DIY Paint – 87 Porsche 944

I’m getting down towards the end of this project, there is not much left that I want to do to this car.  The timing belt and balance shaft belt are done, the speedometer has been fixed, and there are new shocks as well as brakes.  There are new tie rods and I will be replacing the wheel bearings in the front.  It’s time to make this car look as good as possible, and my motto is as cost effective as possible.

I’ve done the body work to prep this car for paint.  You can take a look at this post to see what I did for that prep. 

Now is the time to prep for the actual paint job.  I probably should / could have spent some more time on the body prep and sanding to get a better result but it is too late now. 

The day of painting has arrived!

The first and most important thing to do is to wash the car, get as much dirt and grime off of the vehicle as possible.  I washed the car and then used some alcohol wipes after it was dry to clean off any leftover residue.

I then taped off the windows, lights, and any other items that I did not want painted.  I used good ole fashioned newspaper and painters tape to accomplish this.

Tape the lights and side markers
I blocked off the grill with some cardboard.

You can see that I started with an old magazine for the wheels, but found another way….I had some industrial garbage bags in the garage and I used them to cover the wheels.  This was way quicker and probably offered better protection than the newspaper.

Once it is all taped off and you are satisfied, it is time to paint!  I ordered the boulevard black single stage paint from Eastwood for this project.  I have a 125 Gallon air compressor and purchased a new paint sprayer.  I chose a cheap unit figuring that this will be a onetime use, I’ll buy another one for the next job…

The single stage paint needed to be mixed with an activator that I also purchased from Eastwood.  Since I was using the entire gallon, I just poured it in and mixed it up. 

Now it was time to spray, I would recommend testing your spray pattern on something that you don’t really care about so that you know how the spray will come out.  I chose to use some discarded cardboard for testing.  Unfortunately, the cardboard was not enough testing since my air compressor would not hold 35psi, I replaced the regulator but it seems that the regulator that I replaced is not good either.  This caused quite a bit of problems for me, the gun was capable of 45psi and the instructions that I was using called for 35psi.  I went with the instructions; just because the gun can do 45psi doesn’t mean the paint wants that.  Either way, the regulator did not work and I lost pressure at the paint gun about halfway down the driver’s side.  This caused some “orange peel” since the paint started spitting out of the gun.  I stopped before it was terrible but the fix will be documented later….

To resolve the issue, I just kept the air compressor running.  This probably caused some of my drips out of the paint gun but it was much easier to deal with than the drop in pressure.

I then just painted slowly around the car, going counter clockwise around and getting as good a coverage as possible.  After covering the car completely, I let it dry for about 10 minutes and did another coat, for a total of 3 coats.  No clear necessary since it was single stage.

This was the car after the coats, the painting part completed.

I let the car dry for a couple of days before moving on to the next steps.

I watched some paint videos on the internet and the next step was to wet sand the car.  The paint was pretty good and I probably should not have done this but I was trying to do it right.  Unfortunately, this caused the paint to have lines and scratches in it.  I’m sure I probably either used a poor technique or the wrong grit sandpaper but the lines were there and it was now too late to turn back.  I did the whole car. 

You can see the lines in this picture….

The next step is to buff the paint with some compound.  I did this by hand using Maguire’s compound and a terry cloth applicator.  This helped with the lines a little bit but they were still visible.

After sanding and compounding, I applied a coat of wax.  I used the Turtle Wax Spray Carnauba was that does not leave a white residue.  This stuff is good and water beads so nice on the car. 

After Waxing and Compounding by hand
This side is better.

I definitely did not expect to have the lines in the paint from the sandpaper.  I was quite upset by this because now all my work will need to be redone if I wanted this corrected.

Re-spraying the car was not something that I wanted to do, I would need to order more paint, probably another paint gun, and then find another nice day where I could do it.  All challenges that I did not want to partake in.  So I decided to buy a buffer, not a super expensive one but a 6” Orbital one.  I then purchased some terry cloth buffing pads and gave it a try with the Maguire’s compound.

This worked!  Holy moly!  I cannot believe the results that I got from this!  I know that I’m posting pictures that don’t really show the lines and the differences, and to be honest, from 20 ft you couldn’t really notice the flaws in the paint, but I could.  I knew it could have been better and it bothered me.  Now the only bad spots are the 2 locations where the paint dripped out of the gun, and the hood and roof are not as consistent as they could be.  This is most likely due to a bad technique with the gun, but it’s not too bad. 

The bad spot from above….
After Using the buffer and applying another Coat of Turtle Wax
The roof has that line in it, must have been bad technique.
Wheel bearing post coming……

For $150 in my driveway, I am satisfied with the results.  Plus it looks way better than it did!

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