The Coventry saga continues with getting the body on my Triumph T3A prepped and covered with primer. With warm days becoming few and far between this time of year, I had to work fast because the epoxy primer needs an ambient temperature above 65 degrees for proper adhesion. Hours of grinding and dozens of sanding discs later, the TR3A’s top side was ready to be primed.
Using my pneumatic angle die grinder and 3-inch coarse discs, it was a laborious task to remove the surface rust as well as the old epoxy primer that I had sprayed on some 10 years earlier. This was followed by smoothing the entire exterior surface and engine compartment with a 5-inch dual-action sander using 80- and then 120-grit discs. Finally, I went along all the body seams using a stiff 3-inch wire wheel attached to the die grinder, to ensure not a single speck of rust remained. A mask, gloves, and safety glasses were a must, as was a window fan to aid in removing the dust from inside my garage.
Because the die grinder spits out tiny droplets of oil-mixed spray, the entire surface was comprehensively washed with Dupont Prep-Sol cleaning solvent to remove the grease and dirt. This was followed by a thorough etching of the bare metal using Metal Prep and clean rags. Then once the entire surface was neutralized with warm water and dried, I used a tack rag to remove every trace of dirt and dust that had settled onto the bare metal surface.
Using my HVLP spray gun set at around 25 pounds of pressure, I applied two double wet coats of epoxy primer, waiting 20 minutes in between for the first coat to flash. Thanks to the dry, 72-degree weather that day, the epoxy primer laid down nice and even. Now the primed body will have to sit and wait for the warmer spring weather to return: Then, the painstaking steps of applying a skim coat of body filler, followed by lots of laborious sanding, an application of a high-build primer-surfacer, more sanding, primer-sealer, then the color topcoats, begins. Yes, painting cars is a long, labor-intensive process, but if you don’t rush it and do all the proper steps needed to ensure a smooth surface, the results will amaze you.