After breaking the surface...
After breaking the surface glaze of the factory paint with the DA and some 180-grit paper, we mixed the Rage body filler. Mix some of the provided hardener according to the instructions, and spread the filler across the dent.
To complement the base/clear system, Summit Racing offers its 2K Urethane Primer, which features a fast-drying formula that can be applied over sealers, primers, OE finishes, and body filler. It has a high-build property to conceal low spots and is ready for block-sanding in just 3 to 4 hours. It's priced at $39.95 per gallon. We largely used the urethane primer on Recession Special. Summit also offers an Epoxy Primer, which is designed to adhere to bare metal, body fillers, fiberglass, aluminum, or existing finishes. While the Urethane Primer mixes 4:1 with the Activator, the Epoxy Primer mixes at 1:1 with an epoxy catalyst.
Since we can't prime our way out of all the dents, dings, and general destruction of Recession Special's flanks, Summit provided us with a gallon of Evercoat Rage plastic body filler (PN MDS-FE106), which worked extremely well. We also recommend using Evercoat's Metal Glaze putty (PN MDS-FE416) to fill in the small spots. Summit carries this as well.
If you have a number of dents...
If you have a number of dents in close proximity to one another, you may want to spread a large swatch over the entire area. While the dent may be apparent only in one particular area, it may have disrupted the nearby metal. Our door looked like it was hit with buckshot--several times.
The Summit Racing Tools and Garage Accessories Catalog has just about everything the average gearhead needs to work on his or her vehicle. Toolboxes, welders, sheetmetal tools, valve-lash wrenches, and everything in between can be found on the pages of the tool catalog. And the items are reasonably priced, as well. We perused the catalog and ordered a Gerson maintenance-free respirator (PN MDS-GEO8211P), which is great whether you're panting or just sanding body filler. We also picked out a Dura-Block six-piece sanding-block kit (PN ARD-TAI-AF44L). We used all but one of the blocks in this project.
When we weren't sanding by hand, we were using a Chicago Pneumatic 6-inch, dual-action sander (MDS-CP870), and Summit also sent stick-on sanding discs and roll sandpaper from Carborundum. We ordered a roll of Carborundum's EZ Sheet plastic sheet and masking tape to mask things off. Here's a tip. If you're doing this in your garage, get an extra roll and lay it on the floor before you paint. That way you'll cut down on dust and prevent the floor from getting overspray.
Using some 80-grit paper and...
Using some 80-grit paper and the long Dura-Block, we sanded the filler until it blended smoothly.
Obviously, Recession Special has been all about counting the pennies, and in addition to the savings from using the Summit Racing paint system, you can save time and money on your project in a number of other ways. Our front and rear bumper covers were both in bad shape, as the plastic was dry-rotted in places and riddled with pockmarks, scrapes, and gouges. They were, however, relatively straight and level, so we used some spot putty along with the Rage body filler to smooth them out rather than replacing them altogether.
If you're not looking for a show-quality finish, you can save more money by reusing the old body side moldings. Some of ours weren't straight, and some of the corners were bent up, but they were in decent shape overall, and we saved both time and money by not replacing and/or removing them from the car. A little scuff and paint and they were good to go.
Shown here, the body filler...
Shown here, the body filler should look softly blended, and you shouldn't be able to feel the transition from filler to paint.
It's No Lie--They Call It BodyWORK For A Reason
There's no getting around it--bodywork is hard labor. If your car is perfectly straight, then the amount of labor is greatly reduced, as you only really need to run the DA over it once or twice and then hit it with the primer. Chances are, though, that your ride has a few parking lot dings here and there at the very least--even if you can't see them. So it's time to break out the sanding blocks and apply elbow grease.
For a job like Recession Special, you're looking at about three weeks of labor and somewhere between $4,000 to $7,000 if you want to pay someone to do it. Keep in mind that you're not only paying for the physical labor, but also the knowledge of the auto-body technician. Anyone can slap on some filler and sand it down, but knowing where to fill, when to stop sanding, how to line up a door gap, and whatever else doesn't fall under the fill-and-sand heading is what you're really paying for.