How to Do An Under Hood Restoration on A Classic Truck

If you’re looking for specialty paints and coatings you can probably get them at Eastwood. We’re going to show you we restored the entire engine compartment on a 1979 Ford Pickup Truck.

We used Eastwood 2k Aero spray coatings a lot in this project so we’ll start of by discussing the technology first so you’ll understand how it works.

Although the 2K Aerospray products come in an aerosol can they’re actually a highly durable two component paint like you would spray out of a paint gun. Inside the can is a bladder that contains the activator and  when you press the button in the bottom of the can it breaks the seal and releases the activator into the paint.

You can see the bladder inside the can in this dissected can above. When you use the cap to depress the button in the bottom of the can it breaks the seal in the activator. In the photo above with the bladder removed from the can you can see how it breaks the seal to release the activator into the paint.

Once the bladder has been punctured simply shake the can for a couple minutes to mix the components together. You now have a coating that looks great and is much more durable than a standard 1K aerosol paint.

Above is a sample of a test we did to compare durability between a standard 1K aerosol coatings and the 2K AeroSpray. In this test we coated a panel with 1K aerosol paint and another with 2K Aerospray paint and wiped each down. As you can see the standard paint wiped off while the AeroSpray had the durability to resist chemicals. That durability is especially important when you’re spraying under-hood components.

We suggest cleaning all parts well with Pre Paint Prep nearly every step of the way to get them ready for coatings. If you are going over existing coatings make sure you clean the surface well and remove any peeling or chipping paint completely. Remember your paint job is only as good as your base and prep.

As you can see the truck shows wear and tear from years of abuse. Parts have been repainted, things are rusty and tired, and the wiring needs replaced. We’re even installing a new engine from ATK.

The first step was to remove the hood, fenders, radiator support and anything else that could be easily unbolted. The gantry crane made removing the engine safe and simple.

Ryan put the transmission and associated components he’s reusing on the teardown table to clean and inspect them. The teardown table is designed for this type of work with a weight capacity of 1,000 pounds and a drain pan built in catch the fluids.

He then  smoothed out some areas on the transmission before applying Contour Aluminum filled compound which is stronger than traditional fillers and works well in areas prone to moisture. Once the transmission and transfer case were cleaned with Pre Paint Prep Ryan coated them in self etching primer. The Self Etching primer will provide good durability and adhesion on the cast surface.

A top coat was applied to the transmission using Aluma-Blast paint to match the finish with the original aluminum appearance. The transfer case was coated with Spray Gray to give it a cast steel look.

Everything was then top coated with 2k AeroSpray Matte Clear. The clear coat will not only make the parts look great, but the two-component paint will provide additional durability.

Now it’s time to move on to the engine. Ryan started by quickly removing the factory coating with Down to Metal Paint Stripper. With the engine clean it was wiped down with Pre Paint Prep before applying 2K AeroSpray High-Temperature Engine Primer.This primer will provide the heat resistance we need as well as promote better adhesion for the top coat.

Ryan used 2K AeroSpray Ford Blue High Heat Paint to give the engine some color. This paint gives a great appearance as well as better heat resistance and durability over standard paints. This Ford Blue topcoat is heat resistant up to 650 degrees and looks great on the new engine.

Now it’s time to move on to the oil pan. We will be using the original pan so we put it in the blast cabinet to strip the old paint off. In a few minutes the part was completely clean and Fast Etch was then applied to promote adhesion and prevent rust from forming prior to top coating. Ryan decided to cover the oil pan with the Metal Blackening System to replicate the look and texture of black oxide. This coating is also a two-component system that’s resistant to chemicals like dot 3 brake fluid and even gasoline; plus it’s heat resistant up to 600 degrees. It’s also ideal for under hood bolts brackets and pulleys because it doesn’t chip as easily as paint which is a common issue when tightening bolts. Ryan used the metal blackening system on most of those components and they all look like new.

To enhance the appearance of the floor it was covered in Rubberized Rust Encapsulator. This coating is designed to provide the benefits of both Rust Encapsulator and Rubberized Undercoating. Unlike standard under coating that may bubble in these conditions; this coating is designed to be sprayed over bare metal or rust while protecting against road abrasions and deadening sound.

Ryan turned his attention to the chassis next. He used the Pneumatic Rotary removal tool make quick work of the rust. With all of the hidden areas it’s a nice tool because you can use either wire or abrasive wheels to remove the rust paint or even attach an eraser wheel if you need to do more delicate work like removing decals from body panels.

The clean frame was wiped down with pre paint prep and then covered with 2K AeroSpray Chassis Black Gloss Finish. The high gloss black gives a beautiful deep shiny black appearance. The fan-like spray pattern with the 2K Aerospray is similar to a spray gun which helps provide an even appearance with great coverage. Cheap 1k aerosol paints general have a “tennis-ball” spray pattern which makes it difficult to get a nice smooth finish.

The rotary removal tool was again used to clean the fire wall and wiped down with Pre Paint Prep. Ryan then wrapped the wiring harness with aluminum foil before painting. Aluminum foil works well here because you can wrap it around the wiring and it stays in place.

With everything taped off 2K AeroSpray Epoxy Primer was used to cover the firewall. Epoxy Primer can be sprayed over bare metal, body fillers, or existing finishes. Ryan chose the low gloss Under-Hood Black for the top coat on the fire wall. Again we used the 2K Aerospray version of this coating for the added durability under the hood.

The plastic heater box was restored with Plastic Resurfacer. This Eastwood product isn’t a paint or a temporary coating like you put on your tires. It’s a permanent repair that reflows the plastic and restores the appearance. It’s great for bumpers and fender flares that have faded from black to gray.

The original radiator support was in rough shape and we decided to clean it with our dustless blasting system and sealed with After Blast to keep it from rusting until we could put it in primer. The surface prep tool was used to remove any rust or paint we missed while blasting. Once it was clean we used 2K AeroSpray Epoxy Primer and low gloss Underhood Black just like we used for the firewall. Sadly the original inner fenders were in bad shape so a new set was sourced for the truck. Ryan started by scuffing the factory coating with a scuff pad to put some texture in the surface for the paint to adhere to. Low Gloss Underhood black was used to coat the inner fenders.

With everything looking great Ryan decided to paint the underside of the hood as well. He used a dual action sander for the large areas and a two inch orbital grinder for the tight spots. He sprayed internal frame coating into the boxed hood bracing. This coating allows you to stop rust and protect everywhere you can’t reach with standard rust paint. but want to protect. We taped a TIG rod onto the hose to give more control over the hose.

After the inside was coated, the hood was sprayed with Epoxy Primer and top coated with a low gloss Under-Hood Black to match the other Parts.

The master cylinder was painted with brake gray because it resists dot 3 brake fluid.

The wiring was in bad shape in some places so Ryan used the Crimp Right Weather Pack Connector Kit to make all the necessary repairs and put factory style connectors on the wiring. The wiring was then covered with the EZ loom sleeves which makes the wiring look nice and protects against abrasions and chemicals.

With the hood back on the truck the engine compartment looks awesome and is ready for another lifetime of use!


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