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Model "A" engine painting

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  • Model "A" engine painting

    I am new to the hobby and want to paint my engine. Any advice, both pro and con, would be greatly appreciated. Some questions: 1) best paint stripper; 2) best metal cleaner; 3) should the bare metal receive a primer coat first, if yes, which is best; 4) best paint for Ford engine green. Thanks! Gary D

  • #2
    Is the engine in the car? Disassembled?
    3~ Tudor's & 1~ Coupe
    Henry Ford said,
    "It's all nuts and bolts"
    "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

    Mitch's Auto Service ctr


  • #3
    Welcome Gary.


    • #4
      For starters, we usually avoid any primer on an engine, as it is not needed with proper prep, and will interfere with heat transfer.
      I would use aircraft type paint stripper as per the instructions, and then locate a local brand of phosphoric acid metal prep, such as Ospho which can be found in the ACE hardware chain. There are others. This product line is usually tinted a green color. Then I would use the brush-on type enamel available from the major suppliers such as Brattons, Snyder, Bert's, ect.

      Please note that whatever instructions you find about the phosphoric acid prep either on the bottle or from friends about washing it off should be ignored, you have just washed off your protection. The cast or any steel it is applied to will end up a dull battleship gray color, which is exactly what you want.

      There are also some that say it cannot be used on cast iron, but this is not true, either. We have prepped many cast iron parts and engine blocks, heads, etc with these products for close to 40 years. It is the single most effective prep you can give a ferrous metal for painting.


      • George Miller
        George Miller commented
        Editing a comment
        Good to know, I have never tried that. I will now thanks.

      • tbirdtbird
        tbirdtbird commented
        Editing a comment
        George, chemically, it is known as 'passivating', and you end up with a very chemically stable coating of iron phosphate. We have parts, cast and otherwise, we treated like this many years ago sitting in a corner of the shop and there is not a spec of rust. If you leave them outside, well forget about it LOL
        Last edited by tbirdtbird; 02-15-2018, 11:06 PM.

    • #5
      FWIW: Just One (1) Opinion:

      How often does one prefer to spend lots of time preparing surfaces for painting?

      If one looks at Forum or magazine photos of Model A engines after having been painted for a few years, one sees rust first occurs immediately above and below the head gaskets. Also, local humidity in different geographical locations is important for selecting coating(s).

      With POR Marine Clean, cleaning; POR metal treatment; POR coating(s); and POR engine green, after (12) years on one of my engines, no rust ..... after (20) years on the other Model A engine , no rust.

      Entire Model A undercarriage, under fenders, etc. ..... with POR preparation and coating(s), no rust after (20) years.

      About 95% of one's valuable time spent on painting, is preparation ..... with only about 5% of time spent on the application of "any" coating.

      Coating(s) determine numbers of times future coating(s) will be removed with repeat time consuming preparations.

      I'm still working, and I always prefer to spend as little time as possible preparing a Model A surface for painting ..... one treatment with POR coatings worked great for me.
      Last edited by H. L. Chauvin; 02-17-2018, 02:43 PM.


      • #6
        Thanks all! I am going to strip and paint the engine while in the car. Before stripping I will remove all accessories first...carburetor, alternator, starter hoses etc.


        • Mitch
          Mitch commented
          Editing a comment
          Watch using a rattle can. The overspray will get all over the car.

      • #7
        I am fortunate to have access to an industrial pressure washer and cleaning solution. Gary D...what condition is your engine in? has it had periodic maintenance?


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