Rear Door Trim Alignment – Part 1

So the other day, I was looking through old posts on this blog when I ran across THIS post. It’s about the piss-poor factory alignment of the paint divider trims on the drivers side rear door. I HAD FORGOTTEN ALL ABOUT THIS!  I had done bodywork to the door, then set it aside and forgot that I needed to re-located the trim holes. It’s damn lucky that I ran across this post, or I could have very well painted the door, hung it, then been in horrible shock when I went to install the trim! OOPS!

So, I had the fun job of re-installing the un-finished door on the finished and painted body… without scratching anything! Some tape in all the vulnerable areas helped me out.

Getting the door latch striker in the right spot was a pain. I actually used a different striker, not the one shown in the picture to figure out just where it should go (along with some tape behind it to avoid scratches). Once I got it where it should be, I carefully removed it, peeled the tape off, then installed this fresh re-plated (cadmium) striker plate. This plate is installed for good! Wow, the FIRST part to be re-installed on the body that will stay there.. for good!



With the door installed and aligned properly, it shuts and opens nicely. Kinda scary doing this with real paint to watch out for… but, I managed it without any chips or scratches.

As you can see in the picture below, my straight-edge shows that the holes in the door are way off. I scribed a line so I’ll know where the new holes should be.


Part two… I’ll probably file them down to where they should be, then weld the upper part of the hole and file it to a nice finish. Oh, and not only are they out of alignment, they forgot to punch the front holes for both the upper and lower trims!  I guess it still worked okay, since the trim ran underneath the big airplane ornament which held it down…. lame! Now it’s a pain in the butt!  Apparently Chevrolet didn’t have very high standards! Here’s that shot again of the way it looked on the car before I took everything apart.


Engine Almost Done

Well… it still needs painted, and accessories installed, etc.  But it’s all together now and fresh! Thanks to my brother Marty Stromberger at Stromberger Performance for his hard work!

Check out the killer finned aluminum valve covers from Holley.. brand new to the market! These will look bitchin’ under the hood!

… and we can’t forget the rebuilt TH350 automatic transmission. Mild shift kit installed. Got a great deal on this through family friend Hal Burrows. Thank’s Hal!




Dash Painted

Yep, the dash, err sorry… the “instrument panel” has paint on it, and it’s BLACK!  That means the decision has been finalized… the interior will be black and white, just like when it left the factory.

The pic shows the satin finish looking awesome… and, while I do like the sheen, it has plenty of dust in it. Damnit!  I tried really hard too, considering my horribly dirty working environment. I didn’t use the air hose at all today before painting (to avoid making dust airborne). I cleaned and wiped everything down by hand, masked it all off carefully, used a tack rag… and BAH! DUST!  So now I’m not sure what I’m going to do. You can definitely see it when you look close, and there are several fairly big bits of dust that you can see easily. It’s not going to be good enough to leave it as-is, which was my worry going into this. Ya can’t really cut and buff this stuff, or so they say. I’ve heard that you can do very minor cut/buff spots, then light hand buff all over to match… which is what I may end up doing. Worse case scenario, I scuff the whole things and re-shoot.  I’m not sure, but I think where I went wrong was in not covering up the floor of the car. Even though I was shooting a good ways away from the floor, I might have still kicked up dust.

I ended up using PPG DAR Acrylic Enamel for this… oldschool! I was debating between using DCC Acrylic Urethane or this quart of Eastwood “2k underhood black” I have that is pre-flattened. I ALMOST went with the Eastwood, but then I opened up the can, it just didn’t look like a really good dark black, like the PPG stuff. Not to mention, Eastwood products, while they may be good, seem to have this sort of amature reputation. So why did I shoot Acrylic Enamel instead of Urethane? I was out of hardener for the urethane! And I had about half a quart of Enamel leftover from quite a few years ago. I just dumped in the appropriate ratio of DX685 flattener to get to the “eggshell” level, then a tad more for good measure, mixed it up real good… and now i have the rest of this Quart pre-flattened for when I shoot the gauge pods and other interior bits.  Let’s hope the gloss will match!




Dash Primed in Featherfill G2

Progress? What? Yes! Not much, but at least it’s something.  I did a tiny bit of filler work on the dash to smooth out some imperfections. Some were damage, but most was factory uglies! Probably not something that would show, but I smoothed it out anyway. Topped with some Featherfill G2. Will smooth that later, then seal with some DP epoxy before applying color.

Dash Before HB Dash After HB

Body Painted

FINALLY… The body is painted! Three coats of acrylic urethane and it’s finally all one color. I painted this a little later in the season than I’d like to have. Since it’s been getting colder outside and I need to suck fresh air into the shop while painting, I wanted to do this while it was still in the 60’s outside. Unfortunately I’ve run out of time and I can’t wait any longer, so I just did it… even though it was only about 50 degrees outside. The shop furnace did a decent enough job keeping the temps up to a workable range, but the fact that the side of the car nearest to where the air was coming in was probably a good 5-10 degrees cooler than the other side, is far from ideal. I suspect this contributed to why I ended up with some runs on that side of the car… the paint wasn’t “kicking” as fast as the rest, so even though my paint wasn’t necessarily going on any heavier than anywhere else, I ended up with some runs just below where the bottom paint divider trim goes. No big deal, I can fix it! I think it’ll sand out just fine. Also, I got some solvent-pop on the top surfaces… so all along the top of the quarters and in front of the trunk opening. Again, I think the colder temps contributed. I was not waiting long enough between coats, since it was curing a lot slower than normal. Applying the last coat, the solvent-pop dimples appeared. They look kinda like fish-eyes, but not as deep.  But, I can fix it! When I color-sand, they should all come out. They aren’t deep, I think just in the final coat of paint. Of course I got plenty of dust again. Painting in my shop is certainly not the cleanest environment, but it’s ok… I can fix it! It’ll be gone when color-sanding.

I used 28oz of color to finish the body, that’s the quarter panels, rocker panels, top of quarters and the tail light panel area. So far I’ve used a total of 50 ounces of color doing all the shiny parts (not counting the door jambs, firewall or inside the trunk). I have 78 ounces of color left, which will be enough to finish the doors, hood, front fenders, trunk lid and other small bits. However, it doesn’t leave me any room for mistakes! I already bought the extra quart that I used for the jambs, etc, so the full gallon I bought would have BARELY gotten the job done, if not come up a bit short. Hindsite being 20/20, I should have bought a gallon and a half all at one time. Then I’d have cross-mixed them to guarantee it would all be the exact same shade. As it is, the extra quart I bought is slightly more creamy colored. Not exactly happy about that, but since the areas it was used are separated from the rest, it doesn’t really show. The most noticeable area is were you can see the rear door jamb against the quarter panel (see pic).

The tape line between the door jambs and the quarters came out okay, but not great. I used the 3M aperture tape, which is designed for this job. However having used it now, I can see that this stuff probably works a lot better with basecoat than it does with single-stage. When shooting basecoat, its thin… a LOT thinner than single-stage. So by the time I piled on 3 coats of paint, it started to bridge the tape in a few areas which makes for a harder line than If I had just masked it off with regular tape!  Oh well… I was able to knock the edge off by rubbing along the line with my finger after I unmasked the car and pulled the tape off. Paint was still rubbery enough to do that. Good thing I opted to unmask everything before calling it a night! Trying to knock that edge off with sandpaper would have been difficult.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the result. Definitely need to color-sand and buff. It has enough defects that it’ll need it, but I was already planning to do it because I really like that super flat and glossy “show car” look. It’s why I put on three coats, not two.  One thing I’ve learned about doing this in my shop without a paint booth…. next time, build a paint booth! Especially if I’m doing a base/clearcoat job. With so much dust, some of it is bound to be visible if it were entombed inside a clearcoat.


body in paint-4

The body of the car, finally in paint! Still have to do the black stripe.


body in paint-6

Glossy quarter panel up against the satin finish door jamb for a factory-ish appearance.

Factory Paint Runs

While sorting through the pile of parts I brought home, I noticed that this interior “knee knocker” cover which butts up against the dash has a big ole’ run in the paint! I guess the run is down low where ya don’t see it so much, but even so, would you accept this on your brand new Chevy? So much for GM quality!  Truth is, during dismantle of this car and several parts cars, I’ve noticed a lot of sloppy work. Maybe there’s truth to the slogan “beat to fit, paint to match!”  I’ll have to do a post some time on that subject.

Factory paint has runs. Also not the not-too-glossy finish. Maybe a little bit shinier than "egshell".

Factory paint has runs. Also note the not-too-glossy finish. Maybe a little bit shinier than “eggshell”.


Brought Home More Parts

Maybe I’m jumping the gun a little, but I thought I’d bring home more parts from the storage shed. I was mostly after trim, but I also brought home several heater assemblies and two steering columns. I’ll go through it all to choose the nicest parts for restoration. I have parted out several cars in the past, so as a result I have spares of everything. This is the way to go! It sure beats trying to fix damaged parts or having to buy stuff as-needed via eBay, etc.


bring home more parts-4 bring home more parts-1 bring home more parts-2 bring home more parts-3

Door Jambs Painted

Shot the door jambs today. Masked off the rest of the body, and even the floor inside. Not because I wanted to keep overspray off the floor, but because I wanted to minimize how much dust I’d kick up while spraying. I still ended up with a fair amount of dust in the paint, but ya can’t even see it unless you get up super close and really look for it. I guess that’s one of the advantages of using a satin finish here. Glossy paint would surely show ever spec of dust!  While I was at it, I decided to spray the inside of the quarter panels in the trunk back to body color. I just wasn’t happy with the sloppy look of the black undercoating overspray edges… not that it really matters, since it all gets covered up with a mat and cardboard side panels anyway.  Oh, I also sprayed the bottom side of the rocker panels too. That’s why I have the back end jacked up like you see in the pic… to allow me more access to spray under there. I figured this area could be shiny like the body panels, but spraying this area would risk kicking up dust, so why not just spray it when I do the door jambs so I don’t have to worry about it. Naturally, the facing side of the rocker panel will be glossy. I’m going to use some 3M aperture tape to ensure a soft transition line between the glossy and the satin painted jambs/rocker bottoms.

door jambs painted-1

The masking around the vin tag came out awesome. Looks like the tag was applied after the paint! Very happy with that.  Check out that satin finish. It looks very clean and factory-ish! Totally happy that I decided to put in the extra effort to do the jambs/firewall/trunk this way.

What I notice however when looking at the photo of the drivers front door jamb (with tag), is that the area inside the cowl is actually visible from this angle! You can see the ugly factory undercoating in there. I think I may see if I can squirt some rattle-can black in there to hide it.

door jambs painted-3

Roof Painted

Got some paint on the roof today! This was the big test, since it’s the first large panel I’ve painted that is supposed to be glossy and “perfect”. I shot three coats of PPG Concept Acrylic Urethane (DCC) which should be enough to allow me to cut and buff it later. I am very happy with the results. I only got one bug in it and a few specs of dust. Not too bad considering my paint-booth is just my shop with the big door open and the exhaust fan to my bicycle-size paint booth running for cross-ventilation. It worked decently… I’m glad I decided to do it this way instead of wasting a lot of time and money building a plastic tent contraption which may not have even yielded better results.

I ended up mixing up two batches of paint, because I wasn’t sure how much it was going to take. With 3 coats, I ended up using 18 ounces of paint plus the hardeners and reduces which made for a total of about 32 sprayable ounces. This also covered the bottom ledge of the roof just above the rear window with two coats.  I went light (just one coat) on and below the drip rail because these areas get covered up by stainless trim and the rubber weatherstrip. I suppose I could have left it in bare primer, but I didn’t want to take any chances in case some tiny part of it is visible between trim pieces or something.

I used my Iwata LPH400-LV for it’s intended purpose for the first time doing this. Up until now, I’ve shot the other parts of the car (firewall, trunk) where it didn’t even really matter how my technique or gun settings were. This time it really mattered because I want (of course) the paint to come out as smooth as possible with no runs and good coverage. I read up in forums about what experienced painters were suggesting regarding the usage of this gun, plus watched a few Youtube videos. I ended up setting the pressure at the manufacturer recommended 16psi (I know, that’s low) with fan and fluid knobs turned wide open, with the gun about 5 inches from the surface, moving somewhat slowly. Worked out great! Not perfect… that’ll take practice, but I did get it to flow out pretty good. I did notice a decent amount of overspray was happening, which surprised me because I was under the impression that this gun didn’t perform like that, but my frame of reference is pretty limited so maybe it was just as it should be… I dunno, I’m a rookie!

Should I color sand it and buff soon? Many pro’s suggest doing this asap before the paint gets too hard. If you wait too long, it is much more difficult to sand and buff… but, I dunno…. I am in no hurry, and honestly I’d rather take it slow and not risk sanding through or having the paint shrink back and dull-out after a while because I was in too big of a hurry.

roof painted