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1971 Challenger grill paint?

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  1. Tirekickertoo

    Tirekickertoo Well-Known Member

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    Hello,
    I am in the process of restoring a 1971 Challenger grill. The grill has the light silver rough argent paint due to it being a RH model. I like the look of the dark / black paint used on the R/T models. I can't remember if the R/T grill paint had a smooth paint texture or was a dark / black argent rough finish? If it is a rough dark / black argent finish, where can I buy this paint in rattle cans? I check out Herbs and Roseville Moparts, They are either out of stock or not listed.

    Thanks in advance for your help,

    Tirekickertoo
     
  2. floyd

    floyd Active Member

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    The main part of 71 Challenger grilles were molded in black. The R/T grilles were left bare (black) and had a natural glossy finish. The non-R/T grilles had textured argent paint sprayed over the black. I had a friend who got really good at stripping the argent off and wet-sanding and polishing the black to achieve the original style R/T grille. I think he used easy-off to remove the paint.
     
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  3. Tirekickertoo

    Tirekickertoo Well-Known Member

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    Hi Floyd,
    Thanks for sending me information regarding the 1971 Challenger non R/T versus R/T grill paints and textures. I will try easy-off to see if it removes the argent paint. Thanks for the tip!

    Best Regards,

    Tirekickertoo
     
  4. Adam

    Adam Well-Known Member

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    Challenger

    My grill was in bad shape, painting it was the only solution. I painted the grill seven years ago with Hot Rod Flatz, which is a catalyzed urethane, from Tcpglobal.com. It still looks great. I don’t think any black paint out of a rattle can will have that kind of durability. In my album look at pics 178 to 184.
     
  5. Tirekickertoo

    Tirekickertoo Well-Known Member

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    Hi Adam,
    We talked last fall on this forum and you gave me advice on how to repair a crack in the plastic on my grill. Anyways, I'm finally getting around to working on this section of the car. I am fortunate that the grill is in pretty decent shape for being almost 50 years old. One crack under a headlight bezel and a few nicks and scrapes here and there. It does need a fresh coat of paint though. I was able to carefully drill out the rivets that hold the inserts into place. I am fortunate that all of the mounting tabs are in good shape. My goal is to restore this 71 RH grill and make it a 71 R/T grill. Floyd gave me advise on how to remove the textured gray argent paint. He recalls a person using easy-off oven cleaner. I was going to try this using a "test area" before doing the complete grill. I know this product should be safe for most plastics because (believe it or not) we use "easy-off no fume oven cleaner" to clean our bathroom shower. It removes any soap scum on the plastic walls. Works well. When restoring your grill, how did you remove the gray argent paint or was your grill an R/T model? What type of primer did you use to build up the surface to hide all the little imperfections? I would assume you sanded the primer between coats the applied primer again adding layers. Thanks for the tip on the Hot Rod Flatz paint along with vendor info. I'll check it out. Stay safe out there...

    Best Regards,

    Tirekickertoo
     
  6. Adam

    Adam Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. I read somewhere that model airplane builders use over cleaner to remove paint from plastic models, without damaging the plastic. I have used it on plastic and it worked for me. But, I think you have to find old school oven cleaner with lye, to remove paint. Most of the new oven cleaners do not have lye anymore. Please let us know what you use, and how well it works.

    My grill was an R/T grill, I don’t think I removed all of the old argent from the inserts, I may have just scuffed/sanded them. I had a quart of ppg acrylic lacquer argent paint that was about 10 years old, but was still good. The heavy texture had sank to the bottom but I was able to stir it up. This paint had a fairly coarse texture and hides imperfections quite well. Although I guess if I needed to this could be another job for the oven cleaner?

    For others that may have a similar project:
    Whenever I am going to paint something and want the best results possible I use a high build catalyzed primer like Evercoat “feather fill”, or “slick sand.” This stuff is easy to sand, hides any imperfections and fine sanding scratches (like 220 or coarser with multiple coats). The catalyzed paints are good to go with any topcoat/color coat without getting a reaction such as softening, lacquer check, or wrinkling. If you are sure there are NO compatibility issues you can use SEM rattle can high build primer (High-Build Primer Surfacer | surfacer | SEM Products) but let it dry for at least a day due to shrinkage & solvents evaporating out of the thick paint.

    I usually wet sand, yes wet sand, the primer with a soft pad 3M Wetordry Sponge Pad No. 20 - 05526 and 400-500 or 600 grit; any finer and you may have adhesion problems with the top coat. The water softens the paper, acts as a lubricant, and washes away fine particles. The block will give you a flat surface.

    I also used the Hot Rod Flatz to black out the front of my core support, my tail panel, my bumper brackets and a lot of little parts, great stuff, very durable and a quart will go a long way. It’s a very forgiving paint, easy to get good results, but follow the directions and do not apply it too heavy, or multiple coats, or it will look glossy.
     
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  7. Tirekickertoo

    Tirekickertoo Well-Known Member

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    Hi Adam,
    Thank you for the reply. I appreciate the advice shared and the in-depth details as well as vendor recommendations/locations. I'm an automation mechanic, not a painter by trade so I will have to reread some of the information provided so as not to mess up the plastic on my grill. At this time I am limited to only spray cans (rattle cans) to apply primer and paint. I don't mind wet sanding, applying primer, and paint layers as well as hand sanding in-between. I have never understood lacquer check or wrinkling? Wondering why it does this? It looks like I have a SEM vendor in my area. I will check with them about the best products (building primer and topcoat) that won't interact and soften the plastic grill. Overall, I do like the argent/rough paint. It looks like it would hide a lot of imperfections. I just wish there was a black argent type paint available instead of silver. If I did paint it an argent/ rough coat black, the Mopar "Purists" would probably complain! I'm not worried, the car is not perfect. It will probably never will be perfect unless I hit the lottery! I do however enjoy working on it and learning things along the way. Thanks again for the advice, tips, and suggestions.

    Best Regards,

    Tirekickertoo
     
  8. Adam

    Adam Well-Known Member

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    Lacquer check and other similar paint failures are usually caused by incompatible thinners/reducers. That’s why I like catalyzed paint & primer, they have a hardener, and chemically harden/dry, and have zero issues with any top coat you want to apply.

    Most of these products are available online. I live in the middle of nowhere, but keep UPS and Fedex busy

    I will post something about painting basics in a new thread.
     
  9. Tirekickertoo

    Tirekickertoo Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Adam for answering my questions about lacquer check and paint wrinkling. I will checkout your new thread.

    Regards,

    Tirekickertoo
     
  10. Tirekickertoo

    Tirekickertoo Well-Known Member

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    Hi Adam,
    I wanted to give you an update on my 71 Challenger grill restoration. The grill and grill inserts have been prepped and are now ready for primer. It has taken me a little while to get this far due to repairing a rather large crack in the grill plastic and also filling in all the little nicks and scrapes. Oh yeah, a lot of sanding in-between the plastic filler coats. Looks pretty good at this point. I also plan on using button head Allen screws instead of rivets to attach the inserts to the main grill section. Update, the oven cleaner did not work at all. You are correct, I probably needed a cleaner with lye. Also, I found an online Mopar restoration company that sells light and dark argent paint . Was the light argent paint more of a silver color and the dark argent a salt and pepper type color?

    Thank you,

    Tirekickertoo
     
  11. Adam

    Adam Well-Known Member

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    Great, I hope you have some pics you can post. As for the argent paint, the grill insert paint has a very heavy texture, no way can it come out of a spray can. The light and dark argent sprays I have seen are for rally wheel center caps and are not the same as the grill insert paint. I believe the “texture” material can be bought separately and added to any color of paint, silver in this case. The shade of silver? Well, I do not know, but about the same as the rally wheel.

    Give me a couple of days (I’m moving right now, pita) to research this and look at some old pics; maybe I can come up with a source for the texture and paint. Cuda guys have this same problem, for the whole grill, maybe one of them already has the solution, and can post it.