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Jeep Wrangler - Restoration & Custom Outfitting
All photos, diagrams, and text on this page Copyright 2013 - David Todeschini - all rights reserved - see Copyright Terms

 

Body Work

 

If there's a Jeep on Planet Earth without a few dents in it, it is usually on the Jeep dealer's lot with a new car sticker on it. As with all body work, the little "dings" look a hell of a lot worse when they're being fixed, because you just don't "fill the dent"; you have to restore the surrounding surface lines either by pounding out the metal, or filling it with body filler. If there is a rust-through spot like on the fender in the photo below, body filler won't do the job. I used PC-7 Epoxy to fill the small hole, effectively restoring the metal.

A few little dents are no problem - the "fix" looks worse than the original ding.

There was a heavy crease dent in the curve of the hood - it looked like it was hit with a 1/4" steel bar, and had to be filled wit PC-7 epoxy.

A small area of the left fender rusted through. I filled the hole with PC-7 epoxy. The Duck Tape is there to protect the fender molding from my orbital sander.

The right signal light was cracked, and I am replacing BOTH assemblied with LED equivalents.

Finish sanding on the dents repaired with Bond-o

One of the bolts on the tire carrier was bent and loose.

After finish sanding, Bond-o repairs are painted with the original hood color.

After light buffing with extra-fine steel wool and a second coat of paint, you would never know there was a dent here.

Paint

 

Many people believe that you can't paint a car with spray cans; that even a cheap "professional" paint job is better than anything you can do with a can. Au contraire! Not if you know what you're doing, and make careful preparation beforehand. Painting a vehicle with a spray can will NOT get you a $2,000 powder-coat finish, but it WILL save you spending half of the Blue Book Value of the vehicle to paint it. The results will be directly proportional to the skill of the painter.

 

Most important is the removal of every bit of wax or oil on the vehicle's paint; you do NOT have to sand off the original paint down to the metal or even down to the primer. The hardest part of the process is masking off everything you DON'T want painted.

 

I chose the "Hammered" finish paint, which dries with a textured surface (it is NOT glass-smooth). This type of finish is great for hiding imperfections and small "dings" that are too bothersome to fix. This kind of finish also reduces air drag (which improves fuel economy).

  Rust-Oleum Hammered paint    Rust-Oleum Clear Gloss spray paint

If you would like to use the same "Hammered" paint I did, you will need to order one set of 6 cans of paint, and one can of the Clear Gloss Enamel. If you are using shiny paint, then order the 6-can set of Gloss. The price here gets you two extra cans (six cans in each set) for about the same price as four cans in a retail hardware store such as Home Depot or Lowes.

 

Black Hammered Enamel Spray Paint 7215-830 [Set of 6]
 

Crystal Clear Gloss Protective Enamel 7701 830 [Set of 6]
USE TO COVER DECALS - DO NOT USE TO COAT
OVER "HAMMERED" FINISHES.

Paint wear on 97 Jeep windshield frame

Although the majority of the original factory paint on this Jeep was in fairly good condition, there were spots where the paint had become worn down to the primer, such as this area on the driver's-side windshield frame. The vent cowl in front of the windshield (at the rear of the hood) had also become weather-worn the same way.

Masking windshield for painting - preparation of window molding for paint job

Another "tricky" part of a good paint job is getting paint UNDER window molding. To do this without removing the windshield, get some cheap Nylon rope about 3/8 to 5/8 inches in diameter, pull up the rubber molding with your fingers and push the rope under the molding so that it creates at least 1/4 inch of space between the rubber and the metal. Mask off the rubber and the glass. When you spray, spray at the edge of the rubber so that the paint goes under the molding. Leave the rope in place until the paint CURES (not just dries) which may take 2 FULL DAYS. If you pull the rope out before the paint cures, you WILL ruin the paint job.

Note the newspaper behind the grille - keep body paint OFF the radiator fins.

Getting enamel paint on a radiator's cooling fins is NOT a good idea. The paint used to paint the body of a vehicle will act as an insulator, decreasing the efficiency of the radiator, and your vehicle may overheat. If you want to "black out" that awful-looking radiator fin glare, mask off the grille, and use a can of Rust-Oleum Flat Black Automotive 12-Ounce 2000 Degree High Heat  Spray Paint, Whatever you have left over, you can use to spray exhaust pipes and muffler.

Masking off what you don't want painted is the hardest part.

Left, rear quarterpanel and fuel cap.

Yes, you CAN paint a car in the open air - so long as there is no pollen and almost no wind.

Mask off the fuel filler. After vehicle is painted, you can restore plastic fuel cap assembly with Wipe-New restorer.

Masking existing logos and decal lettering is tedious, time-consuming work.

Masking of factory logo and decal work done.

Remove rear tail lights when painting Jeep Wrangler

When painting, always remove whatever can be removed - like tail-lights and body trim. If you don't, the paint job will not look as good upon close observation.

Hand-compounding of new paint job on Jeep Wrangler

Allow the paint to cure for at least 48 hours before applying a clear coat. Use 2 or 3 clear coats, waiting at least 48 hours between applications.

 

When the paint has completely cured after 30 days or so in the hot summer sun; longer in colder weather, hand-rubbing with compound will remove minor imperfections. Multiple coats of a good quality wax will have your Jeep looking sharp.

 

On dark paints, if you get any light spots, you can mix a bit of similar-colored liquid shoe polish with a liquid Carnauba wax for a true "spit shine".

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