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That’s a good question. My hardtop looks just like yours, a plastic hardtop vice the later fiberglass version. I rolled Rustoleum paint onto my Keyparts liftgate to get the texture.

You have a good thread going here, it’s nice to here the word “reducer” used when appropriate. As far as the spot welded fenders...I’ll be watching to see what you do, I’m behind you in my rebuild, so you just go ahead and break the ice and I will follow?
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Nice tub. It’s hard to believe it isn’t rusted under the roll bar mounts.

I haven’t heard of that method you refer to, “dipping it in a chemical” for stripping paint? If you do dip it to strip it, you better dip it to prime it, so you don’t leave any bare metal in any blind, or hard to access areas.

I sandblasted my 1969 Firebird back in the late eighties when I first bought it. That was a lot of work, messy work, but I definitely removed all the paint and rust when I sandblasted it myself. I used a chemical stripper to strip the paint first. Then I sand blasted the metal to get it clean, some refer to as “white” metal. I sandblasted a 1971 Chevy shortbed pickup about five or six years later. I blasted the frame, bed, cab, tailgate & doors. I had access to better equipment when I did that truck, so I didn’t have to chemical strip it first, but it was still a lot of work.

There are companies that specialize in this type of work now, and there are different media’s being used to strip paint as well. For example, walnut shells, soda, plastic, sand, are some of the media I am familiar with, so there are some choices out there, but I guess it depends on what you can find locally, depending on where you live.

I think the most important part of the stripping process is getting a good, high quality primer applied before the bare metal gets a chance to start rusting again. And then, If you pay someone to do it, you have to go over what was stripped and primed for missed rust...that’s the biggest problem with hiring someone else to strip it and prime it. You have to trust they will do it right. You can damage the sheet metal if your equipment has the power, it will warp or collapse it if you aren’t careful.

Having said all of that, I will hire someone to do it for me when I pull the tub off my 1985 CJ-7, in the not to distant future. It will get done much faster, saving time and effort on my part. I don’t have the energy to do this stuff like I used to.
 

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That transmission & transfer case work is great. It’s coming together nicely, good job!

As far as painting your tub goes. Metallic can be a little tricky, but the technique I was taught, is to turn the pressure up a little, dial the fan into a round pattern, and back off a little, and then dust the surface until the metallic is spread out evenly. This is done at the end, after the final coat has been applied. The metallic particles separate from the paint, due to the higher pressure and distance from the surface. This technique works and it’s pretty easy to get the metallic spread out and dispersed evenly without metallic streaks. This is an old school technique using an old school gun.

What kind of paint gun are you going to use?
 

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Are those fenders galvanized? Mine are and my 1986 CJ-7 had them, are any other parts galvanized?

It must be nice to see it assembled again, at least it looks like a Jeep, but you have a long way to go. I say paint it yourself, you can do it.
 

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Here’s a picture of the underside of my hood, for comparison. No holes there in mine. But I have three holes near the latch area that you don’t have. My hood has been dented from contacting the windshield frame, so who knows what happened to mine regarding the three holes.
 

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Maybe yours had a bug deflector at one time? I’ve seen someone on JF with a bug deflector on their CJ.
 

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My plan moving forward is to:
1. Weld up the old radio antenna that was on the rear. I will re-drill it to be in the cowl area.
2. Seam seal the outside, inside, and bottom of the Jeep. (my goal is to make it waterproof :laugh:)
3. Coat the braces and tube areas with cavity wax or a internal frame coating to prevent rust and to provide bare metal protection.
4. Prime all body panels before the heart of fall and hunting season for southwest Ohio
5. If time, temperature, and my work's paint booth availability permits, color and clear may go on. This depends on how fast I get stuff done at home.
6. Continue with the rest of assembly, wiring, etc.
#3 would be my biggest concern and plan of action. There are a lot of "blind areas" that are bare metal now, so it's up to you to protect them one way or another, and it sounds like you have a plan...It looks great!

I hope you get a big Buck this year!
 

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I plan on leaving the OEM ripples or waves, and spot welds visible on mine when I repaint it. I’ll fix the rust and dents, or any damage since it was manufactured, but I will not perfect the flaws from the factory. Back when I had my new 1986 CJ-7, I beat the crap out of it for four years when I was stationed at Port Angeles WA. At the end of that tour, in 1990, I pulled my Jeep into the paint booth, fixed the bent fender, and scuff sanded it before taping it off. I repainted the exterior with the top & steel doors installed, and it turned out real nice. It looked like it was new again, no more scratched paint from running tight trails. It even had an extra ripple & dented windshield frame on one side from the time I rolled it onto its side when it was about four months old.

I say leave the imperfections and wheel it, you can always repaint it or buff out the scratches, down the road if you want it to look good again.

I’ll post a couple pictures from 1987.
 

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Falston MD, my old stomping grounds in Harford CO. I couldn’t go to my Moms B-day last weekend in Joppatowne due to this stupid virus.

The good thing about leaving the imperfections is it makes the job much easier. Getting a body panel perfectly straight takes a lot of effort, that means time, and a lot of elbow grease...LOL

Having said that, if you are not a professional, it makes it much easier to achieve professional results. John Strenk just demonstrated this statement, achieving very good results without being a professional auto body technician. His results should encourage anyone contemplating painting their jeep themselves.
 

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Since the OP’s name is Deer Slayer, I’ll comment on hunting northern Harford Co MD. There was a Farm my bow-hunting buddy had permission to hunt, it was on the PA line. It was some of the best whitetail hunting I have ever experienced, that and Millington on the Eastern Shore. This was back in 79-80, right before I enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1981.
 
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Looking good Josh.What type of undercoating did you apply? Do you plan on undercoating the wheel wells of the fenders too? I normally use rattle can rubberized undercoating on my vehicles. My current 1985 CJ-7 doesn’t have any undercoating applied to the underside, or in the wheel wells. I guess that’s the way they rolled off the assembly line. Once in a while, while driving my Jeep, a rock will sling up into the underside and make quite the racket when it impacts the painted metal on the underside of the tub, or wheel well. I believe a good barrier of undercoating will eliminate or minimize the loud noise of rocks impacting the underside of the Jeep, and possibly eliminating paint chips. While it may not be correct for a restoration, I believe applying undercoating is a good way to go for a CJ that will be used and driven on and off road, the way AMC designed it to be used, even though they didn’t apply it at the factory.
 

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Congrats of getting engaged!

As far as painting the wheel wells in the tub and fenders goes, I believe you should plan on painting them with the body color while you paint everything. Use the same primer and topcoat like the rest. This way you have a good layer of the proper color paint everywhere to protect the sheet metal from rusting. You can always add a sound deadening coating later, if you choose to go that route.

I have sprayed quality rubberized undercoating in the wheel wells of most every vehicle I have owned over the years, except for the newer vehicles that have a black plastic liners in the wheel wells. I do this for rust prevention and sound deadening, and I like semi gloss black paint on everything that is not body colored. For instance, if I replace shocks on a car I own, I will paint them semi gloss black, if they aren’t already, before I install them. The flat black color of the rubberized undercoating works well with my dislike of any colors under the vehicle. No red, yellow, or white paint anywhere on the undercarriage on my cars…that’s just the way I like it. I probably sprayed rubberized undercoating in the wheel wells on my 1986 CJ-7 when it was new, but I can’t remember for sure. I was spending a lot of time on logging roads in and around Port Angeles back then, so it would make sense to undercoat the wheel wells to help protect them from rock chips, and sound deadening. You can paint rubberized undercoating with the same top coat if you like. A lot of new cars come with undercoating under the top coat, down low on the rockers and such.

There are many spray on or roll on bed liner materials that could be applied to do the same thing that rubberized undercoating will do, so you have many choices.

When I paint my tub & the rest of the sheet metal parts, I will use the same method and products on everything, so it will all be Sebring Red when finished and assembled. I will probably apply rubberized undercoating in all four wheel wells to protect the paint from chipping when a rock gets thrown, and for sound deadening as well. I’m pretty sure it will be a hard decision to cover up the new red paint, but I plan on driving and wheeling my Jeep after the repaint, so sound deadening will just make sense to me. If I were planning on a weekend only, never drive in the rain, show car type of Jeep, I would not apply the rubberized undercoating, but that is not the case for my 1985 CJ-7.

I’m going to post a picture of my 1986 CJ-7 sitting on the wash rack at AIRSTA Port Angeles in 1987. It’s an old picture and I’m not sure if you would be able to see red paint in the wheel wells or not, but to me it looks like they are black, and that is the look I like on a Jeep that will be driven and wheeled on a regular basis.
 

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When scuffing areas like your picture, I like to use a scotch-brite pad (green pad). You can get creative by stapling a piece to a wood paint paddle or something similar, to scuff where your fingers won’t fit. Just do the best you can, and then go with it.

When painting something like the underside of the tub, I like to concentrate on getting paint into “hard to reach” areas, and/or crevices on the first coat, or two. Don’t worry about the flat easy to get at areas, you can coat them later, more towards the end when applying the finals coat(s).

Think about this, maybe it will get the point I am trying to make. Have you ever spray painted a bicycle frame? It is one of the hardest things to spray paint in my opinion, because there are so many nooks & cranny’s to try and get the color on. A rookie will just start painting the easy to get to parts on the first coat, and the second coat even. At this point there are areas that are “hard to get at” that don’t have any paint. If you start shooting paint into these “hard to get to” areas, you may lay it on too heavy and risk hanging curtains (runs). Start spraying the paint into the “hard to get to” areas, first. I hope this makes sense.
 
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Looking good Josh!

Factory paint was performed quick and economically, for all makes, but possibly more so for the AMC line. I’m pretty sure your paint job will be far superior to what they did at the factory. Your attention to detail is probably the biggest factor, compared to a factory worker, tasked with getting the job done quickly, over and over, all day long.

As far as the pictures not showing up for Joon, I couldn’t see them the first time I opened the page either, so there was something funky going on at the time, but it’s all good now.
 

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Looks good, congrats! Thanks for sharing your method of painting the different pieces.
 

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Congrats on the paint, and other progress. Putting cars together after restoration is always fun, since you finally get to see results.

I’ve been noticing a lot of deer activity when I drive to work in the pre dawn morning lately. They do some crazy stuff when the rut is on, and I think it’s almost time in my neck of the woods. Good luck with that buck…it’s a nice one.
 

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looks & sounds good, congrats!
 
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I put a set in my 1985 CJ-7 from seatbeltplus.com almost three years ago. They still work fine for me. They lock pretty easy, so sometimes I can’t lean forward to adjust my radio when I‘m moving, but I guess that would be a good thing in a crash.

Back when I still had my 1986 CJ-7, the drivers belt retract got weak after a few years. I only had that Jeep for about six years, but I definitely recall the drivers belt needing a little help retracting, so it didn’t get closed in the door (at least that was my experience).
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Is this a freshly rebuilt engine? If so what head gasket did you install. Was the head & block re-surfaced during overhaul? it sounds like it is a rebuilt engine since you installed ARP head bolts.
 
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