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Old 07-15-2019, 09:53 AM   #1
jchamlee
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Default Club Car touch up paint recommendations

Hello! I just bought my first cart this weekend - a 1997 Club Car. The cart is in good condition but needs a little face lift. The front has a spot about 6" x 3" that needs to be painted beside the headlight. It's not a show car so I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars but I do want to make it look better. The cart is black and the body that is showing through is white. Any thoughts or ideas? I'd prefer not to take the entire front end off and sand, etc. I like to tinker but my kids keep me busy with sports on the weekends.

I was thinking of giving spray paint a try. Thoughts? Any prep necessary? Would I be better trying to just wrap the front? Thanks in advance! I'm sure once I get this done I'll go down the rabbit hole for upgrades and accessories!
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Old 07-19-2019, 08:36 AM   #2
CP241
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Default Re: Club Car touch up paint recommendations

Welcome, and nice cart! I'm in the process of building one of those myself at the moment, it's a 1998 and currently in pieces in my shop

If it's flaking that badly near the headlight, then the body wasn't prepped right before someone else painted it. Chances are, it was spraypainted (Which can work just fine if the body is prepped right). But if you try to touch it up, it's never going to look right because it will continue to flake off around where it has already started.

Pulling off the front cowl is actually very easy. There's 2 screws that hold on the front bumper. There's the 4 bolts that hold the front roof support on, and there's between 2 and 6 (depending on how many of them they put back in after they painted it) 8mm bolts around the inside of the dash that attach the metal "shroud" around the top of the dash. You can remove the front cowl in about 20 minutes.

I would really recommend pulling it off, and stripping off all the paint that's on it. I like to use aerosol furniture stripper (klean strip) it makes very easy work of stripping it. I spray it on, wait 15 minutes, and blow it off with a pressure washer. I stripped the front cowl of the one I just painted down to bare plastic in about 15 minutes.

AS said, prep is key to making paint stick to plastic. Get adhesive promoter. It comes in a spray can, you can get it at any auto parts store. Sand everything with a DA and 220 grit, not hard just scuff it. Then wipe the entire cowl down with acetone. Don't touch it after you wipe it, the oils from your hands will affect the paint sticking. Spray on a light coat of promoter and wait 5 minutes. spray on a thicker coat and wait 10 minutes. Then spray a coat of primer. wait an hour, then you can sand/touch up any rough spots, fill any scratches, etc. Then you can spray paint on it. use a paint gun or rattle can, whichever your preference is. lots and lots of thin light coats are the key. 10 light coats will result in a much more even and nice paint job than 2 or 3 thick coats with runs. I like to let the paint cure for a day, then spray clear coat. Again, lots of light coats is the key. Then let it cure for a couple days until you can press your fingernail into it and it doesn't leave a mark. Then you can either leave it as-is, or for a mirror finish you can wet sand with 2000 grit, polish with a good car polish (think "scratch remover") and that will bring the hazy wet sand to a nice shine. Then a good coat of wax to seal it all in. Should last you for years

All in all, you'll be about $40 into it for sandpaper, promoter, primer, paint, and clear. I'd plan 2 cans of paint ($10), 2 cans of clear ($10), 1 can of primer ($5), 1 can of promoter ($7), and a can of stripper ($7).

I like to take my time, so I usually have the body off for a week or so for the whole process. I don't like to put it back on until it's fully cured, but you can bolt the roof back down and drive it noseless during the beautification project and still enjoy the cart. It's also a great opportunity to clean everything under the cowl really well while it's open, and replace any worn steering/suspension components (bushings, tie rod ends, etc.) while it's open for easy access.
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Old 07-19-2019, 04:16 PM   #3
jchamlee
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Default Re: Club Car touch up paint recommendations

Wow, this is really helpful! Thanks for taking time to provide so much information! Really appreciate it...
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Old 07-19-2019, 08:39 PM   #4
CP241
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Default Re: Club Car touch up paint recommendations

It sounds much worse than it really is. Theres really only a couple few hours worth of work in all that... the rest is just waiting for paint to dry and cure :) just take your time and dont rush, itll come out great. Poor paint jobs come from rushed paint jobs.

If you decide to use automotive paint and clearcoat, it's much more robust. Doesn't cost much (if any) more than rattlecan but will last longer and a lot more resistant to scratching. You can get a decent (not great, but decent) quality HVLP gun for under 30 bucks if you already have an air compressor. That would do a good job, it just is a bit different technique so I would practice on something first... a rubbermaid bin, trash can, something to get a feel for the spray pattern. Once you have the needle set so it sprays a good pattern it's easier than rattlecan and goes on quicker.

Just something to think about. Theres plenty of YouTube videos that can show how to use it and set it up.
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