Build Chapter 3: Painting Part 1

Possibly one of the most daunting aspects of any 4WD project I have undertaken, was the decision to do a full body respray on the 40 Series. It was never my initial intention to go to such lengths to transform the 40, however… Given my plans for it in the future, spending the extra time now on such an important part of the vehicle, will certainly pay off in the years to come.

So… You may ask why I decided to paint the 40.

To be completely honest with you, only a few days after I had purchased the vehicle, I made a quick visit to my local car wash. When I say quick, I mean quick… Not even 10 seconds into washing the 40 and the black paint was being blasted off the quarter rear panels. So at that stage, it was obvious to say it needed a respray of some description.

After deciding that the 40 was definitely getting a respray, I removed the basic panels off the vehicle to get a rough idea off the task ahead. Upon removal of the roof and quarter side panels, I discovered a considerable amount of rust in some areas of concern. This then lead me to rethink to what extent I needed to go to with this respray.

It was at this stage the respray went from a quick weekend rattle can job, to a full blown sand down, repair, and paint.

After a quick clean down of the panels, I started on the task of sanding… Little did I know what a task I had ahead of me. I made the decision early on to split the respray into two parts. The shell, front end, windscreen surround and front doors being part one and the rear quarter panels, rear doors and roof being part two. I decided to do it that way because the roof, rear doors and rear quarter panels needed a huge amount of work and rust repairs, while everything else was in fair condition

I had very little knowledge on how to best tackle the task ahead, so I turned to You Tube to get tips and ideas on the most ideal way to sand and respray the vehicle.

Starting on the bonnet, I tried using an orbital sander. However, I was less than impressed with the swirl marks it was leaving and the extra work it was creating. So I turned to hand sanding and man what a time consuming, but rewarding process that was. I progressed through the wet sanding first with 400 grit, followed by a quick go over of 800 grit and finished it off with 1200 grit. I was fortunate enough to be working with straight and rust free panels, therefore requiring zero panel work or bog.

One thing the photos cannot show, is how long this whole process really takes. You have to stay dedicated!

When the time came to purchase the paint, I spoke to the local paint experts at Rare Spares Launceston. Knowing the full history of the 40 from the previous owner, I knew that it had already been resprayed some time ago in enamel paint and I was advised to stick with this type of paint. This meant I could avoid alot of extra prep work and I wouldn’t have to put a layer of blocking paint down first.

The colour choice was a no brainer, as I’ve always had my heart set on owning a mustard 40 Series.

I chose not to stick with the factory Toyota mustard and went with a slightly brighter shade of mustard, after all this build isn’t a factory restoration.

Before I could put down the first layer of under coat, I had to head off shopping to purchase some spray gear… After all, I didn’t have any of the gear I needed and who doesn’t love new tools?

I picked up a Full Boar 3HP 50L twin air compressor from Bunnings warehouse and my spray guns, hoses and other accessories from Super Cheap Auto. This gear best suited my one off needs, based on value for money and the overall results I was aiming for.

Armed with my new spray gear, I thinned downed the under coat and nervously loaded the paint into the spray cup. Again… The previous days before this step, I spent countless hours on You Tube trying to learn the best techniques for spraying a vehicle, but the time had finally come to get to work on the 40.

I decided to lay the first coat of paint on the bonnet and guards as a practice run, surprisingly they turned out better than I anticipated. This prompted me to continue on laying the first coat on all the panels. The following week I lightly wet sanded all the panels with 1200 grit sand paper, cleaned them down and gave them a final layer of under coat.

After the success of the under coat I couldn’t wait to mix up the mustard top coat and put the first layer down.

The wide flat surfaces of the bonnet and guards were again the first panels to receive a coat of colour. I was over the moon with how vivid and bright it looked! It really made me thankful that I had gone to such lengths to create the look I desired.

Next I moved on to spraying the shell and all the other major panels. When painting the body, I didn’t bother masking up the under body, chassis or inside of the shell, as I had full intentions on touching up all that after I had completely finished the top coat.

In any vehicle assembly, there are many smaller parts. Items like door hinges, kick flaps, even the wiper motor cover, all needed coats of mustard yellow. It’s amazing how a small amount of fencing wire and some cable ties can make painting smaller items much easier.

All up, I ended putting down 3 layers of top coat on all the panels and accessories, in between each coat I roughly wet sanded the panels with 1200 grit sand paper to remove any blemishes or imperfections.

Once the top coat had dried, I moved inside the cab area to clean up some areas of surface rust in the foot wells etc. I used the same heavy duty under body paint that I applied on the chassis when fitting the Old Man Emu Suspension. Knowing what I have planned for the inside, this was the best opportunity to ensure good coverage in all areas.

Despite my best intentions, it amazed me how much over spray gets absolutely everywhere!!! Thankfully no major components were treated to a layer of mustard paint they didn’t need. A quick clean up of a few areas was all that was needed.

Possibly one of the most anticipated aspects of the respray was getting to the stage were I could start putting it all back together. By this time it had been close to 4 months since I eagerly pulled it down.

I had heard many stories about the struggle to realign all the front panels on a 40 Series, these stories were not far from the truth… It took quite a few hours of mirror adjustments everywhere to get it to a point where it looked straight and even. By this stage it was starting to look very much like a 40 again, and with all the new bolts to hold the major components on, it became a breeze to reassemble the remaining parts.

At this stage, I hit a bit of a problem… I JUST WANTED TO DRIVE IT!!!!

With all the main assembly now complete, the smaller items needed to be reattached. Side steps, windshield rests and the side kick flaps (poor mans air-con…) all went back on, fitted with new genuine seals where acceptable.

The overwhelming desire to go for a drive up and down my street was becoming a reality and at the same time a huge distraction. This pushed me to get the half doors bolted on, the roll bar fitted, the seats back in and I was in the drivers seat taking it for a quick spin up my street.

Stay tuned for Painting Part 2! Where you’ll see me paint, repair and fit the quarter side panels, doors and roof. As well as laying down some clear coat and fitting some new seals.

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