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Hot Rods frame powder coat or paint question

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by mrharley51, Dec 26, 2020.

  1. to powder coat or paint my frame....what is your opinion on powder coating frames vs epoxy painting...the good and bad for powder coating, can it be touched up? Is is worth the extra cost? thanks
  2. larry k
    Joined: Feb 23, 2009
    Posts: 512

    larry k

    Sandblast , epoxy primer , single stage urethane , enjoy !!!!!!
  3. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 11,310

    from Tampa, FL

    The gloss black power coat on my frame has lasted very well. But I haven't had to weld anything new to it (such as changing suspension or engine mounts for updates, etc.). That's the only draw back, me thinks. Touch ups would be easier with conventional paint.
  4. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 9,103


    I had a trailer that was powder coated. It got rust scabs on the fenders from rock chips and the powder came off in sheets. I have never seen paint do that.
    egads and tractorguy like this.

  5. 1934coupe
    Joined: Feb 22, 2007
    Posts: 4,981


    I would have it powder coated. The reasons are many so I won't list them but if you have to upgrade or change something down the road just grind, weld and get out the epoxy spray can.

    Nitroholic likes this.
  6. krylon32
    Joined: Jan 29, 2006
    Posts: 8,674

    from Nebraska

    I have powder coated the frames and suspension on the last 3 deuces I have built and have been very happy with the results. We did put quite a bit of time with a DA before they were coated to ensure a slick finish. In my mind it was cheaper than paining with urethane.
    kidcampbell71, da34guy and rockable like this.
  7. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,421

    Joe H

    I have seen to much powder coating come off in rusty sheets over the years on modern trucks to trust a frame to it.
  8. I’ve done both. Much prefer paint. Easy to touch up unlike powder coat. Like LarryK said above, just be sure to get a little can of paint to have on standby when the inevitable road rash strikes.
    egads likes this.
  9. rusty rocket
    Joined: Oct 30, 2011
    Posts: 4,933

    rusty rocket

    I have never screwed up powder coat enough where it had to be touched up. My thought is if it’s a frame that is not seen powder coat it if it’s a highboy or the frame is exposed paint it. My Thought is a paint frame can be body worked More when it’s painted.
  10. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 4,120

    from Colorado

    The frame on the Zipper was powder painted in 1999 and still looks like new. There's no doubt that there are people out there that do not prep stuff properly. Worst offenders are the boat trailer companies. Everything you see here is powder painted red or black

  11. Hollywood-East
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 1,959


    Paint.... If you've ever had to sandblast anything (powder coated) that went to crap, Because of Chip's turning to blisters, Trust me...
    As mentioned epoxy, Single stage urethane... Happy motoring..
    -Brent-, Desoto291Hemi, egads and 2 others like this.
  12. There is normally no powder coat jail like there is painter jail. Time will tell on the rest.
    A Boner and rusty valley like this.
  13. Bring your frame to the local powder coat guy. If it’s real dirty from grease he will heat the frame until the grease drops off. Then sand blast and powder coat it. Been lucky to work on several cars with coated frames. Only had one issue. Making sure I cleaned the area to make grounds.
    This is my opinion on powder coat.
    BigDogSS and rockable like this.
  14. That's poor prep before coating and is usually only found on production-line coating jobs. If done right by sandblasting the surface to remove all oil/grease and give proper 'tooth', powder will NOT come off.
  15. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 10,996

    Bandit Billy

    I considered powder coating the frame for my PU but in the end painted it with catalyzed semi flat black. I now have the truck torn down for paint and I had to make a couple of changes to the frame that required welding and spot painting. No one will ever know even if I told you where to look. Try that with powder coat.

    Another project looming this winter is to change the fuel tank on the roadster. I will also bob off the rear of the frame when I do. More spot painting, glad it is base/clear.
    Desoto291Hemi, egads and Montana1 like this.
  16. There are powdercoaters and then there are powdercoaters. And just like painters, there are pros and then there are amateurs posing as pros. As in a quality paint job, success depends on the diligence of the person doing the prep and application work.
    15 years ago I had the frame, rear end housing, and all of the suspension components from my truck powdercoated by a reputable company. The finish still lives today in perfect condition and the cost was actually less than I was quoted by a painter to paint it all.
  17. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,641


    I lean torwards paint but the nice thing with powder coat especially on frame is there are a lot of hard to reach areas that can get blasted but you can’t get to with paint , powder carries a electric charge so it can go where paint can’t
  18. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 2,008


    I could be way off base, but I'd say the opposite to the last part about "powder carries a electric charge so it can go where paint can’t" The reason I beg to differ is that I have an electro-static (Randsburg) paint system. By nature, the charge on the paint or powder during application will cause it to be attracted to the closest ground. I believe the term is the "Faraday Cage Effect" (spelling?). Getting paint, or powder, into the nooks, carannies and corners requires special effort and somewhat of a technique to even paint nicely to the inside of something as simple as a 90 degree bend.

    Personally, I dislike powder coat but my bias is somewhat based on racing. I think if done properly, powder coat can be "too good" and have enough flexibility to hide a crack in roll cage tubing until it might be getting dangerous. By contrast, I've always felt paint will crack much easier if a weld or tubing cracks or is stressed and the crack will develop rust to call attention to the problem much earlier.

    Just my free opinion.

  19. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 9,150


    From experience I went for then later this time around. I spray painted the frame on my 35 Chevy 15+yrs ago now. Lots of sanding and finishing etc.frame, very time consuming and expensive by comparison to the recent sandblasting and powder-coating of my 46 Olds frame. Plus it was significantly cheaper and quicker. However all the metal work and welding needs to be better finished as powder-coating won't hide any blemishes like filler. Horses for courses they say. My blaster got into all the nooks and crannies with the coater making sure that he also reached these hard to get spots with primer before final coat. Make sure that any residual sand is blown out of crevices and boxed areas. For laminated sections make sure to oil them, capillary action will draw the oil into these areas and inhibit rust. For boxed sections not powder-coated, rust proof them for piece of mind.
    A friend recently power-coated his 47 Old frame as well and is likewise very happy with outcome. So many colours and finishes are currently available so you can't go wrong. Only drawback is any rework to frame etc would be noticeable.
  20. Powder coat if ya don’t plan on scratching it and driving in the rain.
    I have had several cars I worked on with powder coated frames. Looks good. Chemical resistant.
    I have seen several powder coated equipment pieces get banged up and rust like crazy under the coating.
    Desoto291Hemi likes this.
  21. Again, if rust is getting under the coating, the prep wasn't done right...
  22. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 24,137


    How did you address the imperfections? You can't use filler under powder coat, correct? Also, my powder coater says the gloss black scratches too easily.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2020
  23. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 7,114


    Depends on the frame and what it's under. Also, it depends on what type of powder is used.

    A couple members reference that in this thread:

    There are so many products available, paint-wise, that you can pretty much address your specific needs better with a quality paint.

    I plan to put some Waxoyl inside, too, since boxed and I have enough experience with frame rot that (even though this frame won't ever see those conditions) it's cheap insurance on an expensive chassis.
  24. Needs to be metal or something that will conduct electricity. I've heard JB Weld works OK, but there's another metal filler product out there they recommend....of course I can't remember the name.

    I'm thinking of powder coating the '28 frame as they can drag a head inside the boxing plates (plates have holes) and it sticks. But I'll price out paint vs powder coat and see which one wins......remember around here good paint is $$$$. I've powder coated front axles and steering pieces before and touch up is a rattle can (don't care how it looks, just want protection).
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2020
  25. Friend of mine has a powder coated frame. Looks good except for the rust pits in places.
    Montana1 likes this.
  26. Not normal filler in any case. I've had some limited success with J-B Weld, but by and large, using filler is a difficult process. The bigger the imperfection, the more likely it'll show when coated. Solder doesn't work as it'll 'move' at cure heat if not just run off. Brazing works well, but can be a PITA to get it where you need it. They sell a 'special' epoxy mix called 'lab metal' that is claimed to work well, but it's expensive and no better than J-B Weld IMO.

    J-B Weld can work, but isn't easy to use. My best results came from applying it and letting it cure, then before sanding to final shape, exposing it to a full powder cure heat cycle without the powder, then sanding to shape, then coating. The pre-coat curing is critical. It works better on steel than aluminum, the expansion differential between the epoxy and aluminum is enough that the seam lines will show if the epoxy has any thickness. You can do multiple coats, sanding between each one, to reduce or sometimes eliminate this, but it can be a finicky process.

    The whole process is rather labor-intensive, so it's not really practical for a commercial coater. If you're doing smaller parts at home, it can be a viable deal. I will note though that powder will fill minor imperfections better than paint if the coater applies enough.

    If you have issues with rock chipping and rust, the coater didn't apply enough powder. A good powder job will not chip, you have to scrape it off.
    CudaChick1968 likes this.
  27. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 4,120

    from Colorado

    A follow up on my earlier post and full disclosure: my frame, running gear, brakes, wire wheels and suspension was powder coated as part of a learning process for a new company here in Durango. I paid $370 for the powder and the labor was zip, zero, nada. I was in the right place at the right time. A crew came down from Denver to show the new guy how it was done. Took almost two weeks do do all the parts. AGAIN, those of you that see rust forming on chips and scratches are looking at a job that was poorly prepped.
    CudaChick1968 and kidcampbell71 like this.
  28. Fogger
    Joined: Aug 18, 2007
    Posts: 1,779


    I have friends at hot rod shops that powder coat the frame , but spray the outside of the rails with single stage urethane. As others have said prep is very important whether powder coat or paint.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2020

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