Painting the Engine Compartment and Wheels

With winter here things have slowed down a bit in the garage. That and painting requires a lot of preparation which takes time so this update will be a bit shorter than normal.

In the last update I mentioned that I sprayed the entire body with epoxy primer but I neglected to mention the brand. I used Summit Racing brand epoxy primer. This is an inexpensive paint and I used it for exactly that reason. I'm on a strict budget with this build so I'm not spending money on expensive parts or paint. That said, it sprayed nicely and covered very well and I'm very pleased with the quality.

To keep within my budget I also decided to use an inexpensive single stage urethane as a top coat. My choices were basically Duplicolor's paint system, Summit brand acrylic urethane single stage, and Eastwood's single stage acrylic urethane paint system. My choice was Eastwood's single stage. This paint mixes 3:1 and for a sprayable gallon the cost is under $100. You can also mix their clear with this paint to add depth if you're using a color that needs it. In my case I'm using a Bright White which doesn't need "depth". I'm also not trying to obtain a show quality paint job. What I am looking for is a "better than factory original" solution. Since the factory used acrylic enamel this acrylic urethane should be just that.

The first job was to get the car off the rotisserie. This was a simple task and took about a half hour. Since the design I used for the rotisserie allowed it to go low enough to just set the body down on jack stands, it was a simple task. Now on to paint.

In a perfect world I would be painting the entire body all at once. However, since I don't have a paint booth I'll be painting this in sections. You can see above the engine compartment is done. When the time is right I'll do the jams, and windshield and rear window areas. After the front and rear glass is in then I'll do the rest of the body. Not ideal but it has worked very well for me in the past so I'll stick with what works for me.

If you're not familiar with Mopars you might wonder why I painted the engine compartment white. Mopars unlike Fords and Chevys had the engine compartment body color. If you ever see one where the engine compartment is different then the body color then it's WRONG!

As you can see this "cheap" paint covered very well. This is two coats. A light coat followed by a wet coat. The epoxy primer was prepared by sanding with 100 grit and again with 220 followed by 400.

The gloss is very acceptable and a bit better than factory in my opinion.

Here are the front wheels. These are stock 15 x 5 1/2 wheels that the original owner had on the rear.

The rears are 15 x 8 reproductions. Both front and rear wheels had one light coat and two medium wet coats. Overall I'm very pleased with Eastwood's paint. It's an excellent product if you're on a budget.

That's it for this month. Although it doesn't look like a lot was accomplished, there was a lot of labor involved in the paint prep process. Believe it or not I did paint the engine compartment now for a reason. In order to get this back to a roller I need to install the engine, trans, and front crossmember. The front suspension mounts to this assembly so that's my next project.... and just for fun I'll be installing this assembly just as the factory did it... from the bottom.

That's it for this month....check back often for more updates...

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