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Painting seams after seam repair
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The Big Cheese
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 7:01 am    Post subject: Painting seams after seam repair Reply with quote

Repairing cracked seams (taping, sandblasting, treating, resealing, etc.) has been thoroughly discussed but I would appreciate some guidance on painting the seams after the repair has been made. I would like a consistent look between the newly painted seams and the surrounding body panel paint (which is in great shape).

*The seams that I'm repairing have minor cracks and only slight seam rust. There is no major rust that will cause more than just the seam sealer/rust to be removed*
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 7:16 am    Post subject: Re: Painting seams after seam repair Reply with quote

If you want it to look as it did from the factory, don't forget to make it a little calk-bead bump like, and slightly inconsistent. Folks who run their finger or whatever down the seam and make it an slightly indented U shape and all fancy looking are 'upgrading' the look, in my opinion.

But, ya, its bare metal, seam seal, paint with best option primer (some say epoxy, other argue self etching) then base coat, sand, base coat, sand, base coat, sand, sand, sand, topcoat, sand, topcoat, rub with diaper.
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 7:22 am    Post subject: Re: Painting seams after seam repair Reply with quote

Not-pro tip: I lightly ran over my seam with the little wheel tool you use to install window screens, gave it a very nice finished look. I was really happy with this as I am terrible with a caulk gun and was not happy with how it looked before using this tool.

For painting, well, I rocked primer gray for a while until I re-painted the whole van, so can't really answer your specific question
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Bulli Klinik
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 7:27 am    Post subject: Re: Painting seams after seam repair Reply with quote

bobbyblack wrote:
If you want it to look as it did from the factory, don't forget to make it a little calk-bead bump like, and slightly inconsistent. Folks who run their finger or whatever down the seam and make it an slightly indented U shape and all fancy looking are 'upgrading' the look, in my opinion.

But, ya, its bare metal, seam seal, paint with best option primer (some say epoxy, other argue self etching) then base coat, sand, base coat, sand, base coat, sand, sand, sand, topcoat, sand, topcoat, rub with diaper.


I've never thought of this prior you mentioning it, but this may be one of the causes of seam rust. The original seam sealer has a ridge which may invite water infiltration into the seam. IMO, the main cause of seam rust is any sort of displacement of the panel due to minor accidents, though the ridge on the original sealer could exacerbate the issue.

I'm going to go for the upgrade look and hopefully it flashes off the water better than the ridge look.

To the original poster, it will be far easier and you will have a better result painting the entire panel.
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The Big Cheese
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 8:38 am    Post subject: Re: Painting seams after seam repair Reply with quote

Bulli Klinik wrote:
bobbyblack wrote:
If you want it to look as it did from the factory, don't forget to make it a little calk-bead bump like, and slightly inconsistent. Folks who run their finger or whatever down the seam and make it an slightly indented U shape and all fancy looking are 'upgrading' the look, in my opinion.

But, ya, its bare metal, seam seal, paint with best option primer (some say epoxy, other argue self etching) then base coat, sand, base coat, sand, base coat, sand, sand, sand, topcoat, sand, topcoat, rub with diaper.


I've never thought of this prior you mentioning it, but this may be one of the causes of seam rust. The original seam sealer has a ridge which may invite water infiltration into the seam. IMO, the main cause of seam rust is any sort of displacement of the panel due to minor accidents, though the ridge on the original sealer could exacerbate the issue.

I'm going to go for the upgrade look and hopefully it flashes off the water better than the ridge look.

To the original poster, it will be far easier and you will have a better result painting the entire panel.


I'm definitely going for the upgraded look as it looks a lot better and seems more practical.

I was hoping to see some pictures from someone that has painted just the seams without painting the entire panel. I do agree with you though.
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 10:06 am    Post subject: Re: Painting seams after seam repair Reply with quote

I also wanted to fix some seam sealer that has cracked over time but didn't want to mess up a decent factory paint job so I went this route:

After taping close to the seam I used a small high speed saw to clean out the old seam sealer (careful not to cut into the spot welds). Then sanded as needed, Ospho'ed to treat any rust, cleaned thoroughly, primed, painted, painted again with matching body color paint, resealed.
This is after cutting out old sealer but before sanding, etc.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

I used a Dremel type tool with a flexible drive and small head to keep the tool at right angles to body.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Here it is after painting and before sealer.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

I didn't bother to take an after picture, it looks like a slightly crooked (and in some spots messy) factory bead.

Getting the sealer into the seam with a clean bead involves first putting a very thin bead into the seam, smoothing into the crack, cleaning off excess, and then going over it again with another bead.
It's a pain to get it looking factory.

After the sealer cured (about a week) I taped and painted again with matching body color paint.
It's raining now, but I'll try to remember to get a picture later today of the result after three years.
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 10:16 am    Post subject: Re: Painting seams after seam repair Reply with quote

MsTaboo wrote:

Getting the sealer into the seam with a clean bead involves first putting a very thin bead into the seam, smoothing into the crack, cleaning off excess, and then going over it again with another bead.
It's a pain to get it looking factory.

After the sealer cured (about a week) I taped and painted again with matching body color paint.
It's raining now, but I'll try to remember to get a picture later today of the result after three years.


Sweet! I look forward to seeing the picture. In the meantime, did the paint on the sealer look fine when compared to the body paint?
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 1:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Painting seams after seam repair Reply with quote

The Big Cheese wrote:
Sweet! I look forward to seeing the picture. In the meantime, did the paint on the sealer look fine when compared to the body paint?
Paint looks fine, slightly different, but then I was looking for a difference. Not really noticeable.

Couple things I forgot to mention. Before cutting out the old sealer I first used a sharp blade to slice the edges of the sealer to free it from the body paint and remove bulk sealer. This helped to keep the saw blade in the groove and not jump out.
Last step, I also used a clear top coat over the color match paint to provide extra protection. Most cans of color matched rattle paint are pretty low quality and need a good clear coat to protect.
Allow the various paints to fully cure between types of paint. Check the info about cure times (not dry time, different). It doesn't always matter, but sometimes different paints don't play well together if not cured.
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 8:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Painting seams after seam repair Reply with quote

At risk of uttering blasphemy...

...has anyone welded those seams up, perhaps lead-filled or somesuch, and smoothed a van out a little? It always seemed (sorry) those seams were a great way to introduce moisture into a small dark crevice where it can spread, unimpeded by an owner's best efforts to defeat it.

The multitude of seam-rot vans out there would appear to confirm this. Would it not be best to weld the panels, fill the seams, and kill one known point of failure?
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 10:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Painting seams after seam repair Reply with quote

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=215705
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:47 am    Post subject: Re: Painting seams after seam repair Reply with quote

I'm still trying to determine which route I should go -- 1) paint just the seams 2) paint the seams along with the corresponding panel.

I could knock out option 1 on a weekend where as option 2 would need to be performed by someone with the necessary equipment and skill set. Option 1 would be cheaper, quicker while option 2 would be doing it 'the right way', more expensive, and more time consuming.

Help me decide -- show me your seams!
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:59 am    Post subject: Re: Painting seams after seam repair Reply with quote

Don't get carried away.

Get a small can of paint that matches quite well, carefully cut out the seams (as I did using a Fien multimaster (or similar knockoff) ......... https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=...;start=140 )

Carefully and neatly put in the new seam sealer and paint using a small artist brush just on top of the new seam sealer.

Dave
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:45 am    Post subject: Re: Painting seams after seam repair Reply with quote

djkeev wrote:
Don't get carried away.

Get a small can of paint that matches quite well, carefully cut out the seams (as I did using a Fien multimaster (or similar knockoff) ......... https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=...;start=140 )

Carefully and neatly put in the new seam sealer and paint using a small artist brush just on top of the new seam sealer.

Dave


I'm assuming your seam repair ended up holding up and looking nice after painting? Or did you end up painting the entire van afterward the seam repair?
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Painting seams after seam repair Reply with quote

Seam repair has held up well.

My paint wasn't a spot on match and I had several "oozing" rust seams.

The seams where I brushed it in are almost invisible.

Mine is a gold metallic, tough to match. I did a buddies white Van at the same time, it came out great!
That white Van is now JudoJeff's.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Painting seams after seam repair Reply with quote

Not sure when I'll get around to this, but my plan is this:
-- Use Prep-Sol (wax & grease remover) liberally in/near seams, let dry
-- Tape off seam areas with paper masking tape
-- Use folded sandpaper edges, 80 grit if rough, 220 where smooth
-- Remove as little paint and sealer as possible!
-- Use sealer only where/if necessary -- none where not cracked or rusted
-- Re-tape with 3M vinyl to exactly the same edge points
-- Mix my color using alkyd enamel sign paint (One-Shot Lettering Enamel)
-- Use a pinstriping brush lightly-thinned with Edge-brand thinner or mineral spirits, one coat/day, light scuff between coats until sealed by paint

I am a firm believer that unless the paint and sealer has been displaced by rust, or is severely cracked, the old materials are our friends. Ask any painter.

I also know by a ton of experience that this paint can be applied over clean, bare metal to great effect. About a decade ago I saw a local, 1981 280ZX with steel wheels I detail-painted the inserts on in 1981. The paint looked like it was done a year ago.

If I'd used crappy, commonly-available primer and paint on those wheels, they'd probably have looked marginal by 1990 -- if that.

I'll keep a jar of the mixed color for the life of the van for touching up.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Painting seams after seam repair Reply with quote

I never see much mentioned about the backside of the seams that are covered in undercoating.

This is from probably the best "looking" seam on my van that appeared very light on the outside with no sign of rust on the undercoat side. Once I got the undercoat off, you can see that the rust is moving towards the inside of the van and attending to this is obviously impossible from the outside.

Anyways...you may want to attack seams from inside and out. Maybe I'm just stating the obvious though.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Painting seams after seam repair Reply with quote

I pulled my entire interior. I treated every seam that I could access from the back side.

I also crawled under and chipped away undercoating to access seams.

There is actually a lot of talk about seam rust starting on the backside of body seams and then working out to the exterior painted side.

Dave
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Painting seams after seam repair Reply with quote

OK, I finally got around to taking some pictures of my seam repair from three years ago. Been busy getting my partner set up with the van for a couple weeks of work-camping.
Not very good photos, hard to get a good shot on a plain white background, and the van was dirty. Wiped it down as best I could and grabbed a few pics while loading the van.

This one is where I smoothed the sealer with my finger, hard to see but there are some very small cracks in the paint covering the sealer. The sealer itself is still fairly soft, I can press my fingernail into the stuff. Absolutely no rust under the sealer.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


This shot is where I tried to replicate the factory look by first smoothing the sealer into the seam, letting it cure for a couple days and then going back over it with another small bead. Came out kinda lumpy and it's holding some dirt but again no rust. I guess that's all that really matters.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


There are a few places where the sealer has picked up dirt that wouldn't clean off. The cheap color match paint has cracked. Guess I'll go back and redo those places while I tackle a couple new spots that need help.
The paint on the metal panels is still nice and tight, but the sealer has remained kinda soft and I think thats why the paint on top of the sealer is failing.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Painting seams after seam repair Reply with quote

FWIW:
You absolutely, positively should never put paint over *anything* that has not fully cured.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:28 am    Post subject: Re: Painting seams after seam repair Reply with quote

E1 wrote:
FWIW:
You absolutely, positively should never put paint over *anything* that has not fully cured.
I agree, read my above posts.
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