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I want to change my '67 SS from Butternut yellow with vinyl top to all-over GM Ermine white. Neither is the 'correct' color for this car - it's supposed to be Sienna Fawn which I'm not a fan of. The car was restored and the current paint is in quite good condition. I have no details on the restoration however.

A very good custom shop did an estimate and the result was major sticker shock, as in 1/3 of what I paid for the Chevelle. You get what you pay for, but I just can't justify that amount. I'm considering DIY...so some really basic questions:

a) I want to buy a compressor (vs rent) since it'll help with the project and be useful for a lot of other stuff. Basic research seems to indicate 10 CFM would be the minimum to target for doing the entire car in each session, but compressors in that range are pricey. Is it crazy to buy a 4-6 CFM compressor and do the job piecemeal, ie. one section at a time while masking the other areas? I probably shouldn't cheap out since I'd be saving a ton of money in the long run doing this myself, but curious if others have done a paint job w/o a high end compressor?

b) I did a test, and a small area seems to indicate the restoration (which was frame-off) was stripped to bare metal. There's no sign of umpteen past paint jobs. Would it be asking for trouble to prep the existing paint and paint over it? I have no details on the restoration so no idea what type of paint was used. I'm concerned about a 'chemical mismatch' that could end in disaster.

Any feedback on this will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

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judging from your questions i'd guess you haven't done much paint and body work before? if you think a 10 cfm compressor is expensive you might want to completely price this out before you start. I have a husky 12 cfm and its at the low end of what I would use to paint a car. have you priced the paint yet? what are you going to use? if I were you i'd go down to your local macco and ask them how much it would be to spray the paint you buy.
 

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judging from your questions i'd guess you haven't done much paint and body work before? if you think a 10 cfm compressor is expensive you might want to completely price this out before you start. I have a husky 12 cfm and its at the low end of what I would use to paint a car. have you priced the paint yet? what are you going to use? if I were you i'd go down to your local macco and ask them how much it would be to spray the paint you buy.
+1. If all you're looking for is to change colors and not open a huge 'can of worms', then this!

If you want to learn the trade, with all the associated nuances, tricks and problems, then go to a trade school or get a job at a body shop. :smile2:

A car can be painted piecemeal, but you run the risk of the parts not 'exactly' matching in color. Air pressure, temperature, humidity and technique all come into play.
 

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Yes, you can successfully paint with a less than ideal compressor using a little care. It's the body work with DA's that will present the biggest hurdle. In the end purchase the best water trap/filter you can find and service it frequently...running a small compressor essentially non-stop will create a lot of heat/moisture.

I painted a race car about 20 years ago using one of these... Sears.com

96 degree outside temp and in a gravel driveway...miraculously one of the best looking paint jobs I have ever pulled off. No, I do not do this for a living or profit...was helping a friend.
 

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I want to change my '67 SS from Butternut yellow with vinyl top to all-over GM Ermine white. Neither is the 'correct' color for this car - it's supposed to be Sienna Fawn which I'm not a fan of. The car was restored and the current paint is in quite good condition. I have no details on the restoration however.

A very good custom shop did an estimate and the result was major sticker shock, as in 1/3 of what I paid for the Chevelle. You get what you pay for, but I just can't justify that amount. I'm considering DIY...so some really basic questions:

a) I want to buy a compressor (vs rent) since it'll help with the project and be useful for a lot of other stuff. Basic research seems to indicate 10 CFM would be the minimum to target for doing the entire car in each session, but compressors in that range are pricey. Is it crazy to buy a 4-6 CFM compressor and do the job piecemeal, ie. one section at a time while masking the other areas? I probably shouldn't cheap out since I'd be saving a ton of money in the long run doing this myself, but curious if others have done a paint job w/o a high end compressor?

b) I did a test, and a small area seems to indicate the restoration (which was frame-off) was stripped to bare metal. There's no sign of umpteen past paint jobs. Would it be asking for trouble to prep the existing paint and paint over it? I have no details on the restoration so no idea what type of paint was used. I'm concerned about a 'chemical mismatch' that could end in disaster.

Any feedback on this will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
This is the main reason I started painting cars. The estimate for my 1st car was actually more than what I paid for the car. That's when I learned to DIY.

If I had a choice, I'd opt for a 2 stage compressor. I upgraded mine with a 220 motor, over driven pulley, second tank and I still wouldn't mind having a 2 stage. I've considered replacing the pump with a larger one since I have went from 110 to 220, but it does get the job done. There's usually some good buys on the used older models.

If the paint that's there is in good shape, you should be able to paint over it.
 

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You might be much better off finding a car already done in the color you want. New patient it may take a few months to find the right car done how you want and then sell your butternut yellow car witch I think is a good looking color. If it all works out you may break even.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes, you can successfully paint with a less than ideal compressor using a little care. It's the body work with DA's that will present the biggest hurdle. In the end purchase the best water trap/filter you can find and service it frequently...running a small compressor essentially non-stop will create a lot of heat/moisture.

I painted a race car about 20 years ago using one of these... Sears.com

96 degree outside temp and in a gravel driveway...miraculously one of the best looking paint jobs I have ever pulled off. No, I do not do this for a living or profit...was helping a friend.
Thanks - that looks very appealing and the price is right. I've read some articles where you can certainly do a DIY job with a semi-low CFM, but just need to understand what you're getting into and what to expect. I suspect like most Craftsman equipment, it's made overseas... but pretty much everything is these days. :frown2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
How about learning to like the Butternut Yellow? It's a nice color.

You say the paint is in good shape - doing what you're thinking of may be opening a can of worms you'd rather not open. ;)

Post some pics. :)
I might consider keeping it that color if it weren't for a '67 Camaro SS I had as a kid that was Butternut Yellow and a nightmare. It also had a black vinyl top, so brings back a lot of bad memories, although some are very funny almost 40 years later. Here's a pic of my SS. I have several other plans for it besides paint, including (hopefully) a ZZ 427. A full set of 15" 5-slot aluminum mags and fat Mickey Thompson street radials are waiting in my garage. I need to cut/re-route the back of the exhaust to fit the rear wheels/tires, but just had back surgery so need to wait a bit. It looks so Ward Cleaver-ish to me at the moment. lol
 

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I might consider keeping it that color if it weren't for a '67 Camaro SS I had as a kid that was Butternut Yellow and a nightmare. It also had a black vinyl top, so brings back a lot of bad memories, although some are very funny almost 40 years later. Here's a pic of my SS. I have several other plans for it besides paint, including (hopefully) a ZZ 427. A full set of 15" 5-slot aluminum mags and fat Mickey Thompson street radials are waiting in my garage. I need to cut/re-route the back of the exhaust to fit the rear wheels/tires, but just had back surgery so need to wait a bit. It looks so Ward Cleaver-ish to me at the moment. lol
There are cars to learn on. your car is not one of them. go buy some used hoods and fenders and such from wherever and do it on them before you sand through any more on your car. god forbid if you find a lot of rot hidden. you won't be driving your car for years. you are drastically under estimating the cost to do this imo as well. or better yet drive on up i'll let you practice welding and sanding and grinding on my car.
 

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I have a slightly older version of the air compressor HandOverFist posted. Mines about 8 years old and I use it daily! Really shocked as to how well its worked for me. My wife bought it as a Christmas present and when I saw what she did I felt bad as I wanted to return it before even taking it out of the box fearing it wasn't worth the material it was made from. But I didn't want to make her feel bad so I kept it.

Now I've never painted a car with it. But I have used a detail gun to paint small items and to run a sand blasting cabinet and it's been great. Runs my impact tools, air wrenches as well... really been impressed with this little compressor! The only problem is one tire keeps going flat on me and I ended up cutting the valve stem on the rim last time I inflated it. Just needs a new tube.
 

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I haven't heard much good about the direct drive / oil less compressors. I've had mine for over 30 years now and it's still running strong. It's cast iron, belt driven.

Either way, a simple inline 20 gallon tank can remove some of the stress. Another trick is to run some copper or iron pipe in some water and use that for cooling. Some use an old ice chest to put copper tubes in and run the air thru that.
 

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For sanding and running a paint gun a little 10cfm compressor is not going to do anything but piss you off.
I have an 11cfm, plus another 15cfm compressor. Both of them cant keep up with my sand blaster, they can barely keep up with the paint gun or orbital sander.
I didn't have $1,000 or $2,000 either to buy a compressor so I built my compressors out of junk I bought from the scrap yard or had laying around, had to buy a few new parts like shutoff unloader switches and safety relief valves.
 

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For sanding and running a paint gun a little 10cfm compressor is not going to do anything but piss you off.
I have an 11cfm, plus another 15cfm compressor. Both of them cant keep up with my sand blaster, they can barely keep up with the paint gun or orbital sander.
I didn't have $1,000 or $2,000 either to buy a compressor so I built my compressors out of junk I bought from the scrap yard or had laying around, had to buy a few new parts like shutoff unloader switches and safety relief valves.
I saw a Ford SB used as a compressor. They run the engine on 4 cyl on one bank, then use the other bank as a compressor. They also make VW engine conversions for this. I've seen people take lawn mower engines and washing machine motors and make that into a compressor.

Gotta love the DIY world :D
 

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I painted my Malibu (see pic in link below) with a small Sears compressor and a low pressure, low volume gun, in pieces. The keys were painting it in pieces, using a low pressure, low volume gun, and using non-metallic base paint. Make sure the paint is all the same batch and mixed together when painting piece by piece. This will work OK when using a non-metallic base but with metallic it's much better to paint the car assembled to eliminate "tiger striping" and changes in light reflectence from one panel to another. For that you'll need a larger compressor.
 
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