Paint and Body Repainting at home, ambitious or foolish?

AUSTEXLX

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Feb 1, 2021
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I'm underway to getting my 1990 LX 5.0 convertible back to its former glory. I've hunted down a number of trouble code gremlins, with just one to go. Now I'm turning my focus on cosmetic improvements.

I want to repaint the car for two reasons. The original owner had been smacked in the driver's side quarter panel, which has been replaced, but they only repainted the car from the b-pillar backward. The bodywork itself is good enough, but the paintwork hasn't held up as well as the original. The original paint too has suffered the effect of long-term Texas sun exposure. I could get a good shine on the original paint, but it is wearing thin around the edges of the hood. The body is straight, with only minor dings here and there.

So, a repaint is needed.

I want to stay stock in appearance, so Oxford white with satin black trim as the original.

My question and I'm open to all opinions, advice, etc. is if it is worth attempting a home paint job, or should I leave it to the pros? I've painted parts before, but never a whole vehicle. I understand the general process, but I don't have any equipment. I am however good at figuring things out and putting in the time and attention to detail to get the best result possible.

So, where are you all on this topic? Ambitious or foolish? Hit me with your ideas, opinions, and comments. Let's hear it.
 
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7991LXnSHO

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Both, depending on your previous experience, facility and local advisors.
White paint is more forgiving than dark colors. Is there a Maaco near you that would be cheaper than the tools and supplies, and will you feel bad if it turns out worse than a cheap job the first time and get to sand it down a second time?
 
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Potomus Pete

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I have never painted a car, but white is easy to paint. If your air outside is dry I would do it. Those single stage turbine sprayers seem real nice, and with a little practice you could get good. U Tube/ Eastwood has good videos.
 

KRUISR

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I agree with the Maaco idea. Majority of cost of "good" paint job is the prep. This you can do yourself and if done well will make a cheap Maaco job look like it cost 10x the price.

I personally have painted cars myself (and not in a paint booth) with some coming out good, some needing more work and or repaint.

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Take your time, pay attention to the details, don't get frustrated or upset if you make a mistake, just learn how to fix it.
 
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KRUISR

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I used the Eastwood products (poly primer, 2k sealer, base coat and clear). All total I was about $800-900 CDN in materials (5 years ago) plus equipment.

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Then recently built on those skills and built a custom hood.

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dgollem

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Whats your budget and your time worth. I have done several home paint jobs and I'm not a painter but they all came out ok. Not quite as good as factory but close and better than most Macco jobs I have seen. However, I would recommend a good search in your area often there are body guys that moon light and do paint jobs on the side. Also recommend trying to find some local car shows and see what the folks in your area have been doing for paint. Often someone knows a guy. Also don't underestimate the cost of materials; paint and all of the additives are not cheap anymore. I was out over $800.00 my last paint job for primer and base coat, clear coat using DuPont Centari paint in basic black. Lots of information of the web on how to do it. You have lots of options but the big factors are how much work is needed, how much your are willing to pay and how high are your expectations. The paint jobs on some show cars are 10s of thousand of dollars, you not getting that level in your drive way or from Macco. Are you going to paint the door jabs, take of the fenders, doors, hatch and hood or just spray it all together. Don't underestimate the manhours required for good prep. It all matters to some extent. Kruiser's car above looks great and shows what can be done DIY. Nice thing about paint, you can always sand it off and do it again. Good luck and post pictures.
 
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7991LXnSHO

wanna catch the space herp
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Doing the prep is dusty. Getting your shop/parking space dust free and well ventilated for painting is a challenge. And dust will muck up your paint as it goes on.
On the other hand, I have seen some nice Maaco paint over crappy prep work done by the customer.
 
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Potomus Pete

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Do any of you guys ever paint with a single stage turbo unit. One that costs about seven hundred dollars. I have read good reviews on some of them. I used them years ago to paint high rise railings and doors. How about single stage paint with an all in one unit
 

AUSTEXLX

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All-in the Maaco costs seem reasonable, but I know that quality is hit or miss.

I'm pretty sure that my car was still a single-stage enamel, when new. Whatever paint was used for the collision repair in the 90s was pure garbage.

So far, I like the feedback and input. I'm torn. I think I can get Maaco quality on my own, but I'm not sure my costs will be much lower.

I don't plan on having a show car, but want it to look fresh enough to pick the kids up from school without their embarrassment, or mine. :) Hahaha.
 
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AUSTEXLX

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Whats your budget and your time worth. I have done several home paint jobs and I'm not a painter but they all came out ok. Not quite as good as factory but close and better than most Macco jobs I have seen. However, I would recommend a good search in your area often there are body guys that moon light and do paint jobs on the side. Also recommend trying to find some local car shows and see what the folks in your area have been doing for paint. Often someone knows a guy. Also don't underestimate the cost of materials; paint and all of the additives are not cheap anymore. I was out over $800.00 my last paint job for primer and base coat, clear coat using DuPont Centari paint in basic black. Lots of information of the web on how to do it. You have lots of options but the big factors are how much work is needed, how much your are willing to pay and how high are your expectations. The paint jobs on some show cars are 10s of thousand of dollars, you not getting that level in your drive way or from Macco. Are you going to paint the door jabs, take of the fenders, doors, hatch and hood or just spray it all together. Don't underestimate the manhours required for good prep. It all matters to some extent. Kruiser's car above looks great and shows what can be done DIY. Nice thing about paint, you can always sand it off and do it again. Good luck and post pictures.
The reality is that I don't have tons of time and I'm a bit impatient. My car is decent, the true miles aren't too high, but it isn't a perfect car. I don't think it's worthy of Concours-level work. It needs to be good enough that I feel good about driving it, but not so good where I'm upside down on this car. I plan on putting money into other visible bits, paint is just part of the overall refreshing of this car.

Is it worth it for me to pay Maaco $1000 sounds like a deal, $1500, probably. $2000, probably not. $2500, not likely.

If this were a 1993 Cobra, I would feel differently.
 

AUSTEXLX

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My car looked so bad when I got it. I taped off everything , and buffed for hours. I thought I was going to need an expensive paint job. Luckily it's almost like new now.
Ah, totally understand. Yes, I think I can get the hood and doors back 90%. The quarters and decklid paint are garbage. It almost looks like Krylon.

So, with painting the backhalf, I may as well do the whole car for a refresh.
 

KRUISR

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Single stage paint is not a problem. I repainted my F150 in an Oxford White a few years ago. Other than some orange peel (a function of my equipment and lack of booth to heat finish after spraying - not single stage paint) it came out very well.

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