Special Report Questions For Larry

February 1, 2011 | By Larry Lyles

Readers Ask This Restoration Pro About Replacing Floor Pans, Seam Welding, Repairing Clear Coats & More.

Using Acrylic Lacquer on Bare Metal

I am painting some interior steel moldings for my 1962 Chevy and am using PPG Acrylic Lacquer. What is a good primer that the lacquer will stick to? I have PPG K36 on hand.

As an aside, it appears that GM originally used lacquer over the bare metal as there seems to be nothing between the paint and the steel surface. Would you recommend not using a primer?

Bill E. Via email

Since you have some K36 on hand, please use it. Lacquer will stick quite well to K36 when sanded with 400-grit.

You are right about the lack of a prime coat on GM interior pieces. Since lacquer will stick to bare metal they sanded the steel pieces and sprayed color right over them. You can still use this method, but I would rather see a primer coat put down first, if for no other reason than to ensure the smoothest possible finish.

Can I Just Do Some Paint Blending Here?

I’m working on a 1998 BMW M Roadster. The original silver metallic paint is very nice except for some damaged panels. I’ve made the necessary repairs to the panels and prefer to blend the paint instead of painting the entire car.

Any thoughts?

Tad Rhodes Whitakers, North Carolina

Just a few: Color blending is difficult to get right. Blending clear coats is even more difficult to getright.

I would suggest painting the full panels. You can do them one at a time to make life easier and I promise you will be much happier with the results.

To get the color correct take the car to your paint supplier and ask him to computer match the color.

Body Filler and Spray Can Primer Questions

Before I applied body filler to the quarter panels on my 1965 Olds I sprayed them with epoxy primer. On some sections of the quarters I sanded through he epoxy and down to the bare metal. I added more filler to those areas and now I have filler on bare metal. Is this OK?

I also have other areas of the car that need work but cold weather is coming. Can I apply spray can primer over this filler and sand it off in the spring?

John Costello Delaware

I like to see epoxy under all of the filler applied to a panel, but it isn’t a deal breaker to apply a small amount of filler over bare metal.

In the old days that is exactly how we did things, we applied plastic body filler directly over sanded bare metal.

Most of the time that method doesn’t create a problem and I would say that since most of your filler has epoxy under it you will never have an issue with the filler failing. The application of epoxy only came into wide use a few years ago when we started looking for ways to reduce corrosion issues.

You can apply spray can primer as long as you sand most of it off once you start back to work on the car. Spray can primer is lacquer-based and just won’t hold up like the urethane-based primers applied with a spray gun.

Some Tips on Replacing Floor Pans and Wheel Wells

I have a 1936 Chevy two-door sedan that needs the inner wheel wells and floor pan replaced. I plan to brace the car like you did on Project ’46 but I don’t know what I should do first.

Reid Van Kirk Via e-mail

With the car squarely braced I would cut out the passenger compartment floor pan first and replace it. There Will be that small area of the pan where it meets the wheel wells that shouldn’t be welded. I would next cut out the left wheel well and replace it without welding it to the old trunk floor pan. Then I would replace the right wheel well and finish up by replacing the trunk floor pan.

The wood in that car will definitely make things a little harder, but as long as the body is braced and rigid you shouldn’t have any problems.

Mini Gun Discussion

I’m interested in painting my Vespa 400 and was considering purchasing a mini spray gun. A friend suggested I look at a SATA spray gun. I’m wondering if you are still using the Devilbiss SRi mini gun you reviewed a few years back.

Craig Wiland Via e-mail

Yes, I still use the SRi. It is a great gun for spraying small parts and getting into tight places. DeVilbiss has updated this gun to the SRi Pro gun.I haven’t used the Pro version, but if it is as good as the original it should be a very nice gun.

As for SATA, they also make a good mini gun, the SATA Mini Jet 2 HVLP, and I wouldn’t have an issue with purchasing and using this gun. If SATA has any drawbacks it is that you have to go to a paint supply store to purchase of these guns as they are not sold over the Web (the last time I checked) and you cannot take one apart.

Will Seam Welding Provide a Stronger Car Body?

My project is a 1965 Corvair Monza. Will welding all of the panel seams on this car improve the strength and rigidity of the body? I’d like the handling to be a little crisper.

Tony Rivera Suwanee, Georgia

The MONZA is basically an early GM version of the unibody vehicle so welding the panel seams may not improve on the rigidity or strength of the body. I think doing so will improve on the overall appearance of the car and give it an extremely smooth look.

But to get the car to handle better I would look to improve the suspension. The after market world is probably full of performance modification packages you can add to the car to stiffen the ride and make it areal corner hugger.

Dealing With Quarter panel Depressions

I replaced both quarter panels on my 1970 Dodge Charger and everything went well until I noticed two depressions on the top of the right quarter panel just to the right of the deck lid. If I push these depressions up they pop right back down. Any thoughts on what I did wrong and how to correct this?

Scott Checkeye Harwick, Pennsylvania

Basically you didn’t do anything wrong. That area of the quarter panel is subject to stretching due to the way the panel is molded to fit at the sail panel.

I Suggest heating the spots one at a time then immediately quenching the heated area with cold water on a sponge to shrink the metal. That should draw the dent out and stop the popping.

My Primer’s Too Thick for the Gun

I was attempting to use Evercoat Slick Sand primer on my truck. I have a DeVilbiss FinishLine 635 spray gun and have tried both the 1.6 and the 1.8 mm spray tips but the mix will not go through the gun. Any thoughts?

Don Walker Via email

Evercoat Slick Sand is a good primer, but it can be extremely thick even when mixed according to the label.

You will need to add more urethane reducer to the mix until you achieve the consistence of mixed and ready to spray base color. In a Zahn cup that would be roughly a 20-second pour.

Cleaning Oil From a Car Body & Achieving a Less-Than-Brilliant Finish

I am restoring a 1936 Ford Coupe that I plan to have dipped to remove the old paint and rust.

To prevent the cleaned body from rusting, the stripper is going to apply a coat of oil to the metal. That means I’ll be facing some extensive soap and water cleaning before I can apply any primer.

My thought is that once the body is clean I’ll prime it with Eastwood’s Rust Encapsulator or their Rust Converter. Is that OK?

I also know that originally these cars didn’t have the brilliant shine that cars have today. It’s that authentic look that I’m after.

James White West Bloomfield, Michigan

First let me address the dipping and oil issue. I REALIZE the stripper needs to apply something to stop flash rusting and since he has chosen oil you will need to be extremely diligent in your cleaning.

Soap and water will remove most of the oil but it also will cause flash rusting. I suggest thoroughly cleaning the body with a dish washing soap, such as Dawn mixed with water, then immediately drying it

Once the body is dry, clean it again with a degreaser such as PPG DX330. That will remove any oil residue that might remain on the body.

Follow that cleaning immediately with two coats of Eastwood Rust Encapsulator. I would not use Rust Converter at this point as this is a heavy-bodied material and it will be difficult to smooth once you are ready to begin the refinishing process. Rust Encapsulator is not as heavy and will be easier to sand in preparation for primer application.

Don’t forget to wear a respirator and latex gloves during the entire process.

As for the low-gloss finish, that car originally was painted with enamel paint. It had quite the shine for the time period, but nothing to compare with the wet-look shine of a urethane finish.

I think if you stick with enamel, in this case black, and use a hardener with it, you will be very pleased with the outcome. If you are not convinced, take a ride to your local paint supplier and ask for a small sample of black enamel and black urethane. Brush a little of each on a flat surface and compare the shine.

The enamel will seem dull compared to the urethane.

Advice on Finding That Semi-Gloss Black Paint

I am using your Project Mustang series to restore my 1969 Cougar and my paint supplier is having trouble finding the semi-gloss black that you used. Is there another number he can use?

Kevin Clancy Via email

Have him look up PPG DBI 9600. The 9600 designation is a PPG universal code for black. Your supplier should be able to mix DCC, DBC, or DBI, the one that you need, from that designation.

What Metal Conditioner and Primer Should I Use After My Dodge Is Dipped?

Thanks for the refresher course on “Primers Revisited” in the July 2010 issue. It has helped tremendously.

I plan to have my project (a ’64 Dodge) acid dipped and I’m wondering how to deal with all of those internal surfaces that need to be rust protected.

The company I will be using does not do a final primer dip but does clean the internal surfaces with a high-pressure zinc phosphate wash.

I am considering applying PPG DX579 Metal Cleaner Followed by PPG DX520 Metal Conditioner to all of those hidden areas but I don’t know which primer to use after applying the treatment products. I am considering using a hand pump sprayer, something like a garden sprayer, to apply the products but I’m not sure epoxy will go through the sprayer without being over reduced.

My other question concerns aerosol weld-through primers. I’ve seen some with aluminum and some with copper.Is one better than the other?

Dave Bailey Via email

Since the company doing the dipping will give the body a ZINC phosphate wash there is no need to add the DX products since they are basically ZINC phosphate. What I would recommend instead is to purchase a quart of Eastwood Rust Encapsulator and use it to spray all of those hidden areas. I also think you will be able to reduce the RE enough to spray through your hand pump sprayer if you add a little lacquer thinner to it. Other than that I would consider another Eastwood product, #20441. This is a rust proofing kit that comes with everything but the air compressor needed to apply it.

I think you are right about the epoxy. It is a heavy bodied product and even though coating those areas with epoxy would be a good idea I don’t think you can reduce it enough to spray it through the hand pump sprayer.

Concerning the weld-thru primers, my opinion is that one is as good as another as long as the stated purpose of the product is for priming panels before welding. Either type, aluminum- or copper-based, can be lightly sanded and top coated with any primer, preferably epoxy.

Can I Repair My Spoiler’s Clear Coat?

The clear coat on my car’s spoiler is peeling off. Can I sand the broken edges smooth using 400-grit and repaint the clear or do I need to remove all of the clear coat?

John Weeter Via email

As Long as the color underneath the clear is in good condition,no scratches or chips, you can sand the clear and spray right overit.No need to remove all of the clear.

Editor’s note: To order Larry’s latest Basic Body Repair and Painting Technique DVDs, visit his Website: LPLBodyWorks.com.