Painting a Miata

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Loren Williams
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Painting a Miata

Postby Loren » Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:26 pm

I was very close to committing to pay way too much money to have this car painted. Or to commit to painting the hard top and leaving the rest.

Image

Then Chris showed up and volunteered to do the prep and paint work, but didn't have a place to work. Well, I have a garage. And Mike turned me on to a paint shop that will rent their paint booth for a reasonable price. Game on!

I'll try to document the process here. With a pro like Chris on the case, plus my ample experience with Miatas, so far it almost seems too easy.

I've started a Flickr album to keep the photos in. So far, there's a set of "before" pictures, and a set of "day 1" pictures.

Day 1 consisted of removing most of what can be removed:
  • Front Bumper Cover
  • Rear Bumper Cover
  • Side Skirts
  • Mud Guards
  • Fender Liners
  • Headlights, taillights, side markers & 3rd brakelight
  • Emblems
  • Inner Door Panels
  • Door Windows and Waist Seals
  • Door Handles
  • Side Mirrors (need to get a better screwdriver to get the other one off)
  • Soft Top
  • Top Waist Seal
And Chris started smoothing some of the dings and scuffing the paint. The ball is rolling!

Image
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Painting a Miata

Postby Loren » Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:43 pm

Things I need to buy, locate, or otherwise procure:

  • Front Bumper Cover - I'd like to find one that will require less prep, and without the fog light holes.
  • Door Glass - Both sides have ample vertical scratches. Yes, certain things bug me. That's one of them.
  • Door Waist Seals - They're hard, probably the cause of the above problem.
  • Door Window Guides - I think Ben has a set.
  • Driver's Side Visor - It's loose and saggy, need one that stays put.
  • Seal for 3rd brake light
  • Plugs for side sill holes
  • Plastic clips for bumper covers, fender liners, interior bits, etc.
  • Plastic holder for hood prop rod.
  • Plug for antenna hole or stubby antenna or... maybe just weld a patch in.
  • Light Bulbs - Might as well replace them all while they're out.
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The "Push Harder, Suck Less" philosophy explained:
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Painting a Miata

Postby Loren » Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:16 pm

Question time! Mostly directed at my official "body & paint guy", Chris.

There are holes in the car where I don't want holes to be. I'm taking care of the front bumper foglight holes by getting a different bumper. The rest are in sheet metal. There's an antenna hole (that I could put the antenna back in, or a different antenna) and there are 4-5 holes on each side where the side skirts were removed. I could just get some rubber plugs and plug these. But, since the car is being painted, anyway... would it be worth permanently welding those holes, or otherwise patching/filling them?
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The "Push Harder, Suck Less" philosophy explained:
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Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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Painting a Miata

Postby cdmiller » Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:11 pm

Since the holes on the bottom are in the shutz (the textured undercoat on the rockers) that would need to be ground off to fill the holes then reapplied in the proper texture to match. Not easy to do.

The antenna hole can be welded shut with a patch, or a patch can be glued in with body adhesive. Then finished off. Your call on that one.


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Painting a Miata

Postby Loren » Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:50 pm

Is a flat spot in the texture going to be any less attractive than a black plastic plug?

Got the new bumper. :happyblob:
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The "Push Harder, Suck Less" philosophy explained:
Push Harder - Drive as close to the limit of your tires as possible.
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Painting a Miata

Postby AScoda » Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:02 pm

plug would allow the next owner to reinstall the skirts if they so desired.
Loren wrote:Freakin' Drew and his freakin' Mustang. :no:
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Painting a Miata

Postby Loren » Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:27 pm

AScoda wrote:plug would allow the next owner to reinstall the skirts if they so desired.
As would a drill. :lol:
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The "Push Harder, Suck Less" philosophy explained:
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Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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Painting a Miata

Postby Loren » Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:58 pm

Day 2 complete. Doesn't look much different, but all the sticky goo that was holding the side skirts on has been removed, the fenders have been rolled, clear coat has been removed from the trunk, doors and front fenders have been filled and sanded. And a nice new front bumper has been acquired.

Probably another 3-4 days of prep yet to do before we're ready for paint, but it's coming along.

I've decided that I'm probably going to go ahead and have all of the stray holes welded up. Painting the whole car, might as well do it right and not leave holes.

Image
Loren Williams - Loren @ Invisiblesun.org
The "Push Harder, Suck Less" philosophy explained:
Push Harder - Drive as close to the limit of your tires as possible.
Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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Painting a Miata

Postby Loren » Sun Apr 28, 2019 2:09 pm

Working through the list of stuff from above:

Front Bumper Cover - check (nice base model bumper)
Door Glass - check (perfect OE glass)
Door Waist Seals - check (got some better used ones)
Driver's Side Visor - check

Plastic clips for bumper covers, fender liners, interior bits, etc. - On order

Plug for antenna hole or stubby antenna - probably going to weld a patch over it.
Plugs for side sill holes - probably going to weld those, too.

Seal for 3rd brake light - Need to order from Mazda
Plastic holder for hood prop rod. - Need to order from Mazda

Door Window Guides - still need to collect these from Ben
Light Bulbs - Need to look up part numbers and order.

Got some stupid expensive epoxy primer on the way, as well.
Loren Williams - Loren @ Invisiblesun.org
The "Push Harder, Suck Less" philosophy explained:
Push Harder - Drive as close to the limit of your tires as possible.
Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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Painting a Miata

Postby Loren » Thu May 02, 2019 7:49 pm

I think everything mentioned above has now been ordered except for the light bulbs.

I guess today was "Day 3" on the body prep. Mike Dassatti brought his welder over, and we went after all the holes in the body. (not rust holes, silly... this is a Florida car)

Started by drilling some holes in a piece of the old FASTiva hood and practicing plugging those with the MIG. And Mike thought to take some photos.

Image

That went well enough, so we proceeded to working on the car.

Image

Where there is welding, there is grinding. (ANSI approved tri-focals? You bet! :thumbwink: )

Image

We got both of the side sills filled, the antenna hole, and the badge holes on the trunk lid. Not perfect, but structurally sound, and ready to be smoothed over with some filler. Also straightened out the kinked pinch welds at the bottom of the sills from years of inattentive jacking.

Image

Image

Image

Image

This is the fancy primer I bought at Chris' request. Hope it's the right stuff... I got 4 cans of it, and it wasn't cheap!

Image
Loren Williams - Loren @ Invisiblesun.org
The "Push Harder, Suck Less" philosophy explained:
Push Harder - Drive as close to the limit of your tires as possible.
Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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Painting a Miata

Postby twistedwankel » Thu May 02, 2019 8:03 pm

:popcorn: :popcorn: Not a project at all. :rolling:
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Painting a Miata

Postby jbrannon7 » Fri May 03, 2019 8:33 am

Looks like fun.
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Painting a Miata

Postby Loren » Fri May 03, 2019 9:35 am

The metalworking part WAS fun! I like doing that kind of stuff. I'm just glad Chris is around to do the finish work and make it look pretty!
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The "Push Harder, Suck Less" philosophy explained:
Push Harder - Drive as close to the limit of your tires as possible.
Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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Painting a Miata

Postby aw614 » Fri May 03, 2019 10:19 am

Are all the little marked circles the various door dings you are filling?

Enjoying seeing this documented, bodywork and paint is something Im dreading to do on the acura b/c it needs it badly
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Painting a Miata

Postby Loren » Fri May 03, 2019 10:37 am

aw614 wrote:Are all the little marked circles the various door dings you are filling?
Yes, those are all of the imperfections that Chris has identified.

You're welcome to join us for our shenanigans.
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The "Push Harder, Suck Less" philosophy explained:
Push Harder - Drive as close to the limit of your tires as possible.
Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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Painting a Miata

Postby twistedwankel » Fri May 03, 2019 4:34 pm

Two skills I've done completely right, once each, and never took another dime out of the tradesmen's pockets. Car Painters and Electricians. Amen.
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Postby Loren » Thu May 09, 2019 9:03 pm

Sanded the mirrors today. Pretty exciting stuff.

It's funny. I said going into this "I'm not that picky, I just want the car to be all the same color." And here I am doing a color change... and then, as I'm sanding the baked paint off of the mirrors, I see the mold lines of the plastic mirror that the factory painted right over without cleaning up. Yup, gotta clean that up!

This is why I don't do projects like this. I end up spending too much time on it, and then I'm disappointed with how it turns out because while I AM detail-oriented, I'm NOT good at polishing and painting things! I'll be glad 6 months from now when it's all done, has a nice layer of dust on it, and has it's first paint chip. :thumbwink:

If you didn't follow the other thread about paint colors, I have selected a color to paint the car. It's a rare BMW color used on the Z3M called "Evergreen". It's like BRG without being dark.

Should look something like this when it's done:
Image
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The "Push Harder, Suck Less" philosophy explained:
Push Harder - Drive as close to the limit of your tires as possible.
Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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Painting a Miata

Postby Loren » Sun May 12, 2019 12:53 am

Saturday was Day 4 of body prep. Making great progress!

At this point, I'd say the right side and trunk are about 90% done. Left side is at least 75% done. Top is probably 50% or more. Hood needs to be done. And the bumpers are probably 90%. I'd say one more good day of filling, sanding and priming. Then another day of sanding the primer and final prep. Should be pretty much ready for paint by then!

Image
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The "Push Harder, Suck Less" philosophy explained:
Push Harder - Drive as close to the limit of your tires as possible.
Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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Painting a Miata

Postby twistedwankel » Sun May 12, 2019 3:33 pm

Ben must be shaking his head by now? This is way past the realm of the last two projects.

Looks you can get away parking them next to each other but you won't be able to put the hardtop on the other car. Clash. No more cookies when she sees that. :grin:
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Loren Williams
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Painting a Miata

Postby Loren » Sun May 12, 2019 6:10 pm

Well, given that the NB hard top would never fit on her NC, and that her NC has a power retractable hard top already... I don't see that being a problem. The cookie supply is safe.

Body and paint work is definitely outside my normal project scope. I have to say that it's a little less scary than I thought... but, without Chris, I'm certain that it would look like crap if I were doing it on my own.
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The "Push Harder, Suck Less" philosophy explained:
Push Harder - Drive as close to the limit of your tires as possible.
Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.

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