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Old 05-24-2014, 04:40 PM   #1
Drives: 2011 Camaro 2Ss
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Southern California
Posts: 641
Refurbishing rear bumper?

I didn't really think there was a market for such a thing until a good friend mentioned it. Is there any place you know about near thousand oaks that does such a thing or somewhere else locally?
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:49 PM   #2
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Drives: 2010 Camaro SS/RS Black/Black LS3
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Location: Redondo Beach
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Wall of text incoming: This comes from experience with shops, knowing many professional and amateur painters, and my own auto-body experience.


TL: DR: Any curb side repair will usually garner results that are visually sub-par to a full blown shop with a paint booth and proper finishing tools. Really good quick repair guys can get it pretty close if they are working with a basic paint and take their time, so it kind of depends. See below for the nitty gritty:


Depends on what you mean by "refurbishing". Correct me if I'm wrong but I'll assume you mean repairing slight cosmetic damage without having to take it to a shop. Paint work is not a quick and easy job and anyone saying they can do it on a street corner is only kind of right. I will explain:

Paint Notes:

Painting is 90% prep work. any scratch, ding, or slight deformity needs to be block sanded, primered, and painted (either blended or full panel), then cleared (if applicable), and finally color sanded and polished. Prep work (sanding, blocking... even primering to some extent) can generally be done anywhere, especially on small jobs. Most "street corner" body guys can do this to a reasonable extent.

Painting, however, is another story. we'll go with an easy paint first: lets assume your car works with a single stage (Paint and clear combo) single basic color. Here you can get away with blending (painting only part of the panel/bumper) and then color sanding and polishing, but you need to make sure the color matches up... even with the paint code, the paint may have faded due to exposure. Not as good as a full repaint of the bumper, but the naked eye with likely never tell the difference. Trouble is, this cannot be done in a half hour: to make it look right, at minimum, you need to primer, let dry, block sand, paint multiple coats, let dry, color sand, ant then polish. This is a most of a day if not a 2 day process. Further, painting anywhere other than a paint booth may allow particles to blow into the paint, causing imperfection. Also, the paint may need a certain temperature to cure, depending on paint type. Lack of the polishing and care is why many curb side repair jobs often leave a sort of non glossy, off-color finish.

Moving on to more difficult paint, metallic (paint that looks sparkly, or with metal flakes) is almost impossible to blend perfectly; most painters will choose to repaint the whole panel so it matches. I have seen a very good painter blend such a paint job, and while it looked great, you could see some blending between the "grain" so to speak. Further, these paints are usually 2 or 3 stage which, at minimum, require a base coat spray, dry, then clear coat spray, dry, color sand , polish: a lengthy process.

These paint notes only apply to scratches and chips. Actual damage is another story: I guess I'll go with damage levels of severity I just arbitrarily made up :P

1) Basic scratches, paint chips, and extremely light damage: A lot of this can be buffed away, filler is usually not needed. For damage that cannot be polished away, light sanding and paint and polish are required: see painting notes above.

2) Actual deformed damage: Anything that left a dent (that can be popped out but leaves a severe crease) or took a mid to small chunk out. Even though these types of smaller damage still leave the overall bumper integrity intact, most body shops I have dealt with will opt to replace the bumper. Barring only very small gashes, polyurethane bumper repair is generally more difficult than metal work. Creases need to be sanded down and even then, previous perfect bumper shape may not be guaranteed. Most polyurethane bumpers cannot be heated and molded into shape: it doesn't work that way. Gashes, chunks missing, and very deep scratching should NOT be repaired with bondo as it has no flex. Usually a urethane filler is used (3M makes one) that acts like bondo but has flex. It is difficult to work with and does not sand as easily as bondo. It is usually cheaper to just buy a new bumper than to do all that work.

3) A full blown tear: This is when a bumper has a full on tear in it. This is technically not repairable with any semblance of structural viability. Once it is torn, nothing will be able to bond it back together with the same strength and flexibility. You can resin it together and smooth it with a urethane filler, but it won't flax the same way and may come apart.

Hope that answers your question.
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