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Help with restoring dead paint finish

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by paul 308, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. paul 308

    paul 308 Karting

    Jan 13, 2004
    110
    Guildford, Surrey UK
    Full Name:
    Paul Deslandes
    I bought the 7000 miles '76 UK fibre glass 308 a year ago and realised that the paint finish was going to need some attention to bring it up to anything like a reasonable finish. Although sound all over, the surface is very grainy and blotchy (see pics), almost as though its been standing in acid rain with no protection. As it came from the UK Midlands this could well be partly the case.

    I read the excellent JaguarXJ6 (Sunny's) post from the thread on polishing of last January and decided to strip back the wax etc and try a clay bar to remove contaminants. Whilst the paint is certainly smoother and has lost some of the gritty feel, the blotchiness remains and I am concerned what to do next.

    I have some 3M PERFECT-IT III fine compound and have tried a gentle application by hand on the roof with limited success. I am loath to try too much harder for fear of making things worse or even breaking through the paint. I then polished the roof with Autoglym Super Resin polish, which is a top quality UK retail car finishing product, and you can see that although there is a reasobale shine, the blotchy appearance grins through.

    I need to remove the blotchiness before I start applying any of the expensive products such as Zaino etc to give me the appearance I am looking for.

    Am I flogging a dead horse or is a there a magic trick to restoring this otherwise glorious car to pristine condition without a respray which, incidentally, I have no intention of doing?

    The colour BTW is Rosso Rubino metallic which is somewhat darker than normal 'Ferrari Red'.

    All helpfull suggestions gratefully received.

    Thanks in advance.

    Paul
     
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  3. peterp

    peterp F1 Veteran

    Aug 31, 2002
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    I recommend trying 3M Imperial Hand Glaze. I had great success with this product on Porsche Carrera wheels where there was a haze on the black finish. Abrasive products like rubbing compound didn't help at all but the Imperial Hand Glaze seem to restore the paint. I'm not sure the problem on your car is easily fixable, but definitely recommend trying the glaze.
     
  4. dm_n_stuff

    dm_n_stuff Global Moderator
    Global Moderator Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Dec 10, 2003
    36,589
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    Dave
    http://www.fca-se.org/concours.htm

    mcharness has written the bible on car finishing for the FCA.

    He's a member here, perhaps a pm to him will answer your question.

    I don't think you can deal with fiberglass the same as metal, but I'm not sure. More like buffing a boat than a car.

    But he'll know, he knows everything!!!
     
  5. parkerfe

    parkerfe F1 World Champ

    Sep 4, 2001
    12,887
    Cumming, Georgia
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    Franklin E. Parker
    Try a clay bar after you polish. You would not believe the results.
     
  6. Smiles

    Smiles Moderator
    Moderator Owner

    Nov 20, 2003
    14,510
    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Matt F
    Rosso Rubino is a gorgeous color.

    If you're in the UK, why not start with some T-Cut? From your pictures, I think it would respond well.

    --Matt
     
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  8. FasterIsBetter

    FasterIsBetter F1 Veteran

    Jul 22, 2004
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    Steve W.
    Before you fool around with the paint too much, I'd take the car to a reputable body shop in your area and have them take a look at that. Fiberglass is different than paint over metal. It looks to me like the fiberglass is showing through the paint, which is what is giving that rough appearance. I've seen that on old Corvettes before, and if I'm recalling right, the only way to really get rid of that roughness is to repaint. But it's hard to tell from a picture, so if it were my car, I'd have at least one good body or detail shop that knows fiberglass take a look at it. And be careful when working with abrasives -- it's really easy to burn through the paint.
     
  9. TCM

    TCM Formula Junior

    Nov 10, 2003
    552
    Tyngsborough, MA
    I would also have a bodyshop take a look at the paint. If you want to try and do it yourself, I would start with the 3M line of plishes and componds (sounds like you already have) and go to work with a rotary or orbital. You may end up having to move to some really aggressive polish or compound to get that paint to liven up though. Hope this helps and please keep us updated on the sitation.
     
  10. atheyg

    atheyg Guest

    Its hard to say what is going on with your paint, it could be burned through already which is why you are seeing light spots, its actually the primer.

    If its not burned through then the only thing that will get it out is a more abrasive compound such as perfect it 2 or having it wet sanded again, but I would be very careful old paint is usually very thin in spots on edges and so forth its easy to burn through to the primer, you need a pro painter to look at it and have them do it or an experienced detail shop.
     
  11. paul 308

    paul 308 Karting

    Jan 13, 2004
    110
    Guildford, Surrey UK
    Full Name:
    Paul Deslandes
    Thanks for the suggestions Guys. I took a look at Mike's series of FCA articles but that seems to assume that the paint is a reasonable shape to start with. As he hasn't shown up on the thread I'll email him to see if he can comment.

    In the meantime I'll try a good local restorers that I've been recommended and see what they say before a let go with the 'T-Cut'.

    I'll keep you posted as I'm sure mine is not the only one with this problem.

    Cheers

    Paul
     
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  13. don_xvi

    don_xvi F1 Rookie

    Nov 1, 2003
    2,920
    Outside Detroit
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    Don the 16th
    Don't waste your time.
    I was going to post a thread about what looks like the exact same thing you're describing. I even tried taking pics, too with the reflections of the garage lights! I didn't get much out of my pics, either.

    Take a really close look at the hazy areas. I expect you'll see that you've got TINY TINY little cracks in the paint. Much like what's often described on here as 'crazing' but smaller. I think crazing has a spider web with diameters of ~1cm, whereas this is fractions of a mm. Maybe you can still call it crazing. When I realized this about my car (after I DID use the medium cut cleaner on the buffer!), I just went back to try and smooth out what I'd done with the heavy stuff and got it as good as it's gonna go with these little cracks. I think all that can be done is to repaint.
     
  14. paul 308

    paul 308 Karting

    Jan 13, 2004
    110
    Guildford, Surrey UK
    Full Name:
    Paul Deslandes
    Don_xvi. in reponse to your suggestion I took a really close look at the paint under a magnifying glass. Should have done it before really. The surface coat looks pitted rather than crazed and this does seem to respond to the Perfect-It treatment, although I have taken good note of the other respondents comments re burning through on the curves and edges. I'll try and get some close in macro shots, before and after in case anyone is interested.

    Does anyone know whether these early fibre glass 308s had a clear coat applied or is there any other perculiarity about the metallic paint finish that might be useful to know?

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
     
  15. atheyg

    atheyg Guest

    308s were single stage, some were laquer.

    You will only have clear if your car has been touched up or repainted, if you see the color of your paint in the rag your are using to buff its single stage.
     
  16. Steve King

    Steve King F1 Rookie

    Feb 15, 2001
    4,366
    NY
    Looks like the paint is stained. The pits are most likely from weather and the glass breathing. I don't think you can get it any better then you have now. You will need to get it striped and then the glass must be filled and sealed before it is painted. I would then suggest one of the newer type paints that will take the movement of the glass. That with a good clearcoat and you'll have a super beauty.
     
  17. marks308GTB

    marks308GTB Karting

    Jun 6, 2004
    114
    Los Altos Hills, Ca.
    Full Name:
    Mark S.
    I have a 76 fiber glass 308, too. Also have owned 3 corvettes. One of the problems with fiber glass is that you cannot bake it on at the same high temps that you can with metal. Makes the paint fairly soft. It sounds like your paint has a had a hard life.

    You are probably at the point where you need to repaint. Sorry.

    Good luck.

    Mark
     
  18. DBR328&330

    DBR328&330 Formula Junior

    May 31, 2001
    605
    Winchester, VA
    Full Name:
    Daniel Reese
    It doesnt look horrible.

    Why not keep it original as is and enjoy? You wont worry about another scratch!
     
  19. cwwhk

    cwwhk Formula 3

    Nov 13, 2003
    1,535
    Hong Kong, Tokyo
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    Wayne
    Does your paint have clear coat on it? My 550 had blotchy look and it turns out the clear coat had been polished off in patches. So I had no choice but to have the car re-sprayed.
     
  20. Adeotec

    Adeotec Karting

    May 11, 2004
    124
    Philadelphia PA
    Try taking it to a top-notch detail shop in your area. Make sure they compound and buff the paint. If they guy is really good, it might help with the finish. If there are light scratches like someone else pointed out, try a hard wax. It might fill them in temporally, until it washes off that is.
     
  21. FL 355

    FL 355 Formula 3

    Nov 3, 2002
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    Ft Laud
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    Frank Lipinski
    I've always been consumed by detailing...my FCar has 6 first place and 2 second place major awards.

    It seems that you did not use a polish that was agressive enough to get a clean base to start with. You can have someone do it, or do it yourself if you don't mind investing in a random orbital polisher..an orbital can burn your paint, a random orbital will not. A popular make is a Porter Cable with a velcro backing plate so you can change pads quickly.

    I like Autoglym, and since your in the UK you can easily find it. First of all, Superglym is not strong enough...it's for lightly oxidized cars....for your car you need their Radiant Polish, which has more bite. Radiant, Superglym, 3M, etc really only work with a buffer (dsipite what the label says) because you need to allow the product to breakdown for it to do it's job. If you can get Meguiars products, go for Dual Action Cleaning Polish (DACP) with a yellow polishing pad. These products take time to work in, I typically do a 2x2 section at a time and it takes 3-5 minutes going over the same area using a speed of about 3500 rpm. You may think of it similar to small grains of sand in the polish that need to breakdown and do their job.

    Your car has a single stage paint...you may have noticed when using polish that your rag turns slightly red.. that's why you don't want to do this type of cleaning often.

    A Zaino topper may not hold to the Autoglym, it like a virgin surface. You may want to top with Autoglym Liquid Hard Wax instead. If you do like Zaino, then use a non-Autoglm polish (like the Meguiars). Wash your car with strong dishwashing soap (Dawn here in the US) to remove any fillers and chemicals left by the polish, then start the Zaino procedure.

    You can also go to www.properautocare.com for products mentioned.

    I have many freinds with Vettes and fiberglass is not an issue..paint is paint. Boats are different because of gel coat, but your car should be business as usual, with the exception of a little extra care due to single stage paint.

    If you have any specific questions, send me a PM. I'm here every day.
     
  22. Mike C

    Mike C F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Aug 3, 2002
    6,075
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    Mike Charness
    Paul:

    Sorry I'm late to the party here. It's difficult to tell from your photos, but as long as the remaining paint is thick enough, you should be able to polish it with a mild abrasive to get rid of any oxidized areas (which is usually what causes blotchiness) and surface contaminants and have consistent "fresh" paint brought to the surface. Once that is done, you can care for it to keep it looking good.

    However, older Ferraris were painted with a lacquer rather than enamel, and after a number of years the lacquer exhibits "crazing", which is tiny cracks throughout the paint. Could that be what you mean by "grainy", though you say it looks more like pitting than crazing? If so, there's nothing that will really take care of that short of a repaint... a glazing compound will help temporarily, but not much, since the tiny cracks go all the way through the paint rather than just being light surface scratches. If by "grainy" it's due to surface contamination instead of crazing, then you need to do the abrasive polish thing.

    It *can* be done by hand, and actually I suggest you DO it by hand initially -- rather than buy an orbital -- to see if it solves the problem. I personally use Griot Garage polishes -- they come in three grades of abrasive, and I have all three. You'd need to start with #2 or perhaps even #1... #3 is the final abrasive polish (very fine) before use a wax or polymer protectant. It's best to use a progressive polish series like this rather than try to find a "one fits all".

    Regarding FL355's comment about Zaino over a "virgin surface", it *will* hold if you use their ZFX additive at least the first time, or alternatively use their "Polish LOK" product first (I prefer using the ZFX additive, as it gives you additional benefit of acting as a chemical catalyst).

    Previous comments are correct -- you have a single-stage paint, no clearcoat, presuming the paint is original. To bring it to life there needs to be enough left so that you can take off a few surface microns without getting down to the primer. You just have to pick a spot and try it. If you're not experienced at it, let a local professional do it for you, starting BY HAND in a small area on a topmost surface such as the rear decklid or a fender or where you were working on the roof.

    Mike Charness
     
  23. peterp

    peterp F1 Veteran

    Aug 31, 2002
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    I agree with all the comments here that it probably needs an abrasive to cut through what has been damaged. I would still recommend trying the 3M Imperial Hand Glaze first because I had a situtuation where the glaze worked when the abrasives didn't and, followed by wax, it was a perament fix. It is likely that you need to cut through it, but it is safer to try the least abrasive method first since you don't really know how much paint you have to work with.
     
  24. FL 355

    FL 355 Formula 3

    Nov 3, 2002
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    Pete - I use 3m IHG as a topper on top of the topper sometime right before a show. Because it's a glaze it contains fillers...great to get the wet look and fill spider web scratches. However, after a few washes, it goes away and you're right back to what you have underneath it. The proper solution here is polishing to restore the original luster to the paint, then to wax/seal to protect the finish.
     
  25. FL 355

    FL 355 Formula 3

    Nov 3, 2002
    1,665
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    Frank Lipinski
    Michael - I have had many converserations (and I assume you have also) with Sal Zaino. Yes, you can apply Z over a non-virgin surface (I have) but Sal would argue. The ZFX is a flash cure that really allows you to layer without waiting in between coats. Sal contends that if the surface is not virigin the product will not "stick" as well and you won't achieve optimum optical clarity because the Z is on top of something else... But he also says to use terry bath towels and not micro's... To each his own.

    Are you bringing your car to Cavallino this year? I'm already registered. It would be interesting to meet you and compare notes.

    FL
     
  26. peterp

    peterp F1 Veteran

    Aug 31, 2002
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    Frank - I use the glaze before waxing -- doesn't the wax seal the glaze in so that it lasts longer? I know it probably doesn't give the same gloss look as using glaze as a topcoat, but I assume the wax preserves the benefits of the glaze under it. My usual sequence is clay, P21S cleaner, 3M IHG, and P21S wax.
     
  27. kaamacat

    kaamacat Formula 3

    Jun 13, 2004
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    BobR
    Paul.... I've used the 3M FII products for quite a while after a wetsand of 1500 or 2000 from painting, or on boat fiberglass/gelcoat. In your case (because this stuff does a super fine cut), if you are confident there is plenty of base paint there.........it really needs to be done with a good "right angle" machine. (variable speed recommended). By hand will still leave a dull finish, a fast good random orbit will get better (like PorterCable)...........but a right angle is what you would need.

    If so (ie. a paint good base remaning), and using a machine (I use a nice PorterCable VS), it will/can look like glass when you are done. Obviously these need to be used with care and experience. Then as others have said you can glaze and wax....etc.

    Bob
     
  28. paul 308

    paul 308 Karting

    Jan 13, 2004
    110
    Guildford, Surrey UK
    Full Name:
    Paul Deslandes
    Fantastic response from you guys, as always. Boosted with confidence from all the advice, I got hold of some 3M PF lll Fastcut, which is the coarser grade compound up from Fine, and the results are very good even by hand. Clearly the Fine was not agressive enough. However I can see that it will be better and more consistent with a machine and I am looking for a random orbit polisher. Looking through a magnifier I can see that the pitted and oxidised surface is coming off and there seems to be plenty of paint, except at the edges where I will have to be very careful.

    I take the point about a right angle machine but I would be concerned about my lack of experience when using one, and the irreparable damage I could cause. On a trial area of the boot (sorry, trunk, engine cover, whatever! English eh!) I used the Fastcut, followed by Fine and then 3M Imperial Handglaze. Its transformed the finish so this is obviously the way to go, at least for me who just wants to see the car in its former glory. Once I've made some progress I'll be looking at the various finishing products, particularly Zaino which seems to get the best press overall. Unfortunately its not available in the UK but I can get it mail-order from a guy in Germany.

    So far I haven't been able to locate a random orbit variable speed polisher over here either and have contacted Porter Cable to see if they can send me one from the US. I'll need a transformer as we live dangerously in the UK with a 240Vac mains supply. Presumably these machine have a velcro plate that you can attach waffle pads to.

    I'll keep you posted on progress.
     

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