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Engine Paint


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My engine paint is pealing of from the gm orange paint underneath the black. My previous owner probably tried to make it look nice by painting it black. I was told by a race car racer/builder that the black retains the heat and that I ought to paint it to the gm orange, and it would add some contrast to my black paint /flame job. Any suggestions on cleaning it up and repainting tips,without taking the engine out?
NOPE! to do it right pull it..... takes no time to do it right, but you will have to strip it completely to bare metal first, remember any glossy paint insolates, flat Black cools the best as far as paint goes... But if you have a good rad and fan and the engine is tuned well, it should not really matter what type of paint you use, so make it look good to YOU! No one else matters... I happen to like Black, because I do not want to clean my engine all the time, I like driving, not cleaning...
I'll let you all in on a little secret. I have used ONE SHOT sign painters enamel for many years. (It is what most pin strippers use.) It is available in many colors and is easily mixed with other ONE SHOT colors to get any color that your heart desires. It is easily brushed on and flows out on the block with no noticeable brush strokes. It is also resistant to gasoline and solvents and is very heat resistant. As a matter of fact, I have even painted the header flanges in the past and only had a slight discoloration after nearly 60K miles.

I'll also add that I paint directly on the bare block with absolutely no primer. I would suggest not painting over an existing paint especially if it is already peeling in spots. If that is the case, I would suggest that the old finish be COMPLETELY stripped. And that goes for whatever finish you choose to repaint your engine with. The top coat is only as good as what is under it.


P.S. ONE SHOT is available from Eastwood and in many craft stores.
One shot is a great paint,I use it for sign painting.and it covers perfectly.I also use it in my airbrush as well, you'll need to thin it they just came out with new colors.jj
When I brush it on a block, I use it straight from the can with no thinning. I then put a second coat on the next day and it looks great.

Yeah, to do it right you have to pull it out and somewhat apart to get the motor clean enough to hold the new paint. We are doing the same thing with my Kid's 455 Olds engine. We built it 4 years ago but the car has never been started, now he wants it a different color as he changed directions on the car. So we pulled it apart completely and are going to use stripper, wire wheels, and sandpaper to strip it back to bare metal, and then prime and paint it again.

Don't worry about the color black, that is what we probably are going to go with. I work in the marine industry, and Mercruiser has painted their engines gloss black forever, with no adverse effects that contribute to overheating.

Something a lot of people don't know is that you can paint an engine with the same paint you use to paint your body. The "secret" is to use epoxy primer first. Doing it this way produces a much nicer looking motor than bug bombing it, and it holds up much better for much longer.

So, spend a little more time and work by pulling your motor out and doing it right. The end results will be so much better. Here is his Olds engine when it was all painted and done.........


And here is how it sits today...........waiting to have the paint stripped back off. :sad::sad: A lot of work down the drain, but it's what you gotta do sometimes. :wall:


if i were going to redo the engine paint, and i wanted a quality job. pull the engine...

get a set of old valve covers for when you shoot the paint...

brush on aircraft stripper to strip the old stuff, along with a scoth-brite pad on a die grinder for the stuborn stuff.. wash with soap and water then wax and grease remover the crap out of it...

prime with epoxy primer ( ive used Nason epoxy primer in the past)... i have painted 5 blocks/engines with base coat clear coat systems. and they hold up great and look great..

Black might retain heat but its not gonna be enough to matter very much..
Got to do it right IMHO. Pull the motor, apply paint stripper, wire wheel at the end of a power drill works best for me with the stubburn stuff. Then apply the first coat of the new color. Let dry for 24hrs and apply another coat. Let dry again for at least 24 hrs before you put everything back. My only concern with the black paint is that I wouldn't be able to see if there were any types of leaks or seepage from the motor. To be more exact, pin pointing the leak. But, I totally understand about the cleaning part. Sometimes it can be a pita.

BTW, nice job Don on the motor and trans. :cool: To bad you got to start the painting process all over again.
pull the block and trans...if this is to be an exposed engine, Id get a die grinder and some sandpaper cartridges and stones for head/manifold porting. Spend one day cleaning it, another afternoon smoothing the block down with the sandpaper and grinding stones. All the casting flash...anything ugly. In a weekend you can have that thing as slick as butter. Rough it up with P600 and shoot with epoxy, then base/clear (try to use the same base in a contrasting color so you can use the left over chemicals from your body paint job - Im sure you have reducer and activator left over) I got a jeep gold flake in tec/base from NAPA that used the same reducer etc for 50 bucks a pint. I only needed a pint on the car I was doing, used the same clear as the rest of the car. Yeah its wicked expensive compared to the other paint; BUT its an OEM paint, tec/base as better batch control so if I need to touch it up, no worries. If my engine was going to be in an enclosed engine bay...I wouldnt kill myself to detail it. If it was a more sort of stock based build (rams horns etc) Id just bomb on the chevy orange) BUT this is your place to be artistic. Dont build a custom car and put a stock looking engine in it...always looks lackluster to me anyway. Also, on a budget, Ive also used the ceramic enamel for brake parts with a foam brush (Just because I had it handy) and it looks great.

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