Let’s face it the engine in your car is the most important part of the vehicle and you put the money into making it reliable and sometimes we even dress it up and make it faster! When you’re restoring or modifying a vehicle you may want to paint your engine to make it look as good as it functions. Before you get your kids finger paints or your wive’s nail polish you may want to read ahead to learn the proper way to prep and paint an engine with high temperature engine paint.
The most difficult part about painting an engine or any other component that has spent its life soaked in oil and grease is that it is extremely difficult to get it clean enough to paint. Paint and oil/grease don’t mix and you need to make sure that your engine is as clean as possible before painting. If you’re having the engine rebuilt it is best practice to have the engine tore down all the way and use an abrasive tool or media blast to remove all oil, dirt, and grease. If you’re media blasting we suggest plugging all critical areas to avoid media getting inside of hard-to-reach spots. If you just want to mechanically remove rust, old paint, and grease we like to use a Pneumatic Rotary Removal Tool to get the major rust off in large areas. You can then use a cylindrical wire brush in a drill to get in corners and crevices.
Once the major contaminants have been removed you can liberally wash the engine down with Chassis Kleen . This will remove the heavy dirt and grease left behind but doesn’t leave a surface suitable for paint. You should next wipe the entire engine down and look for any pockets of grease or grime you might have missed. It isn’t a bad idea at this point to scuff the entire engine surface with a Hand Scuff Pad to abrade the surface for adhesion. Once all the major grease and grime is off the engine you can take some PRE Paint Prep and clean the entire block again. PRE Paint Prep will leave the metal clean with no residue and is a suitable final step before paint.
The coating or paint you choose for the engine is very important as normal spray paint won’t hold up to the heat and conditions seen in an engine bay. A 1K engine paint also tends to be less durable and more critical of the cleanliness of the engine surface. It also may not be good for as high of temperatures as a 2K engine paint. Most Eastwood 2K High Temp Engine Primers and Paints are good for up to 650F degerees while many 1k products are 550F and below.
We suggest using a 2K High Temp Engine Primer first. The primer will hide minor imperfections and seals the surface for paint. We suggest applying 1-2 coats of primer for full coverage. After about 15-20 minutes of drying time (in 65F degrees and up temps) you can top coat the surface with your desired color. Follow the same steps with the color coats. We suggest 1-3 coats of color (waiting 15-20 minutes between coats) to fully coat the entire engine. Start with the hard-to reach spots first to get the color spotted in and then work around the important areas that will be extremely visible when the engine is together. Once the paint is laid on we suggest waiting over night before assembling or handling the engine to avoid damage to the paint.
Once the paint has cured it will be ultra durable as the 2K coating gives a super tough finish that can withstand high temps. We do not suggest applying our engine paints to headers or exhaust manifolds but you can use our High Temp Header Paint to coat those items. To see all of our High-Temp Engine Paints visit our site HERE.