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Posted (edited)

The clear layer has been peeling off of my 1997 Formula 1LE over the last few years...Honestly it looks terrible..My delema is...I want the car to remain as original and unmolested as possible..Pretty much the clear is peeling off the roof.. Rear bumper cover..Front bumper cover and the hood..My question is Do I redo the whole car..or just the part of it..Am afraid if I don't do it all it will never look  right..At the same time I want to keep it as original as I can..As of today the only things not original..Besides the fluids are the tires the battery..serpentine belt...clutch master cylinder... rear pinion seal and the fuel pump...mechanically it is excellent...other than that is completely original Any advise or feedback would be greatly appreciated.....

 

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Edited by TWO LANE BLACK TOP

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Right now the condition of the FACTORY paint, makes the ENTIRE Formula look like it has been neglected for a LONG time and takes the resale value down the drain. The fact that the paint is peeling all over the car, means you can't just paint over the ORIGINAL finish, because it will just flake off again. The ENTIRE finish has to be removed. Also, you need a Quality Bodyshop  that has worked on these cars before. There are several DIFFERENT PAINT mixtures that need to be applied SEPARATELY! The doors, the front fenders and the front and rear bumpers are made with a different material than steel. The surface qualities of the different materials using a technique known as Distinctiveness of Image, which compares the clarity of the reflection or the visual  depth of the paint. WHEW, that's a lot to understand, but the bottom line is that you cannot just pick up a paint gun and shoot the entire car. ALL of this is EXPENSIVE, but if you want your Bird to look BRAND NEW, it's gonna take time and $$$$$Money.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, TWO LANE BLACK TOP said:

The clear layer has been peeling off of my 1997 Formula 1LE over the last few years...Honestly it looks terrible..My delema is...I want the car to remain as original and unmolested as possible..Pretty much the clear is peeling off the roof.. Rear bumper cover..Front bumper cover and the hood..My question is Do I redo the whole car..or just the part of it..Am afraid if I don't do it all it will never look  right..At the same time I want to keep it as original as I can..As of today the only things not original..Besides the fluids are the tires the battery..serpentine belt...clutch master cylinder... rear pinion seal and the fuel pump...mechanically it is excellent...other than that is completely original Any advise or feedback would be greatly appreciated.....

 

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Two Lane, I’m sorry, but I would disagree with 91 as far as needing to strip the whole car, at least at this point, but his assessment of its condition for value is true enough given the availability of that car. I’ve painted a lot of cars in my life in many different states and conditions, Vettes, Fieros and all kinds of steel bodies and that includes urethane bumper covers and plastic mirrors. 

So while I can’t see your paint job well enough to determine its current condition, I wouldn’t rush to the judgment of stripping it! It’s a base coat/clear coat paint. If the base coat that is left where the clear is gone is in good enough shape. The clear coat that is left isn’t crazed or opaque looking and appears in good shape you may be ok to do the following. 

Wet sand the whole car down really well, finish with 400. Then spray it, the whole car, with a primer/sealer. Then paint as normal with the original bc/cc paint. I don’t believe you can chance getting away with less.

Edited by Last Indian

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Posted (edited)

Firebird ,Indian,

Thank y'all for your input..As far as value of the car I know that the paint condition hurts it..But it is still a 1LE ..and it is ultra RARE..28 produced in 1997 according to PHS..14 of them were actually titled.. the rest went straight to the track..Realistically...rare means Unpopular..Will Probably never have alot value except to me..Most of the people That see it Don't have a clue what they're looking at...To them it's just a V6 firebird with an after market hood Someone stuck on it..That being said.. Am not looking to sell it anyway..

Have had a few different paint guys look at it..General consesous is Like Indian said Where the clear has come off.. the base coat is salvagable...accept for maybe the hood... Then again one says it can be saved..Another one says it can't..Personally I think it can..The clear on the doors.. fenders..Quarters is in good shape no signs of flaking..crazing or having an opaque look to it..Worst part is the hood and the front bumper cover as indicated in the pics..When the weather clears here in the next couple days will take some really detailed photos of the rest of the car .. Then will go from there

Last Indian... pinion seal replacement went really well..No issues.. Used the Lucus oils...

Edited by TWO LANE BLACK TOP

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, TWO LANE BLACK TOP said:

Firebird ,Indian,

Thank y'all for your input..As far as value of the car I know that the paint condition hurts it..But it is still a 1LE ..and it is ultra RARE..28 produced in 1997 according to PHS..14 of them were actually titled.. the rest went straight to the track..Realistically...rare means Unpopular..Will Probably never have alot value except to me..Most of the people That see it Don't have a clue what they're looking at...To them it's just a V6 firebird with an after market hood Someone stuck on it..That being said.. Am not looking to sell it anyway..

Have had a few different paint guys look at it..General consesous is Like Indian said Where the clear has come off.. the base coat is salvagable...accept for maybe the hood... Then again one says it can be saved..Another one says it can't..Personally I think it can..The clear on the doors.. fenders..Quarters is in good shape no signs of flaking..crazing or having an opaque look to it..Worst part is the hood and the front bumper cover as indicated in the pics..When the weather clears here in the next couple days will take some really detailed photos of the rest of the car .. Then will go from there

Last Indian... pinion seal replacement went really well..No issues.. Used the Lucus oils...

Two Lane,great to hear the pinion went well!

The only reason I suggest the primer/sealer is color fade and or match! It doesn’t appear that the bc is metallic, right? Yet base coats have no UV protection in them, that’s in the clear coat. So even if there is enough bc to scuff down the pigment may have changed and not match the rest of the car & if you scuff it, well it won’t match either.

If you use new bc on those areas they may not match either. The clear coat is a non issue as far as matching. My best advice based on what you’re telling me is this. 

It appears you’re fortunate that all the clear coat issues are contained to whole panels? So you don’t have to blend bc/cc lines.

While it’s not the best paint around, neither is what the OEMs use, I like ChromaBase paint to match an original paint and I think it’s your best chance at matching the original that’s there, so I would recommend that. The same goes for the clear coat. So wet sand the whole car in 400, cover what won’t get painted in bc. Reshoot the areas that are bare base coat. After it dries the proper time, don’t sand the bc at all, I repeat don’t sand. Then clear coat the whole car. Let it cure a week or two , wet sand it with 400,600 & then 1000 or 1200. Then rub it out. Worst case scenario is it doesn’t match and at a later date you strip it.

FYI, the main reason so many of the early bc/cc paint jobs did what yours has done is because they couldn’t get the UV & plastisizer chemistry for the urethane right.

Edited by Last Indian

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Last Indian

More than likely will go the route that you suggest..Not expecting show car results anyway..Have comunicated with a couple paint guys..They seem to agree too..Might be able to paint just the affected panels that need it..

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I know I am late to this discussion, but I wanted to think about it first. The clear coat is definitely gone on the hood, front bumper and failing else where on the car. So as everyone is in agreement, the clear coat definitely needs to be re-sprayed. Care will need to be taken when wet sanding the exposed base coat, we don't want to burn through it, just create some mechanical adhesion for the clear coat to grab on to and bring back the color. 

Its been my experience that clear coat and paint fail for one of two reasons: 

First, the long term exposure to extreme UV rays breaks down the UV protection in the clear coat, or there is imperfections in the chemicals of the base coat/clear coat that reacts to the sun's UV or heat over time and causes it to break down.

The second reason is a chemical reaction of dissimilar chemicals between the primer, base cost, and clear cost. This is the problem that caused so many GM trucks and cars to have their paint peel down to the primer back in the 1990s and early 2000s. Full size trucks, SUVs, and Grand Prixes were especially susceptible. In these case, the vehicle must be completely sanded down to clean metal and the primer, base coat, and clear cost must be totally re-applied in order to prevent the chemical reaction from starting all over again. I am not suggesting this is the case for your Firebird. Rather I am making a point about potential problems.

I hope you can get by with just a clear coat re-spray. I am worried that the amount of damaged base cost that is exposed on the hood and bumper,  is it too much and might force a base coat re-spray? I don't know. Definitely talk to your local paint guys.

While in the long run it may cost more money, a total re-spray might be the best option for the car for the sake of the looks. I doubt you will lose much or any value by re-painting it since it is a 1LE car. 

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Two Lane after seeing your more detailed pictures and realizing the extent of the decay to other panels of the car that would require blending clear coat into bare base coat, the task would be fruitless. All the money you would spend for a very subpar paint job would be disheartening.

On the other hand I understand your concern over originality. So clearly you have a decision to make, but I well give you one more idea for thought. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a wrapped vehicle? I have we had a few done at my work for testing purposes of identification of customer products. This process, think NASCAR, that’s how their cars are done, if done right looks like a paint job! It’s cheaper than paint, can last 10 years or more, offers a bit of protection from small stone chips, but best of all in the end you can peel it back off right back to the original finish. Some folks do this to a brand new high end car to persevere its original state and value.

http://www.exoticvehiclewraps.com/why-wrap-your-vehicle/

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1 hour ago, Last Indian said:

Two Lane after seeing your more detailed pictures and realizing the extent of the decay to other panels of the car that would require blending clear coat into bare base coat, the task would be fruitless. All the money you would spend for a very subpar paint job would be disheartening.

On the other hand I understand your concern over originality. So clearly you have a decision to make, but I well give you one more idea for thought. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a wrapped vehicle? I have we had a few done at my work for testing purposes of identification of customer products. This process, think NASCAR, that’s how their cars are done, if done right looks like a paint job! It’s cheaper than paint, can last 10 years or more, offers a bit of protection from small stone chips, but best of all in the end you can peel it back off right back to the original finish. Some folks do this to a brand new high end car to persevere its original state and value.

http://www.exoticvehiclewraps.com/why-wrap-your-vehicle/

Last Indian does make a compelling argument for going the wrap route, IMO. I have seen wrap jobs that I thought were paint until I touched the car and felt the actual vinyl material.

So wraps are rather inexpensive (compared to a complete paint job), you maintain your original (e.g. survivor) paint job underneath, and you get a killer / consistent look for a lot less money. What's not to love other than its not real paint? 

It's your money and your car. Do what you feel is right.

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Posted (edited)

Indian,Frosty,

Thank y'all for the input..Going to have Someone look at my car this weekend...Will make a decision on how I'm going to proceed then...Will keep posted if interested.....

There is one thing I'm curious about...My 96 Firebird (bright blue metalic color) Have owned since 1998 has been exposed to the same conditions and environment as my red one for  just as long..The paint on it is in really good shape pretty much no issues at all other than needs a wash right now..Was wondering if the color could possibly could have in some way contributed to the demise of the clear coat ???

As far as the wrap have had a couple of race cars done (NASCR Modified) So I'm somewhat familiar with it... Do know that the quality of the material used and the finished results can vary widely...Can also be a real pain the ass to remove....

Edited by TWO LANE BLACK TOP

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I am curious for Last Indian to respond since chemistry is his forte. However I will give it a shot. I hope a getting passing grade. :lol:

Color dyes and pigments in paint work by absorbing certain wavelengths of light and reflecting or transmitting the rest. When a dye molecule absorbs a photon, an electron is excited to a higher energy state. Most of the time (neglecting fluorescence), the molecule de-excites by giving off heat and returns to the ground state intact. However, because the excited state is a high energy state, it has the potential to undergo a chemical reaction, breaking a covalent bond or otherwise irreversibly reacting with another molecule. This changes the electronic structure of the molecule, which changes its absorption properties (e.g. many dyes that absorb visible light have large systems of conjugated double bonds and if these are broken, the absorbance can shift to much shorter wavelengths). How likely this kind of destructive chemistry depends on the nature of the dye. Organic dyes tend to be more susceptible to photo bleaching than things like quantum dots and inorganic pigments.

Red paint can often degrade faster because it absorbs higher energy (e.g. shorter wavelength) light, your metallic blue is on the opposite side of the  visible light spectrum (plus the some metallic flake might reflect some of the energy back out before anything can occur, thus reducing the total amount of energy somewhat). The more energy that is available, the more likely that a reaction will occur. This is more pronounced when we enter the UV wavelengths, which is why UV-B exposure can cause thymine dimers in DNA, which can lead to skin cancer in people. For outdoor signs and such, UV-blocking clear coats are often applied to extend the life of the color dyes or paints.

How did I do Professor Indian?

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3 hours ago, Frosty said:

I am curious for Last Indian to respond since chemistry is his forte. However I will give it a shot. I hope a getting passing grade. :lol:

Color dyes and pigments in paint work by absorbing certain wavelengths of light and reflecting or transmitting the rest. When a dye molecule absorbs a photon, an electron is excited to a higher energy state. Most of the time (neglecting fluorescence), the molecule de-excites by giving off heat and returns to the ground state intact. However, because the excited state is a high energy state, it has the potential to undergo a chemical reaction, breaking a covalent bond or otherwise irreversibly reacting with another molecule. This changes the electronic structure of the molecule, which changes its absorption properties (e.g. many dyes that absorb visible light have large systems of conjugated double bonds and if these are broken, the absorbance can shift to much shorter wavelengths). How likely this kind of destructive chemistry depends on the nature of the dye. Organic dyes tend to be more susceptible to photo bleaching than things like quantum dots and inorganic pigments.

Red paint can often degrade faster because it absorbs higher energy (e.g. shorter wavelength) light, your metallic blue is on the opposite side of the  visible light spectrum (plus the some metallic flake might reflect some of the energy back out before anything can occur, thus reducing the total amount of energy somewhat). The more energy that is available, the more likely that a reaction will occur. This is more pronounced when we enter the UV wavelengths, which is why UV-B exposure can cause thymine dimers in DNA, which can lead to skin cancer in people. For outdoor signs and such, UV-blocking clear coats are often applied to extend the life of the color dyes or paints.

How did I do Professor Indian?

You get an A+ & a good star, but where’s my apple? To quantify Frosty’s explanation a little further. 
Manufacturers had trouble getting the chemistry of cohesion vs adhesion & the plasticizer for the bc/cc urethanes right and all that Frosty explained affected that chemistry intimately. Just for clarity, adhesion is the mechanical bond between a substrate and a dissimilar material. While a cohesion is the bond between molecules of the same element to each other, like water. Which has a high level of cohesion, the molecules will stick to each other to form a sphere, also it has a high level of adhesion because it will bond to other surfaces readily.

With your paint you clearly had adhesion issues not cohesion. Than to assist in that degradation the UV chemistry is only in the clear coat causing a thermal lock effect, meaning. Red pigment is almost always organic in nature, which in short means more heat absorption, but trapped, like the space between a full glass screen door and the house door, skyrocketing the temperature between the bad adhesion between the bc and the clear coat. This disparity over time just keeps breaking that already poor adhesive bond down. Then because it’s only mils thick and attached to nothing it breaks and starts to peel. The better condition of your blue cars finish may be the results of many different things! Color, metallics, different paint chemistry, luck of the draw, etc. 

Two Lane you are right, the wrap is a bugger to get off and in the process you likely will only peel more paint. You’re really in that proverbial loose, loose situation. So any call you make is the best one you can make given the situation. Wish I could give you more!

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Last Indian. I appreciate the support. Let me know where to send the apple!

Two Lane, the choice is clearly yours. You have to weigh your options. 

However, if it were my car and I already have the funds I need, I would completely re-paint the car, front to back. I would hire the best paint shop I could find. I would consider applying a couple more layers of clear coat (than normal) to be added, since the cutting and buffing process will take some layers down anyway. The added layers will help provide a tad more UV-B protection than what the factory gave you. I don't think the re-spray will hurt you long term value wise unless someone is looking for an absolute survivor. I think an potential buyer will understand why you repainted the car, especially when you show them the "before" photographs.

That's my opinion. 

Edited by Frosty
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3 hours ago, Frosty said:

Thanks Last Indian. I appreciate the support. Let me know where to send the apple!

Two Lane, the choice is clearly yours. You have to weigh your options. 

However, if it were my car and I already have the funds I need, I would completely re-paint the car, front to back. I would hire the best paint shop I could find. I would consider applying a couple more layers of clear coat (than normal) to be added, since the cutting and buffing process will take some layers down anyway. The added layers will help provide a tad more UV-B protection than what the factory gave you. I don't think the re-spray will hurt you long term value wise unless someone is looking for an absolute survivor. I think an potential buyer will understand why you repainted the car, especially when you show them the "before" photographs.

That's my opinion. 

I first have to apologize to 91 Firebird, from the perspective of a complete redo was his first take. As I have to agree with Frosty wholeheartedly, but I’ve never been one to leave a car factory, so take that for what it’s worth. I would think most folks would prefer a pristine car. Still there isn’t a right or wrong here, just your hearts desire!

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Thanks for the positive comments.  You have a very RARE Bird and if your looking to keep it for MANY years to come, don't cut corners. You'll need to get an issue from eBay called ROAD &  TRACK GUIDE TO THE ALL-NEW 1993 PONTIAC FIREBIRD. It was a special issue filled with 80 pages to showing how GM changed 90% of the 4th Gen Firebirds. In the TECHNICAL ANALYSIS section, you will get a DETAILED explanation of why they used different plastic materials vs steel and why it's VERY important to use the correct (an expensive) paint mixtures. I don't pretend to be an expert on this procedure, BUT I try to surround myself with professional people in this business. You can read up on  the correct way to make it look factory fresh, there are NO shortcuts. If you don't get the right answers from the body shop owners, then move on. Hope I've been a help, because I've been there, DONE THAT. Just my humble 2 cents and I owned my own detailing business for over 30 years, so hit me up IF you have any more questions. ED

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Posted (edited)

Frosty , Indian , Firebird, (In no particular order)

Thanks for y'alls input, opinions and advice..

Pretty much knew in the back of mind that I would have to do the whole car...Now I am moving on to find someone I can trust to redo the car..That's the hard part..They're alot of hacks and Self proclaimed experts out there.. So I will be extra super thorough in my screening process....

Also found the chemistry class insightful and interesting....

Edited by TWO LANE BLACK TOP

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Two-Lane Black Top, I just found 5 ISSUES of the Road & Track 1993 magazine Guide to the all NEW PONTIAC FIREBIRD on eBay. If your interested in leaning ANYTHING About your Formula, this brochure will show you a LOT of information, which would still pertain to your problem NOW.

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Firebird

Have not been ignoring you...Just been really busy the last few weeks...If I look real hard I'm 95% sure that I have that issue of Road and Track...You are referring to..

Thank you for your input and interest in my Formula..

I'm no expert.. but am well versed on F bodies all generations..If can be any help let me know..

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Glad to be of help. You should bring that Road & Track Issue to your bodyshop and ask them if they are aware of the paint process. You want to show them YOU know what is involved in getting your FORMULA DONE RIGHT. If you can, take pictures of the work. The prep work is where ALL the extra effort to make it look like it just left the factory will show up. Make sure as much of the moldings are removed. If any rubber moldings show signs of DRY ROT, get new ones from Classic Industries. I can't spend your money for you, just my knowledge of Paint Management and what works after 30 years of DETAILING High End cars and my own SHOWCARS. LOL, ED

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