Paint Flaw Advice

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51 weeks to the day from when our order was placed, our new Thunderbird rolled off the truck and we got the call from our salesman. It arrived 4 days earlier than expected. The trunk lid has a paint defect in it. There is a black speck about 1/8" long between the blue and clearcoat. The clearcoat is smooth. The speck is heavy like a tip from a brush bristle. There is also a small bubble of clearcoat on the deck near the emblem. While our dealer is looking for options, I thought a quick survey of opinions was in order. The obvious options are: ignore the flaw; let the local body shop repaint the trunk lid; hold out for a new trunk lid. The left taillight lens is also scratched but that should be easy if they can get parts off the assembly line. (Also posted this at BlueOvalNews),

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My personal advice: find a body shop you trust and let them repaint. If they are good they will do a job you will not be able to detect.

FINDING a body shop you trust, now that's the hard part! Ask around, look at their work, look at the workers and use your best judgement.

Best of luck!

Tom M.

On the subject of the paint, Tom M's idea is good. I know that there are several places in the area where there are show and shines held. One is the Biff Burger (last of its kind) on 49th St. and 38th Ave. in St. Pete and another on US19 just north of Park Blvd in Pinellas Park. There a numerous cars there that have absolutely beautiful paint jobs. You might want to swing by and talk to some of the owners about who did the paint. The Biff is held every Friday night but I don't remember when the one in Pinellas Park is held.

Also, I don't believe I have you listed in the database, please see my post "VINs/Dates/Destinations II".

I have set up a Yahoo! group for Tampa Bay area owners and owners to be at:


Come and join us.

First let me ask you if you have brought this to the dealerships attention?

Both "flaws" are from the factory
The pop in the clear coat isn't always an easy fix and never should have left the plant. The off color "black" mark- that was probably dirt that went off color when it was sanded.

If you could please get pictures of both defects and email them to me I surely would appreciate it.

I would insist that the dealership fixes the defects !
Other than some orange peel, I'm very pleased with the paint on my BlueBird. Out in the sun it looks great. But I was polishing the car for the first time last weekend in my garage under flourescent lights and I noticed an unsightly flaw. There seems to have been a flaw in the rear decklid that was spotted at the factory (the car was at the dealership only a few hours for prep). Of course the entire decklid should have been re-clearcoated at the plant, but the clear was obviously spot-repaired. There is a definite haze ring around the repair with what appears to be a fisheye depression in the center of the ring. I suspect the paint was chipped at the plant and a hasty spot repair was done. The color coat under the clear shows no sign of repair. I'm guessing that re-clearcoating the entire decklid will solve the problem. I took delivery on 12/6/01 so some time has passed. I don't want to open up a can of worms, but what do you think? Your opinion, WixomPooh?? Thanks!

And to those of you who recommended Zaino polishes awhile back, THANKS! Gosh my BlueBird is remarkably glossy! Now what am I gonna do with all the Meguiar's stuff I've accumuatled?

Based on your description I would have to say that the car had a paint defect that was worked on the in factory. The haze that you noted is what is called polished dull.

My suggestion is that if you have a good dealership- ask them to wet sand with extremely fine grit paper around that area and then polish it out with a wheel. That should do it.

Good words about Zaino. I have received mine but have yet to apply it. I have read through all the words on their website about the various products. How long and difficult is it to apply. Should I set aside an entire day for the process?

Funny you should mention Zaino. I have been using their products for over a year now, and won't use anything else! I was just wondering if anyone has used the products on their Bird yet? I just finished applying Polish #3 on my Black '93 SC300 and she looks awesome! Lexus doesn't clearcoat their black cars.

Anyway, I just called the 800# this AM, and it said that my car arrived at the ramp as of 1/29. I spoke with my salesman yesterday 1/30, and he called the railhead and was told they haven't seen my car yet. Anyone have any words of wisdom for this situation? Still planning on picking the car up this weekend, and will definitely be starting the Zaino regimen on Monday morning!

Joe, it will probably take up most of your day from start to finish. It really depends on the humidity level for drying times, but I'd still plan on the whole day. I don't know if you plan to clay bar your car or not, but I've done it to all my cars, and the finish comes out spectacular! Let us know what you think once you're done!

Thanks for the input, and I did get the clay bar. How do you work that, I have not opened the box yet so I haven't read any included instructions.
Looked for and can't find the Car Care Products thread, so will continue this here...

Has anyone tried the Griot's Garage products? I just ordered a ton of stuff from them & would like opinions before using them on my bird.

Thanks for your advice on fixing my paint problem. I'll either talk to the dealer or do it myself. I'm pretty handy at that sort of thing and have the necessary products.


The Zaino system is a 2 step process, or if there's any roughness in the paint, you might want to use a clay bar first. To find out if you need the clay, wash the car thoroughly first, then lightly wipe your hand over the paint to see if there is any roughness. Don't be surprised if there is some roughness on the hortizontal surfaces of a new car (hood and trunk). Using a clay bar properly will smooth the surfaces without causing any scratches. The hood on my Bird was a little rough from day 1, and I used "Mother's" clay bar from Pep Boys to make it smooth as glass. Zaino sells a clay bar as well.

Using the Zaino polishes is very easy. Polish #1 preps the surface to help Polish #2 do its magic. Following Zaino's instructions, I dampened one of their applicators with water, then lightly wiped on a thin coat of #1 - that took just a few minutes to do the whole car. Don't let #1 dry completely before applying #2 right on top of #1, with a separate water-dampened applicator. Application takes just a few minutes. Avoid getting polish on the weatherstrips and black plastic pieces on the outside mirrors and near the rear of the hood. Let #2 dry COMPLETELY! I let it sit overnight, otherwise you'll just be smearing it around. Use a 100% US-made terry towel. Wiping off #2 took a little more elbow grease than the application stage. But the results were astonishing! I purposely did not polish my hardtop for comparison purposes. You will be impressed with the results! I also bought their leather products and tire dressing which I haven't used it. Zaino ROCKS! By the way, I let both applicators dry out and sealed them in labeled Ziplock bags so they'll be nice and clean for the next time I need them.
Hi WPooh

My Bird came in Tuesday, picking up Saturday (weather you know). First, let me say that the paint job on the whole is fantastic, even under very bright lights. The trunk and hood each have several polished dull spots, but as I insisted the prep be handled by my former neighbor, the body shop manager, those are no prob. In fact, he pointed them out to me. However, there is one mark he wants to leave alone, and I will get a picture here for better or worse over the next couple of days. WE could see almost zero orange peel, and someone was wondering if that might be a function of metal vs fiberglass. Bob thought not, how about you?
C'mon sun, get here Saturday morning.
It would be hard to show in a photo, you would need a closeup. Take a look at an orange skin and that is what the paint looks like, hence the name "orange peel". The paint does not flow out smoothly when applied, it has very small hills and valleys in it.


Orange Peel

If you look at the reflections of the helmet and face mask you will notice how the edges are not real crisp, this is due to a very, very slight orange peel. This is the roof of my car and I understand that the supplier paints them, not Wixom.


I definately would like to see that pic when you get it. I would have to say that there is not much difference in orange peel between the fiberglass and metal panels on the bird. Usually, if one panel has it they all have it.


Idealy- when you look down the side of a car, the paint should look like a sheet of glass. Orange peel gives the surface a rough looking texture- basically it looks bumpy like the skin of an orange.

I personally think that the colors show the orange peel differently. With the worst being black, then white, then red, then blue and yellow.


The only part that is painted at the plant is the shell of the car- hood, fenders, doors, quarters and deck. Any of the other painted parts are painted by the supplier.
WixomPooh! I want to commend you & everyone at the plant for the paint jobs on the cars.

Just went to the Fort Worth Car Show (new cars and concept cars) today. One goal while there was to check ALL the different makes for orange peel as my experience in the past is that is the norm for any car on the road. The show proved it. Just about every production car there had orange peel to some degree and it didn't matter which make - Lexus, Mercedes, Infinity, BMW, Jaguar, Kia, Chevrolet (including Corvette), Ford, Chrysler.... The degree of orange peel did not show any difference between makes. The clincher - of all the production cars there, a Lincoln Town Car had the smoothest and several other Ford cars came pretty close. These cars were all under the best light(flourescent) for showing off orange peel so nothing could be hid - no matter the color or make. The only other make there that had a fairly smooth finish was a Land Rover.

Now the Concept cars were another story - they all had the smooth, glassy, show car finish that some on this forum are expecting from the production cars.

Our 57 tbird has the smooth, glassy show car finish and it took my husband and our restorer many days & long, hard hours to achieve that look.

Careful about the wet sanding-- which can
correct "Orange Peel". I had this done
to my NM and it looks great. Unforntunately
the clear coat is so thin that I will have to be extremely carful with every piece of debris,water spot or bug. Sal Zaino told me
I made a mistake and only "Show Cars" should have wet sanding done because of the thin clear coats now being used. Well I will just have the car repainted if necessary. It is a TOY right?

The fastest way to see an example of "Orange Peel" is to put a picture in Microsoft Paint and then blow it up to 200-300%. The jagged
lines that appear are the same as the reflection you would see in the paint
of a normal car. A more fun way is to drive (of course your new bird) to the gas station at night and look at the reflection of floresent lights. The light bulb is straight but the reflection is stair stepped.

I personaly try 4 or 5 station each night.
It is a good excuse to get out. lol

We had all but decided to not paint the trunk lid and live with the flaw under the clear coat when we had the Collision Center manager look at it again. It looks like the paint is pealing up under the clear coat and you now can feel a little lift in the clear. They took photos and have sent them to Ford. They plan to remove the lid and paint it in a vertical position. They are concerned that their paint booth is not as controlled an environment as at Wixom. I asked about having Ford send a replacement lid from the plant and they said that would require an act of congress (also that it was ludicrous!). If the spot fix doesn't match, I guess I will be talking to congress (they might even like having someone talk to them for a change).
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