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Discussion Starter #1
Many months ago a guy hit me in a parking lot. It was an Expedition and the main problem was the lower part of the bumper was higher than my car, and the tire actually hit and climbed up the bumper.

He was at fault, but I decided to call my insurance and let them deal with it, but that was taking a long time, and I didn't want to pay my deductible and then have to go after the other driver. Plus no shops could find the parts, so they could only suggest that they total the car.

I didn't want yet another totaled car, so I contacted the other drivers insurance, and got them to get the driver to admit to fault (he was a jerk, and said that my daughter was driving, that we swapped places, among other things) and they said they had a shop that could fix it.

After 7 weeks of "still looking" they could only find a Gen I headlight. I told them just give the insurance an estimate and that they could pay me, and I would get the parts.

They settled for 2000 bucks, as the parts were expensive, even for used parts (which they couldn't get), and it is Silver Frost and harder to blend so that nearly doubled the labor.

I planned on getting the parts and letting the shop paint it. But I decided to spend 100 bucks on paint and supplies and try it myself. I have about 100 bucks in parts already, I bought a header panel at one place, but found a better one at another place, that was 20 bucks "wasted".

I am still not sure how well I can finish it, I am not as fussy as I used to be, and as these are all separate parts blending to me is less of a need. I also don't know how much paint I need, and if the Duplicolor paint and clear are good (I can get 6 eight ounce cans for 32 bucks from Amazon, or 2 12 ounce cans from automotivetouchup.com for 40 bucks, not sure 2 cans will do it. I also have some other places to touch up.

accident:








finally getting the parts:





sanding:



primered:




primer sanded:


header panel sanded:




primered header panel:





sanded header panel, probably good enough, but can still see stone chips:





headlight, yes much of the silver is loose and covering the lense :(




20 seconds of polishing after 400 grit sanding (worn from sanding 2 header panels and an entire bumper):

 

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Discussion Starter #2
Practiced on a piece for my father for his birthday. Isn't going on his car, but on the wall, with some super bright LEDs. I didn't do a great job on it, I didn't sand the primer and I didn't fill the chipped through the plastic spots, but I got enough ideas on what I actually needed to do on mine. It was sanded with 320 grit, primered, then topped with Rustoleum gloss white enamel. I might color sand it and clear it.







I also have a second header panel for the Mark VIII I might prime, color, and clear to test, or just jump in and complete what I have done so far.
 

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Don't worry about blending to start. Bumper covers rarely match from the factory as it is, and on the MarkVIII, the headlight separates the cover from the fender to where there is only a couple inches touching which won't be enough to pick up on easily. Worst case, you may want to blend the hood because the entire leading edge is up against the header panel, but if you get a decent match on the paint, you probably won't need to do that either. One thing to know about paint, for a single paint code, there are frequently multiple variants, especially with metallic colors, so if someone just mixes the paint off the code, you likely won't get a very good match, so when you are looking to get the paint, go to a shop that has color chips so you can compare them and pick the closest variant. As for how much paint you would need to do those parts, not much at all. Usually the smallest you can buy is a pint, and that will be more than enough, even if you screw up and end up having to re-do it. You will also need reducer, clearcoat, hardener for the clear, flex additive for the clear, and I would use an adhesion promoter too, especially on the replacement trim piece under the headlight, since it is off a non-LSC version and is chrome, which paint doesn't stick to very well. Paint is expensive, and when you price that out, it will all add up pretty quick. I'm all for doing things yourself, and if you want the learning experience, a small job like this is the perfect thing to start with, but one thing that might make more sense would be to find out how much a body shop would charge just to paint those parts that you have already cleaned up and primed, and then you install them yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I am looking at doing this with rattle cans. I probably shouldn't with this color car, but I see others that have done tougher colors but not the tri coats, and I like what I see. It might be a good investment to get stuff to do it myself with a sprayer, but I have no indoor place to do this, it is 100+ degrees, and I am at the will of the wind and an arid blowing dust area. I put up a sheet on one side of a carport, wet the floor and all the dirt around it, and that worked for priming it, but probably not good enough for the color or clear.

Even with the header panel against the hood, there is a gap, and a seam line and different angle for the bumper cover, and like you say, my current bumper cover has always seemed off to me, less color different and more texture difference, but that could be the metallic in the paint.

I can salvage the silver painted LSC headlight trim on the car now, it is scuffed as is the grille, but I can make it good enough.

I am after "good enough" but I am still on the fence about installing them as primered now and having the shop spray them. The quote I got is pretty tough to follow if I take out the parts, and I assume that the quote is for minimal labor for prepping the parts, expecting them to be "refinished" already. I might load it all up in the car and go and talk to them, seeing if mounting them as semi refinished now, not installed, or if I have gone past the point of no return for doing this myself.

I know the prep work isn't good enough for them, there are gouges, and a couple of rock chips into the plastic that need filled.

I also don't know if I can paint the bumper cover and install it without flexing it so much I crack the paint, flex additive or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So I have gotten estimates between 450 and 700 to do the header panel, bumper, and leading edge of hood.

So I have a case (6 8 ounce cans) of Duplicolor Silver Frost and a case (6 8 ounce cans) of Duplicolor clear, along with 2 11 ounce cans of adhesion promoter.

I filled in the creases and chips with the Bondo glaze, I still have two to fill, but it is looking good. I also hit it with some high build primer and that helped with some scratches.

I just hope that the clear doesn't change the color or turn yellow, those 2 reviews that say that happen versus the 50 that are happy with it makes me wonder.






 

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Using a 2K clearcoat is a better option for the long-term. I've used the Duplicolor stuff before, but I would only use 2K in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have looked into the two part mix in the can clears, and they are highly touted but I also see incompatibilities with some base coats. I agree they would be better if all things go well.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I didn't go with a two part clear, but I canceled my Duplicolor order and ordered from www.automotivetouchup.com instead. 110 bucks worth of base and clear (4 12 ounce cans of each), but they get pretty high marks from others that have used their aerosol cans.
 

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I also have had no luck with duplicolor clear. I would highly recommend using a catalized clearcoat sprayed out of a regular gun as opposed to a rattle can. Spraying the duplicolor clear will result in an obviously poorly done job.
 

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Discussion Starter #11

Just need the paint to cool down (all day in a big brown vehicle when it is 104) and paint the card, clear it, and check that it matches.

Oh and wait for a day that doesn't have 20 mph winds, so likely not gonna happen until next week.

Yes, I am going rattle can, yes I am going rattle can clear, and yes, once I get all the other things needed once I sand the clear and polish it I will be close to 200 bucks in materials, but there is still a chance it won't turn out good...so we'll see. I really don't have free time to work on it, and sneak 30 minutes in here and there, but it is looking good, and this is the first time I have taken the time to do something like this right, instead of just blobbing a touch up brush of paint or using a basecoat over a damaged area only.
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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I've had good luck with those guys' products (btw, +1 on bad luck with Dupli-color clears, lol). My mom took the 93 out one day and cut the turn around a concrete/steel safety pole near a mailbox too short and crushed the 1/4 panel near the driver's wheel. We used their paint after the repair and it was a perfect match.

It's pretty good for "budget" paint.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Using an infrared no touch thermometer, the cans out of the UPS truck was 185 degrees! I let it cool, sprayed the test card, 1 tack coat, 3 light coats, and 1 lay down some flake from 12 inches coat, followed by 3 clear coats. I focused on the center of the card and not the white or black side, but I was still probably 1 coat of base away from where it should be.

As these pictures tell the story, it is windy and I have a ton of dirt and flowers from trees in the air, so painting the parts needs to wait until next week.

The grille currently doesn't match the rest of the car very well, I was going to just fix the two spots, but I think I need to paint it completely as well.

Hard to tell in the pictures, but the match is great, the clear isn't as glossy as the car, I also didn't sand it with 2000 grit and rub and polish it.








 
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