02-07-2017, 11:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: SouthEast of Denver
I used lacquer.
Lacquer doesn't stick as well as enamel so good surface prep is essential.
Lacquer dries much quicker than enamel and painting in my garage with the doors open would allow dust to settle on the wet paint if I used enamel. Plus, lacquer is easier to spray than enamel for an inexperienced painter and it doesn't make as much overspray.
In my opinion lacquer isn't as hazardous to ones health as enamel is. It is still hazardous and a good respirator is necessary.
With my hard top on horses in my garage, I scrubbed it well with detergent and water. I like sudsy ammonia detergent because the ammonia cuts any old wax or polish. Because the top is textured I used a Scotchbrite pad with the detergent to scuff the surface. Similar to wetsanding with sandpaper, but using a scotchbrite pad instead of sandpaper. I dried the top and because it was later in the day, I allowed it to completely dry overnight.
The next morning with the top nice and dry, I could see where any shiny spots remained. I got after the shiny spots with a new dry scotchbrite pad. The red ones are coarse enough to do a good job. The green ones do well also. The White and grey ones are too fine.
Once all the shiny spots were gone I masked the window moldings with automotive masking tape. The green or blue tape that you buy at big box stores is for latex and doesn't work well with automotive paint. With the moldings masked, I covered the glass with doubled over newspaper and more tape.
Just before spraying, I wiped the remaining dust off with wax and grease remover. This also cleans any hand prints off the surface.
I don't remember what brand paint I used. Probably Martin Senour that I got at NAPA.
Just follow the instructions on the can as far as mixing with lacquer thinner. I usually start with a 50/50 mix of paint and thinner.
The first coat is a light coat just to get the surface slightly wet. If you are spraying black on black you will probably need only two or three more light coats. If you are spraying black over tan or tan over black, keep spraying light coats until you are certain you have all the old color covered. Then two more coats with the last coat wetter than the previous ones. Good light is essential. If it's a calm dry day, some folks even spray outside.
Once the top is painted, go have a beer or a coffee and don't bother the top until the next day. It will be tempting to pull off the masking and compliment yourself on a job well done. Don't! If the paint isn't completely dry you can pull the fresh paint off the textured surface where it meets the vinyl moldings.
You should be able to buy all you need at one source. If you are painting black over black, one pint of lacquer should be enough. Anything else a pint may not be enough.
I would buy two pints rather than one quart. You can return the second pint if you don't need it. A gallon of lacquer thinner should be enough to spray a top with enough left over to clean the spray gun. You might have to buy a whole gallon of wax and grease remover. I don't know if it comes in quarts.
I always buy more than enough materials because I seem to have all kinds of projects that require some kind of solvent.
The left over lacquer thinner and wax and grease remover makes good solvent for cleaning carburetors and other greasy/oily parts.
Some guys can do an acceptable job with spray cans. That might be a solution for someone that doesn't have a compressor. Harbor Freight has cheap spray guns that will do a reasonable job.
Post some pics of you project, before, during and after. We would like to see.
Good Luck, L.M.
1987 YJ-4.2L-Standard Shift- Re-manufactured Carter Carb-2" body Lift-31X10.5X15 BFG KOs-190K Miles
HEI distributor with computer and all related relays and wiring removed.
No back seat.
12K Badlands winch with dual batteries.