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My 1988 Mera restoration and modifications.

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  • #61
    Originally posted by G35Mike View Post
    I have to say, the bigger wheels make the care look more exotic.

    I agree the OEM wheels have a great look with the car and exposing the lugs with a smaller center cap certainly improves the appeal of them... Something to consider... getting stylized bigger wheels for daily driving and keep the OEM wheels with the setup that are going with for shows, should you consider taking her to any.

    Just a thought.
    Thanks! I have been kinda looking around for the right larger rims for just as you said to drive around town with because the 15-inch tires are just so expensive.
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    • #62
      I was working from home this morning so I took the opportunity to get a little paint work done on the Mera. The Mera had been left out in the elements for a very long time and her original paint was very dull. Amazingly a very extensive paint correction detail brought back 90% of the car, and it really looked great out in the sun. But under the artificial lights in my garage, I could see where the clear coat had started to burn on the top of the rear quarter panel. So I decided to get off my butt and fix it today.


      In this before photos, if you look closely you can see the burnt clear I was talking about.




      So I spent time prepping the area to be repainted. I am only doing a blend of the damaged parts so I am not doing as extensive of a sanding job as I would do if I was doing a full repaint. Anytime you are doing any wet sanding it is always a good idea to mask the area you are working to keep the debris from running down and getting in everywhere. A little time up front will save you a lot of cleaning later.




      After the area was completely prepped I removed all the masking and thoroughly cleaned the car. Making sure to use an air blower to get all the trapped water out from under panels and wiping everything down several times with wax and grease remover. Then I remasked the car starting with the gap areas under the decklid and back masking them to prevent over spray from getting all over stuff. Then masked the outside of the car and covered the rest in a painting tarp. Anytime you paint, no matter how small the area, always over mask. Clear coat gets everywhere and is a ton of work to get off.


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      • #63
        Next, I laid out the base coat. Focusing on the areas where the paint was damaged and making sure I got good coverage and then fading it out into the surrounding area. Anytime you do a blend you don't want to get too heavy near a panel line in case your paint isn't a perfect match, if your repair is on a panel line then it is always a wise idea to blend into the surrounding panel.




        Now comes the clear. This panel is tricky with its angles, you have to work to assure you get good coverage or you will be left with dry spots in your clear and you will have to redo the job.





        Finally, I let the paint dry and removed the masking. The job was done! I am pleased with the results of a couple hours work and about $70 in materials. I am going to let it cure for a few days and give it a light color sand and buff just to make it look that much better.




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        • #64
          Here few couple quick pictures of her still dirty but out in the sun after this mornings paint work.




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          • #65
            Looks incredible. Well done on the refresh. This car is truly in better hands these days.
            [COLOR=#333333]It's a never ending battle of making your cars better and also trying to be better yourself. - Dale Earnhardt Sr[/COLOR]

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            • #66
              Originally posted by G35Mike View Post
              Looks incredible. Well done on the refresh. This car is truly in better hands these days.
              Thank you!

              The previous owners truly loved the car but just did not have an indoor place to park it resulting in the sun damage. But they took care of the important things and enjoyed owning it.

              Mera is back under the knife. When I got off work today I finished the paint work I started yesterday. After letting the paint cure for 24 hour I color sanded and buffed it, followed by a good wax and a sealer. After I finished you could not even tell any work had been done, it rarely works out that well for me.

              Here I go, once again masking the car up. This is important because wet sanding and polishing results in a lot of mess. Taking a few extra minutes here will save hours of cleaning after. Also since I am not a pro I like to mask the edges of the panel so I don't sand or polish too close to an edge and burn the paint.



              Here is the panel as I was wet sanding. You want to have a totally smooth flat paint with no shiny areas. It helps to be the person who painted the panel to know how much clear is on there because otherwise, you might sand through the clear if it has a lot of orange peel and not as much clear coat.




              This is the panel after polishing, you will notice I removed some of the edge tape to be able to polish the panel completely while I left the rest of the masking around the panel to keep the rubbing compound from getting into all the body lines and making the rest of the car a mess. Also, you can see this is the result I was after, there is no more texture to the finish, it is nice and smooth.


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              • #67
                Finally, here is the car after all the masking was removed and all the polishing mess cleaned up and a nice coat of wax. I think it came out pretty good and the repainted panel does not seem to draw your eye.



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                • #68
                  Looks perfect!

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                  • #69
                    Great job Christopher. That's an especially tricky panel to work on... it looks flawless!

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by Bloozberry View Post
                      Great job Christopher. That's an especially tricky panel to work on... it looks flawless!
                      Seconded!

                      Very nice work & great write up too.

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by mera308gts View Post
                        Looks perfect!
                        Thank you! I cannot tell you how nervous I was when I started. The car looked great and you almost could not notice the burnt clear when it was out in the sun so the first few passes with sandpaper were really hard to make.

                        Originally posted by Bloozberry View Post
                        Great job Christopher. That's an especially tricky panel to work on... it looks flawless!
                        Thank you Blooz! It was a very difficult panel to paint due to the back sides of the sail area, you had to lean over the rest of the panel to paint in there so I had to be extremely careful not to touch the fresh paint as I put coat after coat.

                        I really just got very lucky, paintwork can go bad for any number of things so it is always a gamble how it will turn out.

                        Originally posted by TDW View Post
                        Seconded!

                        Very nice work & great write up too.
                        Thank you! I have found so much wonderful information from detailed build threads so I try to document everything I can. Funnywheels who use to be the admin of this site before he passed was an endless source of amazing information. He helped so many people just by sharing everything he did and taking endless detailed photos. I have found it is really hard having this thread here and not having Dave comment. He was always there to lend a tip on how to do something or to pat someone on their back for a good job.


                        I was going to work on the Mera this morning but as soon as I pulled it out I realized it was just too beautiful of a day to not go for a drive. So I put the gauge cluster back in and took it out for a drive. This is the first time I have had it out of the driveway in a couple weeks. The hardest part about restoring it is not being able to use the car.



                        California is turning brown this time of year and it will stay that way until mid to late December. Spring is so beautiful but only lasts about 6 weeks.



                        This is the interior right now, the cabin is surprisingly roomy without the dashboard.



                        Back at home, time to get back to work.

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                        • #72
                          Nice job on the spray in. Did you use a spray gun? I always use a spray gun but have been curious about the 2k aerosols if that's what you used.

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by 275NART View Post
                            Nice job on the spray in. Did you use a spray gun? I always use a spray gun but have been curious about the 2k aerosols if that's what you used.
                            Thank you! I used a custom mixed basecoat that was color matched to my car using a camera at the paint shop, followed catalyzed clear coat in a spray can. This is the first time I have used these products on a job this size and they worked amazingly. I have a spray gun and everything else as I use to own a small body shop. But it would take me most of the day to drain my compressor, clean the lines, change the filter, mix the paint, clean the gun between coat, etc., etc. I decided since I was having such good luck with this stuff at work that I would try it on a larger project. The clear coat is really amazing, it lays out great and you can color sand and buff it. Since its catalyzed, you cannot simply wipe it off with acetone or gasoline. It also drys pretty hard as I have had bird poop get on one of the panels I painted before and it didn't eat the clear.

                            There really is no downside to using this system. The only thing to be prepared for is that the basecoat goes on very thin so you will need more of it than you think and it is important to put lots of coats to ensure full coverage. It is extremely hard to gauge how much clear you will need and since it is catalyzed you have to pop the capsule in the can and shake it for about 5 minutes to full mix it. However the clear is only good for 2-3 hours in the can after mixed so anything you mix you don't need will be a waste. What I did on this paint job was I had my Dad outside the garage and I called to him when the clear was about half gone and he started mixing the next can and gave it me right as the first can ran out so the clear didn't dry on me.

                            So if you have a project this size or smaller, this is the way to go. I have been painting for nearly 20 years and this is the best stuff I have used.


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                            • #74
                              Yep Spray Max is the product I am thinking of. I've seen people use it for projects like this, bumpers, motorcycle tanks etc. Looks like it lays down nicely without too much peel. My concern has been that it has a lot of solvents to make it spray-able rather than a high solids clear so I've never tried it. It seems reasonably priced for the packaging and takes all the fuss out of measuring, mixing etc. I have used the aerosol clear blenders for touch ups like quarter panel spray ins and they are super finicky.

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                              • #75
                                Originally posted by 275NART View Post
                                Yep Spray Max is the product I am thinking of. I've seen people use it for projects like this, bumpers, motorcycle tanks etc. Looks like it lays down nicely without too much peel. My concern has been that it has a lot of solvents to make it spray-able rather than a high solids clear so I've never tried it. It seems reasonably priced for the packaging and takes all the fuss out of measuring, mixing etc. I have used the aerosol clear blenders for touch ups like quarter panel spray ins and they are super finicky.
                                I didn't trust this stuff for a long time. I only started using it to clear coat head lights. When lights turn yellow the only real way to fix them is to color sand and buff then followed by a good clear coat. I could not use regular spray clear coats because our detail shop would use solvents when detailing the cars and often take half the clear off the lights when they did so. So I started using this stuff. I was really surprised how nicely it laid out. But what sold me on it was that it lasted years and years in the hot California sun and covered in bugs and road tar. I see cars often I painted the lights on 2 or 3 years ago and the clear is still perfect and shiny.

                                So after having success using it on lights, I moved onto spoilers, rocker covers, fuel doors, and any other odd painted panels I had to change at work but did have the time to send off to the body shop. Once again the paint held up great and this was the first time I tried color sanding it and even after cut and buff it was holding up great. So I figured I would go all in and do it on my Mera. My thoughts were if I mess it up I already have some clear in my cabinet I will just pull out my HVLP spray gun and do the job over the right way. But it came out great. I have no doubts it will last for a long time.

                                My next project I might end up painting a whole hood at work with this. I am not sure how it will turn out but the car is going off to auction anyway so I might as well try it. Plus I am on the clock it is not like I have much to lose.
                                Last edited by DeLorean00; 05-29-2017, 09:27 PM.
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