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Old 11-29-2001, 04:48 PM
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Need a paint job for my Navy Blue 1990 300 SEL

I have a dark navy blue Mercedes 1990 300 SEL with blue bumpers (the bumpers seem to be a little lighter blue - not sure if it was done like that one purpose or if the plastic fades at a greater rate).

The paint started to fade 1-1/2 years ago on the hood, roof, and trunk, and now it is at the point where there are large white spots on the horizontal portions throughout the car and have to splurge the extra coin to get the car painted.

I would like advice on getting the car (and perhaps the bumpers and molding too) painted. Do I ask the guy to paint it the original Mercedes blue color? Should I ask him to just match the existing color? What about the bumpers and side molding? Do they paint them the same color or are they purposesly a tad bit lighter? Does anyone know? I was not the original owner so I don't know what the car exaclty looked like when it came out of the factory. How does Mercedes paint them? Enamel? Laquer? 2 coats or 3? Clear coat?

Input would be greatly appreciated.

UPDATE: I went to one guy and said it would cot $950 and use Sherwin WIlliam paint. They only taope over stuff, thet do not remove the bumpers/trim.

I called anther guy who the dealer recommended and he said it was cost $3,000 to $4,000 over the phone. The use DuPont paint.

Has anyone has luch with Sherwin Williams?
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Old 11-29-2001, 07:55 PM
JCE's Avatar
JCE JCE is offline
Down to the Wear Bars
Join Date: May 1999
Location: So Kalifornia
Posts: 2,189
My paint shop told me du Pont was one of the better paints around (Imron is the high plasticizer du Pont they use on premium bicycles). They told me the brand of German paint they use on MBs and BMWs, but I can't remember.

In the past he advised me to always paint the same color. This was because:
1) less expensive because they don't have to prep and paint inside the trunk, doors, hood, etc., and don't have to do as heavy a surface prep.
2) less noticable when there are rock dings or scratches when there aren't 2 different colors showing through.
3) less problem on resale. - your car ID plate has a color code on it, which will raise eyebrows if it doesn't match what they see. They will start looking for salvage titles, wreck damage, etc, and the more they look, the more they will find to fault!

He said that they tend to vary the amount of plasticizer for different body areas, using a lot on front bumpers - but care must be taken as too much will let small rocks or door dings 'star' like a windshield when hit.

Number of coats of paint and clear coat are useful, but depends on if it is a show car or a 5 year ownership daily driver. My body shop feels that surface prep is at least as important as number of coats, and finishing steps likewise (color sand around door edges, orange peel, etc.)

Most of the newer paints are water base, unlike the solvent based older paints. We have 2 smoke silver MBs. They both polish up like glass, and both look great in the garage under the same light, but the older one has a warmer, slightly buttery glow to the reflections, while the newer one looks a little cool and harsh. They are the same color code, and look the same when there are no reflections. The paint 'feels' better on the older one as well - can't explain it.

If you are planning on keeping the car, I would find a top painter who really understands surface prep, German or du Pont paints, finishing steps, and is willing to provide references and write up the steps (s)he will take on your car. It may not be more expensive than other shops, as this type of person will often be able to color sand, color match, and blend with solvent paints in just the areas that need it, airbrush panels with just small defects, and re-clearcoat the entire car. What they cost in art is often offset by cost savings of not having to sand/mask/spray the entire car. My last paint job (vandalized with coolant and brake fluid Celica and Acura) were done by this type of shop, and came with a life-of-ownership-no-deductible guarantee on the paint and labor.

Avoid places that only tape and that don't remove bumpers. The bumpers should be sprayed with a different mix anyway, from what I have been told. Also, local Air Quality district laws will effect how your car is allowed to be painted. Some places are allowing only a certain amount of paint per shop per month, and specify what can be used, and whether or not they can paint entire cars (The restrictions mean that it is more profitable to repair and touch up than to spray an entire vehicle!). Fender Guitar moved out of SoCal because the Air Quality people would no longer approve the varnish they always used!!!

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Last edited by JCE; 11-29-2001 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 11-29-2001, 08:36 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Austin, TX
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In my youth, I used to sell automotive paint to body shops. The OEM German paints are very good, but so are Du Pont, R&M, and Ditzler (PPG). Sherwin Williams wasn't very good paint for a car. That was 20+ years ago though so things might be different now.

As mentioned, if you are planning on keeping the car and a quality finish is important to you, spend the money to get a quality job. If you decide to opt for the quality job, spend the extra money and have the whole car painted.

On the other hand, if you just want it to look good from 20 feet away and at 20 MPH, I wouldn't spend over a grand. Preparation is the key to how well the paint looks years down the road.

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Old 11-29-2001, 10:21 PM
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By the way, the original color is "Midnight Blue".

Thanks you, very informative posts. I am definately going to get the whole car painted. The $950 guy is "tape over everything guy". Four year warranty. Sherwin Williams paint.

I took it to another guy who said he will take everything off and paint if for $2000. Said he was not sure about the bumper color but will check. He recommended for me to leave my bumpers alone, but I told him they have slightly faded and I want them the original color. He was relatively certain that even though the VIN does not yield a bumper color code, that does not necessarily imply that the bumper is the same color as the car. He thought that it is possible that the bumper may have a different kind of paint and although it may be the "same color" it might look different. I was confused. The paint he uses is from "ICI" a subdivision of PPG with an unlimited warranty.

I called another autoshop over the phone from what the authorized Mercedes Dealership recommended and he quoted a me a $3000 to $4000 range without looking at it.

Choices choices choices
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Old 11-30-2001, 10:53 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 14
I had my black pearl 300E repainted less than a year ago. It isn't a show car, but is a long-term keeper that we just want staying great as long as possible.

I looked around as well, and they guy who tapes-it-all and coats with Sherwin Williams sounds like the low-cost Maaco/Earl Scheib kinfd of guy. No surface prep. Glossy paint for about six months. Then the rust, rock pockets, and cracks begin to show. Then the fade begins.

Reputable body shops will remove everything they can - bumpers, door handles, antennas - spend at *least* one full day prepping the car - sanding, filling chips, sanding, taking out rust, sanding, taping.

They will put at *least* 2 coats of base color on and usually 3 or more coats of clear coat.

All this is going to run you $2,000 on up, depending on many things, including the total amount of prep work, the type of paint (not brand so much as metallic or not).

We were very pleased with the job the body shop did, waited the recommended month before applying Zaino (yea, Zaino!). Hope to keep the car another five years or so and smile the whole time.

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Old 12-24-2001, 02:51 AM
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
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IHMO, nothing, I say NOTHING will give you the durability of Glasurit paint (made by BASF). Glasurit is Mercedes factory paint. They have been known to use Spies-Hecker (which is now owned by DuPont, I think), but that was mainly back in the '60s and '70s. I'd say find a shop who uses Glasurit. You will be happiest with the results (that is, if they also know how to prep it right!). I can say that ICI paints don't hold up the best. They chip quite easily and fade rather quickly. I always send my bodywork jobs to Valley Paint and Body. They do only Mercedes and do top notch work. Matter of fact, as soon as springtime rolls around, my 6.9 is going to them for a complete respray (it's DB904 Navy Blue--my favorite!). They quoted about $5,000 but I know it's worth every penny. As soon as I can expand my own workshop to accomodate painting, we will use exclusively Glasurit.
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Old 12-24-2001, 08:09 AM
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The bumpers and trim have a choice of either going with the body match or a shade lighter (usually). Its the dual-tone effect. Personally, I prefer the dual-tone combo.
... Kerry

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Old 01-04-2002, 12:24 AM
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Thanks. Originally the bumper did appear to be a little lighter than the rest of the car, but when I called a Mercedes dealer, they said that there was no bumper color code on file for my 300 so he said that meant that it was the color of the body. therefore, I thought the reason it was lighter was because the paint faded faster on plastic than the metal frame.

I would not have minded to go with a lighter shade, but not having a color code, I took the safe route and had it painted the color of the body.
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Old 01-11-2002, 06:20 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,538
I agree with Aaron on using Glasurite paint. I used a paint shop here in Walnut, California, and that's what he used to repaint my G20 (black). He believes that it is harder than American paint when dry, and the colors are better, especially dark or bright colors.
I've heard that Ppg paint is terrible. Most low-end shops use PP&G because it dries real fast and they can get cars in and out quickly.
Glasurite paint dries very slowly. After painting, the shop left my car drying in the paint booth for the rest of the day and all night.

Further, if you're going to keep the car for a while, spend the money to get a good job. I spent $2,200 and he removed everything - door handles, bumpers, antena, rubber trim around the windows, etc. This way you don't get overspray marks if they do a bad masking job.
Just my 2 cents.
Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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Old 01-11-2002, 06:25 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,538
Oh, yeah, two more things. I've looked around and I think bumpers, side molding were done in a slightly darker color (like my smoke silver) or lighter color (like burgundy, dark green, dark blue). I believe MB intended this two tone look.

Further, when painting bumpers, they put an additive to the paint that allows the paint to bend without cracking. This is very common knowledge and I can't imagine that even low end shops don't do this.

I'm not really a painter, but my dad painted cars when I was a little kid. I know just enough to sound dangerous.
Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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Old 01-11-2002, 07:24 PM
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: CT, USA
Posts: 2,699
If you spend $4-$5k USD, you'll get a quality job from a quality shop. Heck, the shop I prefer charges like $4k additional to change colors. Then again, when they do it they pull the entire drivetrain...

I also recommend Glasurit paint, but that's based purely on personal experience-I'm no pro
"If everything seems under control, you're simply not going fast enough" --Mario Andretti

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