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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I stopped by my local dealer and they had a Black LT3 sitting at the end of a row of Camaro's, unprepped and unwashed. I took the following photo (iPhone so it's not super high quality) of the drivers side door and rear fender. I took it because at that angle with the sun behind it I could easily see the ripple effect of the fiberglass door panel with the unwashed black paint. I'm not making a judgement call, just posting the picture for people to see and make their own judgement. The picture did not capture some slight dulling on the back side of the ripples, probably because of the focus and depth of field.

Overall the fit looked very good. Panels line up great and overall the car has a very high quality look and feel. Aside from the door panels I did notice the top surface of the middle portion of the rear bumper cover has some waves in it, very typical of a large plastic panel, usually at their attachment points, something you don't see on steel or aluminum.

Black really accentuates issues like this, especially when it's dirty. And yes, that is orange peel on the fender but the photo makes it look a lot worse then it is. Most of what you see there is an artifact of zooming the photo, not the paint.

So no, the finish isn't as perfect as a $120,000 Porsche but I didn't expect it to be, DON'T SHOOT THE MESSENGER.....

The ripples I saw are best seen under the mirror, the other imperfections are a result of the picture crop, it looks worse in the picture than in person, I assure you.

Black_C7_Side_Close.jpg Black_C7_Side2.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
looks pretty good, esp since it's unwashed and UNPOLISHED...
Yes, the finish itself is very good, lots of gloss. it's the panel underneath where the imperfections are. It's a lot like looking down the side of a boat, it's not perfectly flat like a metal panel.

Actually it is polished from the factory and there are no swirls. This is one color I would NEVER let a prep shop at a dealer touch with a wheel and with any chemical that has abrasives in it. I'm sure it won't be swirl free after the prep shop gets their hands on it. They can hand wash it and hand wax it but unless they have random orbital machines they need to keep them away.

Please don't get me wrong, the car looked spectacular, even dirty.

Another thing you can see in the pictures is perfect panel alignment. You can tell by the reflections at the seams, the tree on the bumper seam and the truck reflection in the door to quarter panel seam. There's no offset in the reflection. That's amazing for a US car, at least in my experience. My $70,000 Jeep is a joke when it comes to panel alignment.
 

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I dont really understand why over all these years Chevy has yet to find a good paint finish for the SMC panels. Its not horrible, but in comparison to a painted metal fender, its REALLY obvious to me. It wouldnt keep me from buying one, at this point, its just a characteristic of the car. That said, looking down the side of a C7, it looks off. Not so much orange peel, just not super smooth like a painted metal surface.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Actually, the fenders look good, no ripples and less orange peel than I've seen on some Mercedes and BMW paint jobs (the zoom massively exaggerated the little imperfections, ignore that in the picture). It's the door panels that stand out. Perhaps they use a different layup schedule or the doors are carbon fiber underneath to save weight? Whatever it is it's obvious the layup schedule on the door panels is different than the fenders or hood for that matter.

Would this stop me from buying, no way. Is it something that would bother me, NO. Like you said, it's a byproduct of the design, using the composite panels instead of metal, it's too be expected. I will say the fit and finish is a significant step up from the C6 and light years ahead of my old C4.
 

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I dont want to complain to loudly. All cars have their idiosyncrasies. I used to hear a clunking in the trunk of my Cayman. I later found out that due to a harmonic imbalance in the car they installed a metal WEIGHT in the hatch cover to compensate for the imbalance. On occasion, the weight, which was suspended by a rubber hanger similar to an exhaust hanger, would hit the side of its enclosure and make a pretty horrible clunking noise. The modern day equivalent of chewing gum and baling wire.

Oh I see you have a Boxster. I am also weighing a C7 against the boxster/cayman. They are amazing cars eh?
 

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Hello everyone -- reality check here. This is a production car that costs $52,000 -- I don't expect the paint to be perfect. Up close, my C6 paint is terrible, but 10 feet away it looks great. Heck, I've taken delivery of brand new business aircraft costing multi, multi-millions and their exterior paint is far from perfect. Orange peel. Fish eyes -- you name it. Please, lets quite finding things to nit pick and just enjoy the car for what it is -- a really cool car for an amazing value price.
 

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Well yes and no....I don't think we should be OCD, but for 50k, it should be pretty good..at least on par with other high end cars out there......I don't expect bad orange peel....they can do it...my 13 camaro is damn near perfect.....
 

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I agree with Glen and suspect most others. I expect it to be pretty damn good and I think it is good. As mentioned, its a byproduct of the material. I am more curious than anything. Appearance is a huge consideration and I am sure they spend time working on it, or maybe not lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I dont want to complain to loudly. All cars have their idiosyncrasies. I used to hear a clunking in the trunk of my Cayman. I later found out that due to a harmonic imbalance in the car they installed a metal WEIGHT in the hatch cover to compensate for the imbalance. On occasion, the weight, which was suspended by a rubber hanger similar to an exhaust hanger, would hit the side of its enclosure and make a pretty horrible clunking noise. The modern day equivalent of chewing gum and baling wire.

Oh I see you have a Boxster. I am also weighing a C7 against the boxster/cayman. They are amazing cars eh?
Not to get off track but I drove the new Boxster when it came out and fell in love. The Cayman is just more of the same but I love the drop top on the Boxster more than the additional performance of the Cayman. Porsche is the only company in the world who can charge more for the coupe than the convertible and get away with it. Luckily I like the convertible better :cool:

However, when I priced out the Boxster S with everything I wanted it was $82,000! As much as I love it I can't see myself spending $82K on one, especially considering their value typically drops like a rock within 2 years. I'm already seeing loaded low mileage used 2013 Boxster S for $65K, that's a $17K hit in less than 12 months. OUCH. I've owned 8 Porsche's but I've never bought one new and probably never will, they just lose too much value in the short term and 90% of the used, late model cars are 2nd or 3rd cars for their owners so they are literally "good as new".

Circling back to the topic at hand, the Stingray and my comments on the finish. I am more of a function over form person. When you consider the level of performance AND sophistication you get with the Stingray for the money the fact there's a slight ripple in the door panel skins is no big deal and I'm 100% sure Chevy has done everything they can to make them as good as they can within their design parameters (and yes, cost is always a design parameter).

A metallic black would completely mask what I saw, the base black brings it out. I'm 90% sure owners of non black cars won't see anything, they will have to use their hands to feel the imperfections. You can bet, however, that as more cars get into the hands of the public and motoring press, issues like this will be pounced upon. It's pretty damn good if the ONLY thing they can find fault with is the finish of the door panel. It says a lot about the rest of the package.

Oh, and just so you know, this has not diminished by desire to own one :)
 

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I agree 100% It is not something that would prevent me from purchasing the car and like you, I am a driver.

I have not purchased a new Porsche either. My Cayman was only a few months old and had 3200 miles on it when I bought it. It had originally stickered for 79K (06 S) and had 9000 in exclusive options, 6k in Makassar wood trim. I would NEVER order any of it even though it was cool, and I bought it for 54K. I have had three boxsters, 2 standard and 1 S and loved them all.

I would in all likliehood buy a Boxster too, though admittedly with aCayman, those extra ponies make a difference. The new body style looks fantastic, as much an evolution for those cars as the C7 is for the Vette imo.

Back to the topic, I am just going through my typical motions of pros and cons. Even with the paint as it is, I dont think you can even call it an imperfection, I am such a nut about keeping them clean it would always be glowing with 10 coats of Zaino and daily dusting and a host of other OCD activities that make my family wonder about me. ; )
 

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I was curious to get some feed back on the amount of orange peel on the C-7. I've read that GM spent a lot of time, effort, and money to give these cars the best finish possible. How does it measure up to the C-6?
 

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I dont really understand why over all these years Chevy has yet to find a good paint finish for the SMC panels. Its not horrible, but in comparison to a painted metal fender, its REALLY obvious to me. It wouldnt keep me from buying one, at this point, its just a characteristic of the car. That said, looking down the side of a C7, it looks off. Not so much orange peel, just not super smooth like a painted metal surface.

Improvements and modifications have been made to the paint shop in Bowling Green. With that said, there will likely be orange peel present. Short of the very high end model cars such as Ferrari where significant post processing (by hand) of the panels is conducted you will find orange peel everywhere else.

The bottom line is that with today's paints and composite materials to be painted virtually EVERY manufacturer (including Porsche) has it.

The paints are required to meet considerable environmental laws which drive up the solids content and makes flow more of a challenge. The panels will continue to be painted as they are on the C6 in the orientation that they will assemble on to the car.

The panels are composite, the paint process is an electrostatic process and you must concern yourself with grounding, gravity and paint viscosity. The paint technician must find the right balance of a thick enough paint that won't run off the panel vs a paint that will flow out smooth as it is dried. The panels are painted in the orientation that they hang on the car, horizontal panels painted horizontally and vertical panels painted vertically. Horizontal panels minimize orange peel because they have gravity acting in their favor. Vertical panels show more because as soon as you lay down the paint, gravity is acting to pull it down and off the surface so it doesn't have time to self level and flow.

The paint shop must do all of this fast enough to keep the assembly line moving while slow enough to get the best finish they can. The painted panels take 10 hours in the paint shop on the current model. They also have to balance all of this for a primer coat, a color coat and a clear coat. Same process for all colors.

Where some colors can help is the size and level of pigmentation or solids content vs. the amount of liquid (surfactants, cleaners and water)

The process has some variation in it. At the end of the day if you look long enough and close enough you will find the orange peel condition in every Corvette (and current production vehicle from GM or other marques) that you see.

They have to balance lay down with a condition known as color flop. Basically an angular offset of the particles in the paint effects how they reflect light. The risk in painting everything in a particular orientation without respect to how the panel mounts to the car is color variation depending upon what angle the panel(s) are viewed at. This would present a more serious issue for owners to have their car or individual panels changing shades depending upon where you stood or viewed the car. It would make photographs of the car a mess in terms of color fastness.

Of course further complicating all of this is orange peel can present as a result of surface finish, electrostatic primer finish, primer finish, color coat finish and or clear coat finish. Any or all of the above can have an affect on the final surface of the paint. Further, in order to ensure bonding of the clear coat to the color coat the final paint applications are effectively a wet on wet where the paint is only flashed before the clear is applied. The subsequent curing allows for the two coats to interact and cross link allowing for a better bond. You don't want to go back to the factory paints of the 70's where the clear can just chip and peel off the surface.
 

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Improvements and modifications have been made to the paint shop in Bowling Green. With that said, there will likely be orange peel present. Short of the very high end model cars such as Ferrari where significant post processing (by hand) of the panels is conducted you will find orange peel everywhere else.

The bottom line is that with today's paints and composite materials to be painted virtually EVERY manufacturer (including Porsche) has it.

The paints are required to meet considerable environmental laws which drive up the solids content and makes flow more of a challenge. The panels will continue to be painted as they are on the C6 in the orientation that they will assemble on to the car.

The panels are composite, the paint process is an electrostatic process and you must concern yourself with grounding, gravity and paint viscosity. The paint technician must find the right balance of a thick enough paint that won't run off the panel vs a paint that will flow out smooth as it is dried. The panels are painted in the orientation that they hang on the car, horizontal panels painted horizontally and vertical panels painted vertically. Horizontal panels minimize orange peel because they have gravity acting in their favor. Vertical panels show more because as soon as you lay down the paint, gravity is acting to pull it down and off the surface so it doesn't have time to self level and flow.

The paint shop must do all of this fast enough to keep the assembly line moving while slow enough to get the best finish they can. The painted panels take 10 hours in the paint shop on the current model. They also have to balance all of this for a primer coat, a color coat and a clear coat. Same process for all colors.

Where some colors can help is the size and level of pigmentation or solids content vs. the amount of liquid (surfactants, cleaners and water)

The process has some variation in it. At the end of the day if you look long enough and close enough you will find the orange peel condition in every Corvette (and current production vehicle from GM or other marques) that you see.

They have to balance lay down with a condition known as color flop. Basically an angular offset of the particles in the paint effects how they reflect light. The risk in painting everything in a particular orientation without respect to how the panel mounts to the car is color variation depending upon what angle the panel(s) are viewed at. This would present a more serious issue for owners to have their car or individual panels changing shades depending upon where you stood or viewed the car. It would make photographs of the car a mess in terms of color fastness.

Of course further complicating all of this is orange peel can present as a result of surface finish, electrostatic primer finish, primer finish, color coat finish and or clear coat finish. Any or all of the above can have an affect on the final surface of the paint. Further, in order to ensure bonding of the clear coat to the color coat the final paint applications are effectively a wet on wet where the paint is only flashed before the clear is applied. The subsequent curing allows for the two coats to interact and cross link allowing for a better bond. You don't want to go back to the factory paints of the 70's where the clear can just chip and peel off the surface.
Great summary and explanation Paul. It helps to keep things in perspective. :cool:
 

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I noticed orange peel on a red car in a YouTube video.

Any way to flatten it out afterwards?

Any one color that is better than the others in terms of higher quality finish?

For instance do they take more time with black or one of the premium colors vs others?
 

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I noticed orange peel on a red car in a YouTube video.

Any way to flatten it out afterwards?

Any one color that is better than the others in terms of higher quality finish?

For instance do they take more time with black or one of the premium colors vs others?
If you look at the C6 you will get a good indication of the process for the C7. All of the production colors are applied the same way. The panels arrive from the vendor precoated with an electrostatic primer. this is a surface that allows the panels to be grounded and used in an electrostatic paint process. All colors then receive a primer coat which is colored individually (either white or gray) depending upon the final color coat, then the color coat and last the clear coat. All are a three stage process. You also have what are called tint coat paints, these are the same three stage paint process but use a tinted clear coat in place of conventional clear coat. These clears are tinted with a translucent pigmentation that will affect the final color shade without having to add any additional steps.

Mil thickness of paint will vary a little by color. Some due to particle size of the particular pigments, some due to opacity of the color but most range between 1.5 and 2.0 mils for the clear (.0015" - .002") and the color coats are between .7 and 1.2 mils (.0007" - .0012").

As far as some colors doing a better job with orange peel, yes, some colors will flow better and some will actually just do a better job of hiding it, metallics for example. You can however find evidence of it in all colors. Some days some colors are better than others just due to individual lots of paint and even environmental conditions.

I have not seen a perfect paint job on a C6 and I have seen many. I am sure the same will be true of the C7. If you believe you have a flawless paint job you are not looking hard enough.

Certain lighting conditions will bring out obvious orange peel but nothing will do it like flourescent lights. I generally challenge anyone to go in to any dealership for any marque and find a perfect paint finish on all panels of any car. Porsche, BMW, Audi, Lamborghini can all be found in the wild with varying degrees of orange peel on their surfaces.

There is only so much that can be done in a manufacturing process to offset the complications that today's paints and today's materials bring in to the equation. Less solvents, more water, different pigments and different cleaning materials all conspire against the perfect paint finish in standardized manufacturing.

The typical process of smoothing out orange peel after the fact is called wet sanding.

For those starting down the road of wet sanding, wetsanding can make a difference. Make sure the shop doing it is competent. It is true that the clear coat on the Corvette is very hard, it is also fairly thin. If someone isn't sure that they are doing they can break through the clear easily. I've made a little sketch below to illustrate what you are dealing with.

^^^^^^ clear
^^^^^^ base color

The orange peel that you see likely originated in the color coat. The clear coat, while it may have some orange peel of its own, is equally highlighting the OP in the base color. You won't get all of the OP with a wetsand of the clear. You will cover it up or smooth some of the appearance of it. What is likely left will look like this:

__________ clear
^^^^^^^^ base color

If they are not careful, it can end up like this:

__ __ __ ___ clear
^^^^^^^ base color

Which will lead to oxidation of the color coat once exposed to the elements. You need to be particularly careful on edges and sharp angles.

Keep in mind also that your clear coat is your UV protection against fading. At an approximate max coat weight of about 2.2 mils (.0022"), you don't have a lot of room to work with. For reference a sheet of lined office paper is approximately .003".
 
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Thanks Paul...I had one spot on my 13 Camaro that had orange peel - I got rid of it 100 % by the following procedure:
1. wet sand with 1000 wet dry
2. polish out wetsand marks with Menzerna FG400 polish using a hybrid wool/foam pad on a Flex 3403 Rotary
3. Polish with Menzerna SF4500 - Griots orbital and white foam pad
4. seal with blackfire Crystal seal
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I just want to point out that the issue I saw was not orange peel, it was what appeared to be sub surface imperfections printing through the paint. The orange peel on the 1 black C7 I've seen was minimal, nothing I would spend any time or effort to attempt to correct.

To Talon90's point about the panels being painted in the orientation they hang on the car, the imperfections were only noticible at an oblique angle to the panel, not to the normal viewing angle.
 

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If you look at the C6 you will get a good indication of the process for the C7. All of the production colors are applied the same way. The panels arrive from the vendor precoated with an electrostatic primer. this is a surface that allows the panels to be grounded and used in an electrostatic paint process. All colors then receive a primer coat which is colored individually (either white or gray) depending upon the final color coat, then the color coat and last the clear coat. All are a three stage process. You also have what are called tint coat paints, these are the same three stage paint process but use a tinted clear coat in place of conventional clear coat. These clears are tinted with a translucent pigmentation that will affect the final color shade without having to add any additional steps.

Mil thickness of paint will vary a little by color. Some due to particle size of the particular pigments, some due to opacity of the color but most range between 1.5 and 2.0 mils for the clear (.0015" - .002") and the color coats are between .7 and 1.2 mils (.0007" - .0012").

As far as some colors doing a better job with orange peel, yes, some colors will flow better and some will actually just do a better job of hiding it, metallics for example. You can however find evidence of it in all colors. Some days some colors are better than others just due to individual lots of paint and even environmental conditions.

I have not seen a perfect paint job on a C6 and I have seen many. I am sure the same will be true of the C7. If you believe you have a flawless paint job you are not looking hard enough.

Certain lighting conditions will bring out obvious orange peel but nothing will do it like flourescent lights. I generally challenge anyone to go in to any dealership for any marque and find a perfect paint finish on all panels of any car. Porsche, BMW, Audi, Lamborghini can all be found in the wild with varying degrees of orange peel on their surfaces.

There is only so much that can be done in a manufacturing process to offset the complications that today's paints and today's materials bring in to the equation. Less solvents, more water, different pigments and different cleaning materials all conspire against the perfect paint finish in standardized manufacturing.

The typical process of smoothing out orange peel after the fact is called wet sanding.

For those starting down the road of wet sanding, wetsanding can make a difference. Make sure the shop doing it is competent. It is true that the clear coat on the Corvette is very hard, it is also fairly thin. If someone isn't sure that they are doing they can break through the clear easily. I've made a little sketch below to illustrate what you are dealing with.

^^^^^^ clear
^^^^^^ base color

The orange peel that you see likely originated in the color coat. The clear coat, while it may have some orange peel of its own, is equally highlighting the OP in the base color. You won't get all of the OP with a wetsand of the clear. You will cover it up or smooth some of the appearance of it. What is likely left will look like this:

__________ clear
^^^^^^^^ base color

If they are not careful, it can end up like this:

__ __ __ ___ clear
^^^^^^^ base color

Which will lead to oxidation of the color coat once exposed to the elements. You need to be particularly careful on edges and sharp angles.

Keep in mind also that your clear coat is your UV protection against fading. At an approximate max coat weight of about 2.2 mils (.0022"), you don't have a lot of room to work with. For reference a sheet of lined office paper is approximately .003".

This man is on point. I could not have said it better.

When I'm working on a Vette (or anything fiberglass, CF, plastic, etc) I bust out the DeFelsko 200 Advanced (paint depth gauge) to measure the thickness of the clear to know exactly how much material I'm working with. Without this gauge (~$2700) there is no way anyone (including a pro) would know how much material they have to work with safely. Sanding is a delicate process....too many vids on YouTube showing how to do it and mistakes happen in the blink of an eye too.
 

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I read this post earlier today and then saw my first stingray in torch red.
Thanks, all I saw was the paint ripples, lol.
Still can't wait to get my mine though
 
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