There isn’t much that I won’t tackle on a car project. Even the stuff that scares people a lot, like wiring for example. I’ll do some sheetmetal replacement, although I’ve never hung complete quarters. I’ll do cages, suspension, axles, brakes, and even hard line plumbing even though it intimidates me. But there are two things I just am scared of. Upholstery and paint. But my friend Kevin Tetz is always busting my chops about being afraid of paint. I know all the principles, I have watched everything he’s done on tv, but in practice it scares me. He tells me that all I have to do is listen to him, via his Paintucation videos, and I’ll be able to handle it all. Well, recently I sorta took him up on it.
My S10 Blazer project, which has been on hold these past couple months due to family health issues, is near mint with the exception of one dent and LOTS of peeling GM clearcoat. It’s also gunmetal grey. It will end up most likely being green. But the firewall on late model vehicles like my Blazer are painted body color. Read grey. Ugh. And the GM E-Rod Crate engine that I installed fit with the factory air conditioning, but the roll cage didn’t. So out went the giant box on the firewall and then the panel filling began.
Instead of welding all the holes shut, I made some nice sheetmetal panels over at Crosby’s shop and screwed and seam sealed them in place. That way if I ever need to get into the tricky spots under the dash from the outside I can. And they turned out great. But, there was still the issue of paint. I didn’t want a show quality look under the hood, because I want this project to look like GM might have done it, except for the roll cage tubes. So I wanted the entire underhood area to be GM Underhood Black and that means a relatively satin black appearance. There are tons of paint choices, and what I chose is not important. What is important was the lessons I learned from Kevin.
Sand, clean, clean, sand, clean, clean, clean, clean, mask, clean, tack, clean, spray. Okay, maybe there are more cleans in there, as Kevin commented multiple times while I was texting him photos that I was going way beyond what most people would do for an underhood black paint job, but I was being careful. And careful paid off. The paint is nice and clean and as smooth as the panels underneath it. And while putting the engine back in, for what will undoubtedly not be the last time, and while fitting roll cage tubing through the firewall, we hit the fresh paint a few times and have only one small scratch behind the engine to show for it. It is durable, it is completely repairable because of the paint I chose, and I am not going to stress about putting the rest of the truck together. If I chip it I’ll fix it.
Now I’m ready to start working on other stuff, and with Kevin’s encouragement I believe that the Blazer will be my first automotive paint job. That’s going to be a while, but I want to paint it myself.
Get Kevin’s DVDs for yourself or the hot rodder in your family. Share them with friends! This is a gift that everyone can use.
Here is a preview for the Paint Your Own Car DVD which is just one of the six in the Paintucation collection.