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Body-work on Cars -- Choosing a Shop

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2009-12-29          167780


My Supra's been running like new and turning heads for 23 years, and I want to get it a proper body-and-paint job. No dents, but rust here and there, esp above the wheel-wells, all the way through in small spots.

For years I've been sanding to bare, applying Bondo or somesuch, smoothing, and spray-painting (black). My "body-work" may last a couple months.

What do I say or ask at prospective shops (besides how much)? What's the technical description for the type of work that will last longer than the way I've been doing it?

Are some kinds of paints better than others? Do I want more than one coat?

If I should expect a written warranty, what would it basically say?

(Thanks, guys. Sorry to have used the wrong forum but couldn't find the right one.)

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Body-work on Cars -- Choosing a Shop

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2009-12-29          167781


I am restoring a car and have been doing a lot of research into this very subject. Most guys into auto restoration say that it is *always* cheaper to pay a lot more for a rust-free car than to try to restore a rusted body.

The only way to fix any deep rust is to either replace body panels or cut it out and weld in new metal. That is expensive work to have done. You need to get rid of all rust, and a bunch of it could be hiding under undercoating, paint, inner panels, shock towers, you never can tell without fully blasting the paint off and doing a full examination. If there is visible rust in the body there is almost always deeper rust in lots of nooks and crannies and some of it could be structural. Frankly, when it comes to proper rust repair it's usually cheaper to buy a new car.

For lighter rust the rust should be sanded/blasted/wire brushed off and then a rust converter like POR-15 (IIRC) can help. After the bare metal is exposed it should be primed quickly or rust will start again immediately (even if you can't see it for days).

For paints you probably can't go wrong with any of the major brands (Dupont, House of Kolor, etc) and each shop has it's favorite brand. A good auto paint supply will sell top quality primers in spray cans for the purpose of quickly sealing bare metal. Good paint is not cheap. ....

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Body-work on Cars -- Choosing a Shop

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cutter
Join Date: Feb 2000
Posts: 1303 The South Shore of Lake Ontario, New York
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2009-12-29          167783


For a complete restoration, body off frame is best. For unibody they use a rotisserie although I have never done that. It's all expensive unless you do all the work yourself.

As mentioned above, you may find rust hiding in other areas, adding to the amount of work. Unless that car is extremely rare, I would probably try a home paint job and let it go at that. ....

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Body-work on Cars -- Choosing a Shop

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2009-12-29          167784


Auer;
I'm strictly an outsider looking in on auto restoration. I've did quite a few tractors except for the paint, but a tractor is way more cast iron than tin, so the difficulty rating is pretty low compared to a car.
We have a son in law who has did some restoration, and he does do a nice job, but still being in the work force it will consume a years worth of spare time to complete one.
Painting is not one of his skills either so like doing a tractor if you want a nice paint job, they can get pricey
He tries to stay away from the real boners that need panels cut out and welded back. Even then to do it right you can't put any value on your labor time, it has to be a labor of love.
The last thing I'm trying to do is discourage you, it can be a hobby of great reward to see a finished product that you did yourself. Ninety percent of the furniture in our house is home made, far from mueseum quality, but I did build it. ....

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Body-work on Cars -- Choosing a Shop

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Art White
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 6878 Waterville New York
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2009-12-30          167806



That is a loaded question! You need to find a shop that would enjoy doing it, not that they are out of work and desparate!
In our area I've been looking at body shops to do my car. I don't want to spend the time and it's been thrty years since I've done much body work and it was limited on fiberglass so I don't even want to go there! Time is the main thing as well as a good shop to work in for doing the body work.

The best thing with rust is to replace the panels if available other wise small cut outs which take a lot of time to fit is the only other option. They will normally take longer then a panel replacement.
Going to local car shows you can often find the info you might need. Different body shops enjoy different types of work. I've found some that do not like to total body jobs or restorations. In our area if they will they normally like to do that work in the summer after the wrecks from the winter snow. ....

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Body-work on Cars -- Choosing a Shop

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2009-12-30          167807


I answered your original question like a politician does, dance around the subject but never give a direct answer. My only experience with body shops has been as the result of cars getting banged up in a wreck, or hitting deer.
The insurance company we have now doesn't require the three estimate thing anymore, they must just have a list of approved shops. Last winter we got rear ended with the Trailblazer. It was hit and run, I did get the plate number of the guy or girl, dont know, anyway it was a stolen car that hit us. I called the ins. co. they said what shop to take it to, they did an excellent job. I'd recommend them to anyone, and the bill seemed real reasonable. Then on the other extreme quite a few years ago we had a Chevette that one of the boys rolled. At that time you had to get the three estimates and they chose the lowest one. It might have cost the ins. co. the least but what a lousy job. the doors didn't fit right, plus a raincoat was required if you drove it in the rain, it leaked everywhere. I went back to the body shop and was just given a go away attitude. They aren't in business anymore. ....

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Body-work on Cars -- Choosing a Shop

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harvey
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 1539 Moravia, NY
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2009-12-30          167814


A couple years ago I went to MN to pick up a 68 Mustang fastback for one of the owners. The shop here works on it when they have spare time (no other work) so he gets a huge labor saving. It was stripped like you see on overhaulin put on a rotissary. I do not know for sure how much invested total but just body work and new floor pan plus lots other over 25K so far. The rest of the goodies will be another 20K+. The car is still in the shop. It may come out this summer. ....

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Body-work on Cars -- Choosing a Shop

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2009-12-31          167816


Thanks for all the straight talk. It's back to the Bondo. For as long as it -- or the owner -- holds out. (At least I don't have to keep looking back at it every time I park it. Or pay extra for collision coverage.) ....

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