300D 124 Body paint tips

Again: Want to paint the car but don't know whether or not to take moldings off or mask them. The roof rails? Do they just pop off clips? and they appear to be made of metal and go down each side of the windshield. Should
I leave them alone? I ordinarily like to remove as much trim as I can but I won't if it's too much trouble or expense. Any tips? What I should have mentioned in the earlier post was that I'm attempting to do the work myself and this car has already had at least one overall repaint years ago and is looking pretty sad. I would like to sand it all down and attempt to spruce it up a bit with a nice overall paint job. Make it gloss black instead of Manilla Beige. and what in the world do I do with the sun roof? Mask it with 1/8" Masking tape? or use Vaseline on the gasket?
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Years ago I was told that the best way is to remove all the trim and rubber gaskets (doors, sunroof, etc.). This allows you to avoid any type of paint line that would be caused by tape as well as avoid damage to them caused by sanding or possible leakage during painting. This is going to be more important given that you are going to change the color from beige to black.

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If you intend to paint your car gloss black prepare yourself for a great disappointment unless you are a very experienced body man. Black is virtually the worst color to paint a vehicle unless the prep work is nothing short of perfection. Every small blemish is magnified. The easiest color to prep for? White! If you still wish to make it black take a paint stir stick, wrap it with 220 grit paper and begin working every square inch of the surface. Once you have what you think is a perfect prep job hit the car with a "guide" coat. This is usually a very, very dusty coat of black lacquer over grey primer. As you begin your process once again using the paint stick you will notice high and low spots. Work these down until you're convinced it's perfect. Then hit it again with another guide coat. Continue this process for a few weeks until the surface is perfectly flat. Finish it off with 600 wet, then 1000 wet, and then 1600 wet and, if your arms are still attached, 2000 wet. Now you're ready to put on the first coat of paint. If you're using 2-stage paint and intend to finish with a hand-rubbed clear coat you don't have to worry too much about the finish of the color as long as you intend to put on several coats of the 2-stage clear. Let it all dry thoroughly and gear up for the rubout. This will only take a day or two with a power buffer and some progressively finer rubbing compound. Once you feel you have it pretty nice take some corn starch, whip it into a paste with water, grab a new buffing pad for your buffer and give it a final polish. Once this is done you're ready for wax but be sure to wait at least a week or two before putting on that final wax. Sounds like a lot of fun...at least it did when I was younger and went through the process a time or two. Now I'll just take it to someone with more muscle and fewer brains than I have. Good luck!

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Great post! I was going to use Acrylic enamel with a hardener (only because I have it laying around and don't want to spend more money) My biggest concern is the roof rails; how to take them off and firmly reattach them without: a) ruining them, and b) breaking the bank on molding clips. As long as I can get the paint to shine, the surface prep is not that great a concern. My problem has always been a dry spray and as a result low to no gloss. I guess spraying is a technique that needs mastered and I haven't. Thanks for the response.

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Spraying is only one part of the job... unlike house paint when you paint, it shines immediately... On car, it is not so... unless you apply clearcoat. If the paint is not designed for clearcoat, then there is two more steps to the process... wetsanding 400 to smooth out the paint... 1000 grits to get it near perfection.... claybat to do the final polishing and wax.
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Absolutely, and not a bad way to go. I remember the great lacquer paint jobs that used to come out of the back alleys in Tijuana. They didn't care how much dust hit the wet paint or how quickly it dried. They simply put elbow grease, high-grit paper (with water) and polishing compound to the task. Good luck!
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