Rise of the Phoenix: Part 5 – The Repair Process – Exterior Repairs, Refinish & Assembly

Now that we have a new & freshly jambed front inner structure to build off of, it’s time to begin the exterior repairs. Some of the panels will need to be replaced. In my case, I needed a new hood. Here’s the new hood that’s already been jambed…DSC01810

Typically, the painter will jamb everything that needs it all at the same time. This will save time & materials, as well as the painter only having to clean his gun once.

Other panels, such as my fenders, will just need repairs. Just about every shop out there, will do what they can to get the sheet metal as close as possible to it’s original state. They’ll use pullers, their hands, hammers, etc to get the panel as flat as possible. To assure a smooth finish that matches the original pre-loss state, they will use some kind of body filler. DSC00822

I always get a kick out of people that tell me they will only take their car to a shop that doesn’t use fillers & only does metal finish. Especially when they inform me of who they believe does this kind of work & when I go to this shop, it usually has more bondo dust than any other shop I’ve ever been in before. That being said, There are guys out there that can do this type of work. But they usually own custom Hot Rod shops, bill $75 – $150 per hour, & build $150k – $500k custom Hot Rods.

The reality is that every body shop uses some kind of body fillers. Regardless of what they will tell you. If they tell you they don’t use fillers & only metal finish, ask them for a tour of the repair shop. I guarantee you will see evidence of fillers, both sight & smell. If they refuse to give you a tour, that’s pretty much a red flag right there.

When the repairs are complete, and the newly jambed panels are hung, it’s time for primer. The primer does pretty much has the same function that all other primers do. Here you can see my Right fender has been primered.  Similarly with the jamb process, the primer is applied before the shop shuts down for the day so it can dry over night.DSC00825


The next day the repaired and primered panels will be block sanded & checked for correct body lines, pin holes in the filler that the primer has not filled in, & to assure the surface area is flat & smooth like it should be. If it’s not, it will be kicked back to the bodyman for additional fine tuning. Once it passes snuff, it will be final sanded, cleaned, masked, put in the spray both, finish masked, cleaned again & tack clothed. In other words, prepped for paint. DSC02163 DSC02161Once the car has been painted & the clear coat applied, it will be baked in the spray booth. Most all spray booths these days are retrofitted with an baking/ oven system. There are all kinds of times & temps you can bake at, as this feature is customizable. But typically, we’re looking at around 140 degrees for 15 – 20 mins. Some shops, if time allows, will double bake the car. This helps to cure the paint even faster, making it safe to touch the newly painted panels. This being said, automotive paint takes a full month – to 2 months to fully cure. Sure you can touch the car, wash it & so on when you pick it up. But it will take this long for it to fully dry thru to the bottom. This is why you should never wax or install a clear bra on the car until this month long period has passed. If you seal the paint before this time, you risk sealing the paint pores, which it needs to breath & finish curing. If the paint can’t breath through it’s pores, the paint will likely crack in search of an air supply to finish the curing process.

Once the paint process is complete, it goes to the detailers. They will check to see if there is any dirt in the paint/clear, fish eyes, runs in the clear, etc. They will wet sand any flaws out of the finish as well as the orange peel out of the clear coat. After the sanding, they will buff & polish the finish to bring the shine back out. Once this is done, it usually sits for the rest of the day.

In the morning, The initial tech will reassemble the car, making sure everything fits properly as he goes along. When everything is back in place, down to the last bolt & clip, it will go thru a pre QC check and take care of any misc operations that need to be done. Such as filling the new AC condenser with freon & charging, then testing the system.  Diagnosing & clearing any dash lights that may still be on. Thvehicle is usually sent to the manufacturer dealer for this to be completed.

When all is clear, it’s back to the body shop & the detail department for a final detail & QC check. When the last walk around is done and ALL issues have been addressed, the customer is called, the bill is satisfied and the car goes home.

And here she is with her brand new front end!DSC02723 DSC02718 DSC02719 DSC02720 DSC02721 DSC02722

Her face looks as good as the day I met her. Not a single rock chip to be seen. All new shiny Chrome appointments. Crystal clear headlamp lenses. It’s been 10 years since the TSX has looked like this!

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Lyle Pearson Acura parts department, Sean & Trevor “The Strap”, for hooking me up with OE parts at a great price! Loyalty to your dealer is a 2 way street. My TSX has been exclusively serviced by Lyle Pearson since I moved into the Boise area when the car had a mere 15k miles on it. Because of that loyalty, Sean saw fit to help me with my parts needs when I needed it most. For that, I am most grateful. Some schmoe off the street couldn’t possibly expect to be treated like family, never showing their face before. Therefore, don’t expect to be shown loyalty, unless you’ve shown it first. Again, it’s a 2 way street.

I hope everyone has enjoyed this little series, as I’m hoping very much, to not have to repeat it.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by, offered encouragement & commented. I encourage all to check back in soon. There is more work to be done & a special treat coming up!

About clymerdude

A Property Damage Appraiser in the State of Idaho.
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10 Responses to Rise of the Phoenix: Part 5 – The Repair Process – Exterior Repairs, Refinish & Assembly

  1. Carlos says:

    She looks beautiful. Try to show pics as it is driving out of the body shop never to return again. 🙂 By the way, does your car have a name? My car is known as Mr. Acura. 🙂 🙂

  2. tysonhugie says:

    Brings a tear to my eye. I can’t get over the clarity of those new headlight lenses and the sparkle of that fresh “A” emblem on the grille. Glad to see the TSX back to business. This has been a really insightful process to watch. I know you have some special experiences in store for the car and I look forward to reading about those in the coming weeks. Nice write-up!

  3. Eric E says:

    WOW! Good as new!

  4. Mo says:

    Very Nice! I drive a carbon copy sister of yours..even color! Just a 2006. So watching this was very pleasing to see you would be able to drive it again!

  5. Carlos says:

    When is the TSX going on its post crash maiden voyage?

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