You got some good answers already. A step by step approach would be to
Prep (pre sanding)
1) Wash entire car with your average everyday car shampoo and dry. Don't use one that contains wax or any type of paint protection.
2) Use a good silicone/wax remover (prep-sol or the like). Don't try and get the entire panel at once, you'll just be moving the contaminats around. Do like a 2 x 2 area at a time, wipe on, wipe off with a clean towel.
I've been using Hi-Temp's Akrya Klean lately for this as I can apply it right after I wash the car. let it setup a few minutes then rinse off. No need to bother with Prep-Sol/Towels/ and that stinky chemically smell.
Note that the contaminans are going to go into the towels, as they have no place else left. So use plenty of towels. Also note than sanding alone won't remove these contaminants and you don't want them lurking about later on in the re-finishing process.
3) Remove the existing paint using a rotary polisher. These babies can get up to 3000 rpm's and will make short work of the exisiting finish. You can start at 80 grit or something lower then follow up with 80 to level out the lower grit scratches.
Len sells some disks (Norton I think) that are made for just this type of task.
4) You will need to clean and condition the metal afterwards. That bare sheet metal will start to flash rust very quickly even from the moisture of you touching it.
Depending on how your work flow is, you can clean and protect the newly exposed metal from flash rust in a couple of ways.
4a) Clean/treat the metal then immediately shoot some Primer (etch or Epoxy) on the panels.
or if your not going to be ready for primering just yet
4b) Clean/treat the metal with Picklex-20. This stuff will allow you to leave the metal exposed (indoors) without it rusting for quite some time and just needs to be scuffed before applying primer (do not use an etching primer)
5) From here you can handle your metal/body work. Then prime. Some say prime then fill others say fill then prime. I won't enter into that debate.
Last edited by Roch_Greg; 07-20-2006 at 09:36 PM.
Thoughts and comments expressed by me are mine based on my own experience and research and shared here freely. I am not a professional nor make any claim to be as such