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Submitted By: fixb52s
Date Created: 04-25-2006
Description: The paint is in bad shape. It might have been kept up when it was in California in the 90s, but the past owner really let it go. Does it need a repaint or can it be saved? A colorsand/buff would be tried first. If it gets messed up, big deal, it would need new paint anyways.
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Ugly paint
This picture really doesn't show it, but the paint is in bad shape. It has been repainted sometime in the past. From years of exposure to the sun, crap sitting on it and the improper storage, it is dull and very scratched. Color sanding and buffing might bring this paint back.

Here is how the color sanding process works. Take 1000 grit wet and dry paper, wet sand the entire car. Feather the scratches out. Be careful and ensure you have a lot of paint on the car because it is easy to sand through the clear coat, or even the paint to the primer. Clear coat paints are better to color sand than others. If the car had a quickie cheap paint job, this process might not be possible.
Honey, you REALLY killed the paint!

Here is an example of a deep scratch. Color sand the entire car and work the scratches out if possible. Take your time.

Here is the fender with the scratch sanded out. This car was painted at a quality shop because they put a lot of clear coat on. There were some deep scratches that some aggressive sanding took out without breaking through the clear coat. Again, this is not possible with a low buck quickie paint job.
Fender sanded

Here is an example of scrapes that are all over the car. You also might see the paint as being dull and contaminated.

Here is the door sanded out. It looks dull, but the scrape is gone. There are so many boo boos in this car that is taking a few days of after work time to get them all. Chips on the front of the car will be touched up with touch up paint.
Door sanded

A flat black BMW
Here is the car after sanding with the 1000 grit paper. The 1000 grit is aggressive enough to sand the scratches out but is not so much that you can sand through the clear coat quickly. Take your time and do it right now.

After wet sanding for a few days, most of the scratches are gone. When the car is dry, look over the paint carefully. Visible scratches are marked with a sharpie. Be careful that a scratch is identified, not towel lint. (it looks the same.) After all the scratches are gone, the car is sanded with 1500 grit paper to further smooth it out.
Scratch ID

Sanding scratches and imperfections
The marked areas are sanded until all is gone, including the marker.

Here is the fender with the scratch sanded out. It looks like this paint might be saved after all.
Boo boo gone

The color sanding process is complete. I could go over it again with 2000 grit, but this is really not needed. The buffing process will bring the shine in and remove the sanding marks. Besides, I still have clear coat left. I did not break through it anywhere.

The buffing begins with rubbing compound and a wool bonnet on the machine. It looks better already. After this is complete, the car is washed.

Next, polishing compound is used with a foam pad to remove the fine scratches and swirl marks from the buffing.

After another wash, a good quality wax is applied with the orbital polisher. 3 coats were done.
Wax on, wax off

After hours of work, the paint looks a lot better. Now those damn hail dings show up (about 8-10 between the hood and trunklid). These will be fixed whenever I get to it. I might keep them to add charater.

Wow. A different car than what was dragged home last year. For an investment of less than $100 (including the cost of the buffer) it was spared from a $3,000 paint job. Too bad though because black paint is hard to keep up, and an excuse to paint it another color would have been nice.

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