charliekwin

Project Boondoggle (or, so I went and bought a Z!)

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Did the body today, and the roof twice.

Worried about sanding through the paint again, and over-corrected instead by not sanding enough. After polishing, I put it outside and decided that it just wasn't good enough.

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Second time around isn't perfect, but it looks loads better, even without the polish yet.

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Now I'll probably want to go back and clean up the B pillars and maybe the shoulder part of the rear quarters.

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Finally getting the hang of the DA polisher, too.

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You are doing it right. Sand, polish, check. Repeat. You can always sand a little more, never a little less....

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Your second cut looks much better.

Wheee! is right sand then check, then sand some more. After a while you can tell by how your sanded panel looks if you have it smooth enough. It looks like guide coating does. There will be tiny round spots that are not the whitish color that the high spots are. When those are pretty much all gone then it's ready to cut & polish. You can use wax & grease remover to wipe down the panel and it flashes off quickly.

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I just don’t have luck cutting and buffing with anything other than a wool pad on conventional buffer with 3M compound.  Maybe I’m  just not  using the right pads on my DA buffer-polisher.  Interested to know what pads and compounds you all use.  

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I buy a lot of pads from Adams polishes and products. Their swirl and haze remover is amazing.

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What you see on the roof and body on mine is done with Meguiar's M105 with a red foam pad after sanding to 3000. I'll follow it up with M205 with a yellow pad.

I needed to do two or three passes with the DA to get the shine back, with more pressure than I thought it would take (that was key). The compound and foam just don't take much off at all. It's fairly idiot proof in that sense, but tougher to get out scratches. The ones I have left, I think, are from 2000.

The thing I have the most trouble with is how far I can sand. It's easy to tell when the paint is flat, but I'm worried about sanding through.





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I totally understand. I think a lot of that is just experience. Both with stacking paint and knowing how much paint you've taken off. I am not sure any of us will ever paint enough cars to get to the level of experience where wet sanding is second nature and care free.

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Last weekend I repainted the fender. It's not perfect, but of course, it ended up getting probably the best paint job of all the panels.

IMG_5287.jpgIMG_5288.jpg

Before re-prepping it, I spent probably 10-15 minutes trying to sand through the original paint with 1500 and didn't. Even after hitting it with 320 there was still blue, so I figured the likelihood of sanding through on the other panels was minimal and I may as well go for it. I got the hood and doors to 3000. Also, I learned that I hate wet sanding. Still, I'm going to re-do the rear quarters and pillars, and may put some more time into the roof.

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Today was satisfying: for the first time in a year, parts are going back on. The masking is gone and the doors aren't in the living room any more. They need to be compounded and polished, but I'll do that at the end.

IMG_5295.jpg

 

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9 hours ago, charliekwin said:

Last weekend I repainted the fender. It's not perfect, but of course, it ended up getting probably the best paint job of all the panels.

IMG_5287.jpgIMG_5288.jpg

Before re-prepping it, I spent probably 10-15 minutes trying to sand through the original paint with 1500 and didn't. Even after hitting it with 320 there was still blue, so I figured the likelihood of sanding through on the other panels was minimal and I may as well go for it. I got the hood and doors to 3000. Also, I learned that I hate wet sanding. Still, I'm going to re-do the rear quarters and pillars, and may put some more time into the roof.

IMG_5292.jpg

Today was satisfying: for the first time in a year, parts are going back on. The masking is gone and the doors aren't in the living room any more. They need to be compounded and polished, but I'll do that at the end.

IMG_5295.jpg

 

Excellent!!! That was good thinking to experiment on the panel to be recoated. I am filling and blocking right now. I'll take wet sanding over that any day. LOL

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I didn't really mind filling and blocking at all. The creative aspect of it and seeing things come into shape appealed to me. Rewarding. Wet sanding is repetitive drudgery that comes with a sore back at the end 🙂

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1 hour ago, charliekwin said:

I didn't really mind filling and blocking at all. The creative aspect of it and seeing things come into shape appealed to me. Rewarding. Wet sanding is repetitive drudgery that comes with a sore back at the end 🙂

I like the creative aspect but I have gone to wearing a respirator while doing it. So that makes it less pleasant and I stink the whole shop up doing filler work. Also I have dust everywhere! I do like the look when you can tell a panel has slicked out.

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Lots of little projects over the last few weeks, and a lot of progress made, but this one's all about paint, because I finished sanding and polishing today. Some time around Christmas, it was starting to bother me that the fenders and doors were looking quite a bit better than the roof, rear quarters, and hatch. So I re-sanded and re-polished all of them. They're still not perfect, but they're better than they were and the effort was worth it:

The roof; before, during and after:

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Sail/quarter; before and after sanding:

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And the hatch:

IMG_5405.jpgIMG_5406.jpgIMG_5410.jpgIMG_5429.jpg

With those done, back to polishing. I found it took at least 3 passes with the red pad and M105 to polish out the haze and most scratches. Red pad gave its all. That was followed up with one pass of the yellow pad and M205. Like I said, I finally got it all done today, and it's nice to be over that hump. Even with the screw-ups.

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Those screw-ups and some thoughts tomorrow...now I just want a cocktail!

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Now that I have all* the panels on, everything polished, and a couple days to look and think at it, I figured I would do kind of a postmortem on the body work and paint, complete with an acknowledgement of all the things I did wrong.

*The struggle with the hood continues.

Body work first...

Hits:

  • Really happy with the way the fender and headlight buckets came out.
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  • The hatch, the driver rear quarter, the passenger rocker, and the top of the driver door all needed a lot of work, and all came out well. I was especially concerned about getting the swage line back into the rear, but that looks good.
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  • For all the problems that the hood had, that came out pretty nicely too. The only thing I think I should have done better on is a slight jog in the center line at the bottom of the bulge.
    IMG_5490.jpgIMG_5476.jpg
  • Rear bumper holes are gone
  • There were numerous dents and dings all over the car, almost all of them fixed.

Misses:

  • There's a couple very small dents that I missed. Should have been more conscientious about blocking.
  • I didn't get the body line quite right on the section of the rear valence that I replaced, and you can see the difference in the gap on the tail light panel.
    IMG_5475.jpg
  • The roof was really rough, and while a lot better, it's not perfect. I can't see it in the body when just "looking at it", but the distortion of the lights in the reflection tells the story here. I set myself up badly by not stripping out the headliner and butyl mat before I got started (in retrospect, probably a choice I shouldn't have made), but the roof was probably the hardest section of the whole car, and I didn't really pick up on some of the defects until it was painted an polished. More experience needed here.
    IMG_5474.jpg

And paint...

Hits:

  • I painted a car in my garage. It looks a lot better than it did when I started.
  • Some of the polished sections look really good.

Misses (sadly, more misses than hits here):

  • Dust was a problem. In some areas, especially where I sanded aggressively, there's some spots/flecks of the primer showing through. They're not noticeable from more than a foot or two away, but I know they're there.
    IMG_5485.jpg
  • There are imperfections in the paint, and there are some scratches. I'm not sure if they're left over from blocking or from wet sanding (either from 1500 or from stray dirt/grit), but I sanded off a lot of paint and didn't want to take my chances trying to sand further.
    IMG_5494.jpg
  • There was a high spot on the hood and a promptly sanded through the paint. I may try to touch this up. I know it won't blend well, but badly blended color will probably look better than primer showing through.
    IMG_5483.jpg
  • There's a couple spots where something odd happened with the paint and it looks almost...cloudy/splotchy, maybe, from certain angles. A total guess on my part, but maybe there was some paint that wasn't mixed well? I haven't been able to get a good photo of it, but you can kind of see it here:
    IMG_5489.jpg
  • Bad job spraying on a handful of panels. Most I could sand out, but some places I couldn't and the imperfections can be seen from certain angles. The edges of the hood are the worst; I mostly left them alone after sanding through early on. I might go back and try sanding some more.
    IMG_5484.jpg
  • Even on sections where the paint is sanded smooth and the body work is good, the paint still seems like it has some texture and sometimes seems a bit flat and lacking some depth.

There's two major things I will definitely do differently in the future:

  1. Better dust control.
  2. More paint with each coat. The fender I had to repaint was easily the best panel I did, and even that little experience helped.

Looking ahead: I still need to paint the engine bay, which won't happen until I work on the motor, probably a couple years from now. When that time comes, I might consider fixing the roof and any other outstanding body issues and doing a respray if I think it's needed.

IMG_5476.jpg

Edited by charliekwin
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All in all I think you did a fantastic job, it is a better job than I have paid thousands for to so called pros. Well done,  the center line of the front of the hood and the main body lines running down the sides look sharp and defined,  did you do any build up of those lines with filler?  If so would care to share the technique?

Thanks.

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I agree, it looks great!. I love the fusion of the headlight buckets with the fenders. Didn't think I was going to but I do.

What are you using for bumpers?

Glad to see the hood sitting right.

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Thanks @grannyknot. I really appreciate it.

I'm being particularly critical because 1) it's the only way I'll get better; 2) I've seen many instances online where people choose bury their setbacks and highlight their successes, which doesn't paint a realistic picture of what's involved in a project, and 3) I've been in my garage this whole time in a particularly harsh environment that's made me very aware of all the blemishes in my work.

I'll also say that I've been moving the goalposts. My original goal, according to my own post in 2017 was: "I don't want/need a show car. I do want the Z to look like something to have some pride in, or that I could take to a Cars and Coffee without feeling the need to explain it." And by that measure, I'd say I've succeeded. But the more I worked on it, the more I felt like a show car paint job was my measuring stick, and every blemish was a failure to get there.

 

Anyway...yes, both the hood center line and the body lines have filler on them.

The sides required a bit of filler after removing the molding and welding the holes shut. I used masking tape to help keep things straight, but mostly just a long block and followed the panels.

The hood was basically the same. Masking tape down the middle to set the line, then a long block following the hood contours.  I never got it quite straight because the profile of the hood makes it difficult to get the tape straight. I've seen some people use a laser level. I might try that next time.The quarter required the most work. I scribed the profile of the wheel arch on the passenger side in about 8 places and transferred it to some heavy card stock (cereal boxes) to use that as a rough guide to the shape I needed to get. Then used the stud welder to pull things into shape as much as I could, then laid on body filler. I used both masking tape and a pencil line (different times, multiple times) to identify the location of the swage line. The upper portion of the shoulder was in good shape and I followed the contours of that with a long block. The line itself (and the fade at the top of the wheel arch) kind of appeared naturally. To shape the bottom half, I used shorter blocks and a Dura-block cylinder. There's generally a flat plane that extends from the wheel arch and out to the swage line or the end of the body panel, which I followed and makes blocking easier. I also picked up a profile gauge and used that to fine tune the wheel arch shape against the passenger side. And I used a metal straightedge a lot (all over, not just on the quarter panel). Both to check for straightness and on curves to compare one side to another and to make sure they're smooth by rolling the edge on the panel. I probably have photos if the wall of text doesn't make sense.

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1 hour ago, rcb280z said:

I agree, it looks great!. I love the fusion of the headlight buckets with the fenders. Didn't think I was going to but I do.

What are you using for bumpers?

Glad to see the hood sitting right.

Thanks :) I think the welded headlight buckets look a bit disproportionate when the fenders are off the car, but on the car with the hood (which is still not quite right), they look pretty sharp. Glad you like it too!

I'm going to put 240z bumpers on it...once I can scrounge up $750 for a set.

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I think you did excellent!!!!

It is very challenging to paint in your garage where you are also sanding. You are making dust in the one space you don't want dust, the spray booth. I have shot plenty of panels and they look perfect. I come back in 15 minutes and there is all kinds of trash in them. Really frustrating!! I agree with Grannyknot, there are plenty of professional paint jobs out there that don't look half this good! You did really well and the next attempt at paint will turn out twice as good. In some of this, there is no replacement for hands on experience. You get a feel for what a smooth panel looks like and feels like and you get a feel for how much paint you are really laying on. Also a respray is far less work, just don't use any waxes in the mean time with silicone in them! Scuff the panels with guide coat. Fix the misc, tape and shoot. Man, I make that sound easy! 🤣

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Anything you do yourself is going to have so much more "value" in the pride of ownership that small defects like yours are part of its "beauty marks" as they say. Love it. Hope mine looks half as good when I'm done!

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Ha, funny Charles, I had the exact same thoughts: a little bit of body work, remove some trim, scuff, mask, shoot. Why, that sounds EASY!

When or whether I reshoot this car or take on another project in the future, the experience has been tremendously valuable. YouTube videos, internet comments, and the like help make it accessible, but as you say, there's simply no substitute for doing it.

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You got nothing to beat yourself up about! You will probably be the only person who would ever see those flaws!

Looks great!   :beer:

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Progress updates later, but this weekend I finally (finally!) got the car beyond the driveway. Just a couple trips to the gym. Two people at the gas station came up to ask about the car. Gym member with a 70s 911s parked by me and we talked for a bit. All three asked or remarked about the color. I still see all the flaws in my work, but the comments from strangers were awfully gratifying. Good weekend.

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