Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

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MrNewEngland
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Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by MrNewEngland » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:13 am

I recently bought an older (2006) RX-8. It's nothing special, I've just always wanted on. They came out about the same time I graduated college and it was the car I wanted... but couldn't afford.

I found one that was mechanically pretty good but the body isn't the best. No rust or anything, just a couple dings and the previous owner handpainted the roof when it started to peel and it looks bad.

I know I am not going to get my money back out of this car, but it's just something fun to play around in.

Maaco is currently running a paint special and after I add the dings being repaired and adding clearcoat I could have the whole car done for about $650. I know I am basically putting lipstick on a pig so I think I am going to go that route (it's way cheaper than the quote I got from a body shop).

Any advice from my fellow BHs would be appreciated.

THY4373
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Re: Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by THY4373 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:19 am

Maaco generally has a horrible reputation. I have honestly never used them but I have seen a few of their paint jobs and was completely unimpressed. They are independently owned I believe so there might be some variation. I believe much of the cost in paint jobs is preparation and this is where they cut corners. If you just want the car to look sorta of good from afar Maaco might be ok but realize you are getting no more (and possibly less) than you pay for. There is a reason they are much cheaper than a body shop.

curmudgeon
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Re: Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by curmudgeon » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:27 am

Nothing wrong with MAACO or equivalent in this situation, as long as you understand the limitations. They will put very little hand labor into prepping the car (removing trim, sanding, etc). If you are changing color, things like door edges or inside trunk/hood may not be painted. It's not likely to stay looking nice as long as a factory paint job, and will probably lack the luster you see on new cars. It should look presentable, though, and if finish starts looking dull after a couple of years, you may be able to rub it out and bring it back with some labor.

BHUser27
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Re: Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by BHUser27 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:36 am

I've had 2 vehicles painted by Maaco and 1 by Earl Scheib.
All were terrible paint jobs, but I knew what I was getting and it was all I could afford at the time.
"You get what you pay for" holds true for auto paint IMO.

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Sheepdog
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Re: Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by Sheepdog » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:43 am

There are local auto repair and paint shops available in your community, They often do a better job, use better quality paint (Ditzler, for example, but others also). At least get a couple of quotes and compare. Ask questions from them.
People should not say everything they think. They should think about everything they say.

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Raymond
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Re: Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by Raymond » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:16 pm

Depends on how much you want to spend, and how long you're going to keep the car.

As mentioned above, the mass-market chains skimp on the prep work to keep the prices and turnaround time down.

You'll have a paint job that "looks good from far but far from good" :P

If you have a mechanic you trust, ask him/her for a body/paint shop recommendation.

"Good, cheap, or fast. Pick two."
"Ritter, Tod und Teufel"

adamthesmythe
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Re: Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:36 pm

>the previous owner handpainted the roof when it started to peel and it looks bad.

ik.

Have you considered "wrapping" the car?

I would never do it to one of mine, but then my car doesn't have a hand-painted roof.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:52 pm

To give you an idea how crappy that Maaco job will be, I bought the supplies and paint needed to paint my Factory Five Cobra kit car 17 years ago from a neighbor who ran a body shop.....so I got shop rate for the paint and such. Cost was $1000. Figure the paint, thinner, clear, primer was at least $700 of that. This was for PPG urathane color and clear and omni primer. Remember this was 17 years ago so prices now are higher.

What you're being quoted for is acrylic enamel, which is what I sprayed on my Alfa spider project car in 1985. That runs about $100 all in for paint/thinner. Expect some runs, expect the tape job to be fast and bad. Expect the sanding to be marginal. Expect any fixed dents to be easily seen after paint is on. Expect some shrinkage after the paint dries.

A really good, proper 2 stage urathane paint job for your car might be under $10k. I would doubt it would be under $5k.

Either wrap it or leave it as it is. Save money to replace the R2 when it needs to be rebuilt (which is much, much sooner than piston engines). Or consider throwing an LSx into it. I considered buying a low mileage FC RX-7 for my son some years ago. At 33k miles, it really, really was ready for an engine rebuild. Most rotary owners mix a little 2 stroke oil with the gas to extend life.
Last edited by Jack FFR1846 on Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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MrNewEngland
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Re: Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by MrNewEngland » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:53 pm

Thanks for all the replies. I am definitely still leaning towards going the inexpensive route towards Maaco and realizing that I am not going to have a show quality paint job. I'll get another quote from a body shop but the first one I got was more than twice what Maaco wanted.

Plus I really don't want to sink too much money into a $4k car.

And as for my comment about the roof being "hand painted" - I may have misspoke. It wasn't painted on with a brush or roller, it was just a very amateurish job with a bad tapeline.

MrNewEngland
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Re: Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by MrNewEngland » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:56 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:52 pm
To give you an idea how crappy that Maaco job will be, I bought the supplies and paint needed to paint my Factory Five Cobra kit car 17 years ago from a neighbor who ran a body shop.....so I got shop rate for the paint and such. Cost was $1000. Figure the paint, thinner, clear, primer was at least $700 of that. This was for PPG urathane color and clear and omni primer. Remember this was 17 years ago so prices now are higher.

What you're being quoted for is acrylic enamel, which is what I sprayed on my Alfa spider project car in 1985. That runs about $100 all in for paint/thinner. Expect some runs, expect the tape job to be fast and bad. Expect the sanding to be marginal. Expect any fixed dents to be easily seen after paint is on. Expect some shrinkage after the paint dries.

A really good, proper 2 stage urathane paint job for your car might be under $10k. I would doubt it would be under $5k.

Either wrap it or leave it as it is. Save money to replace the R2 when it needs to be rebuilt (which is much, much sooner than piston engines). Or consider throwing an LSx into it.
I saw this after my last post. The bold part I above gives me a lot of concern. How visible will it be?

alfaspider
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Re: Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by alfaspider » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:09 pm

I'd say if you are going to do it, do it right. You say the roof job looks bad- but a MAACO paint job may result in the whole car looking like your roof. Those $500 paint jobs are really targeted at older cars with totally failed paint- not cars with a few dents.

If you must cheap out, consider doing some prep yourself before bringing it in. Other options include community colleges offering auto body repair instruction that may take on the car as a learning project, or more mom and pop type operations than a big body shop. You might also look outside your immediate area. Shop rates tend to be much higher in big cities- you might be able to get a much better price by driving an hour outside of town.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:22 pm

I'd say to go to a "real" body shop. Since I will assume you're in New England, I'll give you a name. Herb Chambers Body shop in Ashland. This is the shop that used to be Foreign Motors body shop. I've had a number of collision repairs done there. Go and get an estimate from them. They will give you a "real" number for a good quality paint job. If you're not close, I'm sure you can find other good shops. You really want compare the price a good shop gives you and compare it to a bottom of the barrel job that you can get cheap.

At some point, you're going to want to sell the car. The next owner will wonder what's under that Maaco paint job. They will worry less with original paint with some dents and that roof messed up.
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Mountain Fiddle
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Re: Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by Mountain Fiddle » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:31 pm

I took my 22-year-old truck to Maaco last winter and spent about what you've quoted to have it painted and a dent fixed. The clearcoat had started peeling badly. There was some sloppy overspray on a few areas, like the mudflaps, but overall the truck looks about 10X better than before. I figure if I get at least 2 or 3 more years out of it, it was worth it.

It still looks good now . . . I'm curious how long it will last.

onourway
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Re: Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by onourway » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:49 pm

How is the rest of the paint other than the roof? Is the clearcoat peeling there or just dull?

If it might be salvageable you may get much better results by having a competent body shop paint just the roof and wet sand and polish the rest of the factory paint. It'll probably still cost more than Maaco but it will look better, last longer, and make the car a much easier sell for you somewhere down the line.

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BolderBoy
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Re: Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by BolderBoy » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:47 pm

BHUser27 wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:36 am
I've had 2 vehicles painted by Maaco and 1 by Earl Scheib.
In 1968/69 my mom had her Dodge Dart station wagon painted by Earl Scheib for $29.95. She scooped up a bucket of dirt from the dirt road she lived on and told the shop she wanted that color.

And she never washed the car again after that. It was a wretched paint job from a completeness standpoint, but from a distance it didn't look too bad. And for $29.95...
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

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sunny_socal
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Re: Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by sunny_socal » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:43 am

I've had a maaco paint job before, it's fantastic for the money. Would only do it on a very old car.

cpumechanic
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Re: Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by cpumechanic » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:07 am

All

I have had three late model vehicles painted by my local Maaco shop and they did an excellent job. I did not opt for the lowest cost, and they worked with me to allow me to remove and reinstall door trim and mirrors to reduce labor costs. The paint used was a good as OEM, and the of all the jobs painting the front fenders, hood, bumper cover, and then "blend" into the side doors resulted in a perfect match. One of the paint jobs is now 3 years old and still looks excellent. THey used the highest quality paint and clear coat.. folks here are bashing Maaco.. and if you spend some time investigating they offer excellent value for $ spent, just take some time to learn about the prep and materials you are paying for , and what you can do.

Removing side lamps and door mirrors is easy (see Youtube) and results in a nicer paint job, and is less work for the shop to execute and therefore cheaper.

Cost for the jobs ranged from $800 to $1000 for just the front half of the car , and when I approached other body shops they could not touch that price.

If you opt for the lowest cost option, explore what prep work you can do on your own to improve the result, and ask about guarantee's for the result.

If you just want to drop the car off , and spend minimum dollars, expect a worse result, but one that will make the car look better for the next several years.

My experience

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onourway
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Re: Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by onourway » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:12 am

cpumechanic wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:07 am
The paint used was a good as OEM, and the of all the jobs painting the front fenders, hood, bumper cover, and then "blend" into the side doors resulted in a perfect match.
Citation needed here. I have several cars 20 years old, and one 35 years old with original paint. Other than some rock chips they all polish up to look as good as the day they left the factory. You aren't going to convince me that easily that Maaco is using OEM quality paint on an $800 paint job.

takeshi
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Re: Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by takeshi » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:44 am

MrNewEngland wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:13 am
Any advice from my fellow BHs would be appreciated.
I would strongly advise against Maaco and, instead, paying to have it done right but it's really your call to make. As pointed out above, you could end up with the entire vehicle looking terrible versus just the roof. Or you might get lucky and it might be decent from a distance. You really just don't beforehand when going with Maaco.

Whatever you do, don't cheap out on the maintenance of a Mazda rotary.

ermcgrat
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Re: Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by ermcgrat » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:03 am

Sounds like you should do it.

Take before and after pictures, and share your experience here afterwards. I'm curious to see how it goes.

whomever
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Re: Looking for advice on an automotive paint job.

Post by whomever » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:49 am

If you want really cheap: we had a 15 year old minivan we wanted to keep (because we'd fitted the interior as a camper). The factory paint started to peel on the roof. After pricing commercial paint jobs, I decided 'what the heck, it's old, I'll just use canned spray paint, and expect it to be ugly'. To my surprise, it wasn't. The original paint then started peeling off other parts. I ended up painting the whole car with cans over a couple of years. To my (possibly not very critical) eye it looked new, and the new paint lasted until we got rid of it several years later (cracked block).

I did try to do a good job - lots of filling and sanding of the sandable primer to fill rock chips, careful attention to the temperature recommendations, etc, clear coating (also from cans), etc. That's certainly tedious. There is a knack to spraying a layer thick enough to flow out smooth, but not so thick it drips. It cost maybe $150 to $200 for the supplies over time.

I heard the same advice people are giving above about cheap paint jobs, and wasn't willing to spend a couple thousand for a good one - that would have exceeded the car's value at that point. It worked out for me.

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