After two months of toil after work and on weekends, I have finished fixing rust, slinging bondo, amd priming and painting the CRX.
The rust was horrible. Each of the holes for trim piece attachement had a rust hole, and most were over two inches across. The door skins were swiss cheese. The rocker panels were 80% gone. Each rear corner required major reconstructive surgery.
It's a good thing I had my own welder and air compressor, 'cause I can't imagine how much all this would cost to have done by somebody else.
In the end, I have a pleasant little car that gets 40+mpgs in most all circustances that should last until the wife's new Prius gets paid off. By then the Honda Fit should be in a reasonable price range for me. Or, maybe a Yaris.
-You CAN do it with your own two hands.
-Paint turns out better than you'd feared but not as good as you'd hoped.
-You can't have too much compressor, but you can have too little.
-If you aren't squinting, you don't have enough light to paint.
-If you bump into things, you don't have enough room to paint.
-Two-part primers are thick and your gun speed is slow. Base color coat is 50% reducer and runs like water. My mind and gun hand didn't realize that soon enough and I had several panels to sand and recolor. The runs still show in direct light.
-It's better to use a wire welder with a gas bottle than to use flux-core wire on 22 ga. steel. You are at the edge of do-ability with flux-core.
-Buy a nice sheet metal cutter for your air compressor. It's ten million times better than hand shears. But you'll need a nice pair of hand shears for fitting pieces into holes you're welding up.
-The $100 HVLP guns are sufficient. My 5hp, 20gal compressor was sufficient. Not great, but sufficient.
-Hit several paint shops to introduce yourself as a newbie and ask questions. The nice ones that take the time to answer all your questions and run up a list of parts/paints are the ones you'll want to purchase from. The guy I went to even gave me a card with his home phone on it to call in case I ran into any problems after work hours.
-I bought four 1000lb wood roller dollies from Harbor Freight to put the car on in the shop and push back and forth to make room for things and to be able to shut the door. They are cheap and worked great. The front tires, though, kept rolling off since the emergency brake didn't hold them still. I put a stick on the brake pedal and pushed the seat forward. That worked good enough.
-I skipped the color sand and buff part. It's not a big deal on a beater car.
-I purchased several books on painting and buttloads of car magazines about body & paint. They all came in handy, but nothing had everything.
-POR-15 is your friend! I had to buy two quarts. It covers pretty well, so it's better to pour out less than you think you'll need. It's cheaper to put out a tiny bit more since you can't pour it back into the can. It's expensive, but you'll never have to go back and do it again (within reason).
-Don't get in too big of a hurry. There's always tomorrorow to finish the job.
It took all I had, and then some. I enjoy doing a good job but sometimes just getting the job finished is an accomplishment. There are a couple of bits of trim I have to get painted and put on, but for the most part, I'm sick of working on it and they'll have to wait until I feel like it.
Thanks for the kind words.
I think maybe the best part of it all is, now that I've filled in all the rust holes, I can create a positive pressure inside the car and my smoke can be blown out of the window better.
I don't know where the paperwork is on the paint, but I think it was something like $300 or more for the primer, sanding primer, base coat, and clearcoat. I'm not even going to think about all the little things I had to get here and there and how much they cost. I used SHOPLINE paints from the PPG supplier.
I agonized over the color all the while I was working on it. When the time came to buy paint I figured it would look better painting it the color it was born in. This one is B47-M, Superior Blue Metallic. The overspray is much less noticable that way, and everything matches. I didn't think I'd like it so much, but it's growing on me.
I've noticed that not as many people tailgate me as much now that it's in a bright color.
Things I found invaluable and things I remember needing:
-An understanding wife. I kept telling her that each year I kept it was another grand (at least) that stays in my pocket...and that I'd buy her more chocolate.
-4.5 angle grinder w/wire wheel, metal grinder wheel, cutoff wheel, paint remover wheel. My Black and Decker died and I got a new DeWalt. The DeWalt doesn't need a special wrench to change wheels. It's also easier to handle.
-Welder. By the time I got the gas bottle, I'd finished welding. Better to get a gas bottle for your rig before you start. I could have done a LOT better on all that thin sheetmetal. I'd have been much happier through it, too.
-Air Compressor Tools...The little weenie cutoff wheels sucked, so I mostly used the angle grinder cutoff wheel. The metal shears I got were great to have. Gotta have air to blow off the car between sandings and pre-primer & paint.
-POR-15. This stuff looks awesome. I can't see how it couldn't work. There are a hundred places and ways to use it. I used gray on some things and the chassis black on others. It's harder to see reflections in the black to see what you're doing in bad light.
-Electric D/A sander. DeWalt. Eight-hole. Plugged the vacuum into it to take away the sanding dust. 80grit, 120 grit, 220 grit discs.
-Big Shop-Vac. Gotta have a clean shop to paint in. Don't see how I could have kept the shop clean withouth it.
-Many multi-packs of nitril gloves. Keep the paint, bondo, glues, epoxies, etc. off the fingers. Don't be afraid of changing them often. They're cheap enough for what they prevent!
-Sawhorses for working on doors & fenders.
-Really stiff wire to hang doors and fenders from the rafters.
-20 different rubber tiedowns to hang things while the paint dries.
-Bulk bags of 4" paint brushes. One or two should do. What's left over you'll eventually use anyway.
-Small bag of rags. Throwaway type.
-Bag to 20 microfiber towels for wiping down with wax/grease remover. Non-throwaway.
-Roll of 220 grit and a roll of 400 grit sandpaper.
-Various sizes of the neat semi-flexible sanding blocks that the rolls of sandpaper stick to.
-I only had ten pairs of visegrips, and I had to use all of them plus some 4" c-clamps when I was working on the rocker panels. I used JB Weld on a lot of things that were too thin, too rusty, or too something to weld.
-More JB Weld than you've used to date in your life.
-At least six rolls of 1" masking tape. I used the blue stuff and some of the regular beige stuff. The beige stuff works pretty good, but I'd already bought the blue stuff. The blue stuff sticks better.
-I used a gallon or two of solvents throughout. Newbie waste, mostly. That, and just in a hurry and didn't care. It's not that expensive, anyway.
-Black sharpie markers and a box of ziplock sandwich baggies to mark and save fasteners and parts.
-Digital camera for taking pictures of how it came apart, where the screws and bolts went, and how things are situated.
And a lot of other things I can't remember right now. It was a lot of work, and I'm not in any hurry to do it again. Still, it was good to extend my wrenching credentials. And I got a few more stories out of it.
And on a much more sober note. I was very cavalier about using eye protection on the early portions of the job. I have the eyes of an old man and when I weld I usually take off the glasses and set them aside to get close enough to see the puddle and all that. I'm also pretty good about general safety. But, in the confined space I was welding in I flipped up the hood and only moved a couple of inches and touched the gun tip to ground. I didn't feel the weld berry hit my eye. I couldn't see the weld berry stuck to my eye since it was black and it was right over my iris. I didn't see it for four days, until the iris started to turn milky. It was irritated, I thought I had pinkeye or something. I really couldn't see that danged thing even with a flashlight and magnifying glass!
To shorten the story, the milkiness will never entirely go away and the divot where the weld berry stuck causes halos over every bright light. It's like having glasses on with only the right lens in, or not having your left contact in. Maddening. Avoidable. Always have on safety glasses. Try a dozen different ones until you find a pair that works for what you're doing.
Wow Mr. Incredible thanks for all the insight. I'm sorry to hear about your eye. Advice taken! I must say digital cameras are awsome. I would like to paint my coupe with-in the next year and I will also be buying some how-to books because it's not all that important to me but, I do need it to last and just wan't to prevent rust. Like you said it may turn out better than you thought but, not as good as you hoped.