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I am in the process of helping a friend work on his 73 Nova. We are considering sanding everything down to bare metal, do the body work and then paint. We are not sanding it all at once, just the areas we are working on at the time, such as front fenders, then the hood, then the doors, etc.

My question is this. After the body work is done, can we apply a 2k high build primer over the bare metal, let that completely dry, wetsand and then paint? I have heard that an etching primer should be used on bare metal. What's the difference in etching primer compared to 2k primer?
 

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Best adhesion would be a light coat of etching primer and a coat of 2k primer over the top, wet on wet. The more bare metal the more this is true. Some may say ok for 2k alone, and they may be correct, but for a few more bucks you will have the best possibility for a long lasting paint job. Etching primer does just that it etches into the metal for better adhesion. Remember the paint quality is only as good as the prep.
 

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Some 2K urethane surfacer primers are classified as DTM primer, DTM meaning direct to metal. But.... they don't offer the corrosion resistance or adhesion that a true quality metal primer has. Etch primers have been around for many years and they were originally designed to be used under lacquer products for adhesion. Adhesion with etch primers is great but they offer little corrosion protection-still way better adhesion than the 2K urethane DTM primers. Both products are fast and work really well in a collision repair/production environments.

The best product to use over bare metal and as a foundation for any surfacers or polyester fillers is a quality epoxy primer. A properly sanded (for texture) and clean bare metal surface followed by two-three coats of quality epoxy primer is your best option for durability and corrosion resistance. Bodyfillers and primer surfacers can be applied over the epoxy. Most epoxies will accept fillers and primers&paints for 7 days with no need for scuffing. Fillers bite right into the epoxy if applied within it's recoat window. Most of the higher end resto and custom shops have been using this proceedure for years, the europeans were the first, now many of auto manufacturers spec epoxy under filler for their warranty repairs. But the added steps slow the repair process so you don't find many collision shops doing it.

If you want some valuable autobody info that will help you turn out top notch work check out this site: http://spi.forumup.org/index.php?mforum=spi
 

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Thanks for the help guys. That is the info I needed. I checked out the link and there looks to be a lot of good info there as well.
 
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