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1992-1999 Series I L27 (1992-1994 SE,SLE, SSE) & Series II L36 (1995-1999 SE, SSE, SLE) and common problems for the Series I and II L67 (all supercharged models 92-99) Including Olds 88's, Olds LSS's and Buick Lesabres Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 08-10-2003, 01:47 PM   #1
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Default touchup or repaint?

I have a 1996 SSEi with 48K miles on it. It runs well, and I have maintained it well. However, like any car of that age, it'* showing some scratches and chips on the outside paint. I suppose some of them could be cured with a polish, but other scrapes go through to the metal (or plastic). For those, my options seem to be:

1. Touchups. But since the paint had baked a bit in the sun, the factory touchup paint will no longer be an exact color match.

2. I've heard that technology exists to do an exact match on paint. Is it true? Or is it BS? How much would it cost to do an exact match for touchups? Would the touchups be invisible?

3. Repaint the whole thing. More expensive, but at least it should look as good as new. Or will it? I've never tried it. I've certainly seen cars where it is *obvious* they've been repainted, and there would be no point to paying for that.

4. Replace the front bumper, which is where most of the scratches and scrapes are.

Approximately, what'* the range of prices I could expect for each of these four options? I understand a lot depends in part on how much I shop around, but what would be middle of the road numbers?

I figure these questions (and your answers) are pertinent to this forum of 1992 to 1999 owners. The collective knowledge here is most impressive.
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Old 08-10-2003, 07:48 PM   #2
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Here is my 2 cents worth.
I have a white 93 SSE that I purchased about 7 months ago. The front bumber was rittled with rock chips and bumps and scrapes from high curbs. From what the previous owner said, it sat outside most of its life baking in the Kansas sun. White is probably a lot easier to touchup then dark colors so I felt I could do it. I'm not a body man but have dabled from necessity and lack of funds. I checked the paint codes and bought Duplicolor spray cans. I spent an lot of time in prep. sanding and smoothing the enitre wrap. The deep curb scrapes on the bottom I could only do so much with. I primed the bare plastic, sanded and the put multiple light coats on. Once the white was covered evenly I masked the black middle strip and painted the black. I spent two afternoons and 30 bucks in paint, primer and paper. It is not perfect! but for me being somewhat of a perfectionist, I'm satisfied with it. I also took care of small chips on the rest of the body and the ground effect. The paint is a good match and people that knew and know the care can't see any difference in the color. Don't forget the clear coat if that applies. You'll need it for the color match.

It'* up to how brave you are. Take plenty of time and prep, prep, prep. White was much easier the the midnight blue I did.

The exact paint match technology is out there for home paints, not sure for automotive.

A quality paint job is going to run a good chuck of change.
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Old 08-10-2003, 08:49 PM   #3
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Thanks for your thoughts and for sharing your experience. When I took the car to the local pontiac dealer, the service salesguy there recommended airbrushing the major scrape on the bumper but just leaving the rest the way it was on the belief that it would be too hard to match the color.

I thought about buying an airbrush and doing the work myself (he wanted $80 for just one scrape), but then I found this:

I've never tried airbrushing, but wouldn't this be just as good? Or does airbrushing give more control than a spray can?

I once tried dabbing on some factory "color matched" touchup paint on a SAAB I owned, and the result looked like hell. From that, I conclude that airbrushing or spraying is the only way to go. Part of me says: how hard can it be? But that'* what I thought about the SAAB. Maybe there are some tricks to the trade.

Apparently the front "bumper" on the SSEi consists of the bumper itself and then a "cover" that goes over it. It'* the cover that has the scrapes and chips. You can get replacement pre-primed covers for $275, plus shipping. However, as long as it'* intact, I imagine I could detach it and have it professionally painted and then reattach it. I have no idea what effort is required in attaching/re-attaching though. Anyone tried this?
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