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Exterior Modifications Spoilers, splitters, wing mirrors and more!

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Old 04-11-2008, 07:20 PM   #1
L15TA J
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Choosing a bodyshop Guide

I've been browsing the net recently, and its greatly worrying me the number of threads realating to sub-standard work carried out by bodyshops!
If I can save one person getting a poor job then i'll be a happy man!

So your car needs to go to the bodyshop.

We all know its a horrible time when any car goes to the body shop, be it for accident repair, or cosmetic work. It’s going to be expensive and with the ever increasing number of cowboys out there, the varying quality of results can be worrying. Here’s some information to point you in the right direction.

First and foremost, take your time when choosing a body shop. A point worth noting straight away for insurance work – YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO TAKE YOUR CAR ANYWHERE YOU SO CHOOSE TO BE REPAIRED (As long as it’s insurance approved).When you’re on the lookout for a body shop, remember price isn’t everything. You get what you pay for in this world. A top job usually comes at a price.
A lot of people focus solely on the finish of the job, and forget completely about how long the finish is going last and the process carried out to ensure the work you have done is going to last another 10/15/20 years as it should.



When you are at the body shop, remember you are the customer!!! Don’t be afraid to ask about the products and process’s used. Take time to speak to the man who’ll be painting you car, not just the one in the office. Explain the sentimental value of the car to him, most people in the trade can relate to that!
It’s very important to ask if the body shop guarantee’s their work, and for how long. Any body shop worth its salt will offer at least a 3 year guarantee on paintwork.
It goes without saying to make sure they have a working spray booth but I’ll say it anyway Ask if you can have a look around the workshop, check the cleanliness of the place, particularly the paint shop area, more dirt in here, the more dirt in your paint! Get a feel for it yourself. I'm sure you consider yourself a good judge of character.



It’s worth researching into the different materials used, and also researching the manufacturers of the paint. Through doing this you will probably like the sound of something, and learn a lot about refinishing systems and the products used. The differences between Gloss and Clear over base systems is something to look out for

Here’s a brief guide of what to be on the look out for when asking the body shop about work.

What are you having done? First and Foremost having your car ‘sprayed’ isn’t as simple as it seems. If your having repair work, its likely to need to be carried out in ‘Gloss’ ( Usually 2 coats, no clear coat, shines all in one so to speak) for a good match as this is what the Rallye’s are painted with in standard. If repair work is being carried out it is VITAL that all adjacent panels are ‘blended into’. This process ensures an accurate colour match. If you are having a re-spray, I’d get it done in a Clear over base system as the finish will last longer. It looks better in my opinion too. This is basically a number of colour coats (Usually 2-3 Plus a drop coat) and then 2-3 coats of clear.
When having repairs carried out ensure panels will be replaced where economically possible. One thing to be wary of is cowboys saying they will replace the panel, and then filling it up with a load of filler! This is prominent in insurance work from my experience as they scam the insurance company the price of a new panel!

Abrasive’s – Ask what abrasive they use for finishing filler repairs. P180 is preferred however some old school boys cant stray from there P120 so don’t worry too much. Stay away from those 80 and 60 grit filler cowboys.
Also ask what grade they use for final preparation. It varies on the material but anything less than 800 grit these days is a big no no! I personally use 2000 grit for final preparation, as this really does give an uber nice finish with no swirl marks! Again the more time you put into the preparation the better the finish. The final abrasive used is a tell, tell way to check the quality of an outfit, the finer the grade, the more effort they put into it
Ask what brand materials they use for the refinishing process. 3m and Mirka are the two favoured brands for quality jobs. I personally prefer Mirka’s Abranet/Abralon abrasive. These are expensive and again are a top way to tell the body shop is focused on quality.



Materials – Also ask what refinishing system they use. Most will be using water based systems now, although it is still legal to use VOC compliant solvent paint untill 2010. Keep an eye out for the brand names ICI, Glasurit (My personal fav ) Standox, Lechler, PPG, Octoral (Own ‘House of Colour’ brand now). One thing in particular to be wary of, is people using say ICI basecoat, then putting cheap poor quality lacquer on top as the ICI one is expensive. Ask them if they use the COMPLETE SYSTEM from primer to clear coat.



Process – Metal – Etch primer (Corrosion protection) >>> Primer Surfacer >>> Paint either COB system or Gloss >>> Flat and polishing
Plastic – Adhesion promoter >>> Plastic Primer surfacer >>> Paint with flexible Additive either COB or Gloss >>> Flat and polishing
This is obviously a brief run down, what I’m pointing out is the important stuff to ask about, etch priming, and adhesion promoters, specific plastic primers and plastic prepping process’s. This is where you will tell if the paint finish is going to last the test of time Or is just going to flake off in a few month’s. Also how meticulous are they when flat and polishing? This makes the difference between an average finish, and a show winning one



How to check your car!
Look at it! Examine every last nook and cranny! Pay particular attention to areas around locks and mouldings, as well as rubber trims. Some lazy buggers won’t go to the effort to remove all the ‘fixtures and fittings’ from the panel they are painting. You can be the best in the world at masking up, but eventually water will get under the paint and it will flake off. I can’t stress enough how important it is to remove EVERYTHING from the panels being painted.

Don’t just look at the panel straight on!!! You need to check it from as many different angles. The best way is to look down the panel catching it in the light. This way you can spot any ‘ripply’ filler repairs or dirt inclusions in the paint. These are very hard to spot when looking straight ahead.

Metamerism – This is a painting phenomenon. In lamens terms it means when a paintjob is looking a different colour under different light sources. The car may look mint under natural light but under an artificial light it will look completely the wrong colour. Petrol station forecourts are the worst for it! So take your car there at NIGHT for its first fill after it’s returned from the body shop.



If you are not happy with the job carried out!

Do not part with any cash! Tell them straight away that you will not be paying until the faults are rectified. DON’T put pressure on the body shop to complete the work ASAP. This will only lead to the job being rushed again and again with ever deteriorating results!
Simply tell them your not paying until the work is completed how you requested. Tell them to ring you when the job is done properly! This may take longer but you’ll get the best results

I hope this helps you all as it’s taken a while to write up! I’ll get on a ‘Spraying at home guide ASAP’

I know there's alot of information here. I will tidy and add pictures to break it up later! At least I can stay in the knowledge i've done my bit ')

Last edited by L15TA J; 05-11-2008 at 06:52 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 04-11-2008, 09:15 PM   #2
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Just one thing i will add if i may Jay, some bodyshops will still be on solvent based paints if they qualify for a certain amount of classic work and also motorbikes, my work does a fair bit of repairs and custom motorbikes/scooters and we can only get the paint in solvent base for alot of the motorbikes in standox, also the same for classic cars if the company does alot of them they can get a le way on using solvent based paints legally.
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Old 05-11-2008, 06:43 AM   #3
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My bad! the last set of regulations stated that no solvent base could be ordered after Jan '07 and companies were allowed to use their remaining stock.

It would appear LOW VOC Solvent basecoat is still compliant untill 2010!

http://www.voccompliance.com/faq.asp

Cheers for spotting that Tom!
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Old 05-11-2008, 02:33 PM   #4
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good information there mate, only wish you had written this 2 years ago before i had my rallye re-sprayed, the paint work on it now is worse than before it was sprayed.
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Old 05-11-2008, 02:49 PM   #5
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Good guide, thanks!
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Old 05-11-2008, 03:12 PM   #6
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i know you said you pay for what you get,
how much should u expect to pay for a respray?
thanks mike.
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Old 05-11-2008, 03:16 PM   #7
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At his place? an effing fortune

Get what you pay for though
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Old 05-11-2008, 05:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L15TA J View Post
My bad! the last set of regulations stated that no solvent base could be ordered after Jan '07 and companies were allowed to use their remaining stock.

It would appear LOW VOC Solvent basecoat is still compliant untill 2010!

http://www.voccompliance.com/faq.asp

Cheers for spotting that Tom!

Its only certain companys which i've been told are still aloud to use the lechler system which we have, we can get away with using it as we have to for our camo dipped etc, as it needs solvent base for the ink to stick to it, and they class our dipping as industrials so we get to use it legally.

as for a price of a full outside respray, i'd say a good job removing windscreen, windows, seals, rear screen, locks, doorhandles, mirrors etc would be around £1500-£2000 for a 106 size car but its always hard to quote without actually seeing the job, as we've had people on the phone say "yeah its mint, just neds a blow over" they come up and its got rust bubbles, dints, stonechips etc.

A bareshell respray cuts the costs down on labour in the prep side of it obviously they still spend the same time masking, priming, flatting, painting and polishing but there's no shell strip time needed as such, as it takes alot of time to strip a car ready for paint, i guess if you wanted to cut a small cost down on a respray you could say to them you'd remove all the bits such as windows, seals, bumpers etc, although some places might not like you to do this.
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Old 05-11-2008, 05:29 PM   #9
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Agree 100% Tom, the best way to save money is to strip the job yourself. Also gives good peace of mind. I wouldnt have thought many bodyshops would have a problem doing this yourself but some may not like it.
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Old 06-11-2008, 04:59 PM   #10
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i think our place quotes around 2k for a full respray, but obviously more if its a colour change and we have to spray the bay and inside aswel
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Old 13-11-2008, 09:21 PM   #11
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Great guide Jase, used it the other day and helped me gauge the shop properly. Also helps people like me know what the guys actually on about and the questions to ask. Cheers
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