If you had to make a pre-paint job to-do list, what would it entail?

the t3d

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Alright, so I'm finally considering getting my Supra painted. It's never been repainted before. The paint is almost chalk at this point, so there isn't much left to sand to get down to bare metal. Hopefully that will help with the prep time. But I've never gotten any car painted ever. I understand that prep work is the most important thing to net the best quality paint, but I'm an aerospace engineering student in my senior year and I don't have the time to sand and prep this thing. It has some little dents here and there and the rust in the hatch/taillight assembly area needs to be addressed to maintain structural integrity, but what are some other things you would suggest to get done, price out, prep, or question before getting a paint job. The car is super faded white and I'm looking to keep it the same color, but get a nice deep white to freshen her up. I plan on removing all trim and having them painted separately, but I know the window trim will probably shatter if I try and remove them. And replacements are pretty much non-existent. I'm saving my new rims to install them AFTER the car is done being painted. I plan on getting the windows retinted beforehand. I'm just going to comb over the car and make a list of all things I should address before I take it in and I just was looking for some outside input. Thanks in advance!
 

Clip

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I'd say trim removal is good, and if the window trim is still intact and black, let them tape it up. If it's cracked like mine, take a razor and trim all the vinyl or whatever it's wrapped in and then take it to the shop, then weeks after the body has cured, tape the heck out of everything and respray yourself with black trim paint.

A long time ago I sanded a bumper and took it to the paint shop, but it's cracked and peeled worse than anything and I think that's a result of the prep work I did, and how Toyota's paint adhered to the bumper better. I bet the paint would have laid out nice on there and stuck around had the shop sanded it just to where it needed to be instead of me taking it all the way down. I'd let them do most, if not all, of the sanding and dent/ding removal, but I'd cut out and patch any rusty areas yourself if you can.
 

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The rear quarter window molding triangular looking pieces are very stubborn mine are borderline wrecked, but fixable ( I hope).. I broke a few clips for the side moldings. I think if I were you I would peel back the carpeting, rubber gasket for the rear hatch, the rubber stops for the hood, rear hatch and remove the kick panels so the door jams can be painted. Everyone knows that this car well-engineered so, the parts are a pain in the ass to remove. According to Toyota, I have the very last window moldings set on this planet.
 

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I'd say trim removal is good, and if the window trim is still intact and black, let them tape it up. If it's cracked like mine, take a razor and trim all the vinyl or whatever it's wrapped in and then take it to the shop, then weeks after the body has cured, tape the heck out of everything and respray yourself with black trim paint.

A long time ago I sanded a bumper and took it to the paint shop, but it's cracked and peeled worse than anything and I think that's a result of the prep work I did, and how Toyota's paint adhered to the bumper better. I bet the paint would have laid out nice on there and stuck around had the shop sanded it just to where it needed to be instead of me taking it all the way down. I'd let them do most, if not all, of the sanding and dent/ding removal, but I'd cut out and patch any rusty areas yourself if you can.
"I'd let them do most, if not all, of the sanding and dent/ding removal, but I'd cut out and patch any rusty areas yourself if you can".... I agree.
Most body shops might even charge more if you work on it first, because most body shops guarantee their work. They may not guarantee it if you worked on it first. For me, I've never done bodywork and I would never do it to a car that is my prized possession. The materials that they use like hardners, bondo, etc should be applied by someone who is experienced and not by a novice first time body worker that doesn't have experience working with these materials. ( in my opinion and I'm speaking for myself and I'm not saying you are. This is not a take away from "The T 3d' by any means, I'm sure he's very capable.
 

suprarx7nut

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Thanks.

@the t3d There's a lot of missing info here. What's your budget? How much can you DIY? If you do nothing and drop it off, expecting a great paint job with freshened trim and no visible paint lines or overspray (engine bay aside), plan on spending upwards of $10k. If you're not budgeting for that much, you might want to put the idea on hold until you really figure what you can do.

The only way I would paint a mk3 is to pull EVERYTHING. Interior, trim, moldings, rear quarter glass, weatherstripping, door handles, etc... You can't paint the car with the trim in place and get a reasonable result, IMO. You'll have tape lines and clearcoat edges that WILL fail, just a matter of how quickly. Those failures from a previous repaint are specifically what led to me needing to repaint the whole damn car.

I think we need to know how much labor you can put in before we can tell you what prep to do. It's an enormous task as a whole. Can you put in 40 hours? 10? 100? It's probably ~150 hours of labor from a pro to do it all correctly and with enough care not to break a small army of discontinued parts. Toyota sells many of the clips that you're likely to break, but not all. My 91 was not to difficult to prep for paint, it's just very time consuming and you have to be very careful. I would not let a shop touch mine because I don't trust anyone else to be as careful as I am. I'm sure they're out there, I just don't know how to vet them.

My priority list for prep tasks would be something like this:
Remove interior (at least all the panels so you can get to all the exterior fasteners)
Remove rear quarter glass (very delicate work)
Remove bumpers, mudguards, spoiler
Remove weatherstripping (careful to use a removal tool that can fit snugly around the small clips in the weatherstrip so you don't tear the weatherstrip)


Honestly, if you're a senior engineering student now, I'd wait. If your path is anything like mine, you're about to have more time and money than you've ever had before in your life. That will make paying someone else to do top notch work, or doing yourself and buying all the stuff you break, a lot easier. No way I could afford a proper paint job as a senior in college. Anything I would have done then would be very half ass and something I'd be paying to fix later, I'm sure.
 
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the t3d

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I'd say trim removal is good, and if the window trim is still intact and black, let them tape it up. If it's cracked like mine, take a razor and trim all the vinyl or whatever it's wrapped in and then take it to the shop, then weeks after the body has cured, tape the heck out of everything and respray yourself with black trim paint.

A long time ago I sanded a bumper and took it to the paint shop, but it's cracked and peeled worse than anything and I think that's a result of the prep work I did, and how Toyota's paint adhered to the bumper better. I bet the paint would have laid out nice on there and stuck around had the shop sanded it just to where it needed to be instead of me taking it all the way down. I'd let them do most, if not all, of the sanding and dent/ding removal, but I'd cut out and patch any rusty areas yourself if you can.
The window trim on the hatch was cracked so I was able to peel most of it off, but seems to be sturdy enough to not want to touch. I wonder if it's worth painting them now, so I don't have to worry about any overspray on the new paint job...
 
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Clip

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That was my thinking, avoiding overspray one way or the other. You could spray them now but then trust the body shop to tape them and hope they don't pull off any fresh paint, or you could let the body shop spray the car and then you can QC your own tape job. Guess it's you betting on who'd be more careful?
 

the t3d

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The rear quarter window molding triangular looking pieces are very stubborn mine are borderline wrecked, but fixable ( I hope).. I broke a few clips for the side moldings. I think if I were you I would peel back the carpeting, rubber gasket for the rear hatch, the rubber stops for the hood, rear hatch and remove the kick panels so the door jams can be painted. Everyone knows that this car well-engineered so, the parts are a pain in the ass to remove. According to Toyota, I have the very last window moldings set on this planet.
The rubber gasket for the hatch is a good idea. I know a replacement is only about 100 bucks. I've replaced the rubbers in the hatch as well, so removing them so they can get underneath them as well. Kick panels and door sills are good. Are the door panels worth removing?
 

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I stripped my car just like Yota mentioned, except I didn't remove the windows. I'm not much of a gambler. But, this time I had no choice but to gamble on the windows, either I gamble and take the windows out and take a chance that a twenty plus year old car, one or more windows just might break and there goes the authenticity of the car (if that's important and to me it is) and very expensive, or I can gamble at the chance the body shop worker didn't have a bunch of beer ( except I don't think these guys are that way) at lunch and a grid happy body guy scratches the crap out of the windows. I'm very happy on how my car turned out without removing windows, in my opinion, it would have came out nice with or without removing windows, but yes, removing the windows is the absolute best way to go.
 

Koenigturbo

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The rubber gasket for the hatch is a good idea. I know a replacement is only about 100 bucks. I've replaced the rubbers in the hatch as well, so removing them so they can get underneath them as well. Kick panels and door sills are good. Are the door panels worth removing?
in my opinion, yes, because possible of over spray on the door jams and also good shops do underneath the doors and it will just be in the way or if they don't remove them, you risk them getting ruined, depending who does the work. why chance it remove them, it's easy, but like everything else be carefull.
 

the t3d

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"I'd let them do most, if not all, of the sanding and dent/ding removal, but I'd cut out and patch any rusty areas yourself if you can".... I agree.
Most body shops might even charge more if you work on it first, because most body shops guarantee their work. They may not guarantee it if you worked on it first. For me, I've never done bodywork and I would never do it to a car that is my prized possession. The materials that they use like hardners, bondo, etc should be applied by someone who is experienced and not by a novice first time body worker that doesn't have experience working with these materials. ( in my opinion and I'm speaking for myself and I'm not saying you are. This is not a take away from "The T 3d' by any means, I'm sure he's very capable.
I totally understand and have to agree. I am a true novice in the body work world, so all I want to do is minimize any extra labor hours to get into the finer details so that I can get the best quality paint job for the money. My one advantage is that is so little paint left on the car, getting down to bare metal shouldn't be that much work lol.
 

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It's entirely possible to not remove window trim and get a decent-looking paint job. Mine just had this treatment early 2020. As for longevity, I'll find out in time.

The shop removed the wrap-around trim and bumpers, but that's mainly it. They fixed lots of rust around the rear wheel wells. I replaced the front fenders - one was used, one was new old stock.

The windshield trim came off as it was badly put on last time I had a windshield replaced, then the windshield cracked. It was actually a good thing to replace the windshield because the lip where it sits needed fixing. It leaked because of rust, which makes it worse over time.

I won't publicize how much I paid because I got a deal. I cost way more than the NADA value of the car, but it was worth it to me.

I personally stripped the old paint off the hood to save a little money, as it needed an old repair re-fixed. That wasn't too bad, but it did take time.

This car had been wrecked and fixed before I bought it, so it's not like it would ever be factory perfect again. I wish some things looked better, but I got what I wanted in the end. It looks better than it has in 15 years, which makes me happy.

Anyway, as others may have said, the actual painting is the easy and cheapest part. It's the prep work that matters most and takes the longest. It comes down to your budget and goals.
 
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I won't publicize how much I paid because I got a deal. I cost way more than the NADA value of the car, but it was worth it to me.
At this point, almost anything I do is greater than the NADA value of my car :) I'm expecting somewhere around $2k-$3k for another coat of paint and clear on mine, it's been redone once and then repaired a few times and the clearcoat is quickly shedding. It'd be nice to know if this is a reasonable estimate, or if I'll be surprised good or bad.
 
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suprarx7nut

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At this point, almost anything I do is greater than the NADA value of my car :) I'm expecting somewhere around $2k-$3k for another coat of paint and clear on mine, it's been redone once and then repaired a few times and the clearcoat is quickly shedding. It'd be nice to know if this is a reasonable estimate, or if I'll be surprised good or bad.
$2-3k is very cheap for a full spray, IMO. I'm not sure how anyone could do that while getting paid labor and not take shortcuts. My materials alone for non-"value" brand paint ran about ~$1500. I'm suspicious of any paint job that costs less than $5k. In that scenario, someone's either paying very little for labor, using cheap/short-lasting paint or you're skipping steps in prep. All of which are likely to be obvious in ~5 years.

It's easy to get a paint job looking good right after paint. It's a totally different ball game to do it well enough that it still looks good in 5-10 years. Factory paint, unless left out in the sun or otherwise damaged lasts decades. Those cheap paint jobs will not. It's easy to say that's fine today, but if you still own the car in 5 years you're going to be kicking yourself when you have to pay to paint it AGAIN to address all the shortcomings from the previous work. In cases of the bumpers a poor OEM paint surface is better than a new, cheap paint job. Consider it an investment. :)

Had my previous owner done the repaint well, I wouldn't have painted it at all. Instead they half-assed it and it cost a lot to correct.
 
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Piratetip

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This is one of the reasons I probably won't be tackling paint.
It's a rediculous amount of work to have it done right.
I'd be so incredibly pissed the first time my kid(s) scratches or hits the car. ( Which happens all the time right now)
So yeah... Not doing it.
 
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Clip

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Good to know! I think I had that figure in my head from the last time it was painted, which was....early 2000s? According to Mr. Inflation Calculator, if it was $3k in 2003 it'd be about $4300 now. Couple that with the fact that I think it was a friend of the family and that puts you spot on.
 
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the t3d

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Thanks.

@the t3d There's a lot of missing info here. What's your budget? How much can you DIY? If you do nothing and drop it off, expecting a great paint job with freshened trim and no visible paint lines or overspray (engine bay aside), plan on spending upwards of $10k. If you're not budgeting for that much, you might want to put the idea on hold until you really figure what you can do.

The only way I would paint a mk3 is to pull EVERYTHING. Interior, trim, moldings, rear quarter glass, weatherstripping, door handles, etc... You can't paint the car with the trim in place and get a reasonable result, IMO. You'll have tape lines and clearcoat edges that WILL fail, just a matter of how quickly. Those failures from a previous repaint are specifically what led to me needing to repaint the whole damn car.

I think we need to know how much labor you can put in before we can tell you what prep to do. It's an enormous task as a whole. Can you put in 40 hours? 10? 100? It's probably ~150 hours of labor from a pro to do it all correctly and with enough care not to break a small army of discontinued parts. Toyota sells many of the clips that you're likely to break, but not all. My 91 was not to difficult to prep for paint, it's just very time consuming and you have to be very careful. I would not let a shop touch mine because I don't trust anyone else to be as careful as I am. I'm sure they're out there, I just don't know how to vet them.

My priority list for prep tasks would be something like this:
Remove interior (at least all the panels so you can get to all the exterior fasteners)
Remove rear quarter glass (very delicate work)
Remove bumpers, mudguards, spoiler
Remove weatherstripping (careful to use a removal tool that can fit snugly around the small clips in the weatherstrip so you don't tear the weatherstrip)


Honestly, if you're a senior engineering student now, I'd wait. If your path is anything like mine, you're about to have more time and money than you've ever had before in your life. That will make paying someone else to do top notch work, or doing yourself and buying all the stuff you break, a lot easier. No way I could afford a proper paint job as a senior in college. Anything I would have done then would be very half ass and something I'd be paying to fix later, I'm sure.
You make so many good points because this is exactly how I would prefer to do it. I consider myself a perfectionist and understand that body work perfection is stupid expensive. As long as I make another good impression with my internship with Northrop next summer, I see no reason as to why they won't be offering me a full-time position. So I believe you're right the money I'll be making will be solid. As of now, I have very minimal time for myself, let alone for hours and hours of prep work. However, I don't believe this is THE Supra that I would invest that much time and money into. This one has some heavy rust sections in the hatch area. So much so, that it completely ate away the metal that supports the taillight assembly. I earned a scholarship and I was planning on dedicating $1500 towards a repaint, but after learning about how much a quality paint job really costs, I know now that the proper paint job will be going on the next MK3 I buy after I get that full-time position. This current car needs to be protected from further rusting, so considering all the advice and tips for pre-paint tips, I plan on using, just not on the intensive scale that I will use on my next Supra.

I love my pre-89 bodies, so I really look forward to getting a no-rust shell that I can tear down to bare bones, but at least I know now the little things to consider for this current Supra. I definitely don't want this to seem like I'm cheaping out on this car, but I know the foundation on this one is one of experimentation and establishing a solid learning curve. I'll never leave the MK3 game and really look forward to finding another one I can build from the absolute ground up, but I've had this one for 12 years now, so I definitely want to give some love to this one. Regardless, I appreciate all the advice on this matter. I plan on saving this post for sure as I progress further into school and my career, so thank you very, very much. I hope my explanation makes sense regarding to the current scenario I'm considering.
 
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Piratetip

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Solid plan.
Well thought out.
 

the t3d

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Solid plan.
Well thought out.
Assuming that's not sarcasm, thank you. My car needs to be driven. I only have 600 miles on the fresh rebuild and this thing is so close to bare metal already, it needs something to protect it and look decent until I get full-time engineering work.
 

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You make so many good points because this is exactly how I would prefer to do it. I consider myself a perfectionist and understand that body work perfection is stupid expensive. As long as I make another good impression with my internship with Northrop next summer, I see no reason as to why they won't be offering me a full-time position. So I believe you're right the money I'll be making will be solid. As of now, I have very minimal time for myself, let alone for hours and hours of prep work. However, I don't believe this is THE Supra that I would invest that much time and money into. This one has some heavy rust sections in the hatch area. So much so, that it completely ate away the metal that supports the taillight assembly. I earned a scholarship and I was planning on dedicating $1500 towards a repaint, but after learning about how much a quality paint job really costs, I know now that the proper paint job will be going on the next MK3 I buy after I get that full-time position. This current car needs to be protected from further rusting, so considering all the advice and tips for pre-paint tips, I plan on using, just not on the intensive scale that I will use on my next Supra.

I love my pre-89 bodies, so I really look forward to getting a no-rust shell that I can tear down to bare bones, but at least I know now the little things to consider for this current Supra. I definitely don't want this to seem like I'm cheaping out on this car, but I know the foundation on this one is one of experimentation and establishing a solid learning curve. I'll never leave the MK3 game and really look forward to finding another one I can build from the absolute ground up, but I've had this one for 12 years now, so I definitely want to give some love to this one. Regardless, I appreciate all the advice on this matter. I plan on saving this post for sure as I progress further into school and my career, so thank you very, very much. I hope my explanation makes sense regarding to the current scenario I'm considering.
Oof, if that's the case with this car, I even more strongly support not spending money on a full paint job. If this isn't "the one" and you're just looking to protect things, I'd rattle can that with Duplic-color "Perfect Match" all day. Especially on white since I think most all the Supra whites are single stage. Skip the real paint job, IMO. Save your pennies now for "the one". You can protect sheet metal about as well with an aerosol can and some quick and dirty home prep work as you would with a full spray. You might even be able to practice your blending skills and make it look ok.

I don't want to burst your bubble, just looking out for your dollar and your labor in the hopes of seeing more really well done restorations (whether that be now or in 5-10 years).
 

Piratetip

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No I was not being sarcastic.
Better like you said to find a good clean vehicle later to go full rebuild on.
 

the t3d

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Oof, if that's the case with this car, I even more strongly support not spending money on a full paint job. If this isn't "the one" and you're just looking to protect things, I'd rattle can that with Duplic-color "Perfect Match" all day. Especially on white since I think most all the Supra whites are single stage. Skip the real paint job, IMO. Save your pennies now for "the one". You can protect sheet metal about as well with an aerosol can and some quick and dirty home prep work as you would with a full spray. You might even be able to practice your blending skills and make it look ok.

I don't want to burst your bubble, just looking out for your dollar and your labor in the hopes of seeing more really well done restorations (whether that be now or in 5-10 years).
I may just focus on the rust repair professionally to bring back the rigidity of those areas, and then after that figure out how much I want to put towards protecting the bare metal. I just want it to look decent and I feel like my rattle can job would look better than it currently is (anything would really), but definitely not better than a mediocre paint job. And now with adhering to all the advice given so far, I can at least do my part to make the most out of that. I REALLY can't wait to buy the perfect shell when I start working.
 
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