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TR2/3/3A DIY paint job? vs leave it to the professionals?

Joel Lester

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Hi guys,
Just looking into getting some advice here. Maybe even talk me off the ledge.
I've been working on my TR3 body now for 8 months. I have the body off the frame and I've got all the rust areas fixed, used body filler and epoxy primer to seal every inch of bare metal. I had it sand blasted to bare metal before doing the repairs. I'm at a cross-roads now and wondered if you guys have insights as to whether or not I paint the car myself? Or, have a professional do it. I'm going with black - a solid color so don't need anything fancy although Black will show everything. I don't have a paint booth or a large volume air compressor. I suppose I could invest in a decent compressor but honestly don't want to spend a ton of money on the size it would require for a HVLP gun. I've seen some guys use a LVLP gun and maybe that is a work-around for using a smaller compressor (20 gal or greater). I'm perfectly happy to add the build primer and get'r smooth and ready for paint myself (and take as long as it takes to get it "perfect").

You guys have any personal stories you'd like to share to say - Ya! go for it. In the end you can say I did the whole car myself! Or.... better to have an end result you can live with by having someone spray the car for me. Pros and cons to each I'm sure.

Let me know!

Joel
 

PAUL161

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I did all the work on my numbers matching TF with the exception of chroming and painting it. Took all the pieces and had a friend who owns a custom car shop and he painted everything with the exception of the chassis and drive train plus engine, I sprayed those myself. Putting everything back together was nerve-wracking, to say the least! My wife was a big help holding sheet metal pieces while I bolted them in place! Gotta love that girl! :devilgrin: PJ
55 TF 1500-2.jpg
 
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Joel Lester

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Looks beautiful!! Holy smokes that looks good...
So, judging from this I'd say your vote is to have an expert paint it. If it looks that good - I'm in.

Joel
 

Jerry

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I have painted 4 cars and a home job on the outside panels that will look great requires a lot of work. Without a paint booth, stuff falls into the paint and you may have to repaint panels. My current project has 3 panels that have been painted 2 to 4 times. Sanding and polishing was necessary also. Painting is an art and I don't think we can match a professional with a paint booth. But we can come close.................. with enough labor and paint supplies.
 

bobhustead

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I painted my 3 myself. I bought and applied two gallons of a single stage PPG polyurethane. It should take about 3 quarts to paint this car. Yes, this means that I sanded off about 5 quarts. The result is ok, not top notch. I would pay someone to squirt it.
Bob
 
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Joel Lester

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Good to know Bob and Jerry. I appreciate the input. It sure sounds a lot easier. It's just the wallet that will take the hit! LOL! What do you suppose a fair price would be to spray it if I do all the prep myself?
 

Jerry

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I had one of my cars painted at MACCO. It is a chain that paints lots of cars. I bought the high level and the guy that owned the place had old cars himself so I got a good job and a reasonable price. I took them another car and they screwed up.
I now tell people to find a hot rod shop that paints cars. They are used to our type of cars. A usual body shop makes more money fixing bumpers to take up paint booth time.
 

DavidApp

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I painted my TR3 my self never having spray painted anything before. I went with off white and it turned out well. Doing it yourself you can do each panel separately so you get both sides and the seams. I think most shops will want it all together. A friend has his painted at a local shop that he knows and he gets it done panel at a time.

Good luck.
David
Scuttle with 3 coats of paint.jpg
Wings and doors2.jpg
 

PAUL161

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I agree with David on painting the car in pieces, everything on my car was painted that way, no bare metal or primer showing anywhere, just paint. (y)
 

PAUL161

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Good to know Bob and Jerry. I appreciate the input. It sure sounds a lot easier. It's just the wallet that will take the hit! LOL! What do you suppose a fair price would be to spray it if I do all the prep myself?
Prices vary depending on who paints the car, but I would figure from a quality shop between 8 and 10K, higher if they need to do more prepping.
 

charleyf

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Prices vary depending on who paints the car, but I would figure from a quality shop between 8 and 10K, higher if they need to do more prepping.
Is it possible to find a fellow car guy that has painted his and friends cars? By using such a person you will likely get a great price and a reasonably good paint job. Experience goes a long way in that short time when the paint is being sprayed. Most of the time is in the body prep before the painting.
Charley
 

HealeyRick

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Find a local vocational school that offers adult education body shop and sign up. Usually they don't do instruction, but the instructor is generally a former body shop owner and knows their stuff. You can bring your car in pieces (they won't let you leave your car there, you have to take it home when class is over). You will have a clean, dry place to work with a professional paint booth and other equipment. Scuff your epoxy primer and start shooting high build primer, using a guide coat and blocking and sanding until you have a perfect finish (look up using a guide coat online). Talk to the instructor on what kind of primer and topcoats are appropriate for your use. They may know an autobody store that will give you a discount. Once you have all the priming and sanding done, decide whether you want to shoot it yourself. You might toss a few bucks the instructor's way and he or she will shoot it for you. You may want to take it to a professional body shop to have them apply the topcoats, or you may just decide to shoot it yourself after watching some of the other students do it. I did my Austin-Healey this way, but had a pro do the topcoats as I was too chicken to shoot an ice-blue metallic myself.
 
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Joel Lester

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Thanks guys. All good advice here and in-line with what is going through my head. I'm going to do all the prep work myself with teh build primer, work my way up the grits and likely take it to a guy in my local car club. I was able to get a few names to reach out to. Regarding black... I know it will show any little imperfection but on the other hand it's been nice to be able to paint the engine bay, wheel wells under body black.
 

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DavidApp

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I notice that your tub does not have braces in the door openings. Braces are a good idea when you lift the tub off the frame to add rigidity to the tub.
Nice shop with plenty of space.

David
 

Popeye

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You can do it, but I suggest only doing it if your heart is into it.

Given the skill of most DIYers (no offense intended - just it takes me about four times as long to do anything when compared to a pro), and environment of a garage, you might be better off working the same hours at McD's and paying someone else to do it beautifully...
 

pdplot

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I've posted this before, but years ago, I decided to repaint (black!) a Corvair convertible. Wife and I spent hours sanding & filling. We thought it looked great - smooth as a baby's butt. My body shop buddy warned me - "black is merciless". Took it to local Maaco and when the car came back, it looked like it had been in a wreck and straightened by gypsy's in the parking lot. Any idiot can spray paint, but that prep work is a real art. You nay think its smooth - but it isn't. If you value the car, take it to a pro. My TR6 was painted before I got it back in the 1980s and it still looks good today except for a few paint chips.
 

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