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Powdercoat or paint frame?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by slownugly, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. slownugly
    Joined: Oct 6, 2012
    Posts: 28


    Im sure this has been talked about plenty, but Im at the point in my project where I need to coat my frame. The frame is a custom tube frame with new metal and only slight surface rust and a ton of hot roll scale.

    My question is what is the best way to finish the frame? I plan on having it sand blasted and then Im either going to paint it with TCP Globals HRF-296 chassis black and epoxy primer or Im just have it powdercoated?

    A lot of the places I checked with will blast my frame and powdercoat it all in the same shop for around $400-600 (frame only) and they will just blast it for $200-250. By the time its blasted and painted or powdercoated, the price will even out for the most part. I just wory about powdercoating and touch up or if I need to make a modification later down the line to the frame (you never know?) the powdercoat will be a pain.

    Does anyone have any advice on which one theyve used and what they preferred? Im not looking for a show quality frame but would like to finish the frame right so I dont have to worry about it later. Thanks in advance!
  2. oldnuts
    Joined: Jan 14, 2009
    Posts: 355

    from nebraska

    id say powdercoat it. its stronger than paint and will last alot longer. im not sure about the touch up
  3. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    We are painting parts less and less and powdercoating them more and more. With the ever rising cost of quality primers and paints the cost to PC is very competitive, and all you do is drop off the parts and pick up nice shiny ones a little while later. No fuss of dragging out your spray equipment, bugs and dirt in the finish, or the clean up afterwards.

    The only time we spray is if we want the frame to be an exact color match to the body.

  4. nick_s
    Joined: Apr 11, 2006
    Posts: 436

    from Ohio

    What is your inteded purpose of the frame and what type of space do you have to work in? If you have NO room to strip and no time to work on it by yourself, go get it powdercoated...since they take care of it in one stop. Thats about the only time i recommend powdercoating unless your in a production environment . Speed.

    However, you can get it blasted and shoot it with satin black rustoleum (we do this wth ALL of our driver frames) and be good to go for the life of the car.

  5. neilswheels
    Joined: Aug 26, 2006
    Posts: 1,172

    from England

    I have found that powder coating can encourage rust because although it is pretty touch, it can chip, damp can get underneath it and run causing alot of rust. I had a running board powder coated, looked great, but the damp got in on the edges probably where the powder was thin, and the rust ran the length of the running board. It was toast. I also have experience with powder at work on large ornamental gates. Often the powder doesn't get into those really tight nooks and crannies, but the damp sure does. Now you could get the chassis hot zinc coated before the PC, which gives a much better protection against rust, but it depends a lot on the quality of the people doing the powder coating. Its also not easy to touch up when its damaged. personally i'd stay clear of it on a chassis, I think paint stands more chance of getting into those seems and tight spaces, and is easily touched up or repaired. Just my thoughts and experiences.
  6. Three Widow's Garage
    Joined: Jan 18, 2010
    Posts: 230

    Three Widow's Garage

    I'v just used paint to touch up areas on powder coated parts, not 100% correct
    but seem to work ok and looks better than rust.
  7. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    Member Emeritus

    I'd go for paint. I had a spring hanger that disintegrated from rust inside a shiny shell of what looked like paint but was too thick. The rust migrated under the coating. The only way that I found it was that the truck started to lean. When I called the dealer the parts guy said we have that in stock.:eek: A spring hanger that was riveted to the frame? This was a daily driver but the part that scared me was that it could not be seen without an in depth inspection. The rest of the frame was just fine. It looked great from 4 feet until it bent almost in two. I've never seen that on a painted frame. Plenty of deep pits Where mud gets trapped but never complete internal rust out under painted surfaces. When the moisture gets under the skin it never air dries. The truck was only 15 years old. it scared me away from powder coating in rust prone conditions.
  8. metlmunchr
    Joined: Jan 16, 2010
    Posts: 858


    I rebuilt a heavy equipment trailer 20+ yrs ago that we use in our business. Once all the structural work was done we sandblasted it and primed it with epoxy, and then topcoated that with some plain old industrial enamel from Sherwin Williams. The trailer has been in and out of mudholes and construction sites more times than I could count as well as having been pulled on the road with our road tractor for thousands of miles. There's places where the enamel is chipped off from flying rocks and stuff, but not one speck of rust anywhere on the frame because the epoxy is tough enough and flexible enough to take the hits without chipping.

    Powder is fine for a lot of things, but its not as tough as epoxy, and that toughness is what's needed on things like frames that are gonna take a beating if the vehicle gets driven.
  9. Are you going to sell the car any time soon? Then powdercoat is quick, easy, cheap and looks good for a while. Is it a keeper? Then it's paint - no question. A few chips and water will get under the powdercoat and then..... You know what happens to powder coated lawn furniture left outside for a couple of winters?

    You can't repair it - it needs to be blasted off and redone. Paint can be touched in easily.
  10. HighSpeed LowDrag
    Joined: Mar 2, 2005
    Posts: 968

    HighSpeed LowDrag
    from Houston


    Powdercoat it then do your finish work to make it nice. Then BC/CC it.

    No one said it yet so I had to. Best of both worlds.
  11. Tony
    Joined: Dec 3, 2002
    Posts: 7,350


    I'd paint it.
    Aside from the possibility of rust developing under it, my biggest issue with PC is it's a bitch to remove if you have to get it off..
    I've seen hours (many) spent on a powder coated dirt modified chassis with a good blaster without much progress in removing the coating..
    I have no problem doing smaller parts, but a frame i'd personally lay paint on.
    Thats just my worthless 2 cents though.
  12. junk
    Joined: Mar 15, 2008
    Posts: 200


    I had a frame powder coated. Not sure I would do it again. I have rust showing up from what i assume is thin spots in the powder coat. I also have rust in small crevices and stuff they didn't coat well. The frame has only been powder coated for 3 years. it did sit outside for a while. Next frame I do I'm leaning towards Epoxy and a good urethane topcoat. And then I can control the topcoat.
  13. 35WINDOW
    Joined: Jul 7, 2005
    Posts: 454


    I powdercoated all of my suspension stuff and Epoxy/SS/CC the Frame-it allowed me to change anything I needed to , and then re-paint as needed (of course, with better planning I wouldn't have had to, but stuff happens, you know?)
  14. Edsel58a
    Joined: Jan 17, 2008
    Posts: 797


    I think I am going to brush paint my frame with Rustoleum. I did the driveshaft this way in my other car and it looks great after 2 years
  15. I usually paint the frame although I do powder coat a lot of parts on the cars. HRP
  16. Fenders
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,921


    When did powdercoat become traditional?
  17. heyitsnate
    Joined: Apr 8, 2004
    Posts: 1,750


    i've powdercoated tons of stuff. i've NEVER been totally happy with it. paint and chrome however has blown my mind pretty much every time. if you want a nice car, paint it. if you want a utilitarian okay looking finish then powdercoat is your best bet.
  18. heyitsnate
    Joined: Apr 8, 2004
    Posts: 1,750


    and not to mention, i went to a swap meet and there were lots of rims i would have bought if they were not powdercoated. pretty much a deal killer :0
  19. slownugly
    Joined: Oct 6, 2012
    Posts: 28


    THANKS GUYS! This forum never ceases to amaze me at the quick response you get to a question.

    I plan for my truck to be a driver but also want it to look nice. I was leaning more towards painting my frame, because I have the room, equipment and know how to do so, but I have always heard powder coating was the "way to go" which is why I posted on here because I wanted real world experience and know how, and thats definitely here!

    On a side note: has anyone used TCP Globals satin chassis black urethane? It claims to be the "perfect" sheen? I also looked at eastwood 2k ceramic but have goten mixed reviews. Does anybody have a suggestion on brands to use if I epoxy and paint it? Thanks again!
  20. murfman
    Joined: Nov 6, 2006
    Posts: 540


    To all of these posts all I have to say is you or whoever did your powdercoating did it wrong. I have a cart I made for my garbage cans that I made and had PC'd 8 years ago and it still looks like new. It sits outside 24/7/365. I have a Wrangler and did the rocker guards, tube fenders, and quarter covers, and bumpers done. I take the Jeep on trail rides, use it to fell trees in the yard etc, and it gets washed once a year besides rain, there was some "pinstriping" on the sides from brush, branches, etc... 20 minutes with the buffing wheel and it looks like new. This thing has been drowned in 3 feet of water on more than one occasion at the Badlands in Attica Whatever is in the water there will actually discolor aluminum and most industrial paints as well, and has never affected the finish. Yes I have worn the PC off on my skidplates and diff covers from direct contact with rocks, but those were done in a semi flat black so touchups can be done with rustoleum.

    As to the Powder not getting into tight areas, it does a better job than pain when done correctly. The electrostatic charge helps it find its way into nooks and crannies better than spraying, rolling, or brushing it on.

    As for the surface finish as well it is all in the prep and application. you do know that PCd pieces can be color sanded and buffed if you so desire?

    Many of the issues I hear of are because the powder is put on too thickly. Once again prep and application.

    All this being said I have never done it myself, but live close to a shop that has never let me down.

    I only wish he had an oven big enough to do frames. The frame on my wagon was sandblasted, metal prepped, POR15'd, and top coated with Satin black Rustoleum 4 years ago, the car has not yet been driven, and it has spots of surface rust that need to be touched up already
  21. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 9,178


    This time around I am powder coating the frame once everything is tidied up. A big saving in time, more cost effective than spending considerable time preparing it for paint. Plus a pretty resilient finish and easy to keep clean. I'll still sand everything down before sandblasting and tidy up the rough edges and smooth things out. This car will definitely outlast me.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2012
  22. murfman
    Joined: Nov 6, 2006
    Posts: 540


    Pics of thing I had PC'd
    Everything, Head, block, bedplate, oil pan, turbo, plumbing,Trans case, etc...
    3 years and 40K miles later:
    Inner fenders, Core support, wheels:
    Everything you see here except the doors, cowl, and Hood (After 5 years):
    Wheels after 2 years of Daily Driving
  23. bobscogin
    Joined: Feb 8, 2007
    Posts: 1,761


    I'm in the process of brush painting my Model A frame with Rustoleum satin black. So far, it's looking good.

  24. Deuce Daddy Don
    Joined: Apr 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,516

    Deuce Daddy Don

    If you are a DRIVER----Powdercoat it!!!
  25. Buzzman72
    Joined: Sep 26, 2010
    Posts: 52


    Here's my .02 worth.

    I worked for TOWER Automotive for a few years, making the frames for 2002-2005 Ford Explorers [U-152 frames]. The company used Ford-specified procedures on coating the frames. Prior to the U-152, all the frames were coated in hot wax. Obviously, after years of road salt and other abuse, the wax managed to "disappear," and frame corrosion occurred. But for the U-152 frames, the new procedure was to have the frames E-coated. E-coat, an electrostatic process used on automotive sheet metal for many years, is a multistep procedure that included an alkaline immersion bath, among other steps, to prep the frame. I believe the E-coat itself was also applied via an immersion process...which is a plus for a tubular frame, as it allows the coating material to also coat the inner surfaces of the frame.

    Interesting enough, the trailer hitches on those frames--called "crossmember #6" by Ford--were powdercoated BEFORE they were attached to the frames [I worked the op that installed the hitches, for a time]...and they were on the frames when the entire units were E-coated. In theory, then, the trailer hitches had E-coat on the inside, and powder on the outside [E-coat wouldn't adhere to the slick finish of the powdercoat].

    More on E-coat for frames:

    Not sure where--or if--you can find a company to E-coat a custom frame. But it might be worth looking into.
  26. philly the greek
    Joined: Feb 15, 2009
    Posts: 1,863

    philly the greek
    from so . cal.

    I did both . I had my frame pc'd with epoxy primer and then painted it with PPG base / clearcoat . It's been done for 4 years and 18K miles with no chips .

    Attached Files:

  27. slownugly
    Joined: Oct 6, 2012
    Posts: 28

    Member can powdercoat epoxy primer?? Ive never heard of that before
  28. rc32tx
    Joined: Dec 12, 2006
    Posts: 152


  29. murfman
    Joined: Nov 6, 2006
    Posts: 540


    Yes, All my Chassis parts were primed with Epoxy powder THEN top coated with powder, maybe that is why others have had chipping and rusting issues.

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