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Thread: Bodywork Budget forcing me to DIY

  1. #1
    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    Bodywork Budget forcing me to DIY

    ... and I'm good with it!!

    I pretty much knew my bodywork and paint budget was going to be way too low for HighEnd body shops.
    Didn't stop me from driving to visit and chat with a few of them... only to learn the obvious, they are out of my price range.
    Went to a few of the what I would consider MediumEnd shops, and even a LowerEnd shop too.
    Again.. no surprise, I just didn't get a good feel from them. Especially for the prices they were quoting.
    Mostly because none of them have seen, or done anything like a F5 roadster... so I was not feelin' them, and their seemingly padded prices reflected their lack of experience.

    So... I'm goign to do it myself! Including Spraying color on it... the whole sheebang.
    Fact of the matter is.. I'm actually pretty stoked about this.
    I was thinking if I could get a pro shop to do my car for a price that I was happy with, I'd just let them go ahead and do it.
    But.. I knew if I couldn't find one, the job would fall on my shoulders.
    Iv'e done minor body work and a bit of paint before, just nothing quite at this scale, nor desired quality point. So.. not really too worried about me figuring it out.
    But, my favorite part ... I'm going to get to say to people "Yeah, I built the whole thing, including body work, and spraying the color"

    New target TimeLine, Pull her off the road (driving in GelCoat at the moment) in late Fall, cordon off 1/2 of my garage for dust and overspray, setup some filtered air-flow... and git'er dun!!

    So.. just thought I'd share.. cuz.. well..
    2016 MK4 | '99 Explorer 5.0 | E303&600cfm carb | T5z + 3.55 | 3-link | SN95 | PB/PS | FR500 17" 315&275 |

  2. #2
    Senior Member CraigS's Avatar
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    Best wishes.
    FFR MkII, 408W, Tremec TKO 500, 2015 IRS, DA QA1s, Forte front bar, APE hardtop.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Yama-Bro's Avatar
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    Sweet! Good luck. Post your progress and the things you learn from the experience.

    Someone else said the quickest way to tell an original Cobra from a replica is the quality of the paint...the original being lower quality. So even if yours doesn't come out perfect, you can say it's vintage.
    Started dreaming of a Cobra around 1987
    Purchased Complete Kit 6/9/2017, Delivered 9/4/2017, Rolling Chassis 3/30/2018
    Click here for my build thread
    Serial #9158
    Design Engineer at BluePrint Engines

  4. #4

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    Kudos. You can do it!

    Read Shannon's thread if you haven't done so already. Dave

    https://thefactoryfiveforum.com/show...sonx2-Bodywork
    Dave
    Mk 3.1 - #6882 - 5.0L 302 - FiTech EFI - 3-Link - 3.08 Ratio - 15" Wheels
    Greenhorn and doing the best I can
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidd View Post
    But, my favorite part ... I'm going to get to say to people "Yeah, I built the whole thing, including body work, and spraying the color"
    Gongratulations.

    Not everyone is willing to attempt paint........... I looked at it as an opportunity to learn a new skill.

    There are a couple of pros here that have given advise to get over the tough spots, and their advise can be invaluable.

  6. #6
    Senior Member broku518's Avatar
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    kudos to you!

    I am having my 3 boys to paint the car. They will use some water based colors and paint the crap out if it!
    (I want them to do it in memory of their mom. She passed away in 12/2016)

    I will get it professionally done at some later time...
    Life is short, so start living it.
    Build thread: http://thefactoryfiveforum.com/showt...-in-the-garage!
    delivery date: 10/31/2017, first start 2/24/2018, title and registration passed 6/22/2018

  7. #7
    lewma's Avatar
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    I may have to do the exact same thing. Please keep us updated on your progress, and good luck with it!!
    Mk4 Complete Kit #9312 ordered 1/27/18, Delivered 3/24/18 - Coyote, IRS, Power Steering, Wilwood Brakes, 17" Halibrand

  8. #8


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    Jeff Kleiner's Avatar
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    Curious about what your budget is.

    Jeff

  9. #9
    Senior Member Fixit's Avatar
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    Over in my Chevelle Club, we have many guys who have undertaken doing the paint on their cars... and they've had MUCH more to overcome. They're dealing with crappy-fit repop panels, rust repairs, 40 to 50 years of "hidden" collision damage, two to five repaints in a car's history, the list goes on.
    We on the other hand are starting with a new, nearly pristine surface, that only takes a (respectively) small amount of prep to get ready for paint.
    The problem with either scenario is having the place and the tools.

    Several of the guys have had some gorgeous paint work done at Maaco (!).
    We're lucky to have one of their shops in town that will work with a DIY'r. They'll suggest/recommend products & methods to the owner for the labor intensive stuff (read that expensive time), then do the final tweaks & finish on the bodywork before paint, then shoot it.

    No, it's not "Concours" level, but it's not a "20 footer job" either. It's as good or better than OEM - 'cause that's what they do... every day. The side benefit is the guys are working on something cool, and they just give a little more care to the job.

    There are options. Sweat equity goes a long way.
    John D. - Minneapolis 'Burbs

    1965 El Camino - LT-1, 4L60e, 4wh discs, SC&C susp.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Duke's Avatar
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    Awesome!!! Read read read, then ask as many questions as you need.

    If budget is an issue, check eastwood for materials. Good high-end materials can run you 3-4K or more depending on how crazy you want to go. Eastwood is a great bang for buck, but is also very solid quality. Check out Kevin Tetz's 15-20 you tube vids on painting the black Camaro. It's a good starter series to watch and learn.

    Once you are ready get your hands dirty and don't be afraid to screw it up. I did everything three times on my first full frame off custom I built (chevelle) and it was painful, but the best learning experience money could buy.

  11. #11


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    Jeff Kleiner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fixit View Post
    ...We on the other hand are starting with a new, nearly pristine surface, that only takes a (respectively) small amount of prep to get ready for paint.
    I'm afraid you are showing your naiveté there John

    Jeff

  12. #12
    Senior Member phileas_fogg's Avatar
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    One of the best bodywork documentaries is by Srobinsonx2: https://thefactoryfiveforum.com/show...ighlight=paint

    Carl's got a pretty good write-up as well. Here, https://thefactoryfiveforum.com/show...Roadster-Build, and on the other forum, http://www.ffcars.com/forums/17-fact...int-works.html.

    Good luck & have fun!


    John
    MK IV Roadster #8631
    Ford 302, Holley Terminator EFI, T5z, 3.55 Rear End, IRS, 17” Halibrand Replicas (9” front, 10.5” rear), Nitto 555 G2’s (275/40ZR17 front, 315/35ZR17 rear), Fast Freddie’s Power Steering, F5 Wilwood Brakes, FFMetal’s Firewall Forward, Forte’s Hydraulic Clutch & Throttle Linkage

  13. #13
    Senior Member Fixit's Avatar
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    I'm afraid you are showing your naiveté there John
    No... not really. Not to hijack, but take a look at this thread "Mitch's '66" (One of the guys in my Chevelle Club)

    This is what Muscle Car guys in the rust-belt deal with all the time. Taking a fiberglass body fresh from the molds to paint is nothing.

    (Mitch is a metal wizard)
    Last edited by Fixit; 03-13-2018 at 07:07 PM.
    John D. - Minneapolis 'Burbs

    1965 El Camino - LT-1, 4L60e, 4wh discs, SC&C susp.
    2013 F-150 Platinum - Twin Turbo 3.5
    2018 Mk4 Roadster - #9365 Build Thread

  14. #14
    Senior Member Avalanche325's Avatar
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    One thing you might want to check is what our resident pros would do it for. You might be pleasantly surprised. (I think the fumes have something to do with it)

    I did my own. I am proud of how it came out. I have had professional painters come up to me and say that they were impressed and asked who did it. Here is a good book. It really helps on gaps and panel flow. I have seen a lot of cars that have good paint, good gaps, but they missed the panel flow part. I got a lot of pointers from Da Bat. He even fielded a panic call in the middle of his work day when I had my gun settings totally screwed up. So there is good support here f you go for it.

    https://www.amazon.com/Paint-Your-Sh...+your+show+car

    There is a lot of advice on building a booth out there. GET AN AIR BREATHING SYSTEM for yourself. These paints are nasty and will make you grow an extra arm or an eyeball in your chest. Hobbyair makes affordable systems with a full hood. I personally don't believe a filter respirator is enough if you are not in a real booth that keeps the fog down.

    You don't have to go crazy on a paint gun, but probably want to go higher than the HF special. I used a DeVilbiss FLG-4 with different tips for everything from high build primer through to clear coat. You have to keep it clean enough for brain surgery, but it will shoot everything. That being said, you want to get the good stuff when it comes to sandpaper (yes, it matters), and paint products.

    It is a hell of a lot of work. But it is rewarding. Don't think it will be cheap by the time you gear up, get all the consumables, and get the products. I think I was over $4500, but now I have a nice Quincy compressor as part of it.

  15. #15
    Senior Member UnhipPopano's Avatar
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    This may be an opportunity for you to go to Auto Body school! If there is a college near where you live, that offers something similar to this"https://www1.dcccd.edu/catalog/programs/degree.cfm?degree=3&loc=EFC#abdr2" you would not only get the use of a paint booth, the best spray equipment, and an instructor to guide you through the process, but you will also get a piece of decorative paper to add to your build book!

  16. #16
    ILPBFoot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnhipPopano View Post
    This may be an opportunity for you to go to Auto Body school! If there is a college near where you live, that offers something similar to this"https://www1.dcccd.edu/catalog/programs/degree.cfm?degree=3&loc=EFC#abdr2" you would not only get the use of a paint booth, the best spray equipment, and an instructor to guide you through the process, but you will also get a piece of decorative paper to add to your build book!
    And you may also get a bunch of fellow students to help and learn along with you. Free labor at your directions.
    Mk4 Roadster #3919, complete kit Received 4-10-18. Moser 8.8. Wilwood front and back brakes. Blue Print 427 w TKO 600

  17. #17
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    I went to 12 body/paint shops before I found a guy that would do my Roadster for a reasonable price. The prices I got ranged up to $20,000. My guy had never done a Cobra replica before, but he had lots of experience working with fiberglass. We were also very fortunate to receive some great advice from Jeff Kleiner and Da Bat. I would have used one of those two guys if I was closer (or even in the same country LOL). My car came out great and I drive it, so it will soon have some rock chips and road rash on it. I am very happy with the quality and the price. And I could never produce the same quality and it took me long enough to build the car. Also, my car was in and out of the body shop in five weeks.

    Wade

  18. #18
    Senior Member dallas_'s Avatar
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    Go man go!
    I had the same price shock and ended up doing it myself also. Turned out to be the favorite part of the build for me.

    If you're in San Antonio I hope you're going to the Texas Cobra Club meet in San Marcos in a few weeks.
    FFR 7123 tilt front, Levy 5link/wilwoods/LCA's, webers.
    SL-C, LS3 525, Mendeola SDR5,

  19. #19
    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    Thanks guys! Lots to absorb over the next few months as I plan my attack. Lots to buy too. Nobody tell my wife! Lol. At least I already have a decent compressor.
    2016 MK4 | '99 Explorer 5.0 | E303&600cfm carb | T5z + 3.55 | 3-link | SN95 | PB/PS | FR500 17" 315&275 |

  20. #20
    Mark Eaton's Avatar
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    At the risk of enacting sacrilege I have to ask if anybody has thought about a wrap? I'm sure it is much less expensive. And you can change them out like every other year. I know they are common on boats and look damn good.
    MK4 #9130 , complete kit, arrived 8/10/2017.
    DART SHP 347, EFI, TKO600, IRS
    http://thefactoryfiveforum.com/showt...n-Build-Thread

  21. #21
    Out Drivin' Gumball's Avatar
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    I did my own bodywork and a friend who owns a bodyshop let me help with the paint once I was done.

    Here's a link to my bodywork thread and a couple pics of the car a few years after it was painted - the bodywork is holding up great!!!!

    https://thefactoryfiveforum.com/show...is%27+bodywork



    Later,
    Chris

    "There are no more monsters to fear, and so, we have to build our own."
    Mk3.1 #7074

  22. #22
    Senior Member lahrs37's Avatar
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    I am in the same boat as you. I am shaking the car down in gelcoat too. I am planning on enjoying the summer and then starting bodywork in the late fall. You can do it! DIY is more than half the fun!
    5.0 HO from a '93 Mustang, SVE heads, Trickflow stage 1 cam, Trickflow Street Burner intake manifold, T-5 w/mid shift, IRS
    Delivery 9-10-16, First Start 12-28-16, First Go-Kart 2-18-17
    Build thread: http://thefactoryfiveforum.com/showt...MK4-8951-Build

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by lahrs37 View Post
    I am in the same boat as you. I am shaking the car down in gelcoat too. I am planning on enjoying the summer and then starting bodywork in the late fall. You can do it! DIY is more than half the fun!
    Also the same! 650 miles in gelcoat right now. This year I will be doing the body work and paint myself. One car garage. Body on car.

  24. #24
    Senior Member HiggyMK4#????'s Avatar
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    Paint and body work prices have been getting out of hand in the last few years. You are not going to be able to finish it the way that a guy that does it every day is going to, but if your OK with that, so be it!!! Its your car! I'm with you, there is no paint job worth 10G's period!
    This is my paint job, $50 for the spray gun, $400 for the paint supplies.....and some elbow grease!
    IMG_20170401_1732460.jpg
    IMG_20170401_1733006.jpg
    IMG_20170402_1845114.jpg

  25. #25
    Senior Member jwebb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Eaton View Post
    At the risk of enacting sacrilege I have to ask if anybody has thought about a wrap? I'm sure it is much less expensive. And you can change them out like every other year. I know they are common on boats and look damn good.

    I looked into a wrap, 3M product. They wanted $3500-4000 and the bodywork still needed to be done
    MK4 #9121 - Complete kit - Stroked 351, T5x, 3.55 Rear End, 3-Link - Pickup 6/17/17, 1st start 12/2/17, Go-Kart 12/9/17, Road Worthy 4/27/18

  26. #26
    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    So.. I'm doing a little early research into DIY Garage Paint Booths... when I found this guys video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnUmu0OJ24A
    Brilliant!! Those 10'x20' Gazebos are only $75 new on eBay. I think that's 1/2 the price of one of those home-made PVC & Plastic ones.
    My garage as 13' ceilings, and high-lift doors, so .. easy fit.
    I'm planning to run strips of 12v SMD LED lighting, so should eliminate the fire hazard and heat of T8 bulbs, not to mention inexpensive.
    I'm also planning to run a Positive-Pressurized air system instead of his negative one.
    Last edited by skidd; 03-14-2018 at 09:44 AM.
    2016 MK4 | '99 Explorer 5.0 | E303&600cfm carb | T5z + 3.55 | 3-link | SN95 | PB/PS | FR500 17" 315&275 |

  27. #27
    Senior Member srobinsonx2's Avatar
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    skidd,

    You are in San Antonio. You are welcome to come check out mine or I could come by if you would like. I did it myself. Well, actually this forum painted the car. I could not have done it without the help from this group. The Jeff's (Kleiner and Miller) were both instrumental. Not sure they want credit for my work but they did their best with what they had. I have a thread linked in my signature. I tried to capture all my issues/problems so others could learn from my mistakes. It is not perfect. I see them every time I go out to the car. At first I was a little ashamed and embarrassed. I had high expectations for it to be show quality. UNREALISTIC. No one every sees them but I noticed and wanted it to be perfect. But, I realized. HELL....I painted a car in my garage. I am not proud of my work, imperfections and all. No big issues but here are the mistakes I have:

    1. the passenger side stripe on the trunk lid is not perfectly straight. Not sure what happened. I spent hours laying those bastages out.
    2. There are some areas around the edges that have some small swirl marks from my cut and buff. I was scared to get burn through.
    3. A couple of spots on the under side of the trunk and hood that have small runs right on the edge. I was scared to try and fix those and risk burn through.
    4. A couple of bug prints remain. Not easy to see but I can still point them out.

    I am sure you can do better than I did. But keep in mind their is a risk it won't be "show quality". I you are ok with that then get after it. If I can do then so can you. It was a lot of work but very rewarding.

    Heck, I might even come heckle you if that would help.
    FFR MK4 Complete Kit #8952
    Build Thread
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    3 Link Rear Suspension, Gordon Levy 347 SBF with T5
    First start Feb 20, 2017, First Go Kart March 5, 2017, Registered & Title April 25, 2017

  28. #28
    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    Heck yeah! Dude, I'd love to see your car. Love to chat about what you learned doing the body and paint. I think I've read your body work thread about 2 or 3 times now. Good news is , I'm not out to make a show car, she's a driver. In fact I've been driving it to work since I got her legal. So unless I royally jack it up, I'll be pretty happy with what ever I turn out.
    2016 MK4 | '99 Explorer 5.0 | E303&600cfm carb | T5z + 3.55 | 3-link | SN95 | PB/PS | FR500 17" 315&275 |

  29. #29

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    WELL, there ya go....best tutor is the guy who just went through it. At this point my only advice is to ditch the idea of a pos pressure booth...da Bat

  30. #30
    Senior Member dallas_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j.miller View Post
    At this point my only advice is to ditch the idea of a pos pressure booth...da Bat
    Interesting... can you elaborate on the why?
    Thanks!
    FFR 7123 tilt front, Levy 5link/wilwoods/LCA's, webers.
    SL-C, LS3 525, Mendeola SDR5,

  31. #31
    Senior Member Fixit's Avatar
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    WELL, there ya go....best tutor is the guy who just went through it. At this point my only advice is to ditch the idea of a pos pressure booth...da Bat
    I'm curious too... I spend a LOT of time in & out of "clean room" environments (everything from just shoe-covers to full "bunny suits") and they ALL are positive pressure.
    John D. - Minneapolis 'Burbs

    1965 El Camino - LT-1, 4L60e, 4wh discs, SC&C susp.
    2013 F-150 Platinum - Twin Turbo 3.5
    2018 Mk4 Roadster - #9365 Build Thread

  32. #32
    Senior Member Clover's Avatar
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    Good for you. Everyone knows that those who do it all themselves are the coolest. I hope to work up the courage to do the same by the time I get to that point. It would be terrific to build the entire car. To be honest, I tend to be pretty bad at this kind of fine detail type of thing. I also tend to fixate on my mistakes so... I was thinking of trying to do the body work myself and maybe doing a wrap with my wife's help. The body work school is a good idea if you have the time. I had thought if I decided to get it painted, I may look for a painter who would let me help do the paint job but not let me screw it up. Not sure if I would ever find someone willing to do that though.

  33. #33
    Mark Eaton's Avatar
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    I have to admit this thread has got me thinking seriously about trying my hand at the body work and painting. I hadn't considered that until this point. I still have a way to go. This would certainly be an opportunity to acquire more power tools. Hm...
    MK4 #9130 , complete kit, arrived 8/10/2017.
    DART SHP 347, EFI, TKO600, IRS
    http://thefactoryfiveforum.com/showt...n-Build-Thread

  34. #34
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    I've been a professional mechanic (not on cars) for over 34 years. I know my capabilities and my limitations. I can do some amazing things, but in my judgement, I do not have the patience, education or experience to do the bodywork and paint to achieve the level I want on my car. Thats not to say that the home brewed body work and paint jobs are less than spectacular... I've read where guys that have no idea how to do it, they DO have the patience to do it, do it over, fix it and finally do it right, and have come up with beautiful results.

    Knowing this, I budgeted in the body and paint by a professional from the start. Its not to say I'm not cool, or I'm taking the easy way out of building a race car, its just that I know that if i tried it myself, it may never get done. And if I did and it did get done, it will be sub-par. And that I cant accept.

    A man has to know his limitations...
    ---Boyd---
    MkIV #9042 build thread
    www.boss427.us
    Plan: 427W-X, TKO600, Moser 3.55 rear.
    Delivered Feb 2017, first start Oct 22, 2017, first go-cart Mar 26, 2018

  35. #35

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    Why not Positive Pressure Booth ...



    There are many reasons but the biggest is... You need to move a lot of CFM through a booth. For a Pos pressure booth you are blowing air in, filters need to be between the booth and fan. This means you need to build a housing for the fan and filters (gonna be pretty big). you need a fan strong enough to push air through the filters into the booth. It's a pretty big deal. If you try to do it with a couple of "box fans" it will never happen. However ! If at one end of the booth you make a wooden frame (8x10-10x10) using house heater filters braced and taped into a Wall-O-Filters you can get away with 3 24x24 or a coulple of 30" fans on the exhaust end. And yes, you need the Wall-o-Filters because matching fans to filters...fans just cavitate and like our radiator fans they need a shroud. Soooo, that is my # 1 reason.....I HAVE MORE !...DA bAT

  36. #36

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    These DIY paint and body threads continue to amaze me. Why would you spend all the money on the kit and the attending parts to assemble your car, then take it to some job-shop (like Maaco, or worse yet, Earl Schieb) to have it painted? There's a ton of body work to be done, even though the new bodies are much, much better than the original ones. The doors need to be fitted, along with the hinges and latches, same goes for the hood and trunk. I can't imagine trusting that work to someone who has never seen one of these cars before, talk about re-inventing the wheel! Not to mention that these things are fiberglass, not steel. It's not the same duck. Good paint and good materials don't come cheap anymore, and most body shops and job-shops are CHEAP. It's easier and more cost effective to do the job right the first time, rather than have to re-do it when you realize it could be a lot better. The money and time spent having one of our forum supporters paint your car is money well spent, and frankly is a better bargain than "learning on the job". I just consider it to be part of the cost of the build, not an extra "unnecessary" expense. It's not that someone can't do it in their garage, it's that someone else can do it a whole lot better in their professional shop. You wouldn't bore your own engine in your basement, would you? How about doing your own valve job, with no valve cutter? I didn't think so. The pro's on this forum don't charge $20K; they don't charge half that for a roadster. And they do professional quality work that is well worth every penny. Now, if you actually like sanding dust, wearing a respirator, and washing your clothes three times to get all the debris out, then go for it but I'll pass on all that.

    Just my opinion, which doesn't count for much.

    Video

    PS: Bat, you owe ME a beer at HB!
    Last edited by videodude; 03-16-2018 at 01:45 PM. Reason: added PS

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