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If Powder Coating Is Sooo Good........

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Drive Em, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. Drive Em
    Joined: Aug 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,742

    Drive Em

    ...... why aren't auto manufacturers powder coating the exterior of new cars? This is not a thread to bash powder coating, but I really want to know why it isn't being used as an exterior vehicle finish, or is it? One would think that automotive restoration shops would have started powder coating entire car bodies by now, especially reproduction new car bodies.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  2. flatheadz-forever
    Joined: Jun 16, 2011
    Posts: 502

    from new jersey

    then all collision shops would have to have ovens to bake the repaired cars for starters
  3. studebaker eric
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,279

    studebaker eric
    from Fresno Ca

    A vehicle is a consumable commodity, with a 7 to 10 year lifespan for the original purchaser. If they are built too good, there will be no need to replace them with new products.
  4. Drive Em
    Joined: Aug 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,742

    Drive Em

    Those are both good answers above. I am wondering whether the reason is that powder coating would not last in the harsh environment that a vehicle exterior finish must stand up to?
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  5. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 14,488


    Didn't Car Craft build a Camaro a while back that was powder coated? When exposed to direct sunlight, powder coat will fade rather quickly, compared to paint.
  6. Rex_A_Lott
    Joined: Feb 5, 2007
    Posts: 760


    There has been some research into powder clearcoating, especially in Europe, but so far its not Cost effective.
  7. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,818

    Larry T

    Lots of motorcycle sheetmetal is powdercoated. I seem to remember (feeble mind though) Harley powder coating some of their gas tanks from the factory.

    I would think the drawback on cars would be the size of the job.
  8. Flat-Foot
    Joined: Jul 1, 2010
    Posts: 1,694

    from Locust NC

    I watched a "how it's made" type show about the new gen camaros. The paint process they used was similar to powder coating.
  9. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,320

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    It would be almost impossible to repair body damage because traditional fillers won't stand up to the heat of the process. They could use one of the fillers designed to work with the 400 degree temps, but those are hard to work, very hard to sand.

    Another issue might be the 400 degree temps might warp the sheet metal. My Son is talking about having the roll cage in his Mustang powder coated but they have to do that with low temp powder coating so as not to over heat the body.

  10. RMR&C
    Joined: Dec 26, 2009
    Posts: 2,118

    from NW Montana

    A powder coated vehicle would not last long any where they salt the roads in winter..

    Personally, I hate the stuff.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  11. sheesh
    Joined: Nov 13, 2011
    Posts: 30

    from canaduh

    only some powdercoat colors are UV resistant and they oxidize pretty quick, it does not flow out well so there can be texture issues, dosen't sand and buff worth a crap, without a really good epoxy undercoat steel will rust as its not all that water proof, it will not bridge a gap nor will it flow into overlap areas, spot repairs are visible, for a car the biggest issue is you can't lay down an even coat so metallic colors are striped or splotchy. There is a filler material being sold but Ive always used jb weld for steel
  12. plym_46
    Joined: Sep 8, 2005
    Posts: 3,356

    from central NY

    It seems with powder coating there is no mechanical or chemical bond between the coated surface and the coating, It's held on by electricity when applied, when baked it coalesces into a surface that floats above the object it covers. This is plain to see here in the Northeast. My snow blower is powder coated. It great as long as surface remains intact and contiguous. But with tool, that seems a short lived state. As gouge from a stone, a scratch caused by the curb, etc opens a path for moisture in this case laden with salt, to get between the coating and the metal. then you get a bubble, then the bubble spreads, then the area of powder cracks ad come off exposing bare metal, and presenting an edge where more moisture can enter. If you try to repair the area with paint, you can not feather edge the powder coat, and paint will not adhere to the edge of the powder. So eventually the whole area will sluff off. Ford tried powder coated frames on Explorers in the mid 90's, more Explorers were removed from the road here at safety inspections time for rusted frames, than for any other reason than collision damage. Ford of course accepted no responsibility for the failure of their surface coating. Claiming unusual outside influences caused the failure, like road salt and sand /stone dust for winter road treatment are unheard of..... I think they use the same stuff in Michigan................
  13. charlesincharge09
    Joined: Nov 1, 2012
    Posts: 269

    from Wisconsin

    Perfect answer, i would like to add to that. There is no way to touch up powder coating, if you get an an accident and mess up a fender or a door, it would be easy enough to fix/replace then powder coat and install. But lets say you get an an accident in the rear quarter panel. Cant blend it, and Sure as hell cant put a whole vehicle with all the drive train, electrical, gas tank, interior in an oven
  14. B Ramsey
    Joined: Mar 29, 2009
    Posts: 510

    B Ramsey

    Because powder coating sucks. I used to coat stuff all the time. Now I just use paint.
  15. mike in tucson
    Joined: Aug 11, 2005
    Posts: 412

    mike in tucson
    from Tucson

    Powder coating gives an orange peel can sand and buff it but it is tough. I once saw a mid 80's Chevy truck hood and fenders at the powder coat shop that was being sanded and buffed smooth....really nice. Also, the powder coat process is cost prohibitive for an auto mfgr. Paint can be applied and baked and then spot plasma reflowed easily. I am not aware if they can spot reflow powder coat with a plasma gun.

    By the way, I was told by one of the OEM paint suppliers that the paint job on a car is the SINGLE most expensive item on a car....more $$ than an engine
  16. plym_46
    Joined: Sep 8, 2005
    Posts: 3,356

    from central NY

    I find that a little hard to believe with as little product as the robots put on these cars today. Older paint used to be from 7 to 11 mils thick including primer, your lucky to get 6 these days probably 2 primer, 2 color and 1 clear coat.
  17. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 2,329


    Powdercoating has its place. But I've seen implements and bike frames were it peels of like an egg shell when compromised.
  18. I bought a Brush Hog cutter new and the deck was powder coated..great for durability-scratches etc but the red is turning pink and the cutter never stays outside and has never been in the rain etc

  19. I never saw the fascination with the stuff. I would prefer paint any day-more gloss etc.
  20. Lots of answers, but not all the right ones.....

    Powdercoat is a plastic (and a fairly soft one at that), and as such 'micro-scratches' easily. Pick up a polyethylene toy for a kid; it will be nice and shiny when brand new, but washing/handling will put small scratches on the finish and it will dull eventually. It can be used for exterior finish, but for appearance needs a clearcoat over it as the paint will actually be a harder finish and better able to resist scratching. Powder is also nearly impossible to touch-up/repair. You nearly always have to fully strip the item and completely re-do the coating for best results.

    As far as durability, if properly applied, powder will resist chipping/peeling far better than paint as well as most common automotive chemicals/fluids. When you see peeling powder, it's because the prep wasn't done right. Pretty common in OEM applications as they skip sandblasting before coating and that sometimes doesn't give enough 'tooth' on the surface for the coating to bond to.

    I rebuild/'restore' motorcycles, and powder is my 'go to' coating for nearly
    everything except for the tank, fenders and any 'body-color' trim. Same for car parts.....
  21. 3quarter32
    Joined: Dec 10, 2010
    Posts: 257


    When I had my frame powder coated, the finish I choose was a textured type. They clear powder coated over that. Smooth finish and so far no complaints.
  22. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,632


    I've learned a lot on this thread, mainly that I don't want to ever have anything power coated.
  23. Soviet
    Joined: Sep 4, 2005
    Posts: 716


    Polaris's new paint line is a self contained powder coating system. Not cars, but powder coating does have advantages that are preferable over paint in some industries.
  24. Rem
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,255


    If you've ever had to strip flaking powder coat from a rusting motorcycle tank you'll know why it is avoided by the big manufacturers for use on sheetmetal. If you're building something to quickly move on without too much outlay then powdercoating clean metal parts is probably going to be quicker and cheaper than a quality paint job, but if you're building something that you plan to keep then stick to the runny stuff.

    And powder coating isn't traditional :)
  25. murfman
    Joined: Nov 6, 2006
    Posts: 531


    I built a cart for my garbage cans 10 years ago and had it powder coated red, it still is as red and shiny as it was the day I brought it home. It sits outside in direct sunshine all day every day, it gets blasted with road salt in the winter, and bakes in the summer sun. It does have a bunch of scrapes and scratches that it acquired over the years, bur I have never washed/waxed or even cleaned it ever, the only baths it gets are from the rain.

    I also have an OT Jeep wrangler with 3/16 plating all around the body that I had Powder coated and it holds up far better than paint ever would dragging it across rocks, tree stumps, etc...


    In this picture the Powder coating is 8 years old and includes the front fender, rocker panel, and rear quarters. This is after countless off roading trips in deep mud, through tight wooded trails etc.. It has held up exceptionally well.

  26. PaRatRod
    Joined: Jul 13, 2010
    Posts: 130


  27. I Powder coated my 1932 4 years ago see pictures. Also the frame and the rear housing ,wheels,backing plates, heads,generator,starter and many other parts. I also bought my own kit to start doing my powder coating at home for my next project I will be saving some money for sure.


    Attached Files:

  28. Rex_A_Lott
    Joined: Feb 5, 2007
    Posts: 760


  29. ChefMike
    Joined: Dec 16, 2011
    Posts: 642


    they cant build them to last ! we have the option of building our rides to last multiple life times! They want you to buy a new ride every three - five years
  30. your kidding right?
    first off can you think they will go through the expense to make something better if you as a consumer will buy it as is now ?
    secondly, it would be a pain in the ass to expect every repair shop to be able to strip a vehicle to metal, sans all rubber and bake on a finish.... paint is king in the auto industry.
    as far as durability, especially with todays technology in powders, its crazy durable, all colors, candies, flakes, blends, hybrids etc etc etc, powder is waaaay different now a days than it used to be.
    I do powder tons of parts, but not bodies.

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