So you've finally decided to spruce up that dull-looking engine bay, but you're caught up in the dilemma of deciding whether or not you want to paint or powdercoat those engine parts. Before you decide to pull out that spray can, here are a few facts to consider.
What are the biggest differences in painting versus powdercoating, you ask? Powdercoating compared to paint is advantageous and more resistant to impact, moisture, chemicals, ultraviolet light, and other extreme weather conditions. In turn, powdercoating also reduces the risk of scratches, chipping, abrasions, corrosion, fading, and other wear and tear issues often associated with painting. Plain and simple, it's stronger and tougher. But the question that we often hear from our readers is: How hard would it be to just strip and powdercoat in your garage?
Here’s the intake manifold in bare aluminum form that we prepped and cleaned with Eastwood Pre before coating.
The powdercoating process begins by prepping our intake manifold and removing previous paint using a chemical stripper. If your manifold still has the OEM powdercoat, we recommend using a media blaster to remove the material.
After using a brush to apply the chemical, we were able to scrape away the excess paint.
We purchased an Eastwood Dual-Voltage Powder Coating System for our DIY project. Most powders will cure at 400 degrees F after becoming a liquid form. Not only will you be able to powdercoat all types of engine parts in the convenience of your own garage, but it can also be accomplished by using an old electric oven/toaster, or in our case an Eastwood infrared lamp to cure the powder.
The Eastwood Dual-Voltage Powder Coating System will allow you to achieve the benefits of powdercoating small parts instead of coating them with paint. The new Dual Voltage system gives you the capability to coat small areas using the low (15kV) setting or coat large areas using the high voltage setting (25kV). Additionally, you’ll need a compressed air source (5-10 psi from a portable tank with a regulator or a compressor.
Eastwood offers over 90 unique colors to fit any project you’re looking to conquer. From super gloss to metallic finishes, there’s a color that’s perfect for you. We went with "Machine gray", similar to Battleship gray.
We highly recommend using high-temp silicone plugs to prevent powder from plugging threaded holes and/or studs. If you’ve ever coated before, you know how much of a pain it is to rethread coated holes.
For smaller parts we purchased an inexpensive electric toaster oven to cure parts. A word of advice: Never use your house oven to cure powdercoat.
If the parts you’re looking to coat are too big for the oven, consider using Eastwood’s Infrared Powder Curing System. We used their 10x8-inch unit to cure our manifold inside our garage.
Since we were attempting to cure this intake in the dead of winter, we built our own oven by wrapping the setup in foil to maintain constant heat throughout the entire piece.
Since the manifold was obviously large in length, we opted to cure the piece in two sections.
Here’s a shot of our pulleys fresh out of the oven.
Here’s a final image of our coated intake manifold ready to be bolted on to our project EJ25 engine.