We got caught up in a mad dash to ditch the farm-tractor inline-six the Rambler was delivered with in favor of a proper V-8 and decided to fog the engine compartment flat black. And while flat black is almost universally cool, there was really nothing wrong with the factory Barbados Blue we painted over. So while the Rambler awaits what will be its third engine, we decided to restore the engine compartment to its original hue.
Unlike a body-on-frame design, unibody cars announce their presence boldly, with tall, broad shock towers often accompanied by firewall bracing. The effect is a more intimate relationship between the engine itself and the car's chassis, the balance of which is struck by matching the engine compartment to the car's exterior color. Simply speaking, our shiny blue-and-aluminum 360 won't show as well in a flat black hole, so back to Barbados Blue we go. Enough with the aesthetic musings, here's how we got it done.
After a thorough degreasing, we were ready to dive in. We began by grinding the junkyard r
Things to ConsiderAlthough painting an engine compartment is not as big an undertaking as respraying an entire car, the planning and prep work involved are the same. You need to consider the following factors: How good do you want it to look, and how long do you want it to last? Since we are in it for the long haul with the Rambler, we decided to do the best job possible. We chose to spray 2K (or two-part) products in a two-stage process.
Two-stage means the color coat and clearcoat are applied in two separate steps. In a single-stage process, the color coat also serves as the topcoat, as it's designed to dry to a more glossy finish. These paints can give excellent results that will last a long time, but we prefer the extra layer of protection that a two-stage clearcoat provides.
A 2K product refers to a material that requires a catalyst, usually called an activator, which enables the paint to cure after application. As opposed to 1K products, usually spray-can products, lacquers, and materials that only require thinning before spraying, 2K products are moisture resistant and will protect your sheetmetal better.
The safest thing to paint over is factory paint. You can be fairly confident that it was applied properly, and therefore, you may only have to scuff it lightly and paint right over it-no primer needed. However, if you are unsure of the quality of the work you'll be painting over, we recommend using a sealer. Sealer does exactly what the name implies: It serves as a barrier between what was and what will be. It provides a clean, stable area to prime and paint over that will be unaffected by anything that lies below. Because of our dodgy flat-black assault, we decided to err on the side of caution and use a sealer. We also chose urethane products because they tend to be more durable than acrylic enamels. Once those decisions were made, our plan fell into place. Here are the steps we took: clean and degrease, sand, seal, prime, and paint.
The crossmember then got a liberal coat of Eastwood Rust Encapsulator and was allowed 24 hours to dry. We decided to leave the crossmember black, so it got sprayed with VHT's satin black enamel from an aerosol can.