In last month' s DOC, we introduced you to a new product line by KBS Coatings, designed to stop rust. We outlined their 3-step process to clean, etch and seal the rusted metal to prevent oxidation and stop the rusting process. This was done on our driver--a '58 Buick Riviera hardtop that had some rust areas on the roof. The car looks and runs great, and we couldn't justify pulling out our new headliner, removing all the stainless, and covering the interior while we cut out the rusted panels to weld in new ones. The KBS system seemed like the perfect solution; a repair that took a few days instead of a few months, and still have permanence.
When we left you last month, we had finished Step 3, sealing the metal, which was now ready for primer. We let the sealer dry for about 3 hours until it became tacky. At this point, we sprayed on our primer to get a good bite into the sealer. The '58 was previously painted with PPG Red Oxide primer and Deltron Acrylic Enamel with hardener, and we stayed with this system. After the primer coat, body work can be done in the conventional manner. First, we put on a coat of fiberglass (tiger hair), covering the holes. We had already removed our outside stainless pieces around the rear window and pulled the headliner down around the rear window. This allowed us to push a phillips screw driver through the filler before it dried, to keep our stainless mounting holes open. We applied several thin coats of fiberglass, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next coat. We rough-shaped each coat with an air file loaded with 40 grit sandpaper.
Next, we applied several coats of body filler in the same manner as the fiberglass, using just enough to get the top back to its original contour. We then used the air file with 40, then 80 grit to finish getting the shape. We now put on a coat of primer, letting it dry before checking for irregularities. The shape was good, but it needed to be feather-edged where the old paint met the new primer. Using our random orbital sander and 80, then 180 grit, we blended the two areas together for a smooth, seamless surface. We then continued a primer/glazing/sanding process, ending with a 360 grit paper, until we were satisfied with the top's shape. Now we finish-sanded, using a wood block with 400 grit paper. We sanded it dry because water could penetrate the lacquer primer, possibly causing rust to surface later on. We were now ready for paint. Fortunately, we had some of the car color in stock, 1958 Seminole Red in Deltron. We added our hardener prior to adding our 50/50 thinner mix, and, using a Binks #7, shot it at 55 pounds at the gun. We blew off the top and rain rails, etc, with air, masked everything, then wiped off with Acryliclean (PPG wax remover), then used a tack rag to lightly wipe off the roof. We have found that pushing down too hard on the tack rag can cause the paint to fisheye. Our first coat was the tack coat, which we let dry for about 15 minutes, then applied the next coat. This helps prevent sagging and runs in the paint. We applied additional coats, keeping the gun parallel with the surface, about 8-10" back, overlapping each pass into the previous pass by about 50%. We put on 5 coats of paint, giving flash time between coats for the thinner to evaporate, to prevent runs. The paint looked good! No runs! We will let it sit for a few days before final color wet-sanding with 1200-1500 grit, then buffing out. Then re-install the trim and we1 ll be back on the road for Christmas! We will give you an update on this in about a year. We're predicting no bubbles. Sometimes repairs don't have to cost a fortune, and don't require parking your car for months. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Keep ' em driving!