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Tips for painting the engine still in the car?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Stevie Nash, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. Stevie Nash
    Joined: Oct 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,999

    Stevie Nash
    Member

    Well, I've decided to re-paint the engine on the Nash over the winter. Because I have limited space, I would like to leave the engine in the car for repainting.

    So here's what I'm thinking... The valve covers, intake, exhaust manifolds and distributor can be removed, along with the water pump. That will give me more room in the engine compartment.

    But, before I do that I figure I better degrease the engine with some parts still on so I don't get water in the engine. The engine doesn't have any caked on grease, but it is dirty and oily from normal wear. I do have the dizzy already out along with the exhaust manifolds. I can put them back on for degreasing, but would prefer to cover the holes somehow instead. Any suggestions there on what would work best for a seal?

    I'm thinking about spraying down with Simple Green, using a toothbrush to scrub and then spray off with water. Not sure what to use for final wipedown before paint.

    Any suggestions on the process from beginning to end would be appreciated. The paint on it now is in pretty good shape so I will probably need to scuff that too???
     
  2. chaos10meter
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 2,191

    chaos10meter
    Member
    from PA.

    I use my pressure washer for cleaning.
    Alum. foil , like you use in the kitchen, works good to mask off intricate parts and lines you don't want to remove
     
  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,102

    squirrel
    Member

    Scrape it off, first, then use degreaser on it, then scrape it some more, then more degreaser, etc till there are no more chunks of grease on it. then take it to the car wash or use your own pressure washer if you have one to blast it again with soapy water. Make sure you run the engine, at operating temperature for a while, after you pressure wash it, to get the moisture out.

    then take off stuff like the carb, distributor, starter, generator, and anything else that won't be painted engine color (I'd leave the valve cover, water pump, etc on). clean it well with mineral spirits or similar till no more oily stuff is left on it, then sand the sheet metal parts, and scuff the iron parts. Then rinse with lacquer thinner or other similar fast evaporating solvent.

    Mask off everything that's not going to be engine color (like the rest of the engine compartment) and paint the engine.

    Sound like too much work for an old rambler?
     
  4. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    Member
    from florida

    If you go to ACE Hardware they have bottle stoppers in both rubber and cork. They are tapered round ones and come in lots of sizes from very small to very big. We use them to seal sparkplug holes, distributor holes, ports, etc while spraying and they do a great job of keeping water or paint from getting into the engine. Using them would allow you to remove the sparkplugs and wiring to get better access to the block.

    Another thing we use is aluminum foil. Use it like masking paper for areas that are hard to conform to, like over your rocker arms once you remove the valve cover(s) Blue masking take will stick to it so you can simply shape the foil over the rockers then seal the entire area tightly with tape. If you take your time you will keep any overspray from getting where it shouldn't be.

    Obviously, since you will not be removing the motor you will want to mask off all the surrounding areas with lots of paper and tape to keep overspray off of those too.

    Don
     
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  5. Stevie Nash
    Joined: Oct 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,999

    Stevie Nash
    Member

    Here's a thought, would duct tape work for covering exhaust holes? Would that hold up to a power washer?
     
  6. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    Member
    from florida

    Stuff rags in the holes first then tape over. That way you get double insurance.

    Don
     
  7. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,102

    squirrel
    Member

    No, it won't work, but the exhaust manifold works great. hence the suggestion to wash it before you take anything apart.

    Or is it too late for that?
     
  8. chaddilac
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 13,857

    chaddilac
    Member

    Especially if it's greasy, the tape just won't stick! I just did this myself on a 261 engine! tape blew off quickly!! :(
     
  9. ownster
    Joined: Apr 6, 2008
    Posts: 99

    ownster
    Member

    Thanks for the Aluminum Foil tip!
     
  10. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 4,918

    pitman

    Dang Jim, You left out the Q-tips for cleaning inside the Allen head screws! ;)
    A most thorough fellow.
     
  11. RopeSeals???
    Joined: Jul 2, 2007
    Posts: 444

    RopeSeals???
    Member

    Simple Green, Super Purple or equivalent, Thinner 325 or Mineral Spirits are all good choices for de-greasing... Lots of wire brushing & scraping, the more you do the better it'll look... For final wash I might use Brake Cleaner or Lacquer Thinner

    I like to use an etch primer for the first coat...

    Like the foil, alum tape (like HVAC/Aircraft Speed Tape) also works great for masking and holds up to moisture pretty good...

    If you get a chance, post some pics as you go.
     
  12. 327-365hp
    Joined: Feb 5, 2006
    Posts: 5,340

    327-365hp
    Member
    from Mass

    All very good tips. Now what kind of paint do you like? Is Krylon good enough or do you use VHT?
     
  13. raengines
    Joined: Nov 6, 2010
    Posts: 227

    raengines
    Member
    from pa.

    VHT seems the best for me
     
  14. Thumper
    Joined: Mar 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,611

    Thumper
    Member

    I like Dupli-color.....seems like it has more pigment....but thats just me...
     
  15. Russco
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 4,131

    Russco
    Member
    from Central IL

    All good advice already.Here is another option I've done it a few times this way. I rent or borrow a karosene fired steam cleaner. This will leave it pretty much ready to paint when done. I usually do the underside of the car while Im at it. Now this is where I change it up I brush paint the engine with an enamal type paint with hardener added. Most basic colors you can get from the hardware or farm store. Custom colors from an Auto Paint supply. When its done it will look great and last better than most spray type paints. Overspray isnt an issue and very little taping or masking is needed. The paint usually holds up really well and stays shiny.
     

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  16. Another good cleaner for a final wipedown or cleaning intricate parts is isopropyl alcohol. It is just plain cheap.
    Many times I'll wire brush (softer brass bristles) with wd-40 for the thicker stuff, then use the alcohol to remove the oily residue.

    Just another idea.

    Russco, I like your idea. Nice results!
     
  17. Master of None
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 2,279

    Master of None
    Member

    Just be careful with some of the "purple" cleaners read the bottle closely. Some say will stain polished aluminum, they aren't kidding,and it wont polish back easy either. Like others have said make tin foil your friend for masking.
     
  18. Stevie Nash
    Joined: Oct 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,999

    Stevie Nash
    Member

    Does this stuff flow well or does it leave brush marks?
     
  19. Russco
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 4,131

    Russco
    Member
    from Central IL

    It flows out nicely, no brush marks. It works so well I started brush painting alot of stuff I would have normally used rattle cans on. Once you get the hang of it you would be surprised how well it works. I have painted wheels like this, when I tell people they are brush painted they think I'm kidding them.
     
  20. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 24,920

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    most brands of engine paint work fine with two or three coats.. etching primer first is good idea. of course, nothing will really adhere if even thin oil film. cleaning engine with it complete and running works best, unless really heavy crap on it. warm engine cleans better. cover distributor, alternator/generator, etc with Saran (plastic)Wrap and tighten down with masking tape. place round butter tub over carburetor with a paper towel under it and use air cleaner hold down stud/nut to hold it down. foaming type aerosol engine cleaner works OK. can use on fender wells too. do not use high water pressure if engine fairly clean. once everything rinsed down good pull cover off carb and put air cleaner back on. remove plastic from any moving parts or near exhaust. leave everything else covered. start engine for a short time to warm it up again. shut off and remove rest of plastic. place sections of paper towels in low spots like on intake manifold to help dry up water-may have to do a couple of times. then let engine dry overnite if possible. then start on painting process.
     
  21. RodStRace
    Joined: Dec 7, 2007
    Posts: 2,269

    RodStRace
    Member

    Before you start on the heavy cleaning, cover the outer fenders and area below the windshield. Any good outside paint. Simple green and the purple cleaners will etch older paint. That and the greasy dirt globs will stain it.
    Jacking up the car and having access to the underside during cleaning helps too.
    Especially if you have a pressure washer or hotsy.
    Lots of stuff you unbolt will need prep too, pulleys, brackets, etc.
     
  22. chaos10meter
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 2,191

    chaos10meter
    Member
    from PA.

    Had an old timer show me this a long ago on brush marks.
    He took a pc. of reg. window glass . put a paint stroke on it, if you see brush marks, too thick, add thinner,. if it runs it's too thin add more paint.

    Seen him brush paint a wood boat hull maybe a 26 or 28 footer , you have sworn it was sprayed.
     
  23. patrickth
    Joined: Dec 1, 2011
    Posts: 2

    patrickth
    Member

    warm you paint to at least room temp, warmer is even better. I put mine in a warm water bath. I also put brackets and such in low temp oven after buzz bomb, let them heat a bit then set them aside to cure properly. I might give them a second coat afterwards and repeat cure process.
     
  24. I'm in on the paint brush. Works great for me. Painted many engine in cars . No over spray and done right you can,t tell it has been brushed.
     
  25. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 3,826

    indyjps
    Member

    Buy a gasket set

    paper towel tubes - spray paint thru them for tight areas

    if the car is driving, shoot it down with degreaser and drive to the car wash, this will let it sit for a while and get warm. degrease again and shoot again while your there, get all your frame suspension etc cause you'll end up wanting to paint it once the engine looks good.

    get back home and start degreasing, scraping etc. old towels and alum foil as drop cloths, unbolt as much as possible.

    I agree with the rubbing alcohol, cheap and works well for final wipe down. mineral spirit is good too but sometimes leaves a residue.

    get a good size rubbermaid tub and mix up concentrated simple green or similar stuff, you can keep dunking and scrubbing the unbolted parts.
     
  26. I'm in the middle of giving my engine a good douching too.
    Tell me more about brush painting. What paint do you use? Would Rustoleum work? What about the hi temps, especially on the heads??
     
  27. GREASER815
    Joined: Dec 2, 2008
    Posts: 973

    GREASER815
    Member

    Get off the HAMB and start cleaning, thats the first step. Looks like were all guilty!
     
  28. bblue34
    Joined: Feb 20, 2009
    Posts: 251

    bblue34
    Member

    E Z off oven cleaner works great on cleaning oil and grease off engines, ....the oven cleaner will also remove paint on the engine...be careful keep it off your skin and eyes....
     
  29. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,084

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    And, keep the Oven Cleaner away from aluminum parts. Just a short exposure will mar and stain it!

    My foster father and I prepped his full fendered '29 roadster for the San Jose Autorama in '74. We cleaned the passenger side of the engine, tired as hell...I worked all day and Pop was driving Tankers all night. Gasoline and alcohol rub, followed by a tooth brush...
    We got the right side painted and detailed, left the other side dirty. Played it by ear...

    I asked the judge's wife if I could park in the alloted space backwards, so we could show off the 5th wheel (spare on the rear: Romeo Palamides wheels...) She said O.K., so I opened the hood on the right side...the clean side...we took 2nd place! LOL
     
  30. Russco
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 4,131

    Russco
    Member
    from Central IL

    Yes it will work fine as will any decent enamel, dont forget the hardener. You can get it at hardware/farm stores, it will make it turn out alot nicer.
     

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