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Author Topic: Painting the frenchy-bus (longish)  (Read 4151 times)
bobofthenorth
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« on: July 02, 2012, 02:53:03 PM »

I've been reluctant to start this thread but I guess most of the regulars here have long since figured out that I'm an idiot.  Any newbies reading this thread will pretty soon arrive at the same conclusion.  As I have alluded to in other threads, the frenchy-bus had become pretty tired looking.  In four or five places cracks were starting to open up in the fibreglass board, particularly where the caps attach plus I had one bad one over the drivers on the road side.  My original intent was to patch the cracks, get a close paint match and then slobber some new clear over everything to make it look less worse than it did.  I have never had any illusions that I was going to end up with a show stopper paint job.  The last straw came this spring when I was buying fuel at the Husky on the east side of Regina and some steering wheel holder in the next lane said something to the effect of "nice bus but she's sure starting to show her age isn't she?"

I phoned around the bodyshops in Saskatoon and everyone said I needed to talk to Walker's Auto Body so I took the outside cover for the fridge to them for paint matching.  I opened the conversation by telling "Dan" that I didn't have an effing clue what I was doing but that I was going to do it anyway.  He was very helpful and by the end of the day I had a couple of quart of supposedly matched paint.  Its not cheap.  Then I stopped at Peavey Mart, Princess Auto and Ukrainian Tire to pick up a 1.6 HP 20 gallon compressor along with some various sanding machines, water eliminators, regulators, die grinders, etc, etc. 


The picture above is the curbside rear cap with patch in progress.

I started out on the @$# end fixing the cracks on both sides by grinding them back and layering fibreglass cloth over the patch to build out to the original level.  That part I'm pretty comfortable with.  I use West System and I've done so for years so I pretty well know what it will do and I've got a good stock of fillers, cloth and the various hardeners.  When I got the back end ready for paint I masked and tried shooting to blend into the existing grey/silver of the coach.  It was close but no cigar.  So it was decision time and I decided that God hates a coward so as I have done all too many times in my life I went for it.  Several years ago I told a customer that God hates a coward and he shot back "Yep but he hasn't got much time for fools either."  Let me tell you it was damn hard to start sanding the good areas.  Those shiny ribbons on the frenchy-bus took a lot of sanding.  I was buying 75 packs of assorted grit at Canadian Tire and I think I went through 6 or maybe 8 of them.  At the same time we were working out what the new colour scheme would be.  There wasn't a hope in hell that we could duplicate the airbrushed ribbons and I didn't want to do something with straight lines.  With all due respect to those of you who have gone that way, it shows.  Nothing screams "I DID THIS MYSELF" more than straight lines on a bus paint job. 

Today I started shooting red paint and very quickly learned that I need a lot more paint.  So far I've got about $3000 all in on this project.  That's paint, supplies, compressor, air tools - everything.  By the time I get done that total will be $4000 and change.  I thought 1 quart of red would be adequate - in fact it will likely take 3 and I will buy 4 just to be sure. 


That's the paint I'm using, in case anybody cares.  Its a base/clearcoat 2 part urethane system from Sherwin Williams. 


That's the start of the red.  As you can see it isn't covering the old stripes yet.  I'm really paranoid about runs so likely I'm not laying down as heavy coats as I could get away with but all I've got is time.  The two pieces of tape amidships are my test strips to see what I can get away with as far as taping for additional colours.  So far what I've learned is that they are leaving a small amount of adhesive residue which I think will wipe away with my final wipe but I don't want to try that until the paint has an overnight cure.  The two remaining pieces of tape were applied 2 hours after shooting and will stay on overnight to make sure that they don't lift the base when I peel them back.


Another shot from the back this time. 

So be gentle with your comments.  The best advice anybody could give me is that I'm an idiot who should have hired an expert.  That's not gonna happen.  I've known a lot of painters over the years and - nice guys that they are all of them - they're no smarter than me.  I also watched some Mexicans painting coaches at Puerto Penasco the year that Mel & Billie enticed us down there.  They were painting coaches on the sandy, dusty parking lot and they were turning out just fine.  My biggest challenge is getting a weather break in the non-stop pissing rain that western Canada has had dumped on it for the last month but so far the forecast for this week is good.  Unfortunately I'll lose tomorrow because I have to make a supply run for paint. 

I've got an old geek who used to own a bodyshop in town who's keeping an eye on me.  He says my biggest challenge will be that bugs will migrate from miles around to die in my paint but that hasn't been a problem so far.  I think the clear will stay tacky longer than the base so it may be more of an issue once I start shooting clear.  The base dries so fast the bug would have to be riding on the spray gun to get there in time to stick.
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2012, 03:02:50 PM »

I knew you liked the awning Bob but wouldn't it be easier to change the fabric color lol it will turn out good I have faith in you and George

good luck
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bobofthenorth
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« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2012, 03:06:50 PM »

I was pretty proud of myself for figuring out how to tie it up over the roof like that.  Would never have happened without your good instruction. 
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2012, 03:55:59 PM »

When you're all done practicing, Papabus could use a facelift.   Looking good so far!

Mark
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Mark Morgan    near Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
1972 MCI-7     'PapaBus'  8v-71N MT654 Automatic
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« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2012, 04:00:49 PM »

That's what I keep telling the neighbour Mark - the farther away you get the better it looks.  From where you are it must look real good - what are you ~ 150 miles or so?
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2012, 04:14:59 PM »

LOL. Yep, likely 150-200 miles as the crow flies.

But, unless you can also work magic with your digital cam, even the photos are looking good!
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Mark Morgan    near Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2012, 04:25:05 PM »

So...is the red you've applied today in the shape it is because it's the beginning of a new 'big swirly pattern' type paint scheme?  Personally I'd have primered the whole bus first to get a uniform base, then paint the whole thing with a top coat in whatever single colour is the 'background' colour of the new paint scheme. And only then start on the individual colours of the pattern such as this red.

But I've probably completely misunderstood what you've got planned, and am not helping at all.


Jeremy
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« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2012, 05:16:59 PM »

Yes, the red is the start of some curved shapes.  And I was advised that there was no need to prime since the entire bus had been previously painted and since I was painting over plastic.  There might have been some advantage in terms of covering the previous paint scheme but at a considerable increase in material cost.  Based on the layers of paint I uncovered during sanding none of the previous colours were initiated with a total re-prime.

My goal when I was sanding was to get to a solid base.  In a few locations I encountered flaking layers but those areas were relatively small and in each case I chased the flaking until I couldn't find any more of it.  As I have made abundantly clear in previous posts and earlier in this post, I have no illusions that I am likely to end up with a showroom paint job.  My goals were first to repair the cracks in our 20+ year old conversion structure and second to have something that looks acceptable at 60 MPH.
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2012, 05:54:23 PM »

Bob when you are finished a good round of 3M supercut compound and sponge wheel on a buffer who knows you may decide to do it for money it will look so good even the best use the 3M

good luck
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« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2012, 05:59:53 PM »

We had the top of our bus painted where the sun had burned through the purplish color when we were down in Mexico a couple of trips ago.  Well just when you think a paint problem is solved it shows up again. The sun scorched it again so I guess we have to go white on the top if we want continue living in the desert. If you get good at this Bob you can do the white for us.

Melbo
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« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2012, 06:01:20 PM »

Good on you Bob, everyone needs a hobby and you can go on the road with sprayer in hand. I'm sure you will get some armchair experts with their Googled advise on this one. The buffer will make the runs and blemishes go away.  Are you close to the #1, Dorothy and I are traveling to Thunder Bay, leaving here August 8th.
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Fraser Field
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« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2012, 06:13:53 PM »

Perfect opportunity for a bus rally at our place in August! Bob can show off the paint job, I can show my 'shift-less' driving technique, and Fraser can awe us again with his culinary skills!

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Mark Morgan    near Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
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« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2012, 06:19:23 PM »

Mel you live in Albuquerque go by Jims and let him do his thing with the line a bed materail you cannot be the only one there without it on the top of your bus lol
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bobofthenorth
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« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2012, 06:38:31 PM »

Don't hold your breath on that paint job Mel.  And Fraser we're further off #1 than you likely want to go.  Even if you swing north at Balgonie it would still add 60 or 80 miles to your trip.  But Mark may be onto something.  He's not that far away for us.  Remind us as the time gets closer.

And thanks Clifford - sounds like a good excuse to buy another tool.  Gotta love any project that increases your tool count and this one's been pretty good on that front already.
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2012, 09:47:09 PM »

Bob, yer putting swirls and curly cues on Frenchy? Now you'll certainly get rousted crossing the borders, but enough on immigration Grin Yer doin a splendid job, one I'm sure we'll all be proud of  Grin  Lol! While some are laying it down, I'm bustin hump to get mine off Roll Eyes Grin

  Keep at it, you'll do fine Wink

      V.
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