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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Engine Cover complete, finally!

Okay, for about a week now, if you have been following along, I have been working on painting my engine cover. Well, after fitting in time between errands and work, I have finally finished the engine cover! Ta-da!
Although it may look cool in the picture, at least to me it is, but there were some problems. I won't even pretend to know what I'm talking about, since this is my first paint job experience, but I took the pictures for a DIY, so use my instructions at your own discretion. For this project, you will need the following: Adhesion promoter and/or primer, color paint(s), clear coat, masking tape, news paper, 600 and 2000 grit sand paper.
Remove your engine cover, and clean it well. Most people use wax and grease remover or rubbing alcohol after a good soapy wash. I didn't do it lol. I just used dish detergent and washed that bad boy.
Use masking tape and start masking off the areas you don't want painted. I started with the logo. If necessary, just use an X-acto knife to make precision cuts.
With the masking complete, set up your paint booth. Make sure you are spraying in a well ventilated area; outside is preferable.
I went with the primer, because I couldn't find any adhesion promoter. Give it a couple coats, 2-3 light coats is ideal. Wait around 3-5 minutes between each coat. Depending on your primer color, it should look something like this. If you want your final result to look glossy, take your 600 grit sand paper and sand down the orange peeling on the cover, AFTER the primer has dried for at least 30 minutes, then apply more primer. Rinse and repeat until satisfied.
After your primer is set to dry, 30 minutes minimum, you may want to clean your cover again. Same thing with the primer, apply light coats, giving 5-10 minutes in between to tack. If you go too heavy with your sprays, you will get running and an uneven look to the paint. You can search online for painting techniques.
After your paint has dried, you can move on to the clear coat. This is my first pass with the clear coat. I did a total of 3 passes. The game is the same, apply 2-3 light coats on top, and wait 5-10 minutes in between before you move on. After the clear coat has dried completely, get your 2000 grit sand paper and some soapy water, and sand down the clear coat lightly. Then dry it off with a towel, you will definately see some orange peeling. Basically, we are trying to get the surface as glossy as possible. To do that, you have to get rid of the orange peeling, which is caused by the high spots in the paint. DO NOT SAND DOWN TO THE PAINT! MAKE SURE YOU STAY WITHIN THE CLEAR COAT!
If you have any doubts about how far you should sand, then I'd suggest you take it slow and don't sand too much. If you sand into the paint, you'll have to sand down all the clear coat and re-paint the color.
I know the images are in different lights and angles, but I promise you, there is no trick photography going on here. This is genuinely how it looks! However, this is after the third clear coat spray, so by this stage of the image, I have sanded down the clear coat twice. I would have sanded down more, but I ran out of clear coat, lol.
After you let the clear coat dry, I would suggest leaving it overnight, you can slowly remove the masking. Be careful when you take off the masking, the paint and clear coat may bond with the mask, and if you rip off the mask too fast, you may strip some of the paint with it. I did it by mistake, but it's easily avoidable, just take an X-acto knife and use it to guide with the unmasking process.
Continue unmasking, take your time, you are almost there.
Not too shabby!
I love red on black! This is just the start for my engine bay. Hopefully I'll have more budget soon for more fun!

The images hide most of the flaws I have made. On my first unmasking, I lifted a bit of paint off the primer, so there is a bit of gray on some of the edges... looks ugly. I will touch those up later.

So if you feel artistic or bored, I would rate this as a fun DIY. You spend about $40 for this DIY, rather than spending $150 on a OEM painted engine cover, so it's worth it. Just remember, take as much time as you need to make it look as good as possible.


  1. what kind of paint did you use?

  2. I used Duplicolor Paints. I chose GM's Victory Red paint. If you plan on doing this, make sure to pick up some clear coat and primer. I used Duplicolor for both of those as well.

  3. did you use high temperature paint? Or does that not matter?

  4. No need for high temp paint. Usually if the surface becomes too hot for skin, the paint will be too. But rule of thumb is, if it's plastic in the engine bay, it won't be too hot for regular paint (Otherwise, plastic melts)


Please feel free to leave questions or comments!