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Old 01-09-2006, 11:05 AM
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BMW Paint Information

Contributed by: Arnie

BMW X5 Paint Details




This information is intended for

X5 owners who will need to have some body work done in the near future. BMW has
stated that use of non-authorized parts (including paint) will void the car's
warranty. The problem is finding out which brand/type of paint was originally
used. Don't bother asking the dealer, they don't have a clue.



Barely 4 weeks old, my new X5 fell victim to an inattentive driver who changed
lanes into the car's right door, once again proving the physical law that no two
objects can occupy the same space at the same time. I went to the dealer and
asked if they could recommend a good auto body shop. It turned out that the
dealer had its own auto body shop, so naturally I assumed that the car would be
repaired with BMW OEM parts, including paint. At the time I got the estimate, I
specifically asked if they would use BMW OEM paint and I was assured that they
would. When I asked which paint brand would be used I was told that the shop
exclusively used PPG (the automotive coatings division of Pittsburgh Paints).




I decided to research the paint brand/type, and found that getting that
information was not easy. The dealer, which also sells other makes of
automobiles, had no idea. Calls to the BMW factory in Spartanburg, South
Carolina, were unproductive as well, as BMW has established a rather effective
barrier around its "customer service" department. After several calls and
"sleuthing" on the internet, I was finally able to determine that the
Spartanburg factory, where the X5, Z3 and Z4 models are manufactured, uses
exclusively Glasurit waterborne basecoat topped with a compatible Glasurit
clearcoat (the electro-coat primer is supplied by another paint manufacturer).
Glasurit is a German paint company owned by multinational giant BASF. Both firms
have large marketing organizations in the US.



BMW began using waterborne paints, more environmentally friendly than
solventborne, in its German factories when the German government mandated it use
in the early '90s. When BMW constructed the Spartanburg plant, it set up the
paint facility to use only waterborne paints, possibly because they expected the
US to impose similar restrictions. Waterborne paints are more difficult to
apply, thus very few aftermarket (auto body repair) shops have invested in the
special equipment needed. Fortunately, solventborne paint is compatible with
waterborne. In fact, BMW issued a contract to Glasurit to supply solventborne
paint to its Greer, South Carolina plant (adjacent to the Spartanburg plant), a
training facility which is also used to repair and repaint company owned
automobiles. In contrast to BMW's secretive nature about it production
procedures, Glasurit personnel were very forthcoming and informative. I was told
that Glasurit delivers a paint to BMW based on its "90 Line", modified slightly
for use in the specially constructed robotic sprayers at the Spartanburg plant.




In speaking with several auto body shop personnel, the general consensus of
opinion was that although PPG made a fine quality basecoat, their clearcoat was
not as good as Glasurit's. The clearcoat contains an ultraviolet inhibitor,
designed to protect the basecoat from the sun's rays, and is more durable than
the basecoat, resisting scratches.



The bottom line is, although several manufacturers produce fine quality paints,
each has its own formulation and will tend to age differently. Aging results in
a slight "fading" and "yellowing" of the paint. Fading is most apparent on dark
colors and yellowing most apparent on white or very light colors. Paint aging is
inevitable, the goal is to get the entire car to age at the same rate and to the
same degree. The best way to achieve this is to stay with the same paint
manufacturer. So here it is guys, for aftermarket repairs, BMW and Glasurit
recommend using Glasurit's "55 Line" basecoat topped with their "923-109"
clearcoat.




Arnie
on
2004-05-19

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