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Do It Yourself Four Day Paint Job

Posted in How To on November 1, 2009
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When it came time to paint our YJ on 40s, we knew we were going to do it our-selves. The Jeep was five different colors and we are cheap when it comes to paint. To take a Jeep, pull it apart, and have it painted at a shop would run upwards of $3,000, money that could be better spent on axles, more power, or armor. Heck, we could have another six Jeeps for that kind of money.

When we found out that Summit Racing was now selling professional-quality paint for a reasonable price, our little brains started turning and we concocted our plan. Namely, we wanted to see if it was possible to completely change the color of a Jeep in a weekend. We knew it would take at least a 3-day weekend, but we ran into a couple extra hurdles and got it done in four days.

We've all heard it: A paint job is only as good as the prep work that precedes it. After this job we've found that to be very true. We took the Jeep up our buddy's house in Nevada to paint it, as California would likely lock us up for even thinking about painting at home, and we had anywhere from two to five guys working on it each day. It took us two days to disassemble, sand, Bondo, convert the garage into a paint booth, and otherwise do all the prep work. One day went to the actual application of paint, and one day went to reassembly.

We got all the actual paint from Summit delivered to our door, but the added supplies for masking, sanding, and body work came from our local big-box home improvement store. We ended up with almost half of the tape we bought left over, but we used all the sand paper and then some. Since we were working with previously-abused parts, we had a lot of sanding ahead of us.

The last time this Jeep was driven, it ended up parked in a living room. The driver lost control and the Jeep went through the front of the house, tweaking the frame and damaging the body in several places which is how we came to get it for such a great deal. We had the frame straightened before we started building it, but there was some body work to be done when it came time to paint.

This Jeep had spent most of its time in and out of various shops and our own garage, resulting in a liberal coating of grinding dust and other dirt. After disassembling the Jeep, but before any other prep took place, we pressure washed all the parts. Everything got washed after all the sanding and body work was done as well. Any dirt can and will show up in the finished product and wreck it. Cleanliness is one of the most important things when painting.

So, with a little help from some friends, we'd say that painting a Jeep over a three-day weekend is totally possible, and with Summit's pro-quality paint that applies well, mixes well, and has a low price point, there is no reason why you can't paint your Jeep at home as well and get great results. Aside from a few issues that we show you here, we'd say we ended up with better than professional results for the money we have into it. Follow our tips, take your time with prep, and you can do even better than we did.

Here is Cody, the Bondo king. It takes a certain kind of person to do body work because it is so tedious. You need someone who has no problems with applying the body filler, sanding it down, checking if it is good, and then applying it again. Apply many light coats, and sand with a block between each. If you aren't a very patient kind of person and know that you will cut corners to get the project done, do yourself a favor and find a friend who is really detail-oriented. When the Jeep hit the house, the hood buckled, but not before tweaking the cowl. We pounded the cowl out as best we could, but it still took almost 10 applications of Bondo with sanding in between to get it to look right.
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Reno Auto Body
Reno, NV

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