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DATSANITI - '80 210 Wagon VQ35 Swap

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After bleeding and tightening all the leaks I asked wife if she wanted to go for a ride, since she's never actually been in this car. "Aren't you testing the brakes out?" "Yeah but it always had bad brakes" "...mmmm maybe next time"


This. Was. 1000% definitely worth the effort! Pedal feels fantastic and I feel way more confident ripping around the hood. I did a big smokey uphill burnout past the house in celebration. Wife still unamused.

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About 20 hours and a half gallon of filler in. This was the "bad" side, so hopefully the other side won't take as much. It's hard to show progress on this stuff but it helps me to post it anyway.







Got the car turned around. Still starts! I swear this is the "good" side. Plenty left in the $20 bucket of Bondo.




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I was getting ready for masking and all that, then realized now would be a good time to gut the hood before it's painted.

Here is a 33 lb hood.


Lightweighting Stage I. 3 lbs gone. Everything is held together with seam sealer from the factory, so it's easy to take apart.


Lightweighting Stage II. 8 lbs gone. Much more flimsy.


If seam sealer works from the factory, it'll work for me. Hopefully it's not too floppy or I'll have to fab up some hood pins.


Stripped down for paint. Lots of scrubbing and cleaning, both the car and the garage.


5 hours of masking and taping later, the window trim is painted. Once it's dry, I'll mask the trim off and start primer on the body.


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Here she is all taped up.


Aaaaand we have primer!


After adjusting the Harbor Fart HVLP spray gun on a piece of masking paper, I gave it a shot on the bumpers. It immediately did this:


Not cool. I had mixed something like 2:1 primer to lacquer thinner. So that's a no-go. Then I tried 1:1. Much better.



Best shots I could get of the texture. I've never shot paint before, so I can't tell if it's actually good, but it feels good. Very consistent like a good matte. It looks much bumpier than it feels. Could be the gun was clogging or my pressures/settings weren't right. But it should sand nicely I think.



This is the only major noticeable non-flatness. I just might have to tackle this one.


This was the "bad" side. This fender was on the PO's car when he wrecked his other 210, so he swapped fenders with his parts car, now known as my race car. There are some many patches and hammerings in this one shot that no one will ever know about.


Here's the setup if anyone is curious. I am shooting Rustoleum "surfacer" automotive primer, mixed with lacquer thinner, through the HF HVLP gun with a 1.8mm tip. That filter/staining stand from HF is a must! $20 for a 2-pack of quarts at Home Depot and I used just a little of the 2nd quart. I will probably need a 3rd quart. I had to special order this stuff online after reading tons of reviews and got to experience those nifty online order pickup lockers for the first time. This morning, once I realized I was ready to shoot, I went back to HD and had them run each can through their shaker machine. Lots of reviews online talk about the high solids content and how difficult it is to mix. I won't pretend to know what all that means, but I didn't notice many chunks and I'm happy with how it worked out.


On my other bench I have a bucket with "used" thinner for cleaning the drill-powered mixer between coats. I spin the mixer in the thinner before and after mixing, then pour the mixed paint through the strainer into the gun's container.

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Confused, you're buying automotive primer at Home Depot? Why not go to an automotive finish supplier? All lacquer thinner is not created equal, and rustoleum surfacer? I must be way out of touch. I would always spray DuPont or PPG products.


Like your ride, way over the top!!!!!

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No you're  right, the true automotive quality stuff is definitely the way to go. But this is the $2000 Challenge, paint on the car counts in the budget, and $10/QT is hard to beat! It seems to be working pretty well so far. I sanded it to 400 last night, almost ready for 2nd coat of primer. And thanks, it's been a blast to build and drive.

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2 quarts wasn't quite enough for 2 full coats of primer, so I had to crack into a 3rd for one last spray gun full. Another $10 from the budget I guess. Everything is sanded to 400ish 600ish so the sanding is DONE. I was really tired but I pushed through and got the first light coat of color #1 on. I switched to the 1.4mm tip. Rustoleum brand paint thinned with lacquer thinner 1:1 and a splash of hardener stolen from the kit for color #2. It sprayed great and I'm really excited to unwrap this present, probably another week from now. Then yesterday I got 2nd coat of color #1 on. I tried one of those disposable hopper cups, but the filter didnt' seal right and I got a ton of clogging on one panel. So I'll need to wetsand before the final coat. 

Also got some sweet vinyls ready to go on...


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Oops. Guess it needs more time to cure so I'll wait a few more days before the final tape job and the final color. Or I peeled the tape from the wrong angle. Or adhesion issue. I have no idea, I'm learning as I go. This was also a trouble spot I had to sand and re-coat a couple times, so who knows. All other stripe tape pulled up cleanly.



And speaking of that final color...


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I have no idea what I'm doing. I didn't spray more than a few swipes without adjusting the gun. Sometimes to "splattery", sometimes too thin, sometimes too heavy overlap, it's all over the place. But this one part looks pretty decent.


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