2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Hood Install - Upper Deck
Best of Show Coachworks Handles all the Paint and Bodywork for our Aftermarket Hood
From the October, 2011 issue of Chevy High Performance
By Sean Haggai
It’s obvious that paint and bodywork will require the most from anyone’s build budget. That’s why it’s critical to know what’s going on when your pride and joy is under the gun. The key to a quality paintjob is all in the prep work before any color ever finds its way onto the car. Quality work involves taking your time and doing the work carefully and knowingly. It’s true, you get what you pay for.
The days of completely painting a car in your garage are getting harder and harder to come by; those days are long gone. With the push from the EPA to regulate paints and California’s strict air quality standards, it’s impossible. What makes it even harder, too, is if you’re dealing with a late-model vehicle and only need one portion of the body repainted. Good luck trying to match the factory paint, albeit, with a slight hint of orange peel.
In our case, we didn’t have an ordinary paintjob at hand. What we had was a bare aftermarket fiberglass cowl hood from Lingenfelter Performance Engineering (LPE) for our ’02 Corvette Z06 project car. If you recall, we had the new hood installed to cover our MagnaCharger supercharger install (“Brute Force”, May 2011). Even though the LPE hoods are ready for paint, we still had to amend some minor blemishes on the fiberglass’ surface and clearance a small section for the supercharger pulley. If that wasn’t enough, the new paint had to match perfectly with the rest of the car’s factory skin. What we needed was the guiding hand of a qualified, Coach-building shop to get it matched perfectly. To put simply, this job was out of our league and not a task you performed in the driveway.
To get a match-perfect paintjob you seek professional help. For us, it was simple and we called on Best of Show (BOS), located in Escondido, California. We spent three whole days there watching Jon Lindstrom work his magic and finally lay down PPG Electron Blue. It was there Lindstrom put years of knowledge and hard work down on our Z06’s new hood—literally. Of course, he made it all look easy but we followed along with the entire process. We don’t expect anyone to get out and paint their late-model vehicles on their own, however, a little bit of knowledge can go a long way. Next time you’ve got a panel that needs to be painted, you’ll know what to look for and what’s involved for this kind of job. While we can’t illustrate everything, we’ve hit on the most important aspects of prepping and painting our fiberglass hood for a factory match.
PPG Automotive Refinish offers everything you need to complete any job from start to finish. To check out a detailed list of their product line, be sure to head over to ppgrefinish.com. For pricing, you’ll want to get in touch with your local PPG Automotive Refinish distributor.
|LPE Hood by Starcraft
||High-rise supercharger hood
||PPG Electron Blue
Before the hood could come...
Before the hood could come off for paint, we paid close attention to any areas that were rubbing. From underneath, Jon Lindstrom located all of the potential areas and marked them accordingly with a black marker. Once the hood was removed, we could sand these areas down for clearance issues.
The LPE hood was originally...
The LPE hood was originally designed for MagnaCharger’s line of MP 112 superchargers. Since we stepped up to their latest TVS 2300 supercharger, we knew the fitment would be close and possibly require additional clearancing. One of the more critical areas we marked was where the rear-facing supercharger pulley was touching the new hood. To fix this, we did have to remove a small section of the hood.
From there, the BOS team came...
From there, the BOS team came together and removed the entire hood from our Corvette. We used a 13mm socket and ratchet.
It's All In The Hood The...
It's All In The Hood
The LPE supercharger hood by Starcraft is specifically designed for ’97-04 Corvettes with a top-mount supercharger system. Careful attention was paid to maintain correct body lines and hood gaps and it is simply the best-fitting aftermarket hood available. These feature a high-quality fiberglass construction with a smooth finish on the underside to allow for a finished look. This hood was also designed to allow for the installation of a boost gauge that can be added into the cowl area in the back of the hood. What’s more, this hood carries a three-year/36,000-mile warranty from Starcraft.
To work into the rounded areas...
To work into the rounded areas of the clearanced section of hood, Lindstrom used a paint stir stick with some sandpaper. This simple trick took care of the rough edges and will leave a finished look once the underside is painted.
In some instances, working...
In some instances, working with fiberglass can be a tricky and misleading. If any cracks or stress fractures were present, they would surface and we could fix them immediately. To get a clear picture of what we were working with, Lindstrom applied a coating of DX330 Acrylic-Clean from PPG. DX330 was designed to work interactively with acrylic material to clean the surface and remove any oily residue prior to painting.
Still working on the underside...
Still working on the underside of the hood, Lindstrom continued to sand any hard edges or corners. Then, he removed the hood hinges and sanded the entire bottom side with a large piece Scotch-Brite pad.
Working from the top side,...
Working from the top side, we again cleaned the surface with Acrylic Clean. We noticed some discoloration where the hood latches mounted and to prevent any cracking from stress, Lindstrom sanded them down.
For some of our fibgerglass work, we relied on this short strand, fiberglass-reinforced body filler. It features a high-strength, high build and waterproofing, which makes it excellent for repairing holes, rusted metal, body seams, and shattered fiberglass. It also contains ZNX-7 for superior adhesion and corrosion resistance to bare steel, galvanized steel and aluminum.
From there, Lindstrom filled...
From there, Lindstrom filled those areas with an Evercoat Everglass coat and sanded it after it dried. He then applied a coating of Evercoat Quantum 1, which has less shrinkage, better sandability, and better repair holdout than traditional body fillers. Once it was dry, it was sanded smooth and a Dolphin Glaze was applied next.
To knock down any high surface...
To knock down any high surface areas, Lindstrom wet-sanded the entire top side of the hood with 220-grit sandpaper. He also used a sponge to keep the areas wet.
At this point, we were halfway...
At this point, we were halfway through the process. Once the bodywork was completed, we could spray it with the primer. Lindstrom went ahead and mixed up PPG DLV8005, and then laid down two coats of primer to seal the hood.
Once the primer was applied,...
Once the primer was applied, we gave the topside of our LPE hood a light dusting of guidecoat. This would reveal all of the imperfections and high spots from the primer coat.
With the high and low spots...
With the high and low spots clearly visible, Lindstrom began to wet-sand with 3M 320-grit wet/dry sandpaper until the surface felt smooth. He started at the center edge and worked outward; making sure not to miss any areas. Again, he used a wet sponge to soak the surface and keep it wet.
After the 320-grit wet sanding,...
After the 320-grit wet sanding, Lindstrom dusted the surface with a dry guidecoat. The dry guidecoat will fill any surface areas of the hood, which still have deep sanding marks. Then, Lindstrom went to finer, 600-grit wet/dry sandpaper and began to wet-sand until all of the 320-grit sandpaper scratches were gone. Again, he began at the center of the hood and worked toward the edges.
Before laying down any paint,...
Before laying down any paint, Lindstrom cleaned the entire hood again with Acrylic Clean to remove any contaminants from the surface. Then, working from the outer edges in, Lindstrom blasted the hood with PPG 195338. Lindstrom applied smooth strokes of Electron Blue and followed through until the hood was completely covered. We applied a second coat later that day, but left the hood in the booth overnight to cure completely. The following day, we pulled out and began the polishing process.
The finish on the hood wasn’t...
The finish on the hood wasn’t perfect, yet. To bring out the high luster, Lindstrom began the tedious process of wet sanding the entire hood, again. Lindstrom began with 800-grit sandpaper and worked his way to finer, 1,200-, 2,000-, 2,500-, and finally 3,500-grit sandpaper. For the smooth curves of the cowl, Lindstrom used a criss-cross method, which works best to fill any sanding gaps and prevents any flat spotting.
After a day for the paint...
After a day for the paint to cure, Lindstrom came back to the hood, applied 3M rubbing compound to a wool pad, and carefully began to “cut” into the clearcoat. Lindstrom made slow sweeps of the hood and was careful to keep the speed on the orbital tool on low so as not to burn through the paint. He worked until all of the wet sanding marks had been removed.
To bring the shine back, Lindstrom...
To bring the shine back, Lindstrom switched to a 3M black waffle pad and applied a liberal coat of Ultra Finishing Polish. Lindstrom worked the polish into the hood until all of the finer scratches made from the rubbing compound had been eliminated.
Final changes on the hood...
Final changes on the hood included applying two coats of satin black trim paint to the underside. This gave our hood a completed, factory look from underneath.
Once again, the BOS team came...
Once again, the BOS team came together and mounted the hood back on the factory hinges. We used the same 13mm socket to lock it all in place. Within a couple minutes, we fine-tuned the fit with minor adjustments and the hood shut perfectly.