View Full Version : Lacquer Primer

07-23-2009, 07:24 PM
I realize lacquer primer is an old technology & is inferior compared to today's 2k & epoxy primers; But an old bodyman I know (who has been doing bodywork forever; still uses it; (I call him the Old Synthol Man) I approached him about todays newer primers & he said he really never had any problems using lacquer primer. The benefits I noticed were quick trying times; little overspray to worry about; (overspray easily cleaned with thinner); cheap price & just faster productivity. Now realize these cars are not show cars; just used cars. He has me now wonderin' if maybe I should use this products on inexpensive repairs. Unfortunately; all my repairs are not top dollar restorations.

07-23-2009, 07:39 PM
i am an old time body man started in 1957. i learned the old school ways including how to use lead. bondo was something that was just coming out then. i have not done body work for a living in several years. i still use the old style primer. if i an correct after reading about all the new primers an such i understand you have to mix up what you are going to spray and use it very quickly or it will set up in the gun. that would be a major inconvenience for me. i like to mix a cup full of primer and use it as needed. sometimes it might sit for days. i just open up the cup and stir it up when i need it. of course i still use the old fashioned suction feed guns too. my cars are not show cars just daily drivers.

07-23-2009, 07:54 PM
I would consider using it for inexpensive repairs. I go into alot of shops and some still use it. I think almost every different material has its own time and place to use it.

07-23-2009, 08:14 PM
In my experience the problem with lacquer primer is two fold.

1. It doesn't bond as well with the surface as the newer etch and epoxy primers. This can cause cracking or popping as the finish ages. You can see this result of lacquer primer in this picture.


2. Because it's not a hardened product lacquer primer tends to absorb some of the solvent from the layers of paint that are applied on top. If there is a scratch in the metal (under the lacquer primer) that is deeper than about a 220 scratch then the solvent in the paint can soften the primer and as the paint ages the scratch can show in the top coat down the road as the paint ages/shrinks as the solvent escapes.

These are the reasons I don't use lacquer but many shops will use lacquer because they don't want to pay the price of more modern primers and they don't want to take the time it takes to use the better materials. When you're doing a job to make a living and you need to do it cheaply it can pay to cut corners but don't forget that a customer will bad mouth you when the job goes bad unless it's a used car dealer. Most used car dealers want the job done yesterday, free and perfect so cutting corners is fair play.

07-23-2009, 08:24 PM
Easymoney you mentioned a good point about lacquer primer; he would leave the primer in the gun; he never had to worry about waste because he would just add a little more thinner to his primer gun. If I decided to try lacquer primer on my inexpensive jobs; I think it would help to seal with epoxy or 2k sealer before painting.

07-23-2009, 08:55 PM
if you are sealing it with epoxy or 2k you would completely be defeating the purpose of using the cheap primer to begin with. No sense in putting good materials over crap materials in my opinion. But I agree with Len it may have it's place for used car dealership stuff but it wouldn't be for me where the job has to last.

07-24-2009, 06:03 AM
So what is the approximate life span of lacquer primer before it looks like the pictures Len posted (thanks by the way); I'll be using Shopline clearcoat; its real cheap but sprays quite nicely. Not sure of the durabilty of this clearcoat. Will this clear fade before the lacquer primer fails or vice versa. Lastly; this kind of work will be for used car dealers. But I don't want the paint falling off after a year when someone buys the car off the dealer.

07-24-2009, 08:54 AM
how long are you looking for repairs to last? We all used lacquer primer when there was just that to choose from never had ane failures with it that was brought back.

07-24-2009, 09:19 AM
I have a truck that is essentially a write off because of old primer technology. A small chip or scratch in the paint will allow water to absorb into the primer below and create a huge rust problem. I too started out in the days of lacquer primer but even back then over bare metal epoxy was supposed to be used first. More often than not lacquer went straight over bare metal.

Dennis D
07-24-2009, 09:25 AM
I have used lacquer primer over epoxy primer on a few vehicles without any problems. PPG Base coat, clear coat over the lacquer primer. That was eight years ago and the vehicles look as good as the day I painted them. Lacquer primer was a recommended primer for PPG. It may not be the best but it does (or did) work fine and has the advantages of little waste, convenience, and it is safer for the painter.

Dennis D.

07-24-2009, 11:55 AM
I would rather be given a gallon of drinking water than a gallon of laquer primer. I say given, because I damn sure wouldnt buy it

Jayson M
07-24-2009, 10:09 PM
I use red oxide lacquer primer that is over-reduced.......for guide coat on my 2k urethane primer:) Other than that I don't see much use for it anymore.I mean really if you are looking to save a buck you can buy upol or transtar 2k primer with hardener for under a $100,and it will out last lacquer.The cost of 2k primer is minimal compared to the labour you put into a job,so why try to cut corners for $50-75$ savings.