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Looking for metal painting advice/tips

619 Views 6 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  o2batsea
As I'm pulling apart my 110 and rebuilding some portions, I find myself with a lot of little metal bits that could use some refurbishment. Mostly I'm looking to paint a part here or there however I don't have any experience prepping and painting metal. Are there any good resources or tutorials you can recommend on how to prep and paint metal? (and if there are differences to painting steel vs. aluminum etc). I've Googled already, but I've noticed some processes differ and I'm looking for tried and true steps that you have taken for good results.
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Sand with 220/320. Clean/degrease. Prime with metal primer compatible with the topcoat.

There’s nothing tricky. Prep work generally dictates the quality of the end result.

Ive used this many times for general stuff. Semi-flat is a great finish.
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There are some basic good practices but best bet is to follow the recommendations of the paint system maker.

Steel gets grit blasted to white metal. Then any deep corrosion is filled with epoxy (unless structural, which requires a deeper dive) then a high build primer that gets sanded back to smooth, sealer and finally paint. If you want show car you do a second primer coat with a contrasting guide coat and block it back until clean so you know it’s flat.

Aluminum alloys generally need to be stripped/blasted back to bare metal, etch prime, sealer and paint. For Rover body panels I never bother with the filler primer and guide coat since the panels weren’t straight when new. I think they look “cheap” over restored but that’s just my opinion. I also suggest a single stage paint, so it will fade and weather gracefully. High gloss clear coat again looks cheap to me. And again, my opinion.
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I’ve shared many details and photos of painting parts with various techniques in my build thread here:

Eventually I’d like to put together a short guide. Painting is a common topic of inquiry and there are many considerations when a person is looking for good lasting results.
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its expensive but I use a high grade automotive primer on just about everything body panel wise. You can get it in spray cans at the auto paint shops or on line. For the little metal bits I wire wheel to get all the junk off and then sand. If a piece has rust on it I use a rust neutralizer first before painting. I like Professional grade Rustoleum . But beware of touching up before it has fully cured. Within two hours you can topcoat but after that you need to wait a couple of days. Sand, Sand, Sand to get best results
Prep is key but it sounds like you aren't painting body panels. That being said, I'll limit my coverage to steel components such as axle housings, swivel ball housings, driveshafts, etc.
Ideally you want to get it to bare metal but if that's not an option it'll be fine. You'll need to scrape any dead paint and corroded metal flakes, those 5 in 1 paint tools work well for a lot of that work. Remaining rust needs to be converted to iron phosphate using a phosphoric acid based product. Eastwood is a good one stop shop for a lot of these products. They make and sell a rust converter & rust encapsulator and paint prep cleaner. POR15 makes a great "Top Coat" paint that leaves a very durable, chemical and UV resistant product. The POR paint is very brushable and settles nicely when dry. Follow the instructions for all the products to the word as apllying second coats of paint at the wrong time and cause the product not to adhere properly and start peeling months down the line.
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I guess it depends on your level of satisfaction. The best thing is to put those parts in the blast cabinet, get all the schmutz off, epoxy prime and coat with something like Eastwood Chassis Black or some other two part urethane. That will last the longest.
At the other end of the spectrum is brake cleaner spray and rattle can black.
POR 15 is somewhere in between those two.
You could just throw them in a box and drop them off at the powder coater's. Then there's galvanizing. You could also zinc electroplate at home.
I dunno. Do you have a compressor and paint gear? Even an air brush can work. Small batches of two part paint can be mixed up by using disposable syringes to draw the paint from the containers.
My FIL used to have a jar of linseed oil and turpentine mixed 50-50 and a rag floating in it. He would slosh that on everything...wood, metal regardless of how checked or rusted. Works great and smells good too.
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