A tailgate

        paint job

I needed to repair some surface rust around rear the window of a Delta. The corrosion went under the window rubber in the usual lower corners, and the tailgate was a bit scabby.

Also the tailgate was poorly adjusted, so it had been rubbing on the rear end of the roof, and had scratched this edge.             This needed to be fixed, so let's do it.

Firstly I removed the glass and rubber surround by gently easing the rubber over the window frame from the inside, and carefully pushing on the glass. I adjusted the tailgate's hinges so it cleared the roof edge when opened. I removed the wiper and Lancia badge, and the heated window wires which run under the rubber.

I also removed the top rubber anti drip strip, this is difficult to mask up properly. 

I sanded away the tailgate rust and treated the metal, then skimmed over the areas with body filler. Several coats of red aerosol primer, with gentle sanding in between, then a wet flat with 600 grade paper and it was ready for paint.

I had decided to paint the roof edge at the same time, I wasn't going to paint the whole roof, so I masked the roof up to its vertical back edge. I used a foam strip mask to do it, this is used like masking tape and run along the area to be protected, but when removed it doesn't leave a sharp paint edge. It leaves a soft graduated edge which isn't so obvious, and it's easier to polish out and

blend the join.

I used the foam tape under the swage above the number plate housing too, giving a soft break to the fresh paint, not easily visible under the swage line.

Here's the tailgate masked up, I masked off the lower number plate section with foam strip too.

The pictures below show the masking foam strip applied, and being removed after painting.


You'll see the nicely softened paint edge which allows easier blending to the original finish.

The main point of this post is to talk about the finishing gloss paint. For localised repairs we use cellulose enamel, leaving the bigger jobs to Pete, who uses a more modern painting system. The cellulose paint dries very quickly, skinning up fast and not allowing much time for a wet on wet deep finish. If second coated, sometimes the first coat's skin will wrinkle, this looks crap!

Colin at Colourtone recommended that we continued to paint with cellulose, but to thin it with a slower two-pack thinner. 

So I ordered half a litre of Fiat Rosso Monza 155 red, with the Rosso

Monza option of a little extra yellow. Plus a half ltr tin of slow 2 pack thinner.

After giving the tailgate a check over and good wipe with a tack rag, I mixed the paint and loaded my gravity feed spray gun. I flashed over the area at quite low gun pressure, then followed that with a full coat, wet on wet. This settled down to a good deep gloss shine, looking much like an original, slightly orange peely, factory finish. Not with the high gloss 2 pack lacquer finish of a modern car.

I was happy with this, it was a lovely morning, the paint was easy to use, and the job looks better than my level of skill should allow! 

My Sata gravity feed gun was an Ebay purchase, and is a good basic tool. A gravity fed gun can be used at lower air pressure, because it doesn't have to suck the paint up from a low can.

I keep it cleaned after every job, and using it regularly for small hidden repairs, builds confidence. So a more exposed job like this can be tackled happily.

The roof edge and the rear panel are shown here with the painting completed, and the masking paper removed.

The lower section, including the number plate surround, and the main roof panel were masked using the foam strip, at the roof edge and just under the swage on the back door.

You can see how the foam strip masking leaves

a soft, almost invisible edge.

Here's the job finished, ready for the window to be refitted.


The finish was good, but it did get a bit dusty.

I can polish the dust nibs out and it'll be good as new!