Just a word of advice. If you use the Kirker clear, in addition to applying epoxy, urethane primer, basecoat, and clearcoat in one day. Be ready to wetsand & polish to get any amount of gloss.
I sprayed Kirker Black Diamond that had been set aside from a shop truck repaint because of color match on some metal cabinets last week. Base wasn't bad, but had poor hiding in my opinion, but the clear literally had no gloss at all. Stuff was drying (overspray) on the uncleared portion of the cabinet immediately adjacent to where I was spraying even with slow reducer added.
If you want a decent job, try to get the bodywork & stripping done, then get it primed. Wait a few days and sand it. Then dive into painting it. The urethane primer WILL have texture if it isn't sanded.
You may need to rent the booth twice, but the primers do need time to dry or you will end up with dieback and edge mapping where the primer goes over both metal and original coatings. Avoid rattle cans.
I would also recommend stepping up to a better clear if you want some gloss with less effort.
If you absolutely only have 1 day to do this, I would epoxy, let dry 2-3 hours then straight to basecoat flash dry then a decent clear.
Good luck and post pics when you're done
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Thank you so much for taking the time to help a random stranger on the internet with his questions. I can't even begin to appreciate being able to draw upon your vast experience I have learnt so much already and I feel a little less daunted as I think about this seemingly monumental project!
You are definitely correct, there are definitely a few spots that require minor bodywork. However, the reason that I am choosing to overlook them are:
1. They are very very small and noticeable only in the right light and angle, and that too only to the very watchful eye.
2. I am taking care of all the instances of rust, which are only present in the little exposed chips on the hood, by using the epoxy primer. Luckily this has been an Arizona and California car where we have next to no rust at worst.
3. I am trying my best to not cheap out on supplies, process etc. but I think the imperfections I talked about are the limits to which I will be going to for a DIY paintjob on a 20 year old car with 215k miles. Granted I do like it a lot and I am confident it will be on the road 5 years from now (notwithstanding other drivers of course) but taking care of those imperfections would be beyond the time/money that I am willing to spend currently. Hope that makes sense.
I will note your advice about the 400 grit! Thank you!
I have another question about the prep process - after stripping the car down to bare metal, how long would it be safe for me (considering rust/oxidation) to delay before taking the car to the booth?
My cleaning process after taking the car to the booth, before applying epoxy to the bare metal, is to do a detergent wash, then a solvent wash - Kirker Wax & Grease Remover - 650, then abrade metal with 180 grit, then do a final clean with Kirker Surface Wash - 600.
Ideal case is I want to finish the pre booth prep work (sanding down to bare metal) the night before the booth slot, but just curious as to how long I could leave it bare metal. I have a small one car garage where I will be doing the sanding, I live in Arizona USA which is pretty dry, very hot (should be close to 50 degrees Celsius when I start the prep in a few weeks).
That is very interesting, thank you for sharing. For reference I was actually told by the technical support team to use product number EC300 (Kirker Ultra High Solids 4:1 Clear) instead of product number EC350 (Kirker Black Diamond Low-VOC Urethane Clearcoat). Were you referring to EC350 in your post, or EC300
Unfortunately I do not have the ability to spray primer at home as I only have a small garage, cannot do it outside as my apartment complex wouldn't be very happy, and don't have a compressor. Which is why I am looking to do the epoxy, primer, base, and clear in two days. The urethane primer takes 3 hours to dry before I can wet sand it so this means I will have to spray the base coat on next day as the booth is only open till 5 each day. I am following the technical data sheets (TDS) for ALL flash times/drying times, and the TDS for the urethane primer says I need to wait 2-4 hours for urethane primer to dry before it can be wet sanded (which is why I'm going for a wait time of 3 hours to be on the safe side). Hopefully that is accurate.
I you are dead set on not doing any bodywork on the car, you can go from bare metal, to epoxy, to your paint, in one day. No sanding, except for minor scuffing if you get junk in your epoxy or base.
When I used to send jobs out to Maaco for paint (cars/repairs not worthy of a good paint job) I would do all the prep, sanding, bodywork, etc, finish any work in 400 or 500 grit, and send it to the painter. They sealed, and painted it in one shot. Usually came out pretty nice for the quality of the car it was on. So even if you do your bodywork, do it over bare metal, if you can't epoxy before (we've been doing this for over 50 years!). Then work it to a fine 500 grit finish before bringing it to the booth. Just be sure to put a couple coats of epoxy on first, to seal up the bodywork before painting.
Not the best way to get a good paint job, but it works.
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