Question About Paint Quality - FFCars.com : Factory Five Racing Discussion Forum

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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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Angry Question About Paint Quality

So I finally decided since I couldn't find the time to paint my car that I would go ahead and pay to have it done. I selected a well recommended shop from these forums. When I asked for a price I was told around $10,500. I told the gentleman that I was going to have the car on track and really would like to try and see if there was somewhere to save some money. He told me he could cut the price to $8500 if he skipped the cut and polish. I agreed to that. So I took the car to him last February with the understanding that it would be done in May/June. I was good with this. During the process I agreed to a couple of add-ons bringing the total to $9000. I even verified that the price was going to be $9000 before agreeing to the last add-on.

He had agreed to do a couple of other things for me when he gave me the initial price. He did not do those things (install a driveshaft safety loop, cover the inner wheel wells with bed liner that I supplied). I brought him new weatherstripping I bought from Breeze, all the other weatherstripping that came with the kit, and the carbon fiber roll bar covers (this is a challenge car).

So come November the car is finally complete (only 5 months late). He sends me an invoice for $10,405.00. He charged me to put the car back together! How is this not in the price? This was never discussed. He also charged me for weatherstripping that I supplied. He did not return any of the weatherstripping that I brought him when I delivered the car to his shop.

I brought him a fully assembled car that I had been driving for several years. Before I took it to him I removed all of the lights (except the taillights), the windshield, roller gas cap, pretty much all of the external components.

He did not return the taillight bulbs and cut one wire that was going to a quick disconnect and lost one of the ground wires for the taillights. He did not install the roll bar covers but at least he returned those.

It seemed very odd to me to get an additional assembly adder of $1350 added to a quoted price. It would seem to me that would be part of the up front quote. There were several things in his list of itemized assembly adder that he didn't do but charged me for anyway. I paid all of this because he essentially had my car hostage. I'm not sure I would go so far as to call him a crook, but I do feel cheated.

So now after less than 200 miles I have a huge chip (about the size of my thumbnail) on the front fender and a few others smaller ones near the radiator opening. I do not have any chips like this on any of my other vehicles. Shouldn't the paint on the cobra be as durable as that of a normal car?

My question to everyone knowledgeable about paint is: Should the paint be this brittle? Will the chip in the photo continue to flake and get larger? I wrote an email to the shop that painted the car asking this question but have received no reply. Any input would be welcome. I am worried that the paint was applied incorrectly or that the body was prepped properly. After all the other issues with this shop, I am worried that the actual quality of the work is poor as well.

All I can say is that I am disappointed.

Thanks,
dug

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 02:06 PM
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I'm very sorry to read of your disappointment.


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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 02:33 PM
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You should always ask what type of paint is going to be used, including the primer. 2-part urethane is the standard high quality paint these days, but a shop doing a cut rate job on a car might use acrylic enamel. Even acrylic enamel can be had in a 2-part formula with hardener (since sometime in the '70s). In many places it's no longer legal to use acrylic lacquer due to VOC emissions.

A single big chip could just be an unfortunate rock hit, like the one that broke my windshield only a couple of months after completing my car. If you continue to get more chips or the chips enlarge, then I'd say the paint job is defective.

Last edited by daveS53; 02-15-2017 at 05:03 PM.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 02:52 PM
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Paint work is tough. Everyone is looking for something different. Usually when you get a chip like that one the paint and clear are too thick to flex. Maybe he usually sands off more than you did during that cut and buff step. Most of us are looking for paint that looks like you can put your hand into it, that means thick clearcoat. It is a double-edged sword. I hope thing work out.

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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he ended up doing the cut and buff for less money because he wasn't happy with the finish. If you add the charge to put the car back together with his "lower" cut and buff price it comes to about what it would have had I had him do the cut and buff from the beginning.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 04:29 PM
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Paint is one of the most challenging parts of getting a car completed. Costs are high, it always takes longer than it should and quality is hit or miss.

Sorry to hear about your issues. Hopefully it all works out.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 04:36 PM
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I can't offer an opinion on the chip.

As far as assembly goes I include complete reassembly on all of my body and paint jobs (I tell the owners that all they have to do to complete the exterior is put on the license plate) but not all painters do it without an additional charge. Sorry to hear that you had a misunderstanding with your painter on this.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 04:50 PM
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Wow, that more than sucks. While a chip will occur at some point that looks like a big one. Did you have any 3m protection on the front?

As for the charges, I have found that it seems that contracts are a little lacking from some vendors. It's not hard to put a standard one together with a list of all the possible options and check-off what the customer wants. Also on the timeline, that seems to be always in flux and seems to change a lot for some vendors.

I hope you can resolve your issues with the vendor because there seems to be a discrepancy between what you both agreed to.

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 05:39 PM
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So now after less than 200 miles I have a huge chip (about the size of my thumbnail) on the front fender and a few others smaller ones near the radiator opening. I do not have any chips like this on any of my other vehicles.

It's likely not the paint. Cobras don't have chrome and rubber bumpers or plastic, flexible body panels to catch all those pebbles...they lead the way with 'glass and paint.....and they chip. Get the 3-M stuff or get used to it.

I'd have finished a long time ago if I knew they were this fun!


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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 08:50 PM
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I have felt the pain myself.
I contracted a shop to paint my MKIII and it was a disaster. Crooked stripes, bubbles, incomplete spray, overspray, and more. And, I had to pay for it because it was the only way to get my car back out of that shop. Then I had to pay another shop to strip it, re-do all the prep, and then paint it all over again. The bad paint came off in chunks. 3 years total for that whole ordeal. The car is awesome now but I paid 3x what it should have cost, if it had been done right the first time. Lesson learned; I do as much as I can myself and my new MK IV will be painted by ME.

Have a couple friends that know body work check it out, and maybe even take a paint chip and send it to the paint MFG for analysis.

Opinion; I think your paint and / or primer was mixed wrong. Could also be improper surface prep in between primer and paint. I have PPG black on my MK III now, and Its hard as can be. I have no undercoating in my fenders at all, and I get rocks in the fenders all the time but no sign of it affecting the paint one bit.

I don't want to scare anybody, but you may have to start thinking about having your paint re-done if it is not up to your 100% satisfaction now. Anything less will bug you to no end. All that work to have only mediocre paint job.


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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 11:15 PM
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It is all about the preparation before paint.

I just had my car completed by Ron Randall at Metal Morphous here in the Northeast. While everyone does the prep a little different, Ron adds a step that will ensure a long lasting paint finish. Sort of old school, but after all the seams, panel alignment are completed. The gel coat gets totally sanded, then several coats of spray on gel coat are applied. This is left to gas off, then the standard process of 2K sealer, and poly primers are applied. That provides a solid base for the all important paint process. From here, it is a relatively simple process of shooting base/clear, then the cut and buff.

The key is having a good base to which you apply that expensive paint.

I live on a half mile gravel road, so I will provide updates as to how much abuse the paint can handle. Oh, that is, if it ever stops snowing in Maine. Hoping to drive the car by late April.

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 12:25 AM
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There is absolutely no reason to reapply gel coat these days. A long lasting paint job can now be done by several different methods that do not involve more gel coat. If polyester primer is applied right after the body filler work, then additional coats of urethane or epoxy primer must be applied to seal the polyester before final urethane paint. The polyester product helps to insure that there will be no "read through" of underlying body filler work.

Evercoat makes several types of polyester primer that work well. I've used Super Build, Finish Sand and G2. Applying 2 coats in one color and a third coat in a contrasting color helps reveal areas that might need additional body work. Unlike gel coat, they sand easily.

http://www.evercoat.com/evercoat-primers/us/

My car is proof that this technique works well. It's painted black, with a large percentage of the body covered with body filler. There is no evidence of where the body filler work ends and the gel coated only areas remain.

Last edited by daveS53; 02-16-2017 at 02:14 PM.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 01:49 PM
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I agree that chip is way too large. I remember back in the day reading that when some of the racers started using Imron that was one of the problems. It was much more resistant to chemicals and was really shiny and easy to keep that way, but it was brittle and chipped like yours.

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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 03:37 PM
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$10K is insane to get one of these cars painted. I do paint and body work. I did all of the bodywork and paint on my MK4 in 3 weeks and I think it came out very nice. If I were to do one for someone else I could not see the price going above $7500 (including cut and buff). Here are a few pics of what i did in the garage at my house with no booth. If anyone is in the southern PA area and is looking to have their car painted get a hold of me, Id be happy to give an estimate.

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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 09:32 PM
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You a vendor now are ya?

I'd have finished a long time ago if I knew they were this fun!


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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike D View Post
You a vendor now are ya?
Not at all, just offering a second opinion on what I feel is price gouging.
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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 04:08 PM
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Awesome.
I fully plan to do the prep and paint my MK 4 all myself. After participating in each stage of the strip and re-do of my MKIII, I learned a lot and its not super hard to do. Its labor intensive, all that sanding, and you need good lighting for sure. And just a good eye and judgement to see any waviness or imperfection that will show when the paint goes on.

I don't get how a "professional" shop got my stripes crooked and the poor surface finish as well. It was so bad, I could have done better myself with rattle cans and a roll of old tape. Really I'm not kidding. I have pictures of it.

The car is 13ft long and most have no top, with 2 small doors. All the panels and trim are easy to remove and just bolt back on. What costs $10,000 to do? There is no excuse for mediocre let alone poor work if you pay $10,000. For that it should be perfect, shiny, show car, every time, and no haggling with anyone about it.

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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 04:38 PM
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Not at all, just offering a second opinion on what I feel is price gouging.

Not how it works here. We have people that paint cars that pay to advertise, not fair for you to run a free ad.
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I'd have finished a long time ago if I knew they were this fun!


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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 04:54 PM
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I can't (and won't) comment about the OP's issue with quality. Doesn't look or sound good. But those kinds of things rarely get worked out in a public forum. The two parties can hopefully resolve through direct communication.

As to the general question about cost, this is discussed a lot. I've gone through this three times with two different painters, so have some experience and thoughts about it FWIW.

There are absolutely options for some/all DIY. There are also options for the material. Wide variations in cost depending on color, metallic yes/no, quality of material, etc. Also some options for the work done, e.g. stripe/no stripe, cut/buff yes or no, how much fitting and body work, final assembly, etc. But in the end, in very general terms, there are some common aspects.

1. While these cars are small, that doesn't mean a lot. Based on the shape and curves, it's almost totally hand work. Ask anyone that's done one.

2. Material costs are going to be in the $2000 - $3000 range. Highs and lows to that number, but that's the range. If it's less than that, I would question what's being used and the quality.

3. Labor time is going to somewhere in the 100 - 150 hour range. Again, there are variations depending on the work done, but that's the range. Even those that have done a bunch of them can vouch for this time. If it's taking less, something is being cut somewhere and it will show in the final result.

4. Shop rates vary depending on the locale (what's usual and customary in one area may not be in another) and the actual shop. But somewhere in the $40 - 50 - 60 range is going to be very typical.

Do the math guys. Don't want to start a debate or a flame war. It's what it costs.
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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-21-2017, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
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I appreciate the thoughts. The guy told me to just drive it as I would any car. Nothing was mentioned about having to protect it with any 3M product. What product are you referring to?
Thanks again
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post #21 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 01:52 AM
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Hey Dug,
Sorry to hear of your paint woes! It sucks when you have your mind set on something, you pay a fair price and get a subpar job. I have had 3 Roadsters painted by the same guy. The first one was the first one he ever painted, it was done in 11 days and cost us $2500 back in 2000. Still looks great today, granted at the right angle you can see some of the parting lines but hey it was his first one, we didnt know about Rage Gold or West Epoxy at the time. The next car was painted in 2004 and was much better but it had to go back due to some pinholes, I think that one was in the $4000 range. The last one I had done was in 2011 straight black and it ran me $7500. All included cut and buff and were returned to me just a bare shell for me to put on my frame and finish myself. Hopefully this gives you some frame of reference. I have some small chips on #1 on the front of the rear fenders but thats just the nature of the design. Eventually I will put some spats on to cover it up. As for the 3M product everyone is referring to, its a clear film that is self adhesive and it barely visible once applied. Its an extra layer of protection that doesnt change the appearance and can be removed and replaced at any time. Not sure how flexible it is for doing such a curvy body, maybe some users will comment. Hopefully you can come up with a solution to your dilemma that suits you. Maybe I will bring mine down to Solman next time since my painter is moving to Alaska. I cant seem to find any paying advertisers in the vendor list that mention paint and body besides Whitbys and VCP but they are too far for me to travel to. Half the vendor links are dead anyway since the forum was sold. Maybe if I look on the other site I will have better luck! Good Luck

Mike

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