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Old 10-27-2002, 11:17 PM
Johnson Chan
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How to strip paint from a car

Lets say i wanted to strip the paint off a car all the way down to the metal/aluminum and have it repainted from scratch.

I do not have the expereince, material, tools, or idea of how to paint, but i think i can strip the paint. I dont think i can screw that up, lol.

How do you do it? Will i purchase aircraft paint remover and terry towels and just brush it on and wipe it off or do i use a sander or what? Let say the car is aluminum does it make a difference?

Basically i want to do as much of it myself as possible and then send a paintless car to the body shop so they can prime and paint it.

How much does something like this cost?

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Old 10-28-2002, 07:39 AM
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If it's aluminum, half this information is not relevant because it addresses rust on steel bodies. Newer and specially higher end cars now use galvanized panels so that rust is no longer an issue. Theses procedures are for restoring older cars and may give you an idea of what you are up against. No idea what this costs nowadays.

>>Acid/alkaline dipping:
Entire shell is dipped in acid or similar chemical, and all rust and paint is removed by chemical reaction. The body is then ready for panel beating or painting. The most expensive car stripping method, but also the most effective in removing absolutely all rust and paint. The newly exposed bare metal will start to rust within a very short time unless it is primed. The company will usually prime or phosphate the shell to prevent immediate surface rusting. They may oil the shell or provide some other temporary coating that must be removed before painting.

>>Chemical stripping:
Paint stripping solution is applied to the paint and left to stand - paint is then scraped off. Leaves bare metal, but dissolves body filler. Time consuming and unpleasant but highly effective.
Difficult to clean out nooks and crannies that become filled with stripper and difficult to remove dissolved paint from complex surfaces.This leads to the possibility of stripping chemicals becoming trapped in seams.

>>Machine sanding
Paint is sanded away using a grinding disc. Slow but effective. Risk of warping panels with heat if the grinder is held in one place for too long. Risk of leaving metal scratches that will show through paint if the surface is not adequately sanded using a finer-grid disc of at least 80-grit after initial sanding. Impossible to strip areas that are not almost flat. Sanding dust is poisonous and gets everywhere. The method of choice for sanding out scratches/surface rust for spot repair.

>>Sand/media blasting
Sand, or other media (crushed walnut shells, baking soda, glass beads, etc) is sprayed on the panel to remove paint, rust, and sometimes filler. Highly effective and fast, removes rust.
Sandblasting is not recommended because it work-hardens the panels making them hard to panel beat. Rust particles mixed with paint flakes and blasting media get in every nook and cranny, the car must be very thoroughly washed and dried a few times to remove it, or the rust will be trapped under the new paint and start again. The car must be painted immediately after stripping to prevent rust. The shell must usually be transported to the blasting premises. These two factors can prove to be very inconvenient. A popular method for stripping an entire car. Does not remove underseal.
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Old 10-31-2002, 06:23 AM
Johnson Chan
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Hello Joe,

Thanks for the reply. Would you recomend an amature do any of these things? If i use sandpaper and sand to the metal or aluminum too deep will it should through the paint?

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Old 10-31-2002, 11:00 AM
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Heard a story of a guy who used chemical stripping on his Corvette, you know, the fiberglass bodied car. He took it down to the metal
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Old 10-31-2002, 11:04 AM
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Johnson, donít use sand paper for entire panels. You will get an uneven surface at absolute best. It will suck otherwise. You can use any number of chemical strippers. Use a lot of stripper and your project will be infinitely easier. Remember that paint work is 99.99999% surface prep. The remainder is a thin film of paint that will highlight every single flaw.

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Old 10-31-2002, 06:33 PM
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This question sounds curious to me, are you planning a color change and wish to start fresh?

Well, my concern would be that when you did strip down to the metal, you would find steel panels. This would likely begin to rust right away in the typical amatuer's garage. Best to leave this kind of prep work to professionals....

Ed "Don't Benz's just feel better..."

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Old 10-31-2002, 08:41 PM
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Strongly recommended that you do this on someone elses car first.

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Old 11-01-2002, 04:39 AM
Johnson Chan
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Thank you for all the replies guys. Please keep the info coming, anything is helpful...

To answer your question, I am thinking of purchasing a 1970's Rolls Royce Silver Shadow (from what i understand part of the car is aluminum and parts are metal/steel).

Since winter time is coming, i can tinker with the car in my garage, do the usual detailing work, redye leather, blah blah. Depending on how the condition of this car will be, I might want to strip the paint to the metal and start from scratch. Who knows how many times a 30 yr old car has been repainted?

This way, by springtime i will have kind of a "showcar" rolls royce to play around with. Right now i am looking at this one that has a fresh repaint (black of course) and it is showing minor cracks and spiderwebbing, the paint is only 1 years old and the guy says there is no bondo or lead fillers and doesnt know why its doing this, he also said it was sanded to the metal. Any ideas?

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Old 11-01-2002, 10:55 AM
jcd jcd is offline
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Try this
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Old 11-03-2002, 02:42 AM
Johnson Chan
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Thanks for the tip on aluminum warning and por15.

Ok technique: how about the door jams and edges? I think i can paint on the chemical and remove it, but if i wanted to do the jams is there anyway to do a "showcar" job without removing the doors and hoods?

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