It’s been quite the journey to get to the point where I can assemble the car. I have a few more tasks to take care of before I start bolting parts on the car for good. Powder coating the chassis added decades of protection. One thing paint and powder can’t do is get in-between sheet metal and ultra tight spaces. So I applied some seam sealer to the sheet metal joints.
Most people just slap it on and it works, but I prefer a cleaner install by taping all of the seams off. It will leave you with nice clean edges. In my opinion, it’s well worth the extra effort.
I went with SEM automotive 1 part seam sealer. It’s very easy to use. No special tools, just your average caulk gun is required. I run a bead in the seam, smooth it with my finger, and a few minutes later, remove the tape. It leaves you with sharp clean edges.
The color of the seam sealer and powder coat are almost identical, so it was pretty hard to photograph.
The next step was to permanently bond the carbon fiber quarter panels and roof to the chassis. I needed to rough up the carbon fiber panels and the bonding strips on the chassis. It was a little painful to run 36 grit sand paper over the fresh power coat, but it needed to be done. Although the 3M panel bond has great adhesion, adding a mechanical bond will insure that the panels will never delaminate.
The next step was simple, I ran a bead of panel bond on both surfaces (chassis and carbon panels).
The fitment on my carbon panes is perfect. Once I placed the panels on, I used some 2″ 3M masking tape to make sure the panels wouldn’t move around.
You will notice that the “A” pillars, rocker panels, and door jams are white. I don’t want anything visible from the exterior to be white. So I masked off the car to paint those areas black.
I picked up the ability to paint a hand full of years back. It’s really elevated my work. Some would say I’m a “jack of all trades”, I say “I’d rather learn it myself and save some money!”. I sanded the chassis with 320 grit sand paper and wiped it down with wax/grease remove. Once it was air dry, I wiped the car down with a tack cloth to remove any dust particles.
If you are just getting started, you really don’t need to use a fancy spray gun. However, I will say, if your looking for a great finished, a quality gun is a must. This is my trusty Sata Jet NR2000. I’ve sprayed some killer projects with this thing.
I have access to a paint booth, but the chassis really isn’t mobile. It’s not optimal to spray it in my shop, and risk clear coat overspray getting on EVERYTHING! So I Dextered out the shop, and gave it a thorough cleaning. Then I was ready to lay the black base coat.
Since I wanted to clear coat everything at once, I masked off the carbon fiber panels so I wouldn’t get the black base on them.
I started with a “mist” clear coat, waited about 15 minutes, and then applied a medium coat. I gave it about 20 minuted and applied a full coat. Then I waited another 20 minutes and applied another full coat.
The next morning I came out to the shop and removed all of the masking. Man does she look good!
I needed to complete one more job before I could move to assembling the car. Powder coat is great for protecting your metal project, but if the powder is fractured it will rust from within. Running slicks (race tires) will sling a lot of rocks. If you can imagine a tire flinging a rock at 100+ MPH into the wheel well it will most likely chip the powder coat. So I decided I was going to spray a bed liner in the wheel wells to protect the chassis.
I’ve used Raptor bed liner before and its great! I covers really well, and it has a OEM looking finish. I stated off by masking the wheel wells off. Then I scuffed the wheel wells with 36 grit sand paper to ensure a nice mechanical bite.
Next, I mixed up the two part Raptor liner and sprayed two coats with 15 min in-between.
You want to remove the masking while it’s uncured, otherwise the liner will bond to the tape. I let it sit for about 20 minutes and removed the masking.
I sprayed a half inch lip on the carbon panels. This is to protect the edges from rocks that the slicks will sling at them.
It feels like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m finally at the point were I can get into installing parts that I’ve collected for years and install them for good. It’s going to start to move fast now.