Car Repaint Project: Day 1 – Sanding

Without much time or money on hand, I’ve decided to repaint my 2002 Nissan. It had a Molten Silver color for its exterior according to the spec doc, but the outer paint started to peel off about 10 years ago. The paint looked fine when I moved to New Mexico nearly 7 years ago though, but, now, the peeling paint has made the car look rather shabby to others. I’m not emotionally attached to the appearance of the car I drive, so it didn’t bother me that much.  In fact, I somewhat enjoy wearing and using things that has a look of being well-worn. I think my own pastor and I share a form of camaraderie for having the shabbiest looking cars at the church.  Anyway, my bumper decided to give recently, and when I bought a replacement it came in its raw, black color, and it needed to be painted. I felt that I might as well repaint the whole car while at it.

I heard from a coworker once that an excellent paint job may cost over a 1,000 bucks, and an average paint job typically costs around 300 to 500. I can’t afford that kind of money at the moment, and there are other expenses that are just waiting to move out of my checking account, so I googled the Internet to find a more frugal way and most of the recent answers seem to be around the use of Rust-Oleum enamel paint.  There are actually many guides and write-ups and I’m indebted to them all, especially Styluss, Craig Fitzgerald, and jtech87. I guess this may seem like yet-another-attempt at a write-up, but this is more as a logging purpose for me to keep track of my progress.  I can only allot 1 or less hour a day to this project, and usually it’s in evening.  I may be able to find little more time on the weekends.

Materials (matches Styluss’ preparation, but mine ended up being about 90 dollars total):

  • Rustoleum high gloss white paint – 1 gallon
  • Odorless mineral spirits – 1 gallon
  • Primer spray paint
  • 4″ High density foam brushes – x9
  • 2″ High density foam brushes – x8
  • Paint trays – x3
  • Sandpaper – 2 packs (400 & 800 grit)
  • Painter’s tape – 1 roll
  • Rustoleum clear coat
  • (optional) Car polish
  • (optional, but recommended) Paint mask, ear plugs or earphones, and goggle

The first draft of my plan (similar to jtech87’s) looks like this:

Subroutine M: Wet a rag with paint thinner (100% mineral spirit) and rub down.
Subroutine T:  Use tack cloth to wipe the surface.
Subroutine P: Paint surface.
Subroutine S(n): [Wet]sand with n grit paper.
Subroutine W(n): Wait at least n hours.

  1. Wear a paint mask, ear plugs (or earphones if you prefer), and a goggle if you don’t want paint particles entering your system in any significant amounts.
  2. Clean the car and do S(400), M, and T. Dust off
  3. Spray primer. W(6).
  4. Prepare paint solution (50% Rust-Oleum Glossy White / 50% thinner) and mix it well.
  5. Do P, and W(6).
  6. Do S(400) to get rid of at least 50% of the orange peel.
  7. Do M, T, P, and W(6).
  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7, and then jump to 9.
  9. Do S(800). Get at least 80% of the orange peel, but do not sand too deep.
  10. Prepare a slightly thicker paint solution (less thinner than last time). Use a new brush.
  11. Do M, T, P.
  12. Apply clear coat.
  13. Apply 2nd clear coat (assuming you’re rotating around the car, you can start at the beginning point on step 12).
  14. Do S(800 or higher).
  15. (optional) Apply polish.

I estimate about a week, but with only an hour a day, it may turn out to be longer. Anyway, here I go.

With some preparation time, I ended up with only about 30 minutes of time. In a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is a thorough job of sanding, I’d probably give myself 5 on this one.  I managed to cover most of the car except for 3 doors.  I imagine I may be sanding for a whole week before I put anything on.

car-cutout-day-1IMG_20160825_234205 IMG_20160825_234215 IMG_20160825_234228

As you can see in the photo, there’s still much more sanding to do.  (Yawn) I need to sleep.