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$50 Paint Job
June 12, 2007 4:26 PM   Subscribe

$50 Paint Job I figured since the Corvair is not in line to be professionally painted, I'd give it a try.
posted by Ufez Jones (70 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, that takes some serious dedication. I'm surprised he got the paint to go on so evenly, even though he was using rollers and not a spray gun.

The stripes look amazing as well. I enjoyed this.
posted by King Bee at 4:35 PM on June 12, 2007


I just costed a bit of cosmetic welding and a respray: £2k.

This looks tempting. If only I could find someone to pay £50 to do it for me. With proper stripes to replace the PVC ones I've got.
posted by imperium at 4:40 PM on June 12, 2007


I'm more interested in the welt from the bungie cord on the bottom of the second link. Would have been cool to see pics of that healing over time.
posted by parallax7d at 4:45 PM on June 12, 2007


That's a pretty damned classy job for only $50. On the other hand, I shudder to think how much time was spent meticulously painting and sanding the car. Retirees and hobbyists only!

(Oh, and I guess metallic/pearl finishes are out of the question. Either that or outdoor paint has come a long way from what I remember.)
posted by chrominance at 4:52 PM on June 12, 2007


To borrow from a wiser man than I, it's only $50 if your time is free.
posted by quite unimportant at 4:57 PM on June 12, 2007


This has been all over the auto boards for months. It mostly started here.
posted by IronLizard at 5:00 PM on June 12, 2007


I shudder to think how much time was spent meticulously painting and sanding the car.


I can't imagine that it would be worse then costs to get the paint and equipment to do the job with a paint gun.
posted by bigmusic at 5:00 PM on June 12, 2007


Also, out of curiosity I painted a section of an old fender in this manner and left it in the sun at my mother's some time ago. Might be time to check on it, but for my cars I stick with urethanes. It's the UV that eventually kills this paint and it's a real pita to sand back off completely. Gums up the sanding pads very quickly.
posted by IronLizard at 5:04 PM on June 12, 2007


I don't know, by his (her?) count he spent three and a half days painting that car. Granted, there's drying time in there too, but man. Hours and hours of sanding and painting and sanding and painting. And it's a car, not a wall, so you've got curves and creases and crevices to figure out, too.
posted by chrominance at 5:05 PM on June 12, 2007


I hate to tell you this, but to prep the body for a spray job, there's still hours of sanding and painting. Think primer, guide coat, sand, fill, sand again, guide again... ect.
posted by IronLizard at 5:08 PM on June 12, 2007


This is not what MetaFilbert is for.
posted by nola at 5:08 PM on June 12, 2007


Hmmm... let's see. My Saab convertible's finish is good, except the hood is faded and oxidized. If I could find a matching color... set aside enough time... I am biking to work, so I won't need the car for work... I could still drive it for non-bikable errands when the paint is dry...

... someone talk me out of it.
posted by The Deej at 5:09 PM on June 12, 2007


Be careful with the colors if you try it. Some are much more difficult than others, apparently. Stay away from the red at all costs.
posted by IronLizard at 5:16 PM on June 12, 2007


Ok -

Paint - $50
Professional Polisher - $200 (min)
6+ days of work (min.) - estimated 60 hours at $20/hour = $1200

Now, not counting other supplies, quite probably more than 60 hours of work, the fact that most people don't have that kind of free time, and half here earn more than $20/hour while half earn more, the total is around $1500 to do this by hand.
posted by Muddler at 5:19 PM on June 12, 2007


Now tell me how much a professional paint job costs. -10 points if you mention Macco or similar.
posted by IronLizard at 5:26 PM on June 12, 2007


IronLizard: that forum conversation is great....

I'm not here to argue about the adhesion properties of the paint, the quality of the paint, what it really is, blah, blah, blah...i can say the paint IS MADE TO STICK TO BARE METAL, WOOD, FIBERGLASS, RUSTED METAL, CATS, DOGS, BIRDS, GRASS, GERBILS, basically anything (read the can)

And btw, for all of you who are worrying about the time committment. That's half of the fun of a project car -- the fact that you get to spend time on it.
posted by honest knave at 5:33 PM on June 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


Deej, try some polishing compound on that hood. It will cure the dullness and oxidizing, if that's all that's wrong. You'd have to do that to the new paint, anyway.

IronLizard is absolutely correct - a spray paint job entails a ton of sanding, too.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:35 PM on June 12, 2007


That's true about having to sand a spray job too, I was thinking more "pay $50 and do it yourself with rollers, or pay $3000 and get someone else to spray/sand for you." It's not like I'd expect anyone other than a retiree or hobbyist to spray their car, either!

If you get to the end of that Moparts thread, there's a link to a continuation thread wherein another secret is revealed: use marine paint. Apparently that stuff is formulated for this sort of application, only on boats (so it's UV resistant, durable and designed to be applied with brush/rollers). Also, lots and lots of pics of project cars in progress.
posted by chrominance at 5:41 PM on June 12, 2007


Also check out rollyourcar.com.
posted by honest knave at 5:41 PM on June 12, 2007


I remember from the forum link, Chrominance that you can add metallic chips in and *STIR* the paint and get a decent (read: crappy) metallic finish.

I picked up a few cans of flat black rustoleum and am going to try this method on my 1996 Subaru Wagon at the end of hte month, when I have a week off. The hard part about all this is the prep time. It sucks, but it is worth it because you spend all that time prepping it and then you really see the benefits at teh end. Im going to try to get a friend to help me, too...
posted by subaruwrx at 5:42 PM on June 12, 2007


That's, uh, surprisingly nice and shiny looking.

what else can you say, really?
posted by davejay at 5:47 PM on June 12, 2007


With these foam rollers they used, you've got about 5 hours of good painting before the foams' micro-pores are saturated with dried paint and they have to be discarded.
posted by acro at 5:48 PM on June 12, 2007


Here is a thread about painting where some guys shows off a pretty good job of rolling on red paint on a Dodge Charger--scroll down to the first post by 69chargeryeehaa.

I have a 1970 VW bus that needs some light bodywork and paint. I was saving to get it done the hard and expensive way, but I think I have made up my mind to go the Bondo and roll-on paint route.
posted by LarryC at 5:55 PM on June 12, 2007


This is either the greatest thing I could do for my '79 MGB, or the worst thing.
posted by spock at 6:00 PM on June 12, 2007


the total is around $1500 to do this by hand.

People rebuild their own engines too, for fun.
posted by smackfu at 6:01 PM on June 12, 2007


subaruwrx: go for glossy, since the flat Rustoleum (you did get oil, right?) has a flattening agent, or as IronLizard noted, go for marine paint such as Brightside.
posted by honest knave at 6:02 PM on June 12, 2007


Also this thread at TheSamba.com has some pics from a guy who roller painted two different VW buses.
posted by LarryC at 6:03 PM on June 12, 2007


Also check out rollyourcar.com.

IIRC, this is the same guy in that huge thread who started off with red, had a terrible result and moved to the off-white. The off-white seemed to work quite well for him.
posted by IronLizard at 6:04 PM on June 12, 2007


Thanks for the tip, Kirth. :) Unfortunately it's a deeper problem, literally. The Saabnet forum says it's not uncommon for cars of my age (1992); the engine can get really hot and it weakens the paint, causing deep oxidation and checking. It goes right to the metal. I think it's time to give some money to the local body shop.
posted by The Deej at 6:04 PM on June 12, 2007


or as IronLizard noted, go for marine paint such as Brightside

I saw the marine paint too, but it's not what I meant. I'd originally intended to use a cheap auto enamel (50$ for metallic blue 1gal, I kid you not) but shied away when I heard a few horror stories. I'll probably end up using PPG or similar with an epoxy coat over the bare metal and some two stage. I already have the compressor and a useable gun. I don't plan on painting this car again anytime soon. (Finally getting back to work on the datsun this weekend!) The roller is a good option for some, but not this car ;).
posted by IronLizard at 6:12 PM on June 12, 2007


I've always wanted to paint my car flourescent orange. Just because.
posted by pax digita at 6:19 PM on June 12, 2007


Sigh. Reading this makes me feel guilty for not working my Superbeetle. It really does need a paint job. Among other things.
posted by octothorpe at 6:25 PM on June 12, 2007


People rebuild their own engines too, for fun.

and then they sell the car to unsuspecting people and the head gasket blows the first time you take the car on the highway. (1970 Dodge Dart V-8 big block. Re-rebuilt by pros. Still worth it.)
posted by longsleeves at 6:25 PM on June 12, 2007


That's terrible longsleeves, but they don't all turn out that way.

This one is still working great, despite the fact that it now has mechanical lifters instead of hydraulic and a 5speed instead of an auto. The rest of the car hasn't been touched (needs care, badly). My first was a 302. Easier and rock solid afterward, but I'm never getting another ford.
posted by IronLizard at 6:32 PM on June 12, 2007


Ralph Nader's classic book "Unsafe at Any Speed" about the Corvair has surely made car passengers safer. not to mention spawning the modern consumer movement.

That is a sweet looking ride, though.
posted by longsleeves at 6:40 PM on June 12, 2007


I've painted several of my cars with 99-cent spray cans. $50 would've been luxury.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:40 PM on June 12, 2007


Back when I was young, we didn't have the fancy paint you kids do now. Why, we had buff the rust on the cast iron body of our wagons every year. Took a month, but boy could that rust shine.

Nothing could be worse than whatever Dodge and Chrysler used during the 80's
posted by IronLizard at 6:44 PM on June 12, 2007


Thanks for the link! That certainly brought back memories--while I was growing up, our family vehicle was a vintage Corvair. (It didn't exactly blend in with the station wagons and minivans my friends' parents drove.)

That was a nice paint job. I'll have to send this link to my dad. He still loves Corvairs, even though he and my mom now drive an import.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:52 PM on June 12, 2007


This is cool as I just was given a 65 Corvair that just needs a tune-up, brakes and a paint job. I think I'll have the pros do it tho.
posted by acetonic at 6:59 PM on June 12, 2007


go for glossy, since the flat Rustoleum (you did get oil, right?) has a flattening agent

honest knave

Are there other than oil based Rustoleum products?

There are water based paints for metal called DTM (direct to metal)

I was not aware that the Rustoleum line has any.

A flattening agent ... what are you talking about?

Some paints have leveling agents, I've never heard of a flattening agent.

Fill me in please.
posted by phoque at 7:02 PM on June 12, 2007


Flattening agents are just what they sound like; they are added to glossy coatings to make them less glossy.
posted by octothorpe at 7:07 PM on June 12, 2007


thanks octothorpe, learn something new here everyday it seems :)
posted by phoque at 7:19 PM on June 12, 2007


Nice username, I wonder if phoque2 is taken. It would make a great sockpuppet.
posted by IronLizard at 7:47 PM on June 12, 2007


Brightside looks good, though you have to wonder about your (lack of) color options.

The real problem is that, for how ever much you think the painting process is going to suck, the prep job will suck at least an order of magnitude more. Add an additional magnitude of suckitude for ever decade on your car's body.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:18 PM on June 12, 2007


There is a certain fulfilment in having something, whatever it is, that you made for yourself with your own hands. It's not just a $/hr comparison between building it and buying it; the satisfaction has to go into the equation too. Many of us get zero (or negative) satisfaction from painting cars, so we'd gladly pay someone to do it, even if we had the free time and knew what to do.

Even if we'd rather not, if we have to do it, we sometimes find we get the satisfaction anyway. I've been so broke that I couldn't afford to get my car panelbeaten, and had to manually take off panels from a junker of the same make and model to screw them onto the one with a functional engine, and while I was at it, swap over all the other parts of it that were better (a couple of seatbelts, the central console, the instrument panel, some other stuff). Total cost around $300, total time three days' hard work. I'm not a "car person", and it was an annoying, exhausting job, but I must say that at the end of it, I felt that that car was mine, more so than practically any other object I've ever owned. But I'd still, given the choice, rather pay someone.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 9:25 PM on June 12, 2007


but I must say that at the end of it, I felt that that car was mine

The danger of it, is that you end getting attached to cars that should have seen the scrap heap thousands and thousands of miles ago :) Oh, the horrors that lie beyond that point. Cancerous rust. Unobtanium parts. Driving up into the neighboring old ladies yard to stop because the brakes went out.
posted by IronLizard at 9:31 PM on June 12, 2007


What does "rattlecan" mean?
posted by facetious at 1:01 AM on June 13, 2007


facetious: rattlecan is another name for an aerosol can.

phoque: it's been about six years since I worked in a paint shop, so the lines may have changed. *looks around* Can't find it on the Rustoleum site, but found it elsewhere. Rustoleum Water-based Epoxy Paint.

But Rustoleum does do several lines of DTM.
posted by honest knave at 1:36 AM on June 13, 2007


Er, I'm guessing it means aerosol paint. The cans that rattle when you shake them?
posted by imperium at 1:38 AM on June 13, 2007


This is one of those stories that you just want to believe. I spent way too much time reading through the links last night, and I'm starting to have my doubts.

The story about the Corvair is almost plausible. The guy prepped the bejesus out of his car, cutting out rusted bits and welding in new steel. It's a smaller car with relatively flat surfaces that could be easy to roller. What I have a difficult time with is the claim that the paint is "self-leveling". I can buy that if you keep the surfaces horizontal, but once you get to vertical panels you'd more likely end up with drips using paint thinned out as much as they claim.

A few of the cars on the moparts website are harder to believe, especially the '69 Charger painted orange. A car of that vintage, even if it's Canadian spec, is worth enough in good shape that I don't think anybody in their right mind would paint it with a roller. The same guy was showing the two Beetles, and I'm doubtful you could get into all of the creases and crevices well enough with a roller to as good a job is it shows.
posted by SteveInMaine at 2:26 AM on June 13, 2007


What does "rattlecan" mean?

It means the tooth fairy sells paint.
posted by ryanrs at 2:52 AM on June 13, 2007


longsleeves writes "Ralph Nader's classic book 'Unsafe at Any Speed' about the Corvair has surely made car passengers safer. not to mention spawning the modern consumer movement."

The Corvair itself was on it's way to better even before the book came out. GM replaced the swing axle with an independent rear, added a sway bar and replaced the solid steering shaft with a two piece and then later a collapsible unit.
posted by Mitheral at 3:12 AM on June 13, 2007


I first heard about this on bike forums, where posters were envying the large flat surfaces cars have. It's hard to use rollers on steel tubes.

> The story about the Corvair is almost plausible. The guy prepped the bejesus out of his car, cutting out rusted bits and welding in new steel. It's a smaller car with relatively flat surfaces that could be easy to roller. What I have a difficult time with is the claim that the paint is "self-leveling"

If the paint's thin enough, and the coats are lightly applied, pools and drips don't have much material after the thinner and carrier evaporate. The zillion uneven coats average out. Note where the Corvair owner says that trapping bugs in the paint end up not mattering because of all the sanding and painting.

I'm halfway done rattlecan-painting an old bicycle that'll become my commuter ride. Prep involved two days, some toxins, and a couple wire wheels stripping the existing paint and rust before priming. I wish I could have clear-coated the result because the bare steel highlighted with brass solder was surprisingly handsome. (Spraycan clearcoat exists but it wears and chips too easily for bikes.)

The net material cost (including gloves, mask, steel wool, wire wheels, and spraypaint) is only slightly less than shipping the bike frame to a powdercoater and my unpaid work is taking about three times as long. Fortunately I knew that before starting, and I'm doing this in part for the experience. There's a price advantage when painting a whole car yourself because the nonconsumable components cost about the same but the paid labor is a whole lot more.

It was nasty work, but fun in a home-crafts-learning-experience way. I wouldn't want it for a day job.
posted by ardgedee at 3:15 AM on June 13, 2007


The danger of it, is that you end getting attached to cars that should have seen the scrap heap thousands and thousands of miles ago

So true, IronLizard. Even now, 15 years later, I have a recurring dream that I am in my '66 Fargo van, careening down a steep hill with no brakes.

But man, did my paint job look bitchin'.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:59 AM on June 13, 2007


So, wait naysayers....how much is it costing everyone here to browse MetaFilter? And will anyone have a nice shiny new car where before they had a rusted piece of crap when they're done?
posted by nevercalm at 6:18 AM on June 13, 2007


Heh. My first car was a '46 Willys Jeep. My dad let me buy it when I was 14 because it was in so many pieces he was SURE I wouldn't get it put it back together before I turned 16.
It only took me 3 months. I went to Western Auto and bought a couple cans of Pinehurst Green, a couple of brushes and painted it up real pretty and drove it back and forth up and down the driveway until I got my license. Drove it for a year and sold it to a guy who wanted to make a dune buggy out of it. I bought a '63 VW bug ($75) with a nice canvas sunroof. I had some Pinehurst Green left over and started painting but ran out around half-way. We had painted our front door a green that turned out to be an exact match. That turned out so well my brother and I painted his Ford truck with the rest of the front door paint.
I decided then that what I wanted from an automotive paint job was that the car ended up to be all the same color, other than that it didn't matter.
But when it came time to paint my Porsche, I took it to a professional. He fell in love with it and refused to let it leave his shop until it was absolutely perfect. He was horrified at the thought of me actually driving it afterwards.
posted by Floydd at 6:42 AM on June 13, 2007


Nader's people later published a book called Small - On Safety, all about how bad VWs were. If I remember correctly, on their list of unsafe vehicles, the VW van was #1, a Peugot was #2, the VW Beatle was #3, and the Corvair was #7. I read this back in high school.
posted by rfs at 6:44 AM on June 13, 2007


I wish I could have clear-coated the result because the bare steel highlighted with brass solder was surprisingly handsome. (Spraycan clearcoat exists but it wears and chips too easily for bikes.)

I believe that clear powdercoat exists, but I don't know if it is subject to the same problems.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 7:19 AM on June 13, 2007


8 months? It holds up better than Mitsubishi factory paint then. ::grumble::
posted by Foosnark at 7:46 AM on June 13, 2007


He could have taken it to Earl Scheib, "Any car, any color, $29.95."
posted by tommasz at 8:28 AM on June 13, 2007


ardgedee, I think you mean brazing.

VW buses were dangerous, if you drove head-on into anything. The pedals were inches behind the front bumper, with little more than sheet metal in between. The original bug was a nightmare in snow. It wouldn't get stuck, but it also wouldn't turn unless you loaded the trunk with weight. Also, if you used the defroster, there was no heat at the floor, and ice could build up under the clutch pedal, preventing it from depressing far enough to disengage.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:39 AM on June 13, 2007


It's only $50 if your time is free.

Unless you're taking time off from a paying job to paint the car, then your time is free. You weren't going to make $20 an hour reading Metafilter.
posted by the jam at 10:43 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Nader's people later published a book called Small - On Safety, all about how bad VWs were. If I remember correctly, on their list of unsafe vehicles, the VW van was #1, a Peugot was #2, the VW Beatle was #3, and the Corvair was #7. I read this back in high school.

That kind of reasoning overlooks the way that the superior karma of driving a vintage VW reaches out and protects you.
posted by LarryC at 11:03 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Nader's people later published a book called Small - On Safety, all about how bad VWs were. If I remember correctly, on their list of unsafe vehicles, the VW van was #1, a Peugot was #2, the VW Beatle was #3, and the Corvair was #7."

Later investigations actually showed the Corvair to be much safer than most other cars back in the `60's. In fact, it was heavily investigated after Nader's book came out and his claims were found to be without merit. He later admitted that he just went after GM because they were the biggest.

Not that GM was an innocent victim. Their business practices certainly didn't match the shine on a new car.

In any case. I'm giving my car a cheap paint job because I don't want to be afraid to actually drive the thing for fear of a $1000 stone chip.
posted by acetonic at 12:12 PM on June 13, 2007


You weren't going to make $20 an hour reading Metafilter.

Sure I do. Just don't tell my boss.
posted by quite unimportant at 12:16 PM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


honest knave : awesome !!!

I was poking around their site too and couldn't seem to find any.

I like to know what different companies are offering. Thanks for making me somewhat less ignorant ;)

IronLizard : phoque2 as a sock puppet ... lol ... but then I will need a phoque3, so as not to be outdone by the army of Astro Zombies.

Phoque is actually a real word, it means seal in french and is pronounced exactly as you imagined.

I actually intended to register another name but once I had finally gotten a paypal account working discovered I had already put this name into the signup box and was worried I might break Metafilter so stuck with it.

Figured I would abandon it once I got around to sending Jessamyn some stamps, however getting american stamps in quebec has proved more difficult than I imagined.

In fact the guy at the post office informed me that I was the first person he had ever met with such a request and no they will not order any for me either.

Here is a (semi) lullaby that every quebecois and quebecoise knows by heart

La Complainte Du Phoque En Alaska
by the group Beau Dommage (beautiful damage)

It tells the story of a seal who is missing his girlfriend. She left to join the circus in the states and spin a ball on her nose ... the phoque does not think this was a good idea.

A more light hearted take on swearing incase the previous song makes you sad.
posted by phoque at 2:35 PM on June 13, 2007


$50 only if your time is free?

A well-done DIY project is a reward that you can't buy.
posted by azpenguin at 5:20 PM on June 13, 2007


Later investigations actually showed the Corvair to be much safer than most other cars back in the `60's. In fact, it was heavily investigated after Nader's book came out and his claims were found to be without merit. He later admitted that he just went after GM because they were the biggest.

Even if this is true, {and it sounds like something Limbaugh would say), I still like airbags.
posted by longsleeves at 8:23 PM on June 14, 2007



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Spot the the rust holes? 3 coats--two tone.
posted by acro at 11:28 AM on June 20, 2007


When I sold my Vibe, the hood was all chipped up and the bumper had a bunch of paint taken off of it from my backing into another car several months before. I decided I had to get those two parts painted to sell it, and they wanted to charge me $800 to do it. I decided I could try it myself for ~$50 and if it didn't work out I'd get them painted anyway. I had never done any auto work in my life, and surprisingly it worked out very well. Ended up selling the thing in literally an hour of the listing showing up online. Helped that the car was white (much easier to pull off than a color), but if I can do it anyone can.
posted by fusinski at 11:16 AM on June 26, 2007


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