those three shots of the car are before I do the final wet sand and detailing of the car. From all of my recent sanding practice, I am expecting to get a near perfect finish from the paint once the last step is finished.


Anyway, that is the story of my $40 paint job. If anyone is thinking about re-spraying their car, hopefully I have shown that the 'roller' paint job is a great quality and low cost option for someone who is prepared to DIY.

If anyone has any questions or comments then please feel free to ask them. If anyone has the urge to bag this post or myself for trying this painting technique out, then I'll say in advance that I don't care what you think, I'm happy with my sexy black Miata/MX-5.

Steve

Last edited by Loki047; 03-19-2007 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 10-19-2006, 06:36 AM   #2
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that looks awesome... im doing mine over winter break...

here are more miata results:
http://www.clubroadster.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2720

does it still get flat/satin when it rains on the brightside paint? or will it stay glossy?
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Old 10-19-2006, 08:45 AM   #3
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This is very interesting...I'll be repainting my front bumper this winter after repairing some damage that the PO did, and might just try this out! Keep us updated as to how it turns out...which paint you liked better and how durable it is. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10-19-2006, 08:58 AM   #4
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The Brightside is certainly a much better paint compared to the Metal Armour that I first tried. The gloss jumps out at you in comparison and in the two-three weeks since I painted the car, the gloss hasn't changed at all. The Metal Armour started to fade after a only couple of days.

The Brightside also has much better UV protectant and it also contains Teflon which will make it a lot more durable than regular paint.
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Old 10-19-2006, 09:29 AM   #5
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In the links you posted, there is a few people having trouble buffing the paint to a shine due to lack of paint hardeners. Did you have that problem, or did the final sanding and detailing that you mentioned work fairly well? Thanks
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Old 10-19-2006, 12:18 PM   #6
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As anyone done this and then did a final sprayed on clear coat? Seems like it should work and give you more depth and shine.
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Old 10-19-2006, 05:48 PM   #7
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From memory, all of the people having problems with the hardness of their paint are using the Rustoleum. None of the people using the Brightside have reported any problems with the hardness of the paint.

I also think that one of the resaons why people are having problems with the hardness of their paint is they may not be letting the paint cure for a month or so before doing the final sanding and detailing. I won't be finishing my car until early November because I want to give the paint time to properly cure before I seal it with a wax.

There is no way that I would spray a clear coat over the Brightside.

Firstly, spraying my car would involve so much more hassle over using a roller that I simply don't have the space, or the oven or the ventilation system, etc to do it properly.

Secondly, my car doesn't need a clear coat to make it look any better. As you can see from the pics in my first post, the car already looks like it has a bc/cc paint job, and here at school there are three other teachers with black cars (a new BMW, a VW Passat and a Monaro/Pontiac GTO) and my car certainly doesn't look like crap when any of those cars park near mine.

Thirdly, International don't make a clear in the Brightside range and there is no way that I would ever contimplate using a different brand cc to the bc. That would be just asking for trouble.

Forthly, any clear coat will make fixing minor repairs a major job. With the straight Brightside, I can fix a stone chip or scratch by giving the car a quick sand in the appropriate spot, get out the roller or the foam brush and fix it in less than five minutes. If it had cc over the paint, then I would have to sand the entire panel back to the black (or even maybe the original red), roll the Brightside back on, let it cure for a day or so, then get everything ready to spray the cc, then spray the cc (where I would have to be really careful about masking the car so as not to get any overspray on the other panels). In my book that's simply unnecessarily difficult/annoying.

Lastly, the Brightside has excellent UV protection and Teflon in the paint. I don't know of any clears that offer the same levels of protection (certainly not in the $37.50 per litre price bracket anyway).

Steve

Last edited by Aussie Driver; 10-19-2006 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 10-19-2006, 08:43 PM   #8
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i just took it to Maaco with a coupon for a Presidential paintjob (clearcoat mixed) for $279.

i tried doing some bodywork fixing rust spots. one spot, i made it 10x worse. got rid of the rust, but getting all of that to level up was the hard part (with Bondo). bodywork ain't easy at all.

if the paint lasts 2 years, i'm ok with it. maybe next time i'll spring for the clearcoat.

btw, your car looks great...especially for what was spent on it.


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Old 10-19-2006, 08:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussie Driver View Post
I won't be finishing my car until early November because I want to give the paint time to properly cure before I seal it with a wax.

Secondly, my car doesn't need a clear coat to make it look any better.
Steve
so you think it's ok to wax when it doesn't have a clear coat on it? i had another old Mustang where either the clearcoat was gone due to age...or maybe it previously had a cheap/no-clearcoat paintjob a few years ago.

waxing this car, caused the paint to come off in smudged on my towels/rags.....not chunks of paint, but noticeable smudges.

the paintshop told me to wait 1 month. handwashing with soap, they said was ok...but no commercial/machine wash and no waxing until 1 month later.
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Old 10-19-2006, 09:33 PM   #10
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paint without clearcoat will do that, including the factory miata black i used to have. just have to be a little more careful with it, no reason not to wax it
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Old 10-19-2006, 10:03 PM   #11
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everytime I wax my car I'm left with red applicators.
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Old 10-20-2006, 05:06 AM   #12
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Guys, no offence intended here, but what on earth do you use when you wax a car??

Waxing a car should be the last step in detailing paint as wax is a sealant and it shouldn't have any abrasive properties. If you wax a car properly, then there shouldn't ever be any paint transfer onto your applicator or buffing pad.

A swirl remover will certainly leave you with a lot of paint transfer, but any half decent wax will just add depth to the shine of the paint and (hopefully) protect the paint for a few months.

There is no reason why a wax can't be applied to a single stage paint. In fact Zaino Bro's (who make some of the best polishes and sealants that you can buy) make the Z3 Show Car Polish specifically for regular paint.

Once I wet sand my car in November, I'm planning on using Poorboy's SSR2.5 with a light cutting pad, followed by a second coat of SSR2.5 with a polishing pad. Then Poorboy's SSR1 with a polishing pad, followed by a second coat of SSR1 with a finishing pad, then one coat of Zaino Z1 followed by 2-3 coats of Z5 and then as many coats of Z3 that I have time to do.
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Old 10-20-2006, 07:45 AM   #13
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thank you for posting this, it looks friggin great. I want to copy your car really bad, but I dont have the garage space right now Would you mind detailing how you exactly did each coat, painting technique etc so others like me can copy you?
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Old 10-20-2006, 08:56 AM   #14
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The first thing that I would suggest to anyone wanting to try this out would be to practise on something else first. If you have any spare body panels, or an old fridge or maybe an old metal filing cabinet, then learn how to roll with that first. Get yourself any gloss enamel paint in a tin and get the four inch high density rollers and some mineral spirits. Personally I would get some 320 grit wet and dry sand paper and then a few sheets of all of the major gradients that are finer than that. So maybe 600, 800, 1200, 1500 and 2000. Also get yourself a foam sanding block that you can use to wrap the paper around.

To wet sand, get a bucket of water and soak your desired grade of paper in the bucket with warm water and some dishwashing liquid. I also have two pump pressure bottles, one with warm water and some more dishwashing liquid, and the other with plain water.

I get the panel nice and wet with the dishwashing liquid mixture from the bucket and then sand from front to back, using about the same amount of pressure as I use when polishing by hand.

I keep wetting the area that I'm sanding with the pump bottle and I stop every minute or so to feel the paint that I have just sanded. Most good wet sanding can be done by feel alone. If there is the slightest imperfection in the paint than you will feel it long after you will stop seeing it.

I also have a rag handy to wash each panel and I use a chamois to dry the panel.

So once the fridge/car substitute is sanded down with the 320 grit paper (or 600 or 800 or whatever you decide to use) the next step is to make sure that the surface is free of dust etc before you can start painting.

[I am assuming here that the panel doesn't need any bondo or other prep work]

The painting is the easy part.

Make sure that the roller is properly soaked with paint, then use the ribbed part of the paint tray to remove most of the paint from the roller. A dripping roller is not a good sign as it has way too much paint on it. In terms of an area to paint, I would typically divide a miata boot into three sections and do the left side, then dunk the roller into the paint, get most of it back off on the tray and do the middle section of the boot, then finally (well usually within a minute of starting on the panel) do the right of the boot.

Now once the paint is covering the panel I then go over the panel with the roller at 90 degrees from the way that I applied the paint. So on the boot, I would apply the paint from front to back and then change direction from side to side with the roller to help flatten the paint and remove any bubbles. I don't use as much pressure as when I applied the paint, and I ease the pressure off so that my final strokes with the roller are basically just with the weight of the roller.

The panel should then look really flat and there should be no roller lines in the paint. Once you get to that stage the panel is done and you can move to the next panel. I can do the bootlid in 2 or 3 minutes max. After that time the paint starts to dry and the roller will leave some very nasty marks.

That is pretty much my technique. As I said though, amyone wanting to try this method really needs to practice on something other than the car so you can learn exactly what works for you, and to get some confidence with what you are doing.

I'll have to admit, just before I started on my first coat I had the shakes because I realised that there was no going back to the original finish once I started with the black. And I have cut holes in my car, messed around with pretty much everything mechanical on it and even installed a Megasquirt in it with a very limited electrical knowledge base. Yet I had the shakes before I started to roll my paint job. For me at least, that was the most difficult part of my paint job, even though I had done over 10 coats on the spare bootlid for practise.


When I did the Brightside job, I wetsanded between coats with 800 and did the second coat the same way as I wrote everything above.
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Old 10-20-2006, 09:57 AM   #15
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I'm going to replace my wife's bumper cover shorty. I need to try this out and maybe tackle the job myself this summer! Sweet job!
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Old 10-20-2006, 10:08 AM   #16
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I wonder how tough it will be to find a Brightside paint that matches Brilliant Black. I'm betting not too difficult...
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Old 10-20-2006, 07:50 PM   #17
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Here is the Brightside website.
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Old 10-20-2006, 08:41 PM   #18
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Their off white looks pretty close to Championship White on my monitor. Would CW be sacrilege on a Miata? Their white and steel grey look sweet too.
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Old 10-22-2006, 05:01 PM   #19
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The paint looks good on both cars, nice job. Body work isnt hard at all as long as you have the right tools and some time.
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Old 10-22-2006, 07:01 PM   #20
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Man. Aussie Driver, you are one brave soul (Down Under variety). Looks good, though. Be sure to update us as time goes on. I had a CRAZY GREAT AUNT that lived out in rural Oklahoma. After her husband died, she decided her old car needed a paint job. She, too, used the roller method. But the Exterior Latex paint didn't turn out looking nearly as good!!!:gay:
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