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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Wash, Wax, Detailing and Cosmetic protection/repairs > Surprised by the depth of OEM paint



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      11-01-2010, 04:26 PM   #1
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Surprised by the depth of OEM paint

After a 6-hour error correction and detail this weekend, I got a chance to use a paint depth gauge in a few areas of the car. My car is a 2010 Alpine White E92 with just 6,000 miles on the odometer and no prior polishing since it was delivered.

On the hood and decklid, I got 5.5 mils in most areas and around 5.0 mils on the roof and pillars. That's quite thin from what I expected, as we don't have much clearcoat to work with. Now I won't even think of wetsanding areas where orange peel is most visible.
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      11-01-2010, 07:31 PM   #2
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Of course they spray as thin as possible; thinner paint=less paint=less money on paint. Take into account that's not how much clear-coat you have; each panel is E-coated for rust protection, then a primer-sealer is used to help with adhesion as well as to give a good solid base color. Next, the color coat (base-coat) is sprayed on, and finally the clear-coat is applied.
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      11-01-2010, 08:03 PM   #3
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Absolutely. But I expected to see 6, maybe 6.5 mil in some areas, not 5. The clear might be 2, but we don't know exactly what it comes out to. The point that surprised me is just how thin it really is.
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      11-01-2010, 09:08 PM   #4
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If you think that's crazy - you should see OEM Porsche paint thickness
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      11-01-2010, 09:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MuttGrunt View Post
If you think that's crazy - you should see OEM Porsche paint thickness
Or Ferrari.
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      11-01-2010, 11:16 PM   #6
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My CA just told me last week that on the X5 the car comes out of the paint booth weighing about 20 lbs. heavier than it went in. Not sure where that really lies in the scheme of things, but just a FYI.
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      11-02-2010, 01:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BayMoWe335 View Post
Or Ferrari.
Ferrari? They're hand sprayed, and there's no way for a human to lay down paint as thin and evenly as a multi-million dollar robot can. Ferrari's if anything have very inconsistent paint jobs, but not super thin from my findings.

Here's one I recently worked on. Thickness of passenger side fender:




Driver side fender:



Quote:
Originally Posted by drummer12 View Post
My CA just told me last week that on the X5 the car comes out of the paint booth weighing about 20 lbs. heavier than it went in. Not sure where that really lies in the scheme of things, but just a FYI.
Not surprising. Anyone who's ever sprayed clear-coat can tell you how thick and nasty the stuff is. The other layers are sprayed much thinner than the clear, but those layers certainly add up.
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      11-02-2010, 05:23 AM   #8
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Typical OEM Paint Thickness

E-Coat 33 (1.3 Mil) - an anticorrosion coat applied to both sides of the steel to prevent corrosion

Primer 18 (0.7 mil) - Initial protection layer with texture to assist the pigment layer in bonding to the metal beneath

Base Coat 15 (0.6 mil) - The basecoat is usually 0.5 to 1 mil thick

Clear Coat 48 (1.9 mil) - The clear coat provides gloss plus physical protection from the elements, including ultraviolet rays

All paint has three major components: a pigment for colour and hiding powder; a binder that holds the pigment to the surface; and a carrier to maintain the pigment and binder in liquid form. Almost all automotive paint systems today are clear coat systems unless stated otherwise. 2K paint is an epoxy type paint consisting of the base plus a catalyst to start the chemical reaction that the paint needs to cure. It consists of 2 components: (a) base coat (colour) and (b) clear coat. The clear coat serves two functions (1) To provide gloss and depth (2) To provide physical protection from the elements for the base coat (including ultra violet (UV) protection

Automotive coating technology is becoming more and more complex requiring educated and skilled technicians to work on them. As the materials used are constantly changing we must maintain our knowledge base and adopt our methodologies to keep up with emerging technologies

Removing more that 0.5 mil (12) of clear coat will cause premature paint film failure as the ultra violet (UV) protection percolates to the top of the clear coat, there is ultra violet (UV) protection all the way through the paint, but the majority of it migrates to the top of the clear coat along with the thinner solvents and particles.
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      11-04-2010, 04:37 PM   #9
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Paint is usually measured in micrometers, millimeter are too big of a quantity for the paint jobs

I polished my e90 few times now and its still in the high 100s throughout
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