Clear for SS Pearl?


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Hello! I'm new to all this, but have been lurking the SPI forums for about a year now and soaking up the knowledge. It's come time to paint my first job and am looking for some advice from the pros.

After many many months of screwing up, using bad products and basic inexperience, I'm finally at the stage where I have 2K urethane primer wet block sanded to 600 and am ready for paint (I think). Long before I started this project, my dad bought me a gallon kit of Restoration Hardware SS Acrylic Urethane in Daytona Pearl Blue. I've been reading a bunch on here, especially on the "black single stage or base with clear for novice" thread. The next steps (I think) are for SPI Epoxy Sealer reduced 50% as adhesion promoter followed by paint. My questions are:

- When wet block sanding with 600, I broke through to bare metal in maybe 4-5 tiny spots. Biggest one the size of a quarter. Do I need to do anything to this before my sealer coat?
- I've read that pearl single stage systems need a clear coat, but it seems that these are ones with the pearl added separately. The paint I have is already mixed. Is this a "fake" pearl or do I need clear?
- If I need clear, which one would you recommend for a novice? How many coats of the SS and clear? Block sand between coats with 800? How much time can I potentially wait between SS and clear?
- Last Q: Are low VOC products going to be an issue? I can get regular stuff and even could paint at my buddies garage in AZ if needed. I haven't ordered any of the reducer or clear yet.

I have a Tekna Pro-Lite with the TE20 cap. Running a relatively small compressor, so I might need to do the car in stages. Going to be a home garage job with a lot of plastic sheeting up to hopefully minimize contamination.

Thank you all very much for the help in advance!
1: To me a quarter size spot of metal needs more than sealer mixed 1:1:1. I would spray 1 coat unreduced or slightly reduced the day before sealer and paint 2: Normal SS paint jobs don't need clear. Spraying a SS metallic or pearl is not what you want to spray as your first job. They are difficult for an experienced painter 3: I would recommend either Euro or Universal clears for a complete. Normal SS jobs are 2-3 coats unless you are buffing. You will not be able to sand and buff a pearl SS without ruining it. It would have to be cleared after waiting overnight, in most cases. 4: Don't have much experience with the low VOC products, but they are being used everyday in parts of the country, so I'm sure they work. If you are set on spraying the single stage, spray it and see what happens. If it does not come out like you want, you could just sand it and spray base coat over it, then clear. That is a good gun, but they all like a lot of air to perform well. Good luck.
Before spraying paint be sure you have moisture in check in your air system or you will not be happy with the end product, To keep air volume to the Pro lite your small compressor will most likely put out huge amounts of water so get that in line before you spray expensive paint products.
It's really strange to be considering a single stage metallic/pearl job in this day and age. I feel bad saying that when the paint is already bought. I know it's something I simply would not do, it's just a redo waiting to happen.
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Really no such thing as a pearl single stage. It is just marketing bs. A true pearl consists of a base color, the pearl coat followed by a clear coat. Commonly called a three stage or tri coat. There are basecoats with pearl added to the formula to give it a pearlescent appearance. Single stage type urethanes by definition do not need a clear coat, that is why they are called single stage.

Single stage urethanes are best used when they are a solid non-metallic color. Spraying a metallic single stage is considerably harder than a solid single stage. Many of us who have been doing this for years dread when a job comes up that we have to shoot a single stage metallic. It would definitely not be a good choice for someone with little to no experience and a small compressor and a non-booth environment. That's not even accounting for that the brand you mention is junk IMO and might be good for some things but not using it on a car. Just low grade stuff marketed to DIY'ers. You want to use Profesional grade products. Sorry if that's not what you wanted to hear but it's the truth.

You would be much better off using a quality base coat and then clearing it with a high quality clear. Much more user friendly. Oh and trying to do this with a inadequate compressor will only bring you grief.
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...You would be much better off using a quality base coat and then clearing it with a high quality clear. Much more user friendly. Oh and trying to do this with a inadequate compressor will only bring you grief.
Obviously this is best, but guys get really scared of premium base coat prices. Hell, I get scared of premium base coat prices! They're highway robbery and there's not much repairers can do for several reasons.

But I might say that with a mind to budget, he would be pretty well off with even a half decent brand of base coat, and an SPI clear. That is, if we can talk him out of that SS first.
Thank you all for the help/advice. It’s a resounding unanimous no for the single stage. Sounds like I need to go paint shopping... Any suggestions on a base that won’t completely break the bank? I’ve put so much time and effort into this car, screwing up and learning along the way, that I’d be willing to pay for quality where needed. Definitely going SPI for the clear. It seems everyone loves the look of the universal clear, but it might be harder to lay down cleanly?

Also, would you all recommend even trying metallic? I was curious as to what would happen with the single stage if I got a run, so I did a practice panel yesterday and intentionally ran the paint. The metallic flakes and dark pigment all gathered in the run. Wet sanding made it smooth but the color was so uneven and I feel like it would show through coats. Would a basecoat be easier to fix when this happens? If metallic is too difficult, I’d be ok with a solid color. It’s not my first choice but sounds like it’s easier.

As far as the compressor, is it an absolute no go? I might be able to borrow another 3-4 CFM and run them in tandem. Buying a big compressor is not really possible. Trying to keep my equipment load small until I own my own place. Or are there places that can rent big ones daily?
Some metallics are easier to spray than others. In general, lighter colors are more difficult to get even than darker colors, and some different brands of base are more difficult to spray than others. Lots of variables. The key to a metallic is even application and keeping you gun perpendicular to the surface. Solids are much more forgiving, for sure, but base coat metallic is way easier to spray than SS. Lots of good brands of base to choose from. I have been spraying Motobase on completes lately. It sprays really nice, covers very well, and is cheaper than top of the line base coats from the majors. Avoid cheaper lines of base. They won't save you any money, just cause frustration. That gun you have is my favorite all around gun, but like any gun it needs plenty of clean, dry air to work properly. That is something you will have to address before painting.
The only thing I would add here is consider whether or not your "smaller" compressor can keep up with an over-all paint job. If there is doubt it will, your changing to a solid color makes all kinds of sense. You can paint a solid color in pieces over a few days and get away with it. Not as easy with a metalic.

Good luck with it.

Having an adequate supply of clean dry air is mandatory if you want to paint a complete. What you are going through with the cost of equipment etc. is something that every hobbyist has to contend with. There must be dozens of stories here on the forum of guys struggling with poor results because they were trying to make some poor air solution work. If it's truly not possible for you to invest in a proper air supply, you would be better off farming out the spray labor to a place like Maaco. Many reputable shops won't touch a job that someone else has started, though, so if this is what you need to do, you have to find a place that's willing to take it on before going too far.
Points all well taken. Since I already had the SS, I decided to try out spraying some test panels with my small compressor. It definitely couldn't even come close to keeping up. I had been doing all of the primers at my dad's house with more air supply, so this was new to me. The air pressure dropped at the gun as I went and couldn't even get a small 6'x2' panel done without dropping pressure and getting orange peel. Out of curiosity, I sanded the peel and it looked terrible.

I ended up finding a deal on a used 60gal 10.2 CFM compressor. It's borderline enough but Tekna has the TE20 cap listed at 9-12CFM required at 16-26psi. As much as I like the solid colors, I really couldn't get past the look of a metallic and am willing to take on a bit of a struggle/challenge in order to hopefully have a respectable paint job in the color that I really like. So I bought a gallon of Motobase LV from Chad in metallic blue. Already have the SPI UV gallon kit.

One issue though is that it's an older compressor and when I drained the tank, there was a good amount of sludge in the bottom. Either the PO never drained the thing, or there's a good amount of blowby on the pump. I plan on draining the tank and flushing it out as best I can. This means I'll likely need a good oil trap. And, I'm about 100ft from the pacific ocean, so humidity is a factor. Budget is an issue here, so I cannot drop $500 on a filter/separator system. I've read of the ghetto ice bucket condenser with a water trap and plan on trying this. Any suggestions for an in line oil filter? I'll also try to wait for the driest day with offshore wind if I'm lucky. Wish me luck!
Advice i'll give is drain oil, refill with mobil1, run it 5 minutes, dump & refill oil. Do this till it comes out spotless.
Mobil1, just for cleaning or for running? I've heard you shouldn't use detergent oils in a compressor pump.
Both. Either way, pump or engine oil, keep it clean, keep an eye on sight glass. I like clean oil :)