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Technical frame coating - powder coat or paint?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by SDS, Jun 24, 2021.

  1. SDS
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 366


    I have to coat my 1955 Ford F100 frame - there are several modifications to it since having it blasted, so I plan to take it for a touch up blast before coating.

    My original plan was to prime it with DP75, then paint it with PPG Delfleet essentials urethane - but when I painted most of the suspension components it made way too much overspray for my current shop situation. There's no way I can get away with spring the frame myself.

    I have a buddy who does both powder coating and painting. He offered to powder coat the frame for "$3-400" (when he usually says that it's the lower of the two numbers). I already have the paint to do the job and have had poor performance with powder coating of automotive components in the past (especially suspension components).

    What is everyone's thoughts on the performance of powder coating a frame versus painting?
  2. Weedburner 40
    Joined: Jan 26, 2006
    Posts: 888

    Weedburner 40

    I have had several frames/chassis powder coated and have painted several. Never had any problems with the powder coated ones. Powder is way tougher than paint and will withstand much abuse. I am getting ready to take my 34 chassis to the powder coater now.
  3. SPEC
    Joined: Feb 1, 2021
    Posts: 502


    Powder coat your frame.
    BigDogSS and harpo1313 like this.
  4. jaw22w
    Joined: Mar 2, 2013
    Posts: 1,454

    from Indiana

    I had the frame for my '27 T roadster powder coated. 10 years later it still looks great. I painted the frame on my '26 T coupe 7 years ago. I wish I had powder coated it. Just make sure you are done welding on the frame.
    Flathead Dave likes this.

  5. SDS
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 366


    I've done quite a bit of powder coating - had a furniture business in California.
    Anytime I've used powder on daily use car parts, the edges don't get any powder on them and eventually corrosion occurs under the powder and it peels off (after 5-10 years). Anyone else had this problem?
  6. Mr T body
    Joined: Nov 2, 2005
    Posts: 2,200

    Mr T body
    Alliance Vendor
    from BHC AZ

    When I've come to the point of making this decision on frames I ask myself "will there be any changes in the future?". If yes (like on the '32 drag car) then it's paint. If no, then MAYBE powdercoat. You can't touch up PC if you need to cut off and reposition a bracket or mount, so it's future needs to REALLY be locked down to go powdercoat.
    rockable and dirty old man like this.
  7. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 22,485


    You can always touch up powder with spray paint. It won't hurt anything.
  8. Maybe things have changed; but we had trouble with powder coat peeling back and failing on sharp edges. Of course heavy equipment is different than car frames; but all the crossmembers and stamped brackets riveted to the frame along with the frame itself have a lot of sharp edges.

    My friend had his '54 Chev and his '33 Ford frames powder coated and it was sure a lot less hassle than painting them ourselves or dealing with paint shop jail.

    If you decide to paint and are concerned with overspray; $50 worth of PVC and poly will make a frame sized "paint booth".
  9. paint it and move on with life. Powder coating a chassis is so late 20th century "Street Rod"
  10. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,842


    I can see it on a fabricated frame where everything is welded and there are no overlapped metal like you have on a riveted frame. Can't see it on my 48 with all the riveted in crossmembers where you have those sharp edges that Rich B mentioned.
    That and it would be my luck that the second day that I was assembling it after getting it home from the powder coater I'd discover that some bracket or widget was in the wrong place and had to be cut off and redone.
    Redrodguy and dirty old man like this.
  11. Any chance you could spray it with a touch-up gun? You won't be doing any large panels since it's just a frame and (in my experience) there is minimal overspray.

    Edit ... I mean spray as in paint not powder.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2021
    loudbang and dirty old man like this.
  12. 2935ford
    Joined: Jan 6, 2006
    Posts: 3,729


    If you powder coat it......first plug all the holes that anything you need a bolt (or) to go through them.....cause it's way thicker than paint and bolts n stuff need some persuasion to go back in!
    rockable and quick85 like this.
  13. oldiron 440
    Joined: Dec 12, 2018
    Posts: 2,819

    oldiron 440

    Powder coat has ZERO rust protection if its chipped, epoxy primer and paint does. Sand blasted metal is the perfect place for the epoxy, it will not allow rust to spread underneath it.
    2OLD2FAST and dirty old man like this.
  14. krylon32
    Joined: Jan 29, 2006
    Posts: 7,918

    Alliance Vendor
    from Nebraska

    I've done both and if possible prefer powder coat. I also powder coat as many suspension pieces as possible. I've seen cars that I built 10-15 years ago with powder coat and they still look as good as new.
    Cosmo49 likes this.
  15. I tend to go the less expensive route, I am not building show cars, the frame on the wagon is brush painted Rustoleum where the frame on the 32 sedan was sprayed in a gloss black.

    I have used power coating on suspension parts with no problem. HRP
  16. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,912

    dirty old man
    Member Emeritus

    Danny, I agree and if it was possible I'd do a double on the "like":cool::)
  17. Doublepumper
    Joined: Jun 26, 2016
    Posts: 1,140

    from WA-OR, USA

    I wouldn't recommend powder coat if you live in a humid environment. From my experience, moisture will find a way under it eventually.
    I like paint for most things. Plus it's traditional!:D
    hotrodjack33 and 2OLD2FAST like this.
  18. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 8,711

    Bandit Billy

    I thought my 34 roadster was done when I finished it a few years back. This year I moved the tank from the frame to behind the seat, cut off the extemporaneous rear frame rails, modified them to sit parallel to the trunk floor and welded them back on. If I had powder coated the frame when I built it the next step would have been a disaster but I used base/clear so i easily and seamlessly mended the frame.

    No powder coated frames for me. A chrome frame...maybe :cool:
  19. Stan Back
    Joined: Mar 9, 2007
    Posts: 1,384

    Stan Back
    from California

    If it's a race car, paint for sure. Things change. I was partial to the brush-on "tractor" paints with the hammered finish. Great salt protection, too.

    Chassis Paint.jpg
    RICH B and CornfieldPerformance like this.
  20. That's a prep and application problem. Powder doesn't care for smooth surfaces, which is why sandblasting is the usual prep. That gives a good 'tooth' for the powder to 'grip'. It also needs a spotlessly clean and dry surface. Properly applied, just try to peel it off... Removing well-applied powder is a huge PITA.

    It generally doesn't care for sharp edges either, but this is a not enough material issue more than anything.
  21. 64 DODGE 440
    Joined: Sep 2, 2006
    Posts: 4,345

    64 DODGE 440
    from so cal

    Being a "back yard" builder and not ever expecting anything to be of "show quality" I have always done the underside bits with rattle can black. Used assorted brands over the years and had reasonable good results. Easy to touch up if it gets scratched up and as it gets dirty with use any touch ups blend in well.

    Just cheap, but a dozen cans of Krylon is only about $75.00 and that's enough to cover a couple of chassis with cans left over.
  22. Kiwi 4d
    Joined: Sep 16, 2006
    Posts: 3,237

    Kiwi 4d

    If powder coating make sure it gets the correct outdoor powder etch first. If just straight powder coated over bare steel corrosion will set in. I have always cheaped out and painted all my chassis. This coating above i refer to was some cool laser cut car art my wife gave me , so i got it powder coated and with in 12 months it was rusty on all the edges. The coater said that I needed to say it would be outside art and then they would powder etch it first before colour.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2021
  23. rockable
    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
    Posts: 3,787


    I got the frame for my Buick powder coated. They baked it in an oven to get rid of all the oil and grease. Then, they steel shot blasted it and finally, powder coated it. Total cost was $600 and my sandblaster would have charged that much to blast it. What really sealed the deal was the electrostatic application of powder. This frame had lots of "nooks and crannies" and would have been impossible to spray paint well.

    As someone already said, make sure you are finished with the brackets, etc. before you coat it. YMMV but I wouldn't paint another one.
    Roothawg likes this.
  24. harpo1313
    Joined: Jan 4, 2008
    Posts: 2,398

    from wareham,ma

    For a friend price like that , how could you say no.
  25. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 22,485


    You guys use a satin black? My powder coated says the gloss black scratches too easily.
  26. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 5,476

    from Berry, AL

    I'm with HRP, good old Rustolem is good enough for me. If you're looking under my car, you better be helping me fix it instead of admiring my paint job....
    '34 Ratrod, Blues4U, lostone and 3 others like this.
  27. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,920


    I like to do things the old way, when I paint it is.
  28. twenty8
    Joined: Apr 8, 2021
    Posts: 930


    The stupid and slow pedestrians will not notice. As they go under, they will most likely have other things on their mind.......:rolleyes: Paint is fine for me.
  29. old chevy
    Joined: Nov 24, 2007
    Posts: 46

    old chevy

    I sand blasted frame and then used satin black Rustoleum on my frame. No problems and easy to touch up if needed.
  30. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 9,098


    I painted the frame under my 35 Chevy to match the body colour and powdercoated the one going under my 46 Olds after it was sandblasted and primed. Powdercoating is a quicker and a cheaper alternative to painting and durable however preparation is the key as nothing is hidden. I plan to oil the overlap joints and let capillary action draw it in between the metal layers.

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