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Learn To Paint Your Engine Compartment

Dumping the old engine for a bigger, badder one? Why not learn to paint your engine compartment

Next, we sanded the entire engine compartment with 320-grit wet/dry paper wrapped around a rubber sanding block. There's no need to sand down to bare metal, but it is important to sand everything that will be painted.

This gives the new paint a textured surface to stick to-note the darker, unsanded areas above the steering column in the accompanying photo.

During this process, some rust bubbles were unearthed in the area under where the battery tray had been. The rust didn't stand a chance against an 80-grit disc followed by several passes with a red Scotch-Brite disc. Then, the edges were feathered by hand with 320-grit paper.

Any areas of bare metal must be treated with an etching primer or a dedicated direct-to-metal primer before proceeding. For this project, we sprayed any bare metal spots with a couple of light coats of SEM's Self Etching Primer.

Next, we masked and covered the car. We also took the time to cover the adjacent cars-you'd be surprised how far overspray can travel. Then, the entire engine compartment was blasted off with compressed air followed by a dousing of Eastwood PRE cleaner and paint-prep solution. Even though this is just an engine compartment, dirt and dust will still look ugly embedded in its new paint.

Proper mixing of all materials is crucial or funny things will happen to your paint job over time. Follow the directions on the can closely, or better yet, follow the procedures on the product's technical data sheet if you have access to it. DuPont's 2840S sealer is a two-part urethane that must be mixed with an activator at a 2:1 ratio. Be sure to stir the mixture thoroughly and strain as you pour it into the paint cup.

Check the air pressure before spraying. Most HVLP (high volume, low pressure) guns are designed to work with about 8-10 psi at the gun cap. Accounting for the pressure drop through the gun, this equals about 26-28 psi at the heel (i.e., inlet) of the gun. We used a "cheater valve" regulator on the air fitting; however, if you plan on doing a lot of spraying, a wall-mounted regulator to connect your air hose into is preferable. They provide more consistent air pressure and, since they often incorporate a filter and water separator, that air is clean and dry.

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25 comments
Andriw Bern
Andriw Bern

Me darian un curso de pintura.... xfavor

Larry Hullinger
Larry Hullinger

I used newspaper for years when I used to paint cars never had a problem !!!

Randy Todriff
Randy Todriff

Note to First time Mopar owners Never ever paint your engine bay Black its body color for Mopars

Ian Big-e Hoffman
Ian Big-e Hoffman

I've never had any problems using newspaper either so if its bleeding through you should stop spraying the newspaper and spray the car or project

Matt Williams
Matt Williams

I got my copy today and was surprised to see the word Volvo appears twice in two issues.

Ryan Chevalier
Ryan Chevalier

Put up some pics of the thirdgen in the background!

Keith Kavon
Keith Kavon

it looks like to me, like the job was half assed. I could point out everything i see that didn't seem like the best route to take, but i don't want to write a long paragraph, and as a mechanic i dont like to bash other people's methods. Judge by the finish poroduct. But, all i can really say is if this, is suppose to be one of your best jobs, like the article said you were shooting for, I would never want to bring any my projects there.

Craig Palmer
Craig Palmer

why is the lettering so small, gotta put my face right upto the screen to read it all.

Ralph Laakmann
Ralph Laakmann

and the paint on the newspaper....why are you putting costly paint on the newspaper....it belongs on the job.....

Ralph Laakmann
Ralph Laakmann

if you are bleeding thru newspaper.....you are sagging and running....Iv'e used newspapers to mask off even House of color candies and never bled thru....

Keith Inskeep
Keith Inskeep

been there done that more times than i can count but it is so worth it

Karl Loper
Karl Loper

Now take a tack rag or an alcohol rag and wipe off the oils that your left hand just transmitted to the surface.

Jae Cho
Jae Cho

Yup this is a big Fail. Newspaper is a dust source too plus the bleeding.

Brandon Quinn
Brandon Quinn

First tip don't use newspaper, go to a paint supplier shop and pay 10-15 bucks for good paper.

J-f Dube
J-f Dube

All I say is SCRUB LOTS before you paint.

Jason Sahloff
Jason Sahloff

Don't use newspaper, paint can bleed through it

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