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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm having a hard time finding a used topper. I found a few in my area but the paint is way off.

I got quoted $300 to have a shell repainted at a local Maaco. Is a Macco paint job total garbage?

It would only be on the shell. I don't care if it's not perfect, I just don't want to see issues after 4 years, flaking, fading, etc.
 

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Lol, Macco is complete garbage. It would look good for about a year, then the clear coat would start to go. Friend of mine had his taco painted at Macco, looked ok for about 6 months. As soon as he got it back it had issues though, (runs, major orange peel, shoe prints in bed, overspray, etc) but he didn't care. Its now 3 years later and the paint looks awful, the equivalent of a 20 year old car with peeling and faded paint.

Don't do it, paint is one place that you get what you pay for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok thanks. I'll scratch that idea. Local body shop wants $1000.

I guess I'll have to just hold out until something pops up.
 

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I took my vehicle to Macco years ago and the ONLY reason I'm letting them touch it again is because a spot they repaired the paint cracked and started to rust and we came to an agreement over warranty coverage.
 

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All depends upon the skills and care of the local Maaco shop, can differ widely. Check out vehicles freshly painted by them in their lot.

I got my 1971 VW Convertible painted at Maaco in Feb. 1978, still passable.




I had my Mazda truck replacement hood painted at Earl Scheib, was happy with that job as well. You can sand it yourself too.
 

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If you went the maaco route do as much of the prep yourself before they spray it. Sand it, tape it, blow the dust off, clean it well, fill any obvious chips. Anything you do in advance will go a long way. Now if the painter sucks all that prep will be a waste.
 

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Body shops estimate $500 per panel when painting a car. Cars have 9 panels, so it would cost $4500 to paint a car not including body work. $300 to paint a shell means costs were cut somewhere.
I frequently go to car shows, its easy to find the maaco squirts.
 

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All depends upon the skills and care of the local Maaco shop, can differ widely. Check out vehicles freshly painted by them in their lot.

I got my 1971 VW Convertible painted at Maaco in Feb. 1978, still passable.




I had my Mazda truck replacement hood painted at Earl Scheib, was happy with that job as well. You can sand it yourself too.
No disrespect, I'm sure that paint job was nice.
But, it's not 1978 anymore and everyone cuts corners now on just about everything to save a few bucks when doing a job on anything.
The old saying "you get what you pay for" is slowly spinning down the crapper too.
Welcome to big corporate American business where only the bottom line matters anymore and few take pride in their work, "it's just a job" mentality prevails mostly.

OP, I'd sand and fill the cap myself.
Go get a paint matched proper.
Wait for a good weather day and spray that thing myself.
Get a good clearcoat for on top.
Sand in between layers.
Read up online a bit, you can achieve pretty good darn results with a "home" paint job these days if you know what you are doing.
Youtube can be very helpful for such research.

And Cusser, that's a nice looking 6V you have there, drop top ftw.
 

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I have a white crew cab and looked forever for a topper. Best I could do was a nearly brand new ARE for $350 but it was red. I called many local paint shops (maaco included), $400-$600 seemed to be the going rate. I called our two main topper stores in Denver and they sent me to a local shop. He had been doing all their toppers for 20+ years and has since gotten away from that side of the business (tons of prep work, not a great margin if you aren't doing a lot of them). He quoted me $400 if I brought it with all the windows taken off.

That as it turns out is not an easy removal/install. Rivets, sheet metal screws, gaskets, glass, big pain. He gave me two options. $500 out the door and he'd remove and replace the windows so he could get all the way to the physical edge of the topper. Much better chance of the paint holding up and looks cleaner. 400 to mask the windows off and do it the cheap way. I figured the extra hundred was money well spent and it turned out beautiful.

Dry sand, primed, wet sand, color coat, clear coat. While sanding the topper the edge underneath the riveted connections for the door started blowing up. Material flaking and popping, etc. He took the extra time to go in and repair all the fiberglass and rebuild that edge. He probably lost any small profit he had going, but stuck to his $500 quote. 2 year warranty as well.

My takeaway is this. The big paint shops are unfriendly, and are trying to get business in and out quickly. Toppers fall into the low margin small job category, so they're not going to treat it like a work of art. My suggestion is to call your local topper dealers and ask who they like to use. Chances are you can find a local guy with a fair price. On top of that you're supporting the local economy.
 

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I bought my topper for $350 used off C/L in the black/granite color. I ran it for 6mo. till weather was good enough to shoot. I painted it myself with napa single stage crossfire & a well cleaned $9.99 Harbor Freight gun. Cost about $40 for the color, already had the reducer and hardener from my 65 Chrysler project. Washed with dawn 2x, scotchbrited, washed again with dish soap, quik wipe with brake clean, masked and sprayed. Still holding up excellent with great shine. My father had his 74 Ford Van shot by Macco. TOTAL NIGHTMARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1st round you could see the seal coat in numerous spots, so they resprayed it. Problem was the first coat was still off gassing, so the 2nd coat began to peel in sheets. They had it in their shop 5x before they refunded his money, which incidentally turned out to be a nice paint job. I would say that there are two Macco shops in our area, the Van went to the one with the bad reputation.
 

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All depends upon the skills and care of the local Maaco shop, can differ widely. Check out vehicles freshly painted by them in their lot.

I got my 1971 VW Convertible painted at Maaco in Feb. 1978, still passable.




I had my Mazda truck replacement hood painted at Earl Scheib, was happy with that job as well. You can sand it yourself too.
In 78, that was more than likely a single stage enamel. Which, is quite simple to spray and materials are inexpensive. You had a much better chance of getting something of an acceptable job. With 2 stage acrylic urethane paint these days, the whole process is more involved and quality prep and materials becomes more important.

Side note, I'm not sure what $139 in 1978 money is in today's money.....
 

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$1000 - though love to support local shops, better off getting a new topper at that price range.

X2 Maaco type shops are junk - you are basically paying for the prep work/labor (unless you start getting into premium type paints/lacquer) at a good body shop. Had a girlfriend went that route and it bubbled up and clear coat flaked off in 6 months (here in FL).

You'll have varying opinions on brand, but if I were in the market for one, I'd get a Navarra designed one with a 3rd brake light, and all the windows open(PITA to have to crawl in the back).

Navara Toppers, and other European brands.
 

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If anyone is interested, I've got a OEM tonneau on my 2006 King Cab (6 ft bed) that I'm selling. Nothing wrong with it, just bought the truck and decided that I don't really need the top. Make an offer.
 

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$1000 - though love to support local shops, better off getting a new topper at that price range.

X2 Maaco type shops are junk - you are basically paying for the prep work/labor (unless you start getting into premium type paints/lacquer) at a good body shop. Had a girlfriend went that route and it bubbled up and clear coat flaked off in 6 months (here in FL).

You'll have varying opinions on brand, but if I were in the market for one, I'd get a Navarra designed one with a 3rd brake light, and all the windows open(PITA to have to crawl in the back).

Navara Toppers, and other European brands.
Agreed, this one priced out at about $1500 new so I think I came out ahead at $850, but much less trouble and guaranteed quality if you go new. I've heard Century makes a good product (believe they're the economic offering from Leer)
 

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Have you tried contacting a local boat repair shop, toppers are fiberglass.........wait for it........so are most boats, if they can repair/repaint the gelcoat/fiberglass of a boat, they can do a topper as well, it's not something they would normally do, but it's worth a try. Another option, places that repair RV's.
 

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Ya, $1000 is ridiculous. You should be able to get it done for at least half that. We have a Gates body shop by us and they'll do my topper for $300.
 
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