Well guys, I'm finally getting around to doing one of the few projects I have had planned for my Sentra. Like many I've seen out here in AZ, mine had quite a few sun damaged spots on the roof and hood. I have to warn anybody attempting this, you will have to do a lot of sanding, washing, cleaning, spraying, sanding, washing, cleaning, etc. There is a lot of elbow grease being used, so prepare to sweat. Also, I am attempting to do this with aerosol spray cans. I do not have a compressor or a spray gun, so I am going to do a less refined re-spray. If things don't come out well, I can always redo it with a proper spray guy, it just happens to be 150 miles away at my uncles house. So I'll have to suffer the embarrassment of driving around with a crappy paint job until I can make some time to head to his place and fix my mistakes. I'm not exactly an amateur with this, I've done many paint projects, so wish me luck. This is what I'm trying to fix.
First thing first, find the paint code. This is found by opening the drivers door and looking at the bottom right corner of the door frame. You can see my code is AX2. This is Inferno Red Metallic. The problem with metallic paints is the then tend to cover lighter than non-metallic paints, so more coats are usually needed to cover an area. Some auto parts stores carry color matched paint, unfortunately none of them I went to carried AX2, so I had to get it custom mixed at a auto paint supplier. They were able to take this mixed paint and put it into an aerosol can, so that's what I did.
The first real step is to sand down the factory clear coat with 2000 grit wet dry. I could have used rougher paper, but I only had 2000 laying around. The purpose of this step is to remove the shine and give the new paint something to stick on to. I also used a fine grit to help smooth everything out and give me a nice base to apply paint. I had some rock chips on the hood which I had to blend as well. There are two ways of doing this, 1)fill with scratch putty and sand smooth or 2)just blend and feather the chip down. The important thing here is to feather until you can't feel any difference in texture.
After you color sand, you need to clean and prep the surface. Make sure you clean well to remove all grease and dirt. You need to go from this:
Now comes time to put the new color on. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of this, but I got a really good even cover. I was very pleased with the base coat paint. After two coats (4 on some of the really bad sections) you can't tell there is a difference.
After that dries a bit, it's time for the clear. I was very dis-satisfied with the clear coat I got. It did not go on even, nor did it lay nicely to the paint. It seemed to go on too "dry". It didn't matter how close I got to the surface, it was just a very bad spray pattern and seemed to just dry way to fast. This is what I was left with.
The good news is that since the base coat went on so well, I should be able to recover this. The first step is to color sand once again. This will even the crappy coverage and get everything back to where it is suppose to be. If you have to do this, I recommend a fine grit so you only take off one layer at a time. Again, I used 2000 grit. After I did that, I sprayed a different type of clear on one section. This second type of clear went on way better and I am satisfied with it's coverage. I did not have enough to complete the job, so I'm going to head out tomorrow to pick up more "good" clear coat.
Once I pick up the new clear coat tomorrow, I'll still have to spray it, extremely light color sand to even the coat, spray again, rubbing compound to even the second coat, then wax. I should have this done tomorrow, but if not, it will definitely be done before 12:00 noon on Wednesday.