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Author Topic: Paint your BUS... "your own self"  (Read 4710 times)
JohnEd
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« on: February 15, 2009, 12:05:19 PM »

A while back there was a really BIG thread about having your bus painted, costs, time needed, paints...etc.  In that thread I related that I had painted my 30 ft. RV outside in front of a barn and in the dirt.  My precautions were that I wet the area down right before I sprayed and I did it at break of day when winds are at a standstill around here.  I also used the cheapest Nason Wimbledon Acrylic enamel I could lay my hands on.  I used a "slow" thinner cause I didn't want overspray/dry paint/rough surface so it stayed wet a good long while.  I used a Harbor Freight spray gun that didn't put out sufficient product for a RV job.  Recipe for disaster?  No, it came out beautiful.  Seems those vert sides outgas and that vapor flow down the side keeps dust and insects off till is tack free and it dries flawlessly.  I spent $140 for paint and I used no primer coat.  I don't remember a single post about my experience and that surprised me as painting a bus seems to be a multi thousand dollar "experience" for those that contract it out.

I read a post where "johns4104" painted his bus.  Looked really good.  Off line he shared that he painted the bus without the benefit of a paint booth.  He did it in his shop and he left the door OPEN.  Harmful vapors with Emron.  Cost him $600 for product not including primer.  I think anybody looking to paint his bus should get snugly with johns4104.

HTH

John
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 12:08:03 PM by JohnEd » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2009, 01:28:03 PM »

John. I agree. I have restored several cars and the paint I always farmed out as I thought it was a high skilled technique. Well after talking to some painters that sniffed a little to much lacquer thinner in their career I decided to try it myself. I bought a decent sprayer and a good dryer for my compressor and sprayed away, the results were great. I would do my bus when it needs a little sprucing up, proper scaffolding would be the big benefit.  I'm not knocking the many great painters that take pride in their workmanship and do a great job. My beef is with the few that talk the talk and then give excuses on why it looks like crap. I have a 63 Chev that looks like it was painted with a broom and a five gallon can of paint. That was the last one I sent out, start on something small and build confidence then fly at it. local community colleges also have night school body repair and paint classes. Of course stand back and look at the safety hazards and watch for over spray going over the fence and misting the neighbors new Rolls Royce.
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Fraser Field
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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2009, 03:38:14 PM »

JohnEd,

That sounds great, and a good way to save on the budget. Do you have any pictures of your finished product? If so, can you post what you have?
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« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2009, 06:27:39 PM »

I plan on painting my bus when the time comes. I'm  not really worried about the quality of the workmanship but more afraid of not getting a good quality paint since I'm not a paint expert. I know some paints look great for about a year but start turning chalky right after that. Isn't that the main reason most people try to stay away from the $25 a gallon oil based paint at Tractor Supply??? It would be great to get a little insight from others that have did their own painting like what paint they used, ease of use, cost, and how it is holding up compared to what it looked like the day it was painted.
Who knows, maybe there is a "Painter's Secret" to make the $25 gallon paint last as long as some of the more expensive brands.
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« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2009, 06:53:58 PM »

You can get auto quality paint in a variety of colors and stages on the e place. They come in kits and you can purchase as much or as little as you need. I see about a 75% discount in comparison to the costs at my local auto paint supply.

Good luck!

Grant
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Grant Goold
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Barn Owl
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« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2009, 07:04:33 PM »

John,

I added Eugine OR to my western trip because my bus needs a paint job. I will drop in unexpectedly so no one will have a chance to run and hide. jk lol.
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2009, 07:45:59 PM »

I picked up a gallon of rustoleum for my bus, and some thinner as well.  A good friend of mine who has been helping me with my coach is going to do it, he has all the guns and whatnot.  Am i expecting it to last more than a year?  Not at all....but at least it wont be devastating when i get sick of the paintjob, want to do something different but then realize that i put thousands into it.  Just my 2cents
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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2009, 07:48:05 PM »

I plan on painting my bus when the time comes. I'm  not really worried about the quality of the workmanship but more afraid of not getting a good quality paint since I'm not a paint expert. I know some paints look great for about a year but start turning chalky right after that. Isn't that the main reason most people try to stay away from the $25 a gallon oil based paint at Tractor Supply??? It would be great to get a little insight from others that have did their own painting like what paint they used, ease of use, cost, and how it is holding up compared to what it looked like the day it was painted.
Who knows, maybe there is a "Painter's Secret" to make the $25 gallon paint last as long as some of the more expensive brands.

the new base coat/clearcoats cover a lot of sins.  they used PPG basecoat clearcoat when they painted my bus and it seems to wash easy.  Yes i paid cause i wanted it done Wink

they used the ceramicpowder in the clear coat on the roof and it dont wash up quite as easy and i have parked under trees
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« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2009, 08:33:58 PM »

Way back in 1976 or so, some of us (not me!) kept spotting Squad One of the Bakersfield City Fire Department way too close to the fires.  The old Seagrave infact.  The last time parked too close to the job resulted in the right side of the apparatus being blackened and blistered.

Anyway, the Fire Chief spoke briefly and we listened intently and were handed some pine blocks, many sheets of 200, 400, 600 and 800 wet dry and a garden hose.  Parked the Squad in the breezeway at "Ones" and started sanding off the burned paint.  Did it daytimes between calls.

Eventually we got down to the bare metal and got all of the bad paint removed.   Then the Fire Chief personally presented us with some red primer which we thinned greatly and we began to lay on the brushes.  Very expensive Camel hair finish brushes if memory serves correctly.

After about 4 coats of primer and much sanding we did the same thing with bright Fire Engine Red paint which we also thinned and we layed about 10 coats of that on, sanding, then rubbing.  Beautiful!  Could NOT TELL it was brushed until you got real real close to the paint. HB of CJ

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JohnEd
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2009, 12:28:17 AM »

Freedom,

Sorry, I don't.  Wimbledon is the same beige color that Winnebagos come in stock....1973 vintage.  You could not tell a original Winnie paint job from mine.

!min,

The true heartache of what you are talking about comes at repaint time.  Compatibility is a crisis issue and the Rustoleum is not likely to tolerate a coat of high tech auto paint.  I don't know what the result would be and one is that it starts to bubble in 6 months.  Real horror stories out there.  Run that plan past your local  autobody/paint supply store for the inside skinny.  Were I you I would go with a automotive grade paint of some sort.  Most primers will allow moisture to wick thru and they are intended as a base coat for something.  Use a low quality auto paint and the finish will be much better and you can paint over it in time.  Rustoleum will rustproof whatever you put it on and it is a moisture barrier.  Youmight equal the cost I experienced with something else but you will beat it only with Latex.  Good luck Guy.

Barn Owl,

If I had that barn available I would suggest you do just that.  Alas, this property is so small I couldn't even park Tom's 4106 off street for his stay. Sad  No room in the Inn, Bro. Sad Sad  But you are welcome to visit us with little more warning than needed to allow a quick getaway. Grin

That info will save us all thousands.  Why do I always seem to forget about that "store"?

That paint job I did was done in 93 and the sides still shine and it was waxed maybe 4 times in all those years.  Gets an annual high pressure wash with Tide and Orygun moss and mildew cover it annually,  In the front of the old Winnies there is a horizontal surface under the windshield.  That spot builds up dust and is at right angles to the sun/ultraviolet light.  That paint is dissolved down to the aluminum skin and needs a recoat.  Maybe Rustoleum.

Good luck and thanks to all for your input,

John
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« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2009, 03:10:01 AM »

Knowing ones limitations is an important lesson learned in the conversion process. By the time I was ready to paint my bus I had seen really great home brewed jobs and some real horrible ones even a horrible one someone had paid for!!
 I decided with the cost of quality paint and the large area of a bus was no place to experiment and learn how to DIY. I had far too much work to finish the conversion to stop and learn how to paint. Also I did not have a paint booth available.
 After some investigation I found that the important part of the paint job was the preperation work. So I prceeded to do most of my own prep ( I should have done it all). I visited several paint shops and found that the painter at the local Macco had been spraying for lots of years and did large vehicles on a regular basis.  The quality of the mans finish was flawless.
 To make a long story short I paid $2K for a polyureathane paint job that looks great and has held up over the years of being constantly outside. I am happy with my decision. The cost at the time to do the job myself would have been over $1,000 for materials. Doing it again I would have done all the prep work as the little they did is not up to my standards.....

                                                           HTH  JIm
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« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2009, 03:47:48 AM »

Some people enjoy mechanical work and hate bodywork, or think bodywork requires skills or facilities they do not have. Personally I really enjoy doing bodywork and painting, and have sprayed several vehicles (and boats, which are a much more demanding application).

Painting your bus yourself it entirely doable, and I shall certainly be doing mine myself. It's a complicated subject though, and one where it would be well worth buying a book or reading several good magazine articles before trying for the first time. A few comments I would make on some of the points that have already been mentioned would be as follows:

- It's certainly possible to achieve an excellent finish by brush or pad painting rather than spray painting. I hand-painted a Land Rover once - it took days, but the result was stunning. Hand painting can only be done with old-fashioned sorts of paint (ie. enamel or what used to be called 'synthetic'), which precludes any modern finishes (metallics and candies, or any colours which require lacquers, of which there are many). Also, you will go mad if you try to hand paint any panel that has lots of rivets, edges, creases etc, as you will be constantly rubbing through the paint and/or leaving areas unflattened when doing the wet'n'dry stages.

- I buy stuff on eBay all the time, but I would be very suspicious of paint that was 75% cheaper on eBay than from your regular trade outlet - why is it so cheap? it might be out of date, 2nd grade, or even illegal (in Europe at least the law now requires all car-paint (not commercial vehicle paint fortunately) to be water-based, which apparently caused immense quantities of old-stock oil based paint to either be destroyed in specialist furnaces, or sold to other countries where they laws didn't apply (I was told Australia, but probably elsewhere too). I wouldn't mind betting that some such paint escaped the process and was bought for next-to-nothing by eBay retailers). Incidentally, paint is classed as a hazardous substance and requires specially licenced couriers to transport it - check the shipping used before buying from eBay.

- The choice of paint to use is vast, and you really do need to go with one 'system' from bare metal up to the gloss or lacquer coat. I had my fair share of chemical reactions in the early days, and it's not funny - and it's not just new paint which reacts - that 25-year old OEM paint will do it too, so don't take anything for granted. For cast-iron performance in all respects I would always use two-pack paint in solid colours - it's expensive, and it'll kill you if you don't wear an air-fed mask while spraying it, but it's really nice to use, gives an excellent finish, and is incredibly tough. If you want fancy colours or finishes, or are doing a paint scheme with 'fading' effects, or simply a pattern made up of various colours sprayed seperately, you will need to use a lacquer. The difficulty with lacquers is getting them to adhere properly, and not become detached from the underlying paint after a year to two. I've had this happen to me too, despite (I thought) doing everything properly. One of the issues is applying all the various coats within the specified time windows, to ensure they chemically bond with one another. Getting this right on something as big as a bus would be very tricky.

Jeremy
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« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2009, 09:03:24 AM »

I painted mine. Is it perfect? NO. Would I do it again? YES. I have over 900.00 in it. Tom Y
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« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2009, 10:38:17 AM »

I also painted our Eagle myself, did all the prep and finish. Is it perfect, not by a long shot. I will be repainting this year after I get my rear bodywork finished. That's OK, I enjoyed it and sure did learn alot. Studied the subject for several months, but hands on sure gets you well acquainted with how it should/should not look like.  I had the time and money for materials. Now if I could find someone to shoot it for the material cost I'd jump on that in a hearbeat. Ain't gonna happen....... Grin

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« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2009, 10:52:59 AM »

If you want to save a few buck and still use an automotive based product try Valspar.

http://www.valsparrefinish.com/refinish/index.jsp

A friend of mine in the bodyshop business uses it from time to time on trucks and farm tractors. They also have a product similar to Imron but at a cheaper price. As far as durability it is hard to beat Imron. Later
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