Xantia clearcoat restoration advice please.
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    Default Xantia clearcoat restoration advice please.

    I have a '95 SX. It's now been un-garaged for 8 years, so..clearcoat is degrading. Anyone attempted to deal with this without full respray? I am hoping to sand back the original to the colour coat, which I expect to be thin and then re-coat with clear. It's only the bonnet and roof, plus a few patches. I have the very dark, early blue metallic, which seems prone to this. Clues on what clearcoat was original, acrylic, polyurethane, enamel?

    Thanks, Richard

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    It's not my signature but Tadpole? Huh! I have always owned a French car: '95 Xantia SX, '79 CX 2400, '59 Floride, '63 Pug 403B, 403a, Aussie '63 ID19 Parisienne, '59 ID19 (my first)!

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    This seems to be the curse of cars this age! My Xantia was starting to do this and it was silver, I guess the dark colors are worse, or is it just more obvious?

    Anyway mine was written off before I got it fixed, fortunately.

    Does anyone know if some car models are worse than others, seems like a big problem with Xantias. There are so many decent cars with bad paint. I kinda wish clearcoat was never used.

    As for your question I seem to remember a respray was the only good option, but if you don't want to spend the money, having a try of other options might be worth ago. I'm sure someone here has tried...
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    Sometimes it is not the clearcoat but the "paint protection" which goes horrible.

    Years ago I had a light metallic green CX. The paint used in those days was crap. I had that car resprayed in two pack Glasurit and it looked terrific for the further 6 years I owned it. The original paint was only 6 years old when I did the back to metal respray. Glasurit is a German paint and I had always admired how the BMWs and Mercs metallics stood up to the Aussie sun.

    Fortunately, my 1995 silver Xantia was involved in a rear ender shortly after I bought it. By removing all the hardware (doorhandles, window rubbers and trim, bumpers,etc), I did a deal with the panel beater. If I procured a s/h hatch and rear bumper and stripped the car, how much extra to respary the whole car? The answer was zilch, the payout from insurance would suffice. Panel beaters hate procuring parts for strange cars, hate stripping a car prior to painting, hate the fiddly electrical harness transfer from the old to the new hatch. With a metallic car, it is just about as easy to respray the lot rather than try to cut in the new to the old.

    Good luck.

    John

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    Thanks for the replies.

    I would really like to hear if anyone knows what type of clearcoat was originally used.

    I think the darker colours are worse because the cars get hotter. I'm not sure if Xantia clearcoat is any better or worse than other cars, being outside baking is the real problem.

    I have attached a few more photos. The reason I'm looking at cheap options is I'm thinking of a big spend on the mechanicals and know the car is at it's lowest value. A minor improvement for a year or two will be better than the immediate cost of respraying (and embarrasment), plus it's still outside.

    Xantia clearcoat restoration advice please.-respray_peel.jpgXantia clearcoat restoration advice please.-sad_bonnet.jpgXantia clearcoat restoration advice please.-wet_bonnet.jpg

    The sides were resprayed in 2004, so the pic of the door shows the respray peeling. The two bonnet pics are dry and wet, which makes me think I can get an improvement by cutting through most of the topcoat and getting a new gloss coat in place. The car has other dings I can live with for a while.

    John, I take your point about doing some prior parts removal and will certainly consider this when and if!

    Richard

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Thanks for the replies.

    I would really like to hear if anyone knows what type of clearcoat was originally used.

    I think the darker colours are worse because the cars get hotter. I'm not sure if Xantia clearcoat is any better or worse than other cars, being outside baking is the real problem.

    I have attached a few more photos. The reason I'm looking at cheap options is I'm thinking of a big spend on the mechanicals and know the car is at it's lowest value. A minor improvement for a year or two will be better than the immediate cost of respraying (and embarrasment), plus it's still outside.

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    The sides were resprayed in 2004, so the pic of the door shows the respray peeling. The two bonnet pics are dry and wet, which makes me think I can get an improvement by cutting through most of the topcoat and getting a new gloss coat in place. The car has other dings I can live with for a while.

    John, I take your point about doing some prior parts removal and will certainly consider this when and if!

    Richard
    Great that you understand the potential sale price of the Xantia (zippo) isn't the same as the value. I reckon the "value" of a Xantia is what I'd have to spend to replace it with something as good (except the crash rating of course). Quite a lot of money, that would be.

    My car is under cover and paint is a bit dull, due to neglect, but fine. It is white. Might look like a fridge but sooo practicable.
    JohnW

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    Hi Richard,

    I can't tell you with confidence what type the original clearcoat was. What I can say though is I've just recently finished fixing the exact same problem. '98 Xantia wagon, maroon metallic, clearcoat peeling/powdery on all the upper-facing surfaces (bonnet, roof, tops of the doors, top of the bootlid).

    Working in the shed with my brother at his place, our original plan was to sand back the stuffed clearcoat only, then apply new acrylic clearcoat. Tests on the bonnet proved this was no good, as there was too much colour difference between where the original clear remained and where it didn't. We weren't going for a show car finish, but it still just looked crap.

    So, we concluded that we had to sand all of the clear off, get back to the colour, respray the colour (since it was wrecked from all the sanding) and then put on the new clearcoat. Of course, everything we were spraying had to be acrylic, but (with some cutting of the clear) we were quite chuffed with the result, considering we were essentially just two amateurs in a tin shed.

    'twas good practice for my Activa too, which is suffering the same problem.

    ....and now I'm noticing just how many other '90s and even early 2000's cars are out there with the same problem. So, it's definitely not a Xantia-specific failing.....

    That being my experience so far, maybe a professional would be skilled enough to only take off/sand/prepare the old clearcoat without disturbing the colour??

    Good luck. The Xantia is a car worth keeping alive.

    Harvey.

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    Maybe you could use vinyl wrap. Inexpensive alternative to respray.
    Thinking of doing the roof of my silver 205 Si.

    On the subject of clear-coat what is the point of waxing/polishing the clearcoat.
    I can see the logic in waxing/polishing solid colour non-clearcoat paint but clearcoat???

    Paul.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harvey View Post
    ..... maybe a professional would be skilled enough to only take off/sand/prepare the old clearcoat without disturbing the colour??
    I reckon a professional (painter) would give you travel advice if you suggested that they do that.
    Jo

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    A plug for a mate of mine.
    If you are interested in a wrap Brice Sildnik does them at a decent price. Any colour you like.
    He can be reached at raceandroad@outlook.com, he mostly does motorcycles but does do cars.

    Cheers
    Stephen

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    A fresh coat of clear is likely to delaminate, even if you can remove the old paint without damaging the base coat. Sanding the crazed clear coat back to leave only the base coat is unlikely to work as it will disturb the metal flakes and look patchy. Compressed air or a water blaster will remove some of the clear without sanding. A pro will tell you it needs to be repainted with primer, base, then clear. If you just want it to look better, try some acrylic clear, which is a cheap way to improve it in the short-term. 25% off at Repco this weekend for NRMA members and so on.

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    Harvey, I think you are correct - I'll end up with some colour variation, but it's interesting that acrylic will sit on top of the existing coats. Glad you had some success. I can experiment easily on the peeling upper door section with just a spray can. Thanks to David too, I think your comment confirms it and I have options to try, it can hardly look worse...

    The white is very practical and cooler inside, no clearcoat. I saw a highly-polished white exclusive the other day, looked good!. But mine is the early Blue Stratos and that's how it will have to stay.

    Paul, don't know about wrap, but as for waxing and polishing, if you use a higher-tech protective coat which blocks some of the UV it will help prolong clear coat; waxes come off quite fast too. I have yet to learn if the problem occurs within the clearcoat layer or as a result of the oils leaching out, which is the cause of conventional dulling. On some parts it almost looks like fine crazing as a result of expansion and contraction.

    I think there's a concensus that trying to keep another one on the road is worthwhile, despite the dollar value.

    Thanks again for your thoughtful replies. When I learn more I'll let you know.

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    I'm not sure what there is to learn, that can't be distilled from the large body of information already "out there". There is no mystery the way I see it, but maybe a lurker will message you with information that contradicts my understanding.

    PSA might have been cussed at times, but they were no more silly than any other Euro manufacturer when it came to paint process in the last twenty-five years. You might notice that many mid-to-higher spec Euro vehicles went through phases of badly ageing paint, this was a combination of trying to minimise the applied amount (cost and VOC issues) plus mucking about with basecoat technology. Oh, and a lack of concept that their cars may be in esteemed service more than five years after manufacture!

    Many basecoats of the early era were modified acrylic base that were tweaked to not react when wet 2K clear was applied over the top and baked. As such, some can still be "wiped off" with a rag and thinners/gunwash/etc when the clearcoat is all but gone - leaving you a primer surface of unknown stability...

    Any repaint is going to include at least the following if it's worth paying for: Mechanical removal of all deteriorated surface, non-reactive primer, basecoat, 2K clear, bake, correction... With good technique and facilities you might almost escape with a wet-on-wet primer over dead smooth prepping, but more likely is a 2K primer surfacer applied then wet-rubbed a day or so later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    I'm not sure what there is to learn, that can't be distilled from the large body of information already "out there". There is no mystery the way I see it, but maybe a lurker will message you with information that contradicts my understanding.

    PSA might have been cussed at times, but they were no more silly than any other Euro manufacturer when it came to paint process in the last twenty-five years. You might notice that many mid-to-higher spec Euro vehicles went through phases of badly ageing paint, this was a combination of trying to minimise the applied amount (cost and VOC issues) plus mucking about with basecoat technology. Oh, and a lack of concept that their cars may be in esteemed service more than five years after manufacture!

    Many basecoats of the early era were modified acrylic base that were tweaked to not react when wet 2K clear was applied over the top and baked. As such, some can still be "wiped off" with a rag and thinners/gunwash/etc when the clearcoat is all but gone - leaving you a primer surface of unknown stability...

    Any repaint is going to include at least the following if it's worth paying for: Mechanical removal of all deteriorated surface, non-reactive primer, basecoat, 2K clear, bake, correction... With good technique and facilities you might almost escape with a wet-on-wet primer over dead smooth prepping, but more likely is a 2K primer surfacer applied then wet-rubbed a day or so later.
    You know, there is a right way and wrong fix a problem like this.

    Usually I'm a strong advocate for do-it-once-do-it-properly.

    However, for a car that commonly called "scrap value" in the trade but is a French car owners pride and joy one has temper money spent versus return on"investment"

    The thought has crossed my mind to give peeling section as rub with the DA sander and say 800 paper. And then (wait for it) try the butchers shop method of rolling (with a lint free small lambs wool roller) a coat of flooring polyurethane over it.

    It's a rough tactic but I wonder if it would look better or worse than the peeling clear coat ?

    Obviously you need to clean it prepsol and mask.

    Addo and paint gurus an opinion?

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    The feathered edge will probably pick up nastily. Then you have more coating to remove than before.

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    Hi Addo, I see Greenblood likes your comment too, a privilege.

    My purpose is not to achieve a perfect finish (Thanks Robmac!), but get away with a muscle-stretching botch job to save another early Xantia from the crusher, mine! Feathering on the peeling parts may be a problem and I reckon the result will be less than perfect

    I reckon we all agree PSA was no better or worse than any other manufacturer at the time when it came to paint, so let's not go there!

    As for distilling from the web, that's why I asked the experts, fellow french car enthusiasts!

    I "suspect" the basecoat is actually a polyurethane and that the clear is an enamel, possibly a two pack (2k), but I don't know.

    The learn part is that I'm going to try an acrylic clear on some parts that are already very sad and see if I can get some improvement.

    When I have previously resprayed cars (only two fully) I chose plain enamel, the best result was from a 403B (great car, sorry no pic) but I set up a plastic tent, sanded and smoothed the entire body after beating, fillied and applied a neutral base-undercoat; misted the surrounds and sprayed. I got a brilliant gloss off the gun and a finish that was still good almost 20 years later, if I'd had the biceps to burnish it!

    I've added a pic of my first car after purchase: an ID19 coming into the driveway in the early '70s, 18 years old, note the Afro!. (It was actually the second time I drove in, my mum lent me $350 so she had the director's chair!)

    Xantia clearcoat restoration advice please.-ddh_ss.jpg

    This car was about 57 shades of green and the roof had been rollered (yes robmac!) with underbody tar. So even then someone had saved a weird 1959 French car from the crusher by stealth. Hooray!

    I don't remember the miles it had done, probably to the moon and half way back.

    So I'll learn if it's possible to get a respectable job, even a few years, by a bit of a botch!

    Thanks again gentlemen, if I find something useful I'll let you know.

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    2K is not an enamel. Enamels are alkyd based resins, not crosslinked polyurethane.

    Even modern paints are a bit shifty, you can get solvent shock and ghosting; a perfect surface the day after spraying can look horribly blighted after a few months once a primer has shrunk into fine weather checking or deep scratches.

    One of the better primers for bodgy work used to be "one shot" from Dulon's range, it was quite passive. The 1K premium primer surfacer was better and even rated for spot repairs under 2K. I gave away all my 1K stuff years ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David S View Post
    25% off at Repco this weekend for NRMA members and so on.
    Also 30% off storewide this weekend for Repco VIP members.
    VIP membership requires membership of club. ie whole club joins and members benefit.
    Aussie Frogs could apply for membership I should think.

    Paul.

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    The biggest problem with porous and peeling clear coats isnt the removal of the clear coat... Its almost impossible not to damage the base coat... My advice is to sand lightly, and react accordingly... ie. dont sand through base that "feels" solid (usually found under undamaged clear)...skim away base thats (weak) to primer if needed... get some paint mixed 2K (air dry) as can be bought mixed and pressurized (if you dont have compressor and gun)... mask,prepsol, warm, paint (2-3 coats)... give it an hour or so and hit it with 5 or 6 coats of acrylic clear... If you end up with orange peel (likely) let it cure for a week or so... then sand back with 1200, 1500 and 2000. Cut and polish the living daylights out of it and it ll look good enough... wont last decades but shouldnt take more than a days work. $100 and a days work... thats what I would do.

    cheers

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    My introduction to painting a car was a 1960 Ford Falcon. I had no idea what I was doing, but my brother-in-law's brother-in-law was a spray painter. So all my advice was by rumour once removed from source (I would ask my brother-in-law and he would get back with the answer).

    I started sanding back the original paint by hand. After a couple of hours I thought there had to be a better way. I am a lazy bastard by nature and prefer to supervise others rather than doing the work myself. I read on the back of a can that paint stripper would be the go. So I started down that path. Paint on, wait 5 minutes, hose off. Didn't work. Painted more on, waited 15 minutes and it started to crinkle but wouldn't hose off. OK. Concentrated on smaller patches, liberal application of paint stripper and lots of use of a paint scraper. Bingo! Got down to bare metal. Nearly. Got down to the black phosphorus coating. Sometimes went thrpough it. Go for broke, scraped the black coating off as well right back to bare metal. Shiny bare metal that rusted before my eyes. Just as I finished the whole car (took about a week), Easter came along. It always rains at Easter. The silver car was turning to bronze. I bought a quart of 30 grade oil and covered the whole car in it. It still rusted, but the mess it made of the driveway was worth it. Very Andy Warhol.

    My dad had bought a "spray gun". It was basically a reverse vacuum cleaner. Low pressure, big volume. The longer it ran, the warmer the air so it was drying the paint before it hit the surface. Anyhow, I used it to degrease the car. Back to dry rust. Sanded it back to bare metal, using Deoxidene (?) to really clean it to bare metal. Then you had about 30 secs to hit it with etch primer and a few more minutes to paint an undercoat. Did the car panel by panel.

    Then the final coat. Glad I stayed with Polar White. The finish off the gun was matt to satin at best. Most of the time it the same as sucking the paint using a straw and then blowing hard. I figured that the only way out was to get as much paint onto the car as possible. I sprayed the whole gallon (or whatever the size tins were before metric) of Dulon onto the car, hoping there was enough be sanded so that my splatterwork would become a gloss. I think I started with 400 w&d to decapitate the big hills, before working through 800, 1600, 2000 to get an even surface. Then I spent days scrubbing the surface with buffing compound. After the paint aged a bit, I gave it a real good polish. It actually looked OK. Took a hell of a lot of time, but taught me a lot about painting a car and the different chemicals and steps involved.

    Those hard won skills had me buy a VW Kombi in Holland in spring, travel throughout Europe until the end of summer, tart up the body work and repaint the white bumpers and then sell the car outside Australia House in London against 45 other Kombis. It sold the first day for more than I bought it for! I did the same in South Africa with a VW 411 (precursor to a Passat) and later a Leyland Marina. All of them were sold for the same price I bought them for. I don't know how long the paint lasted. I left Australia and the Falcon. Left Europe and the kombi. Left South Africa and the VW 411. No one complained about the Marina, but by then my first Citroen was in the carport. They probably thought I had troubles enough, which I did.

    John

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    Your wasting your time, once the clear has started to deminate .... you need to strip it all off. base coat is porous, and can't be recoated, even when new once it's outside it's re-coat window.



    I standed it all back flat with the XM.





    I made a home made booth in the shed with builders plastic



    Once you start looking, everything will need to be touched up ... especially the bumpers ...



    It''s a shitload of work to mask 'em up for a quick splash of paint....















    There's a million and one bits that need to be prep'ed, repaired and coated...




    All the trim highlight looked shitty so was sanded.






    I used PPG Cobra base coat ..... lovely stuff to apply.




    PPG High solids clear coat.







    And all those bloody little bits ...







    Those shitty old highlights I coated with the clear coat... they came up brilliantly.







    It's all fun right ?

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    The photos say it all Shane. Bite the bullet and do it once and do it properly. Looks very good. Thats one of my favourite XM colours, really suits the car. Champion.

    John

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    Yeah it got quite battered within a few years use..... I don't think I ever even did a "before/after" piccies. The paint was pealing off it in huge sheets.

    both bumpers got scraped again in a short period of time ... the kids banged the doors into stuff, the suspension fell through the bonnet. A car anyone would love to passionately hate.

    I need to paint the ugly pink ID19 soon.... The boss women is refusing to even be seen in it lately

    seeya,
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleChevron View Post
    I need to paint the ugly pink ID19 soon.... The boss women is refusing to even be seen in it lately

    seeya,
    Shane L.
    Good choice of colour, Shane. Gives you exclusive use of the pink D. I've always imagined that pink would be your colour.

    John

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    So, back on topic, I'll give it a go and post results. Learned quite a lot, thanks.

    I'll start with the de-laminating upper door frame. From many posts I think that rescuing the bonnet and boot may be futile. (Still I'll give it a go, you don't have Cit's for 40 years or more and give up without a fight). May take a week or seven.

    Of course, as a friend says about his: "It's only cosmetic".

    Interesting that you can rescue the "silver" highlight strips, almost worth a sticky.

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    I tried some experiments with a friend's help today; mixed results.

    I was misled by the vast improvement some gloss added to the look, so if you're really desperate for a short term solution, try some vaseline or keep the car wet at all times!

    My experience corroborates most of the advice given above, there's no simple fix. From re-reading the posts many times before giving it a go, I know there's a lot of experience here, but I had to try!

    Anyway, what I found was this:

    If the clearcoat has deteriorated to the extent that it's become whitish, sanding back to the base coat and recoating with a clear is virtually impossible, the solid clearcoat takes some work to remove, but the deteriorated surfaces almost fall off with finger pressure. The base coat is so thin that just touching it with an abrasive makes a big difference to the final colour and it's very easy to cut through (Impossibly_Thin_Basecoat.jpg). Putting another clear over a mix of deteriorated clearcoat and freshly exposed base coat doesn't work, the underlying clear stays whitish, and you have many hues of colour in the basecoat-only area, due to the thinness and disturbed metallic particles. (Sand_Clean_Acrylic.jpg). A solid colour may react differently, but I think the effort would be greater than refinishing.

    If the clear has some integrity but is dull, a light polish will restore some gloss (Polish_Only_Almost.jpg). This is after a light clean and polish, no clay bar etc. If this was the extent of the damage, you could prep more thoroughly and get a decent finish that might last years. Note how the polish has shown the etching from bird droppings and tree sap...

    The de-laminating door-top was a different story. The roof and bonnet are factory finishes, the sides and boot are an '04 respray. My thought was to remove the de-laminating clearcoat, prep with isopropyl alcohol and no abrasives, then apply a few coats of acrylic clear, gradually building up to point that I could sand it back and polish. I chose to use gaffer tape to pull off the lifting clearcoat, but it also removed some weak base coat and revealed some primer. (Door_Peel_Weakness.jpg)

    I just did a quickie after that, texta-colour (!) patch and a single wet-on-wet with acrylic lacquer. It's not a great pic (Door_Peel_Almost.jpg), but if the basecoat hadn't lifted, I could have succeeded on this one. It's hard to see in the photo, but because the base coat wasn't touched with abrasives, the colour match is almost perfect. I have no idea how it would look in another year. Maybe it will de-laminate quickly, as Shane and David suggest; there could be a window after which the coat will not adhere. Unfortunately, as I don't know what the re-spray or original finish was, I'm guessing.

    In summary:
    Keep your clear-coated car free from contamination and acidic deposits.
    If you see slight dullness, act! Get rid of any abrasive grit, remove the contaminents, polish and protect the finish.
    If you have small areas of de-laminating clear-coat, try carefully removing the de-laminated sections, then clean (Prepsol or Isopropyl), and build up the clearcoat before using any abrasives to level or feather the finish. Don't coat to your masked areas, blend. Then when settled, level and polish. Possibly a short term solution, but useful.
    If you have a mix of solid clear-coat and decaying/ de-laminating paint on a large area, you'll have to start afresh.

    Thanks again for your contributions. It'll be elbow grease or $$, but it's staying.

    Xantia clearcoat restoration advice please.-impossibly_thin_basecoat.jpgXantia clearcoat restoration advice please.-sand_clean_acrylic.jpgXantia clearcoat restoration advice please.-polish_only_almost.jpgXantia clearcoat restoration advice please.-door_peel_weakness.jpgXantia clearcoat restoration advice please.-door_peel_almost.jpg

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