5 top tips for reassembling a car after having it painted
Seeing your project car gleaming with brand new, fresh paint is one of the best times in our car enthusiast life. MOOG knows this all too well with the crisp white paint now resplendent on his 180SX project, as you can see in THIS EPISODE.
Getting the car painted is just the start of a new phase of the project, as we then have to put the car back together. It is an exciting time and it is important to take a little bit of a breather to calm down as you can reassembling the car and end up having a disaster or making more work for yourself.
Here are five of our top tips for when you need to reassemble a car after getting it painted!
- The first step in making reassembly easier actually happens while the car is still off being painted. It helps a great deal to to go through your pile of parts and catalogue everything, so you can order what you need or work out what you’re missing.
- If you have a classic car now is a great time to sit down and clean glass, trim, headlights, bumpers and the like. Refitting clean parts is heaps more fun than handling dirty, scabby old pieces, so take the time while the car is off being squirted to organise all the cool stuff that will make it a car again.
1990s cars like the 180SX also have a lot of glues and silicon-based adhesives which should be cleaned off before applying fresh new adhesives, and thinners or brake cleaner on a rag can help with this.
- Run two or three layers of good quality masking tape around the door jambs so you don’t risk chipping or scratching the fresh paint when you’re reinstalling the interior. Wrapping clean rags around the seat sliders and mounts also adds a layer on insurance against knocking the fresh duco when man-handling bulky, heavy parts through the car’s doors.
If you don't have a big roll of masking tape, use blankets or thick rags to protect painted edges. Moving blankets are the best protective blankets you can use, and you can get them from large hardware stores like Bunnings.
- Clean bolt holes and threads before you assemble that part of the car, as this reduces the risk of having fasteners strip threads. Also, check all the bolts as you go, because you never know what was done up finger-tight or left loose through the painting process.
This is a perfect time to buy a large tap and die set as this will also let you repair any suspect threads you may have on the car, so you know your freshly painted pride and joy is totally fresh and ready to slay.
- Sometimes painters don’t get a chance to thoroughly clean a car before they give it back to you, so be prepared with a bucket of warm, soapy water and a stack of rags to clean any left-over dust out. More stubborn paint stains or marks can be cleaned up with wax and grease remover, or thinners. Also, give the whole car a good wipe down and vacuum so it is at its freshest for reassembly.
Blowing the car out with compressed air before you roll it into the garage is another great idea, and a good starting point before you go ham with the wipe-down.