Now I am NOT a latter day Earl Scheib, so I know little about modern (well, 25 year old) paint technology.
I own an 87 GT in what I believe is the original red paint. The paint itself has lasted well, but it has developed large whitish areas which seem to be the clear coat. Hard rubbing will take off small areas. If I carefully take off the clear coat using rubbing compound, should I be able to have a new clear coat put on?
I really would like to preserve the original paint if at all possible.
A really, and I mean really good painter could do it. I have a friend who has owned a body shop for about 30 years, and he considered doing that with mine, but after consideration he said it would be a lot easier to repaint. So having said that, yes, it can be done, so if you really want to save the original paint and have time and lots of patience, go for it!
My 87 GT had clear coat breakdown on the roof, wing and a few other places. I had it repainted. This was done by at least three different shops over a 15 year period. I must have lucked out because all the paint still matches and you cannot tell what was done or when it was done.
Ive professionally painted cars in my own shop for 45+ years. What you have is typical clearcoat delamination. People might suggest just reclearing it. You CANNOT just sand off clear and respray it. It dont work, no matter how expert you are. Clear MUST be applied over basecolor that is usually less than 24 hours old...yours is 25 years old. You MUST sand alALL the clear off of each panel that shows signs. Thats usually hood, roof and deck lid. Worst cases, its also the tops of fenders, doors and quarter panels. Nothing else will work...theres no quick or easy fix. You have to sand all the bad clear off to the edges of each panel, then sand the basecolor. Then it needs a complete repaint of basecolor and clearcoat. You can use single stage acrylic enamel thats just as glossy, but not as durable...but does not have a clearcoat. The clear is mixed into the basecolor. No matter what 'expert' tells you that you can reclear it, its just impossible to do and look any good at all and stay on without peeling right back off. It would probably last till the first pressure car wash. Trying to do it will just add expense and time to do it right after it screws up.
I always try to give a no crap answer. Im cheap and lazy, and believe me I know how to do just about anything the cheap and lazy way. Thats not saying its not a way that actually works. Ive learned a lot of things over 45 years that people say can or cant be done.
Roger: I have the same clear coat delamination problem as described above. You gave a very clear and thorough explanation of what has to be done. No BS, which I appreciate. I would like to have my car repainted as you described but have no idea what I should expect to pay for such a task. With your 45 years of painting experience I'm sure you have seen just about all the issues with delamination and painting. I realize there are many variables in painting a stock 1988 Fiero, but a ballpark figure would give me an idea of how many aluminum cans I have to collect and sell to pay for this. Your best general estimate would be appreciated. Thanks.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $500 at a Maaco with the delam, to upwards of $4,000. Good price for a good OEM looking job and fixing the problem should be about $1500. Color sanded and buffed like glass for show quality will be over $3000. Any body damage work will be extra.
Roger how bad are the single stage acrylic urethanes? Some are just calling them urethane not poly-urethane. Read the stock base coat is acrylic enamel with urethane clear. Can the clear on all panels be sanded off, sand the base coat, epoxy(2 part)prime, then acrylic urethane? Or is the acrylic urethanes that bad?
I use PPG (DP) epoxy primer - the cheaper ones can be problematic. BTW Roger doesn't like catalyzed primers... Go with a base/clear. The clear gives you UV protection (to protect from fading). If you're on a tight budget I suggest Nason base/clear. It's the only cheaper paint I use on my budget jobs (& my own cars). I've been doing show cars for over 40 years. HTH, ~ Paul aka "Tha Driver"
The names are somewhat interchangable. As far as I know there is no difference between polyurathane and urathane. Acrylic enamel is a urathane when a hardener is used. Pretty much any paint you add hardener to becomes a urathane (plastic). Basecoat color with clear is the most durable in the long run. You can same some money and time with single stage hardened acrylic enamel. You only need 2-3 coats to finish a job. While not quite as durable as clearcoat system, in most cases its nearly as good. It can also be wet sanded and buffed and shine as good as any clearcoat job. Early in the urathane days, the premier paint was supposed to be Imron...in fact all it is is single stage acrylic enamel with hardener. In fact on black cars, I highly recommend single stage because it will be much blacker than one with clearcoat. The clear on black tends to give it a muddy or charcoal tinge. Primers are your choice, theres advantages to each, but they cant be mixed.