Mazda MX-5 Paint Repairs - Our Shed

By: Glenn Torrens

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mazda mx5 A small paint chip grew to be a seriously ugly rash mazda mx5
mazda mx5 panels mazda mx5 panels
mazda mx5 door mazda mx5 door
mazda mx5 3 mazda mx5 3
mazda mx5 4 mazda mx5 4
mazda mx5 2 mazda mx5 2

Glenn Torrens gets his right white Mazda looking right

It began as a pimple just above the driver’s door handle and within a few weeks had become a rash of green/grey primer as my 1990 Mazda MX-5’s white paint began to peel. Immaculate when I’d bought it in 2016, there was obviously a problem with the now 27-year-old paint… it was flaking off in small crispy scabs almost every time I opened the door. Oh, and then the boot-lid began peeling too…


Mazda -mx 5-panelsRe-painting my Mazda’s panels was an evening project at TAFE

Thankfully, I’ve been doing an evening course at TAFE, topping-up my three decades’ worth of backyard-hackers’ fix-it knowledge with some proper industry-standard training about automotive panel and paint repair. After classic metal-bending and painting skills are taught for the first half of the year, in the second half of the year students are expected to bring along their own little projects – such as individual panels or motorcycle fuel tanks; one of my class-mates brought an old-school Kelvinator refrigerator! – to repair and paint under the teachers’ supervision.

Mazda -mx 5-doorThe compromised paint was removed with abrasive discs and caustic stripper

So instead of having to book-in my Mazda to a collision repair or restoration shop, or attempt to repair the flaky paint in the garage at home (always fraught with problems!), I removed my Mazda’s boot-lid and driver’s door, loaded them into my Commodore wagon and took them to TAFE. There, I removed the paint from both panels (can you believe I was able to blast-off most of the white paint with compressed air?) and use paint stripper gel to take the panels right back to bare metal.

Mazda -mx 5-2My Mazda was off the road for a couple of weeks while I fixed the panels

A week later, I primed the two panels and in the third week, I was able to do a final mask-up and then mix and lay down some lovely fresh Crystal White two-pack paint in one of the four proper paint booths my local TAFE has on-site. Both panels were of course baked in the booth before I took them home.

Mazda -mx 5-3

Once home, I was able to re-hang both the door and the boot-lid onto the Mazda and reassemble the door handle, the lock mechanism and trims before de-nibbing, buffing (two more skills taught during the TAFE course) hand-polishing and detailing the entire car to make it look pristine again.

Cutting -compoundI used this stuff to buff the entire Mazda to a high shine. It’s good gear

Sure, it’s probably little more than a few-hour job in a ‘real’ shop – and I had to store my panel-challenged drop-top Mazda in my carport for three weeks – but keep in mind that with signing-in and getting instruction, the time on-task is 6pm to 9pm and there’s sharing of equipment (such as the paint booths) with the other students to consider, too. But no matter what, the TAFE tuition fee is money well spent!

I just hope the rest of the original paint stays stuck to my Mazda…


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