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Preparing to fix up delaminated paint

A couple paint spots on my '97 Cavalier coupe have delaminated, among a number of other minor paint blemishes. I had asked a question last year about possibly getting the paint job fixed professionally, but decided against it on the basis of cost. So now that Summer is coming to an end and temperatures are getting cooler, I’ve decided I’d like to give it a go at fixing the paint myself. Last year I bought a spray can and bottle of touch-up Dupli-color paint of the matching color, Bright White.

I plan to go give the car a manual car wash within the day, or a few days of applying the paint. I know I’ll have to sand around the edges of the delaminated paint, but what grit of sandpaper should be used? What’s the ideal temperature range for touching up the paint? For smaller chipped paint areas, is the touch-up paint going to stick without primer? I’m not at all expecting to do a perfect job fixing up this paint, but I’d prefer to do a decent enough job to keep the blemishes a little harder to notice from a distance.

Any recommended resources or tips to get this right would be much appreciated!

Carefully remove the “chevrolet” trim. Use a flat bladed putty-knife to work under it and pry it off. Start off sanding with 180-220 paper, then 280 and then 400. Use a sanding block to support the sandpaper. When you are done, you should be able to slide your fingers over the area and not fell any bumps or edges…It should feel perfectly smooth under your fingers…Next buy a can of Duplicolor primer and prime the damaged area . Mask it off with quality masking tape and newspaper. Put two coats of primer on 10 minutes apart and let it dry overnight. Apply 3 coats of your color paint, 15 minutes apart. Apply the first coat VERY light. The last coat should be “wet” but don’t let it run… Wait 15 minutes more and remove the tape and newspaper. How does it look? There will be fine lines where the tape edge was…Wait 2 days and using 800 wet-dry paper, LIGHTLY dress up those tape lines…Wait a week, a little rubbing compound to further blend in the repair and wax it. It won’t be PERFECT but it will be pretty good…Glue the chevrolet trim back on…

Pretty much agree with Caddy but you’ll need more than one can-more like three. Also don’t expect that paint to hold up like the original. I would tape off the surrounging areas and then blend the white paint into the surrounding paint rather than a tape line. Extend each coat a little beyond the other. After fully dry you use rubbing compound to remove any over spray and blend it in. If you use sandpaper, I wouldn’t go any lower than 2000 or 1500 grit unless you have a power polisher. It’ll be really hard to get the scratches out and that paint is pretty thin if you start working on it. Maybe oldbodyman will have some comments.

Sorry Caddyman sanding wont work on this. The top coat is not adhered to the primer anywhere on that panel. What has to be done is the paint has to come off and the factory primer needs to be sanded real good. To get the paint off you need a single razor blade in a holder. This will peel the paint off real fast. Peel the whole panel. Go slow you will get a feel for it. If you don’t, you are wasting your time. If it’s not peeled off and you apply primer and paint, the old paint will lift up. I have repainted to many in my day. At one time I could peel the top panels on a GM 4 dr mid size in less than 1hr. Use the Duplicolor clear over the base color. Paint only panels. If you use 800 wet on a panel and it is real clean, you can blend the color and clear to the edge of the panel. Only if that panel is not peeling. This used to be warranted.

It’s a '97 Chevalier…I figured it was lucky to be getting a spot repair…

Ford and Toyota have invested millions of dollars to build state of the art paint facilities…I hope, by this time, GM has scrapped their 1950’s paint booths so they can now apply a decent finish to their cars and trucks…

Caddyman It was a problem with the primer and the paint. Bad chemical’s from the manufacture. Nobody was spared this problem. We even had it happen in the aftermarket. If you look at a chip thats been peeled off you will see primer on the back of the color. When you see a car with the clear peeling, what happen there is the base color had to much of a wax like chemical in it. You can thank the EPA for rushing low voc paints into the market.

Yes Ford and Toyota spent a lot of money on their paint facilities. GM did to. I was at a Ford plant where a new paint line was being tested. They were having fun with the robots the day I was there. It was fun to watch a robot go nuts and beat the car shell it was painting.

I’d add some clarification to Oldboryman’s comments…it wasn’t the paint, per se, it was the processes. The feds rushed low VOC (volitile organic compounds) aqueous (water based) paints onto the market, and it took the industry a few years to figure out how to successfully apply it. The peeling problem is common to that vintage (you caught the tail end of the problem years).

Honestly, I’d suggest just doing primer & paint touchups on the peeling areas with rattlecans. stripping to metal and repainting will be too expensive for what it’ll be worth.