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tips on painting your engine

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

as far as painting engines and ending up with a long lasting attractive finish, based on my years of experience and over 200 nailheads i've painted (ive lost count.) , heres my take on it: theres pro's and con's to using different types of paints. so far, the best product ive used, is eastwoods catalyzed ceramic engine paints that are good for 600 degrees, and have excellent chemical resistance. (cannot be purchased in CA) the "buick green" is not available in their colors (buick red is). for that i use "bill hirsch." any paint you use that is catalyzed, is going to have superior chemical resistance over anything that doesnt... but general auto body paint, is typically only rated for a generous 350 degrees. the hood of your car gets that hot out in the sun and it holds up to it great, but thats not comparable to the abuse that engine paints get, as it intermittently gets hot and then cold again, in a very short period of time, over and over and over again, while being exposed to harsh chemicals from time to time. rattle can engine paints tend to bake on and fade as they age (and have piss poor chemical resistance). rattle can engine paint quality has drastically gotten worse over the last decade, as well. auto body paints tend to cook and peel as they age when they are exposed to excessive intermittent heat. clear coats "yellow." even though your coolant temp, obviously isnt getting over 300 degrees, the area around your exhaust manifold ports and heat risor passage on your intake (if un blocked) do. for best results, hot tank everything. cleaning an entire engine yourself at home does not pencil out after you factor in the time and cost of solvent and other materials. even after tanking, the cast iron is still a porous sponge that's soaked full of oil. eastwood paints and bill hirsch i shoot over bare metal. doesnt make sense to use a high rated temp paint, if the primer used, isnt. if you do decide on general auto body paint, the trick is to keep the layers thin. 2k primer or etching primer, as thin as possible and emediately shoot your single stage or base/clear before primer cures. you arnt going to give the primer a good tooth after it dries, otherwise unless you've polished your whole block, prior. dont use cheap auto body paints for this, and avoid anything exotic like candies and heavy flakes. none of those will look attractive a year later. keep it simple. my take on glyptal paint on the inside of engines: i don't believe in doing that. too much risk involved in which paint can fail, creating contamination. i know reputable builders that swear by it, but i personally don't see any "pros." the inside or your engine isnt going to rust anyway once its coated with oil. yes, it seals the pores, yes the oil will return to the pan slightly faster.... but ive never found that to be necassary. in my opinion, that product was just intended on use with poor casted industrial equipment. below is a random collage of engines i've painted various ways with various products

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