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Thread: Painting the e34 - DIY

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Oklahoma
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    Default Painting the e34 - DIY

    I called around town and got some quotes at about an average of $1,000... This place MAACO is offering to do it for $300. I read up on them a bit and looks like its cheap because they don't do any prep work, just paint over your old job. + the paint is kind of crappy too.

    So... I figure that I may be able to do a better job than MAACO myself and save money too. I have a compressor, garage, and gun already.

    I have a new fender I have not got around to installing, so I figure maybe I should just try to paint it and see how it turns out. If it turns out alright I will do the entire car. If not, well.. Lesson learned, no harm done.

    So here is my question:

    1) How much should I expect to really spend on a DIY paint job? Could someone give me a ballpark estimate on how much it will cost for the primer, paint, and clear coat to cover the entire e34?

    2) Whats the best place to buy auto paint? I was thinking O'reilly auto, or autozone...

  2. #2
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    Dec 2003
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    Canada, ON
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    The problem is dust.... and paint will fly everywhere so you need to cover everything in your garage that you do not want painted.

    Painting is an art. You need to have the right wrist movement and the right patterns else it will look like crap.

    Are you doing single stage paint or base and clear?
    '85 Euro 635csi Race Turbo, megasquirt, Group A
    '92 525i Touring 5 speed, 3.46 diff, UUC 8.5lb flywheel, soon to be turbo.
    '02 Subaru WRX Wagon with STI springs, bigger sway bars

  3. #3
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    Oklahoma
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    Base and clear.

    I have not decided on the color just yet but I am leaning to 276 Avus Blue Metallic.

    I just called a few places, got a paint quote for ~$55.00 for a pint at O'reilly, and $33.00 at a paint shop.

    I was given the estimate of $200-250 for everything including the primer. I'm going to suppose $300 since I will probably have some waste due to inexperience. Not to mention the chemicals I will need to strip the old paint...

    I have no problem covering everything up but patterns are a real possibility. I will just try it on the fender first and see if I can do the rest.
    Last edited by infurno; 09-02-2008 at 01:38 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
    The problem is dust.... and paint will fly everywhere so you need to cover everything in your garage that you do not want painted.

    Painting is an art. You need to have the right wrist movement and the right patterns else it will look like crap.
    Bruno says it all. Really good welding or spraying is an artform. I must have missed school that day

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Default

    you also need to make sure you have great ventilation and excellent 360 degree lighting in your garage.

  6. #6
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    I fogot, surface preparation is key!!!! Else you will end up with a bad paint job, no grease at all and everything should be nice and smoothly sanded down.

    I am sure there are websites dedicated to paint jobs, I am lucky enough to have a good friend who is a painter, he paint all my BMWs... And I fix his.

    Good luck, take pictures of the process.

    But DUST is a problem that you need to take care off.
    '85 Euro 635csi Race Turbo, megasquirt, Group A
    '92 525i Touring 5 speed, 3.46 diff, UUC 8.5lb flywheel, soon to be turbo.
    '02 Subaru WRX Wagon with STI springs, bigger sway bars

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    158

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    Try this website http://www.paintscratch.com/
    I purchased some touch up paint in a spray can from them for my 95 530 Oxford Green.
    They do sell larger quanity.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Michigan
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    Hot Rod Magazine May 2008 22 pages of paint and bodywork write up.
    Your local library will have a book or ten on bodywork and paint. Your local Sherwin Williams dealer or Finishmaster or PPG dealer will have information or the manufacturer's web site will have information. The best novice move is to take a class at the local Community College. They have much better equipment and some let you do your own car. You could get your spouse to enroll with you and it could be a date night. Or if there's no spouse, you could meet interesting people there and hang out at bodywork bars after class.
    PS Don't try black on your first car. Light colors are more forgiving as are colors with less metal flake.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    I don't want to discourage you... But consider the following:

    1) You will need a compressor (and appropriate piping to condense the water vapor out prior to the vapor trap). Compressor will depend on your paint gun (LVLP, HVLP, conventional?) and/or the type of sander you intend to use. A 15A, 120V, 20Gallon (or larger) compressor (9CFM+, 80psi or greater) will likely be okay for the panel (with an LVLP gun). Read about the various guns - I had good luck with LVLP and highly recommend it.

    2) The primer, sealer and basecoat all go on pretty easy and dust is typically easy to control (getting in the paint that is) as it dries quickly. As you have heard, surface prep is critical as is a dust free environment. However, the clearcoat is like goo (takes a long time to dry) and will suck every little thing from every crevice or pore in your house/garage/body - it is nasty toxic (will destroy your lungs) - you MUST have adequate protection or you will be permanently injured - yes this is a serious warning. (A body suit for keeping your skin/hair out of the paint is $20 or so from most paint stores). I used a activated charcoal respirator for my lungs and face shield to protect my eyes. The body suit will cover all exposed skin so you likely won't have an allergic reaction but that is still a possibility.

    3) My guess is that you will consume about $300 or so on the paint, maybe $450 as you have not used these before and will need cleaning thinners, buffing compound, sanders, etc. Your "startup" costs will be high for something you may not ever do again. You can easily get up to $1K into stuff that you may have sitting on a shelf (I exceeded $1K).

    4) I painted a car in my driveway and suffered through the pain of dirt/dust/pollen (and the mother of all horseflies in the center of my hood where it made a nice clearcoat ). I strongly suggest that you find a body shop (and painter) that you trust - I think you, your neighbors and your results will be happier.

    5) Did I mention that this stuff is nasty toxic?

    6) This stuff is nasty toxic.


    Here is a picture of the car I completed (I have painted 6 other cars, this was my second base/clear). I really should have paid the 3K to get it done (I went cheap, took it to a local unknown and cheap painter that did a job I was not happy with, ground it down 3 days after I got it home.)
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    1995 BMW 525i w/139K miles, EAT Chip - (Gone)
    07 525i 22K, 07 328xi (41K)
    1982 Mazda RX-7 w/147K miles (Back again!)

  10. #10
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    Oklahoma
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    Maybe I am getting over my head... First of all let me say that I do appreciate and value all of your advice. Its not falling on deaf ears.

    I have always enjoyed DIY and im looking at this as more of a challenge rather then a necessity. It would probably be smarter (and even possibly cheaper) to just go and pay a body shop to do it, but then I could not get the benefit of the experience

    If the fender turns out poor then thats ok, I will leave it to the pros. If not, I will consider doing the rest, but I will start small for sure.

    One of my friends painted his last two cars with no experience, and they turned out ok. No different from other cars you see parked next to it. That has given me a bit of comfort.

    I will take some pictures and post my results. Will try to get everything by the end of next week.

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