Soda Blasting Equipment

Soda Blasting Case Study: A 60’s Muscle Car Classic Refurbish

Muscle Car Before and After Soda Blasted

(1968 Camaro SS – Owner Terry Tetzlaff – Paint by Painted Specialties of Muskegon, Michigan – Old paint job stripped off using the ACE Model 2-PS Heavy Duty Portable Soda Blaster)

A few years ago, I was talking with Terry Tetzlaff, owner of Painted Specialties in Muskegon, Michigan. Terry is recognized as one of the top automotive painters in Michigan. He owns a 1968 Camaro SS, which was an old show car. The car was painted in a style common to show cars in the 1970’s and 80’s with multiple graphics and murals. Terry wanted to update the paint job and use the car as a rolling showcase for his painting business.

Muscle Car Before and After Soda Blasting

Terry was familiar with soda blasting, but had never actually done it before. As we talked, he became more enthusiastic about stripping his car by soda blasting it. As you can see in the picture, his Camaro had multiple graphics and murals, and multiple coats of clear lacquer to achieve that show car look. He had measured the paint thickness at 8-9 mils (Modern OEM finishes average about 3-5 mils). I told him that he would have no problem stripping his car using the ACE Model 2-PS Heavy Duty Portable Soda Blaster and a coarse grit soda blast media like Armex Flow XL. After considering other methods, Terry decided that soda blasting was the way to go.

Muscle Car Before and After Soda Blasting

The car was completely stripped one Saturday using the ACE Model 2-PS with a ¼” I.D. nozzle and 12- 50# bags of Armex Flow XL soda blast media. The blasting pressure was set at 90-100 psi. The amount of time and soda blast media needed to strip any given car will vary based on factors such as the condition of the paint, the type of paint, and the thickness of the paint, in addition to the size of the nozzle used and the blasting pressure.  Our experience has been that stripping the average car takes 8 to 12- 50# bags of soda blast media.

Muscle Car Before and After Soda Blasting Muscle Car Before and After Soda Blasting

After soda blasting, the car was blown off with compressed air, taking extra care in areas like the inside of doors and other places where the soda dust could accumulate. The car was then washed with soap and water and thoroughly dried.

Muscle Car Before and After Soda Blasting

self etching primer was applied over the bare metal to aid paint adhesion. A week later, the entire car was sanded with 320 grit sandpaper and primed with two part epoxy primer.

The next step involved wet sanding with 600 grit sandpaper. The entire car was inspected and Terry used 3M spot putty to fill in small imperfections and scratches. The spot putty and affected areas were sanded and reprimed as needed.

The car was taped off and sanded again with 2000 grit sandpaper. After that the entire car was wiped down with wax and grease remover, followed by a wipe down with a tack rag.

Muscle Car Before and After Soda Blasting

As experienced painters know, prep work is 90% of a great paint job. This is a lot of work, but it’s a good example of what you need to do to get a professional grade paint job.

With the prep work done, Terry applied 4 coats of Deltron Synergy Green (2010 Camaro color) and clear coated the car with several coats of DuPont clear. He then waited 2 weeks before beginning the wet sanding process, starting with 2000 grit by hand, and ending with 3000 grit before the buffing process.

Muscle Car Before and After Soda Blasting

As you can see, the final results are outstanding! Terry’s car gets a lot of attention where ever he takes it. The car has won multiple awards at various car shows throughout Michigan.

Hundreds of cars have been restored using soda blasting. Several years ago, Hot Rod magazine did a series of articles entitled “Paint & Bodywork, The Most Complete Step-By-Step Series Ever!” In the series, the Editor of Hot Rod had his personal 1969 Camaro stripped and refinished. They had the choice of any paint stripping method available. What method did they use on his personal car? Soda Blasting!

I hope this helps you out. In future postings, I’ll write about some of the other interesting projects that I’ve been involved with, using soda blastingSoda blasting really is one of the most exciting, environmentally friendly cleaning processes available today. We are all put here on this planet for a short time, so let’s make the best of it and help preserve it for future generations.