Low-end DIY bodywork for learning


Staff member
New Jersey
Hack job? Perhaps...

My Ram had damage when I got it. Dents don’t concern me much on an old truck, but exposed metal does. The paint isn’t great either, a bunch of clearcoat failure spots.

So wanting to learn and give it a try, knowing it didn’t matter a whole lot, decided to hammer, sand down, fill, prime and paint.

When I got it, it looked like this:



Yesterday got the body work done and paint on. Today sanded the paint, re-applied due to time, and then applied 2k matte clear.

Didn’t have any pics from filing and sanding, but took one when I re-sanded


It takes about a can of paint to do this. The paint is somewhat darker, and I can see it but Im not sure it will be noticeable if not told to look for it. I do think the matte clear might be too matte. For example, here’s a spot where I attempted a lousy paint-over (more on that in another thread), and you can see the satin sheen of the truck paint, and the more matte finish of the 2k clear.


In the end all that really matters is stabilization of the exposed metal for the winter. Not that I’m intending to run the truck in snow and salt, but it does live outdoors... and in the end, I was successful enough on an old truck. Learned a bit about the process, got it covered up good enough for an old work truck, so...

from this:

to this:


I tried to take the photo from the lighting angle that made the color variation stand out the most; there’s essentially a shadow over the repair area and more light on the rest. Time will tell how long it lasts. There is an outwards wrinkle along one of the body lines on the door, right where it blends to flat (about a foot forward of the door handle), which I wasn’t really clear on how to get back inwards without damaging the paint.

My only observation is that for this truck and paint, in hindsight, I think I’d have been better off going with the Napa/Martin Senour “prism” line with the semi gloss single stage for a repair like this. Even if more expensive, I think semi gloss would have matched better, and the necessity to add a clear coat was an added pain for a job like this.

Perrfect? No? Exact color match? No. Good enough and more sewed up then it was? Yes... and not a ton of time or money. Not even Maaco quality, but good enough for this.

I was losing light as I finished up, and tomorrow is rain. So we shall see how it looks in a few days.
Last edited:
Truly a good effort. Your paint job is really good too. I’ve learned that using solid wood blocks to help shape the bondo helps much, though it’s never perfect. Nice work, and it’s protected now.