Lotus Elan

Plus 2 paint preparation

PostPost by: starfighter104 » Mon May 12, 2014 4:50 pm

Hello, I am on my third ( and final ) restoration of my 72-3 +2s 130, and after a year of mechanical work, I'll have the old (second layer) of BRG stripped out The car was out in the sun for 14 years, and the paint has a lot of blisters, (not necessarily from the sun rays, most probably from humidity during the last paint job 25 years ago)
So we will strip the paint down to the original lagoon blue lotus paint, and after that I need to know what procedure-materials to use before the final coat of BRG. What kind of fibreglass primer to use ( I already have Isopon 38 from my last trip to London, for the heavy cracks) but don't actually know the aright stuff for this kind of job.
Should I use primer for the fibreglass yachts industry? What's the best materials - procedures?
Any help will be much appreciated, I have to order the materials ASAP.
Thanks.
Dimitris
( Lotus : Europa, Elan S4, Elan +2S 130 , Jeep Willys 1944 )
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PostPost by: Esprit2 » Mon May 12, 2014 7:40 pm

Chemical incompatibility can cause problems right away, or some time down the road. It's best to pick one manufacturer's paint system, and stick with it all the way through the paint job.

Since you're sanding down to the original blue, but not totally removing it, spray on a seal coat prior to actually painting. First, do any prep work that's required to fix stress cracks or fill pin holes, etc. Then when it's perfect and ready to paint, apply the seal coat first.

If you have pin holes to deal with, check out Loehle Aero Coatings' Wonder-fil Pinhole Filler:
http://www.loehle.com/loehle-aero-coati ... le-filler/
The Loehle system is designed for lightweight composite aircraft which don't use gelcoat (dead weight) and usually require lots of effort to fill pin holes. Sounds sort of like a vintage Lotus body, doesn't it? Wonder-fil takes the work out of filling pin holes. Rub it on with a pad, like you would a paste wax... rub it in well. Let it dry to a haze, and buff it off. You're done.

Loehle has a complete aircraft paint system from pin holes to clear coat, but they don't have the wide range of colors most automotive paint companies can provide. Ask how close they can get to BRG. But if you just use the Wonder-fil Pinhole Filler, then that's something that would require a seal coat before applying another company's final paint finish.

No matter what system you use, inquire about the type of respirator the manufacturer recommends. DO NOT spray modern primers or paints without a correct respirator !! And don't paint in an un-sealed garage if other people & pets without respirators will be in the proximity.

Good luck,
Tim Engel
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PostPost by: bdthompson » Tue May 13, 2014 10:26 am

Esprit2 wrote:Chemical incompatibility can cause problems right away, or some time down the road. It's best to pick one manufacturer's paint system, and stick with it all the way through the paint job.

Since you're sanding down to the original blue, but not totally removing it, spray on a seal coat prior to actually painting. First, do any prep work that's required to fix stress cracks or fill pin holes, etc. Then when it's perfect and ready to paint, apply the seal coat first.

If you have pin holes to deal with, check out Loehle Aero Coatings' Wonder-fil Pinhole Filler:
http://www.loehle.com/loehle-aero-coati ... le-filler/
The Loehle system is designed for lightweight composite aircraft which don't use gelcoat (dead weight) and usually require lots of effort to fill pin holes. Sounds sort of like a vintage Lotus body, doesn't it? Wonder-fil takes the work out of filling pin holes. Rub it on with a pad, like you would a paste wax... rub it in well. Let it dry to a haze, and buff it off. You're done.

Loehle has a complete aircraft paint system from pin holes to clear coat, but they don't have the wide range of colors most automotive paint companies can provide. Ask how close they can get to BRG. But if you just use the Wonder-fil Pinhole Filler, then that's something that would require a seal coat before applying another company's final paint finish.

No matter what system you use, inquire about the type of respirator the manufacturer recommends. DO NOT spray modern primers or paints without a correct respirator !! And don't paint in an un-sealed garage if other people & pets without respirators will be in the proximity.

Good luck,
Tim Engel



Thanks for that tip - just about to go down the same route myself!!

Regards
Ben
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Tue May 13, 2014 12:46 pm

I would think carefully about preparation, it's a lot of work so get it right first time. I would strongly recommend taking all the paint off. On an Elan, there are bound to be stress cracks and probably old repairs too.

I took off the paint mechanically, most of it with a sharp, half inch chisel although a wider one would probably have been better. It works well once you get the hang of it, the odd mark here and there can easily be filled before painting. You can then see exactly what you are painting and deal with any issues. Much better than applying paint and finding cracks appearing later or paint incompatibility etc etc.

What do others think?

Mike
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PostPost by: bdthompson » Tue May 13, 2014 1:17 pm

I was going to blast it? good idea? I have access to one, and mine does have 15 layers of paint/filler/anything else you care to mention in some places visible now, approx 3mm thick!!!!!
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Tue May 13, 2014 2:46 pm

No! Although there are people out there who tell you that it leaves a pristine surface, I've also heard that it's easy to go right through and the body of the infamous Practical Classics Zetec conversion car was like tissue paper when it went to the painters. I wouldn't risk it.

Mike
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PostPost by: Esprit2 » Tue May 13, 2014 2:54 pm

It's easy to damage fiberglass by blasting with the wrong media, and you might want to work on your learning curve with something less dear to you than your Lotus' body. If you blast it, go to someone with experience, and use soda rather than more aggressive media. And someone who is experienced blasting fiberglass boat hulls isn't necessarily familiar with working on the Elan's lightweight panels.

Done right, blasting is a good way to go. Done wrong, blasting can do a lot of damage very quickly.

Regards,
Tim Engel
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PostPost by: bdthompson » Tue May 13, 2014 3:01 pm

Esprit2 wrote:It's easy to damage fiberglass by blasting with the wrong media, and you might want to work on your learning curve with something less dear to you than your Lotus' body. If you blast it, go to someone with experience, and use soda rather than more aggressive media. And someone who is experienced blasting fiberglass boat hulls isn't necessarily familiar with working on the Elan's lightweight panels.

Done right, blasting is a good way to go. Done wrong, blasting can do a lot of damage very quickly.

Regards,
Tim Engel



THANKS gents!!
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PostPost by: starfighter104 » Tue May 13, 2014 6:43 pm

I don't have pin holes, will use some Isopon P38 to do the some areas, and the the spray seal primer. What type/brand do I have to use ?
Thanks Tim.
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PostPost by: Esprit2 » Tue May 13, 2014 9:59 pm

starfighter104 wrote:I don't have pin holes, will use some Isopon P38 to do the some areas, and the the spray seal primer. What type/brand do I have to use ?
Thanks Tim.
It's not that you have to use any type/brand of paint, and depending upon where you are, local regulations may limit your options. Visit a couple of automotive paint dealers near you and talk with them.

A modern two-part base coat/ clear coat will produce a better finish than a vintage one-step paint; however, the better finish won't be period-correct. Decide if you want originality, or the best modern paints can be.

Ask about a flex additive. Most modern paints have the option of a flex additive for use on flexible bumper covers and body cladding. I like to use the flex additive all over a lightweight Lotus body.

I like PPG's paint system. Others will argue that choice. The important part is to select one paint system, and stick with it. Avoid mixing and matching components.

Regards,
Tim Engel
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Tue May 13, 2014 11:16 pm

I've done allot of GRP paint in my time and i've found once its stripped do your repairs then use Epoxy Primer to seal it all.

I have used all sorts over the years but nothing sticks as well and gives that Solvent barrier as Epoxy, the only down side is it needs to be fully cured before you go over it but with that in mind its really good stuff.

When i do a repaint i tend to Strip it to gel coat, do all the Cracks and light skim all the panels with stopper to get as many of the Pin holes as possible, then 2 coats of Epoxy, block with 320's (use guide coat and re-stopper as needed), 2 coats of Quality Polly High build and wet 800's (again restopper any Pin holes etc left), i use RM Base coat or Spies hecker (from experience the cheaper Bases work just as well but use a bit more to get the same coverage) i do like to use Solvent Base as it goes on flatter but Water base tends to have a better metallic shine (if that makes sense, the glitter effect it cleaner and sharper). Then the Clear, i know people that love to ladle it on 6 or 7 coats but for me i use RM Diamond clear and just give it two full coats then colour sand it when its dry to an almost Glass finish :) (its all in the quality of the clear as some cheaper clears are milky and you don't get the same depth)

Bit of a tip, don't over apply.... Its better to build up in two coats at a time and allow to fully cure, flat and go again than try to bury and over apply which in turn traps solvent and causes Gloss drop, Micro blisters, poor adhesion etc
Chris
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PostPost by: starfighter104 » Wed May 14, 2014 5:45 am

Haven't thought about flex additive, very interesting idea. Ok now I know a lot more and I will try to locate the right stuff in Athens. Hope will find epoxy primer , right acrylic color, and maybe you have an idea: want to recreate my original "stardust" silver roof.
Any suggestions on what to use, how to do it.
Thanks a lot again

Starfighter104
Lotus: Europa, Elan S4, Plus 2 S130, 1944 Jeep Willys, 2012 Triumph Tiger 800XC
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PostPost by: Chancer » Wed May 14, 2014 8:54 am

Grizzly.

Your posting made total sense to me, when the flex additives first came out I said to myself that is what should be used on GRP, if the gel coat underneath cracks does the flex paint do so as well? Mind you how would you know if it doesnt?

I did not understand what you meant by colour sanding the clear coat, can you explain?
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PostPost by: bdthompson » Wed May 14, 2014 9:15 am

Gents,

I hope I am speaking on behalf of a few of us but please keep this going A layman's terms best way to paint a fibre glass shell is important to a lot of us......

I think there are 3 generic questions here too,

1) what is the best way to paint a fibre glass shell with regards trying to keep a vehicle as original as possible.
2) what is the best way to paint a fibre glass shell with regards trying to get the best and long lasting finish as possible.
3) With the advances in paint tech you would think that new ways are the best, but how much ??? will it upset any resale prices of the car as and when and if "you" want/have to sell it on?

I know this expands the discussion point a bit, but if people in the know could comment I KNOW I would find it very useful especially as I am on the road to completing a full body off resto.

Thanks guys.............
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Wed May 14, 2014 9:30 am

Chancer wrote:Grizzly.

Your posting made total sense to me, when the flex additives first came out I said to myself that is what should be used on GRP, if the gel coat underneath cracks does the flex paint do so as well? Mind you how would you know if it doesnt?

I did not understand what you meant by colour sanding the clear coat, can you explain?

Modern 2k doesn't need Flex additive thats only for painting rubber etc it often takes the gloss out of your finish and makes it a PITA to Colour sand and Polish after.

Thing is the its all in the prep, if you remove spiders and stress cracks well then get the Paint to adhere really well (unlike the original Lotus paint that pulls off with masking tape) it won't stress crack anything like the same way, i have seen a stress crack on a well prepared car that was done ten+ years ago and because the paint is stuck the edges of the crack don't lift so its allot less noticeable.

Wet sanding is the process of De nibbing the clear with say 1200's then carefully (staying away from edges and using LOTS of warm soapy water) flat the panel with 2000's again with lots of Soapy water (i tend to wrap the 2000's round a rag so it contours the panel), then go over the panel again with 3000 Trizact DA disk with an Interface pad on the DA all the time using lots of Warm soapy water, at this point after drying and cleaning you should be left with a semi gloss finish, Then the Buffing starts :( Buff back up with a machine Buffer (i use three stages first 3M Perfect-it 50417 green top as a cutting compound, Then clean the panel of all traces of Compound and go over with 3M Perfect-it 80349 which removes the Holograming, Last clean up again and Machine Polish 3M Perfect-it 50383 that is the last step and puts a waxy coating on your panel) Don't be tempted to Wax the panel for a week or so after its been painted so it cures properly and if you get any sinking back (area's going dull) you can see them without it being covered in Wax.

After writing all that i thought Pictures are worth a thousand words :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4RV0VsTIgI he does a few things slightly differently to me but you get the idea.
Chris
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