How To Paint Your Truck
Repainting Your IH
First Things First
The first thing you need to do is to decide how nice you want your IH to look and how much you are willing to spend. A weekend "beater" doesn't need anything more than paint to keep it from rusting. A street truck should be nice enough to enter into judging. You also have to consider how much fixing the body will cost. You may need to weld on patch panels or entire q-panels. Also older trucks need at least one or more cab mounts.
Once you decide how far you want to go with the paint job you need to make sure you have the right equipment. A good quality paint gun is a must. This doesn't mean you have to spend a large amount of money either. I use a 50-dollar gun for primer and a cheap(100.00) HVLP gun for paint. You will need to have a decent air compressor also. I would recommend at least a 5 hp with at least a forty-gallon tank for painting the entire truck. You can get by with a small portable compressor if you are doing panel painting or primering.
It's also best to have a garage for painting, but a make shift canopy would work also.
Mark and I would recommend these steps before starting.
1. Decide how nice you want it to be.
2. Decide how much you want to spend or can spend.
3. Decide on the paint scheme and color.
4. Gather all the parts such as repair panels, sand paper, etc.
5. Count on replacing stuff you won't notice until you put the truck back together.
6. Don't buy the paint until right before you paint.
If your truck has been painted more than twice, you should consider stripping it. You should remove all chrome and emblems, door handles, trim, etc for the best results. Use a high-grade automotive stripper. Mark uses a stripper made by Clean Strip called "Aircraft Remover". This stuff is strong and if you get any of this stuff on your skin, it will hurt! Wear safety glasses. You will need a long handle razor blade scraper and a box of l00 razor blades. 3 or 4 inch horse hair brush (they are cheap) and a metal container to pour stripper in. Strip in sections: hood, fenders, doors...etc. When finished stripping wash with soap and water to neutralize remaining stripper and remove "gunk". After drying "DA" with 80 grit sandpaper till it's shiny clean steel. NOTE: Be careful around chrome and glass. DA sand marks on chrome and glass are there for good!
SANDING TRUCK WITH ORIGINAL PAINT
When sanding paint sand all
chips out making sure you feather edge the spots you sand. Metal
etch prime the bare metal spots, then prime. Once it dries then
wet sand it using a soft rubber block. When you have properly wet
sanded your truck, it will actually shine when looking at it at
DENTS and Body Work
This is the time to do body work. When sanding filler on flat panels, I use a l6 inch file board. On heavy filler use 36 grit file board paper to cut it close. Then more filler to smooth. Then 80 grit to sand it close. Then l00 grit to finish. Then prime with lacquer or epoxy primer. After fixing dents prime with metal etch primer on the bare metal spots. When dry, prime with lacquer or epoxy primer. Mark personally uses lacquer primer and I like epoxy primer. When sanding for paint, We use 320 grit wet and dry sandpaper. Use a 5-inch rubber-sanding block on all flat surfaces hand sand on curved areas. When buying the sandpaper ask for a sanding squeegee. Use it while wet sanding it will show how you are doing.
Here are two pictures, one after priming and one after wet sanding. Notice how the primer seems to shine after the wet sanding. See picture prim07 and prim13
PREP FOR PAINT
Ever heard the term "cleanliness
is next to Godliness"? In the shop "cleanliness is next
to a good paint Job"! The day before painting a vehicle,
drive or push it out and wash it with soap and water, rinse then
shammy dry. Doing this washes off and out dirt, dust, and sanding
muck out of the cracks and crevices. Mark and I recommend blowing
the dust off first before washing it. While it is sitting outside
use this time to do a thorough cleaning including sweeping the
ceiling, yes the ceiling. Stuff will fall off and land on your
hood screwing up the paint. Also wash the floor good. When
finished cleaning pull truck back in, wet the floor good, then
blow around all the windows, doors, hood, and seams. Excess water
then can be dried off. Tape it off and you are ready to go.
This is very important step because even if the bodywork is not perfect if you follow this step right the paint will come out great.
Your truck is now sitting
there ready and begging for paint. First your hands have to be
clean. Any grease or oil on body panels before paint means fish
eyes in the finish (Bad). Before you pick up your paint gun wipe
down all areas to be painted with DuPont 38l2S Fast Dry Enamel
Reducer, using paper towels (like Bounty). Don't be tempted to use
clean rags. We can't stress this enough because chances are there
is fabric softener in them. Any prep cleaner or solvent will wash
the softener out of the rags onto the truck. Which will create a
mess when you try to paint. Right before you start painting
"tack" rag your truck off including the papered windows.
This will collect dust on it.
Then it's best to spray the floor down with water being careful not to mist the truck. This will pull the dust out of the air keeping it off your truck and out of the paint.
This is an important step also. After the paint has dried a day or two you will need to make it shine. Start by wet sanding the entire truck with 1500 or 2000 grit sand paper. This will remove the "orange peel" look of the paint. Then after you have finished that wash the truck really good. Do not use dish soap, use a car wash type soap. Then buff the paint with finishing compound using a powered buffer. Just remember to work slowly and not to apply too much pressure so you don't burn the paint.
Also, never wax a newly painted vehicle for at least three months. It takes about this long for the paint to fully cure.
TYPE OF PAINT
Mark recommends single
stage paint on solid colors. Usually Dupont Centari Acrylic
Enamel. Metallic use Base Coat Clear Coat Finishes. The best of
these in Marks option are Sherwin Williams Pro Base 10 Systems,
or PPG Deltron base/clear system. I like Dupont Croma two stage
paint myself. The Base coats cover very well and the Metallic
goes down even and stays there. The clear coats are exceptional.
Single stage paint is the way to go if you are building a "beater"
truck. But for a really nice finish the two stage is the best.
Here are two pictures of the two stage paint system, one before the clear with just the color, and one after the clear coat. See picture preclear01 and final02
Note: Mark Schepers owns his own shop, Show Car Painters, and has been doing this for over 25 yrs and Scott has been an auto mechanic for 20 years.
Written by Mark Schepers and Scott Hattery
Copyright 01-05 Scott Hattery, Mark Schepers.
Do not reprint without permission.