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Painting your Mustang

Article by: GTRaptor Profile | E-Mail

Summary:

This article provides tip on how to paint your Mustang.

Details:

PART 1   | PART 2

Sun, Rain, Dust, road debris, your paint worst enemies. At some time in the life of your steed it's going to need to be painted partially or completely.

This brief article will describe the options you have when painting it, which paints to choose, how to prepare it and of course, how to save money.

My 1995 GT needed a complete paint job urgently; the paint was partially cracked in several spots on roof, fenders, bumpers and hood. Most probable cause was a DEFECTIVE paint and the previous owner lack of care with it, probably lots of exposure to the elements.

Anyway, the process of painting a whole car is complex, first comes the removal of several parts to make the job easier and cleaner; trim, decals, emblems, fenders, headlights, taillights, etc. have to be removed.

Before removing anything MAKE A PLAN like this

  • Get some bags, old newspaper, and masking tape, a pen, 3 feet of nylon string or dental floss and boxes to store and mark the stuff
  • Start by removing all the lights: head, rear, side, fog, etc. and place them inside 1 box, wrap them inside newspaper to avoid scratches.
  • Next remove all the emblems, use a piece of nylon string or DENTAL FLOSS to remove it, slide under the emblem and start pulling, don't use a flat screwdriver !!, store the stuff inside a bag
  • Next remove the side skirts, bumpers, etc.

On the SN95s the process is pretty straightforward but some stuff is TOUGH to remove.

I started by removing front and tail lights, the taillights are pretty easy, just remove the bolts inside the trunk, detach the connector and get the taillights out complete with bulbs.

Remove 1 nut that secures the corner lights and get them out, remove the bulb and place it in a safe place

 






The headlights are tricky but easy, first remove the TAB in the upper/outer adjusting screw, press the inner/lower plastic bolt fastener and get the headlight out, last remove the connector to the headlight (leave the bulb inside).

For emblems I used some dental floss to remove it, just slide under the emblem and pull...easy

Next was all the upper window trim, there are 2 pieces in each side, the one at the top of the side windows and the trim in the rear windows. Start by removing the weather-strip, it has small plastic tabs that are easily removed with a small flathead. Once you get the tabs out remove the strip by pulling gently a bit at a time. Once you get this out there's a RAIL on the underside of the roof that uses TORX bolts, remove them. Once you get them out you have access to the bolts that secure the top panel, remove these with a screwdriver. At the FRONT of the panel, close to the door hinge, there's a small 9mm (I think) bolt that has to be removed. Once you get this out you can remove the panel.

The rear window panel is a bit tricky; you have to remove the door sill and rear interior panel to get access to the nuts that secure it to the top. The interior panel is secured with locking tabs that can be detached with some patience and a flathead. Take extra care on not to damage the panel, the plastic is brittle and could break.

With the inner rear panel out of the way you can remove the side scoops; these are attached with 3 nuts.

Now it's BUMPER TIME! both pieces are "easy" but take a while to remove, you have to first remove all the plastic tabs under the bumpers, remove the bolts that secure to the fenders and then remove the inner bolts and nuts inside the fenders. Once you get all out, ask someone to help you pull them out. I don't have the complete process here cause the shop did it (I was on vacation).

Next go to the trunk and remove the license plate frame and STOP light, these are straightforward, just a few bolts and nuts.

The mirrors can be removed BUT there's really no need, you will have to remove the door panels to do this and it's a bitch. So just remove the mirror inner panel, remove the bolts and secure the mirrors to the window using some masking tape.

The doors have a weather strip that seals the window and has to be removed, just pull them up (also on rear side window).

After you finish disassembly of the several body parts it is time to remove the old paint. Depending on the paint conditions you have 2 choices. The first will be to sand and remove the clear coat and leave just the primer, then paint over it. The 2nd choice is to remove all the paint and primer and expose the bare metal.

Choice #1 is the most common when there's no primer damage and the body has no dents. You will have to start by sanding, then apply a thin coat of primer and repaint. If paint is severely cracked or damaged then remove paint and primer completely.

We won't guide you through the complete process of sanding, prep and painting but we can give you some general tips.

Prep, if you are working over bare metal you will have to avoid oxidation, for this you or shop will have to apply a coat of a rust inhibitor.

After the first priority of killing rust and patching sheet metal is complete, the car will soon be ready for paint. First it will need filling around the seams and welds from sheet metal repairs. I recommend the use of a waterproof filler called Duraglass by USC. This is excellent for filling the welds and patch panels. Just a light skim coat, followed by a premium plastic filler, such as Rage, by Evercoat. After the panels are sanded and "blocked", prime the sheet metal with PPG's DP 40, an excellent two part, self etching epoxy primer, then over this, shoot two or three coats of PPG's K200 surfacer/primer. After this is blocked and wet sanded, you'll be ready for the final paint. I recommend a Base Coat/Clear coat system such as DuPont's Chroma Base. It is very "user Friendly", dries fast and wet sands beautifully.

GT Raptor is getting a coat of deep black Dupont Chroma base, and over it a hard Dupont urethane clear coat

Now, a note about paints, you can get several type of paint like ENAMEL, URETHANE and LACQUER, lacquer was the most popular method of painting but it uses some stuff that is very contaminant like lacquer thinner. Most cars today are covered with environmental friendly coats of water based Enamels and Clear coats.

Lacquer has a beautiful shine (like a piano) when applied correctly and some restorers use it mostly for SHOW ROOM cars that will never or barely see the streets.

Enamel Base Coat/Clear coat paints are the most commonly used by the industry today, the paint consists of 1 coat of BASE which is the actual pigment, and a coat of CLEAR which is a transparent paint that will give the paint its luster and WET LIKE appearance.

Urethane paints are another very popular type in use by restorers and body shops, Urethane paints are called HIGH SOLID compounds and the urethane will last longer and it's tougher and provides a high gloss finish. Urethane is also the most expensive of the 3 paints.

We suggest that you get at least regular enamel BC/CC paint; it will last long and does not require much maintenance.

Now about your SN95, the latest mustangs have LOTS of plastic parts in them; these require a special treatment when painting. The base and clear coat should be mixed with an additive that adds some "flexibility" properties. This helps avoid cracked paint in bumpers and other plastic trim. The pieces that will require this preparation are the Hood, license plate frame, bumpers, side skirts, hood scoops and side scoops.

 

END OF PART 1

PART 1   | PART 2

 

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