Non-Factory paint stripping

Joined
Jan 19, 2021
Messages
17
Location
San Luis Obispo, CA
So my 80 was painted at some point by a previous owner. I believe it was in a minor accident and the owner at the time had the entire truck sprayed. They sprayed it in a non factory white that seems a bit creamier with some metallic pearl to it. It definitely seems like it was a mediocre job but it has held up well enough during my 7 year ownership. It still looks pretty good and cleans up well enough in most areas but it is now starting dull out and peel/flake in a few areas-mostly gutter areas. I can see the factory 045 white underneath and it looks to be in great shape. Is there a feasible way to strip the non factory paint while maintaining the integrity of the factory paint underneath? I am sure I would need to address the areas that may have been damaged by the original accident but I figured it may be worth it to get the majority of the factory paint back out. Final two images were attached to show a rough idea of the current paint quality.

CRUISER PAINT 2.jpg
CRUISER PAINT 1.jpg
CRUISER PAINT 3.jpg
cruiser paint 4.jpg
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2016
Messages
833
Location
Chattanooga, TN
I'm in the process of doing this on my white '97 80. It's likely that the aftermarket topcoats used on your truck and mine are at least a little different so your approach may vary from what I've done.

To start, use a decently powerful pressure washer to get as much off as you can. This is relatively easy and depending on how well adhered the top coat is, may be fairly productive and shouldn't damage anything. I've stripped entire cars this way but could only get the clear coat off of my 80s paint this way.

From there you'll want to experiment with different removal techniques until you find one that works well for you. I would avoid chemical strippers to the extent that you can as they are more likely to do damage to the factory paint, etc. One exception is that I've used denatured alc. extensively cleaning up the paint on my 80 and it's not damaged the factory paint. I do try to avoid soaking with it too long, etc. but I'm not even sure it matters.

The main tool that I've used to strip my entire 80 (I just have the doorjambs and a few spots left) has been to use a pinstripe removal tool. I've used different types including the 3M and Astro 400 but my preference after burning through quite a few of these is definitely the Astro 500E:


It's fairly slow work but in my case the wheel consistently removes the topcoat with no damage to the factory paint. This wheel is like using a heat gun and scraper in one. The wheel melts the paint and then flings it off. You can use slow speed, high speed and a variety of pressures with good results but start slow and experiment. If the wheel starts smoking it will wear out much more quickly so that's a good indicator to lighten up and/or slow down. After running the wheel you wipe the surface with denatured alcohol to remove the residual paint blobs (at least this works well with my paint formulation). I typically have to go back with the wheel after the alc. wipe and repeat a few times until the factory paint is totally clean. If the wheel gets out of round you can spin it at very high speed and take the high spots off with a sharp scraper tool/stone of some sort.

There are a few gotchas though:
  • If you use the wheel on plastic you'll overheat the paint and remove factory and aftermarket layers. When running this on metal the metal pulls the heat away and helps prevent overheating of the factory paint but plastic doesn't do this as well so you get very fast paint removal, etc. Doorhandles, mirrors, flares and bumper corners at least are hard to strip with this but you could more easily pull, chemstrip and respray those.
  • You can overheat the factory paint if you run this too hard but it's easy to avoid. I've only overheated the factory paint in a few places where the aftermarket paint is hard to remove and I intentionally pushed it to the limit.
  • If you run into plastic/rubber you can damage them quickly/easily with the rubber wheel.
I also did a few sections of my truck (like the roof) with just denatured alc. The aftermarket paint was thinner in those sections so melted and wiped off easily with the alc. I haven't found that denatured alc. damages the factory paint at all but I wouldn't overuse it as it may.

It's likely that as you proceed you'll find some dent repair sections or places where they sanded through the og paint/etc. On my truck at least there were 5 small dents that had previously been sanded and filled. Once I get the rest of my truck clean (door jambs, small spots) I've got to go back and sand/prep/topcoat the previous repairs, etc. I also found some areas were sanded more than others and I've got to try to get the sander marks out without going too thin on the og paint. I may just have the truck resprayed once I get the aftermarket paint fully removed though. I'd at least keep this in mind if you proceed as you will likely find at least one area that will need touching up after you've stripped the aftermarket paint.

Good luck and let us know if you learn anything worth sharing!
 
Joined
Mar 19, 2011
Messages
140
Location
Comaville in the Midwest
If removing the top layer of paint that didn't adhere well to the factory finish fails then as least sand down to the original primer. After you clean it all up be sure to first coat it with an epoxy primmer to seal everything below and to provide the color and clear coats something to adhere to well. If they had done this even over the factory clear you probably would not be in your situation.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2016
Messages
833
Location
Chattanooga, TN
One more note on removing the aftermarket paint with the pinstripe/rubber wheel tool. At the bottom of the 80 doors and the rocker panels toyota applied a thin layer of thickened epoxy or polyester/similar "filler". If you run the wheel down on the bottom few inches of a door for instance you'll blow through this factory "filler" to the factory gray primer. I assume that this "filler" material was used to provide some sort of lower panel chip protection and/or the dimpled surface you see on the rocker panels and door lowers. This may not be on all years as I've only confirmed it on a white '95 and my '97 but I assume it is at least on all later 80s.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom