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Paint and Body work wisdom

Posted by mgamike 
mgamike Avatar
Michael Beitenhaus
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA   usa

I would appreciate any advice about painting my car. When I bought my 1960 MGA 1600 I knew that I would have to repaint it. It has a seemingly well-adhered coat of corvette yellow, that I would like to change. In addition the fender welting was painted so that will be replaced. I have painted panels of cars before with very good results but never a complete car. I plan to use acrylic enamel. Since MGA bodys can be disassembled does it make sense to try to lay the doors and fenders out in a horizontal orientation (saw horses and tables) in order to prevent runs when spraying?
Also, in the past I have used Bondo for repairs but I am wondering if that is the best choice for the aluminum doors that have a few small parking lot dings that should be filled since I am switching to a darker color. Thanks, Michael B

2mgs4doors Avatar
Harry Rathvon
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA   usa

I'm sure this will get a ton of responses.......alot depends if you're just doing a paint job or full restoration.....a full resto means painting both sides of everything body color!

ken klay
london, UK   gbr
1956 MG MGA "Money Pit"

Re Painting ...

my "A" being painted ...

Try to hang everything Vertical ...less surface area for dust etc to drop onto ...


Clean, clean, ...and clean..re prep work .

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HL Miller Avatar
Henry Miller
Chair City, NC, USA   usa

On the aluminum, just be sure to use a filler that says it's OK for use on aluminum - Rage Extreme is one good brand . Laying the panels flat is just personal preference- whatever works best for you. I like to hang them vertically because in my shop, which doesn't have a real booth, I get less dust nibs in the paint. Other painters I know lay them flat for the reasons you mentioned and it works well too.

jclars Avatar
John Larsen
Lynden, WA, USA   usa

I recommend looking at www.autobodystore.com It has a forum with a database of topics that will help in answering many questions and is monitored by many professionals, so the advice is usually very sound.

If you have painted panels successfully, you shouldnt have any difficulty with the whole car. However, it does become a marathon on painting day, so you need to give yourself plenty of time.

The new paints and HVLP guns are great to work with.

I used an aluminum etching solution prior to applying primer to help adhesion. I think it is recommended practice for bare aluminum.

John L.

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horse1936 Avatar
rick m
ky, USA   usa

Not a pro but I would definitely remove all panels and paint separately. I prefer horizontal for the reason you specified. The best would be to strip all old paint to bare metal, etch primer then sanding primer. If that is too daunting, the wet sand your old paint first with 220 then with 400 until all surfaces are flat and uniform. An original color acrylic enamel with hardener is a good choice. This can be color sanded with 1500 then 2500 then buffed to get a nice driver finish.

Neil MG Avatar
Neil McGurk
Cumbria, UK   gbr
1956 Morris Minor
1958 MG MGA
1960 MG MGA
1961 MG MGA
1966 Jaguar Mark 2   → more

On the horizontal vs vertical question I would recommend vertical for two reasons:

The obvious one is to minimise dust, but for me the more important one is for paint finish.

That might sound strange because actually you will not get a better finish just by the fact that it is vertical. The key point is that you are relying on your spraying for the finish not gravity and so you have to apply a more even coat. If you have the panel horizontal "to avoid runs" then there is the temptation to put on too much paint. The edges and those parts of the panels that are not horizontal will therefore be prone to runs, sagging or dry paint. You will have an uneven paint thickness and paint finish. The tops of the doors and wings are the most visible part of the car and the paint finish there is critical.

An additional benefit is that when spraying a vertical surface the spray gun is held upright and the air line is away from the surface.

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mgamike Avatar
Michael Beitenhaus
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA   usa

Thank you fellow automotive anglophiles for the advice. I think hanging the parts vertically wins out because I will have a better shot at both sides. John you are right. The www.autobodystore.com site is a great resource. Now to get on with the sanding. thanks, Michael

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