View Full Version : Frame and suspension paint...advice/opinions wante

02-05-2007, 01:43 PM
so i'm far enough to start putting her back together from the ground up, and i was wondering what you all thoguht about paint for the chassis and suspension parts. at the moment, i have wire wheeled all the rust off the frame and coated it in rustoleum primer, to keep any quick rust at bay. what should i spray it with overall? a rustoleum enamel? some fancy ppg paint? a third idea i haven't thought of?

i'm looking to keep rust at zero, and to look good, but it is under the car and doesn't need to be perfect. the body will get some professional attention, in blue.

02-05-2007, 01:55 PM
Not sure what your budget is, but I had mine powder-coated for about $500. ($400 for the frame, another $100 for all of the individual suspension pieces.) Now that was 3 years aso, so prices might have gone up. That $500 included all prep costs, etc. Dropped off one ugly-looking frame, and got back a gorgeous, brand new-looking one. Anyway, that would be my $.02...

02-05-2007, 02:09 PM
A much less expensive option is to brush on some Rustoleum Hammerite paint. Really strong stuff and easy to touch up if need be.

02-05-2007, 02:50 PM

There are a number of ways to finish a frame, each with some good and bad points.

One alternative is POR15 (Google for info if interested, it's sold online).

It can be sprayed on, but is most often brushed on. The one catch is that it needs to be put directly onto bare metal, not over the primer you have used. (Most Rustoleum primers are pretty easily removed with acetone, though.)

POR15 is also nasty if you get it onto anywhere you don't want it: clothing, skin or a garage floor. It has to be removed immediately or just left to wear off, which can take a long, long time!

There are other similar paint coatings, from Eastwood (www.eastwoodco.com if I recall correctly) for example. This type of paint is extra durable, some of it approaching the durability of powder coating. It forms a really non-porous surface and cures even harder and toughter in the presence of any moisture.

Both POR15 and powder coating can be very difficult to remove, if any repair work is ever needed or you ever decide to change colors. They can also be difficult to touch up, if any damage occurs.

Some POR15 and powder coatings are not UV-proof. They will fade and discolor when exposed to UV-spectrum light (a surprising amount of which finds it's way up underneath the fenders on my motorcycle for example, which were coated on the inside with silver POR15 a few years ago... the paint is still fine and holds a good seal in spite of discoloration on the surface).

Powder coating requires heat in an oven to cure, so generally cannot be used over most kinds of plastic filler (i.e., Bondo), requires pretty complete disassembly and all meltable rubber, plastic, etc. parts be stripped off the item to be coated.

Another possiblity it epoxy paint. That's an alternative often used by pro restorers working on an old frame.

Powder coating needs to be well applied. Because an electrical or static charge is used in the process, it can "bounce" out of tight corners, for example, leaving a too-thin coating or exposed metal. Also, if the surface isn't well prepped, PC might lift and actually create a pocket that catches and traps water.

Racers avoid thicker coatings like POR15 or powder coat, specifically because it tends to hide any cracking at welds, etc., making it hard to spot problems. For that reason, I'd suggest a-arms and other suspension parts be painted with a thin coat of engine paint (black, if that's what you want, is available in various low to high gloss formulas, to closely match whatever else you do).

Racers also often paint frames a lighter color, to make future inspections easier and help reveal problems.

None of these coatings do anything for the hidden, inside areas of a frame... and most often Triumph frames (and others) rust from the inside out. So, injecting some sort of rust preventative (Waxoyl is one type) really is a good idea, too. That often means drilling some holes that are later plugged, so might best be done before painting.

02-05-2007, 03:12 PM
RustBullet (https://www.rustbullet.com/index.htm) is the stuff I'm gonna use for my frame. Its similar to POR-15 but also UV resistant and is a nice silver color. No topcoat needed and ROCK HARD...

02-05-2007, 03:19 PM
I'm going with the Eastwood process, from cleaner to the chassis black top coat.

Once the weather warms up that is. Warms up a LOT!!!

02-05-2007, 04:56 PM

All of the methods and treatments discussed so far are going to leave your frame in better shape than when it was shipped from the UK. Legend has it that due to "optimistic" surface treatments, many of these cars were rusting even before they were loaded onto transport ships.

My TR250 frame was acid-dipped, base-coated with POR-15, and top-coated with MAB industrial enamel. I Waxoyled inside the frame--this was relatively easy because I could twist, flip, or rotate the detached frame to get better coverage.


02-05-2007, 05:44 PM
I used POR15 frame topcoat in gloss black on my frame and couldn't be happier.

02-05-2007, 10:36 PM
ok, so i'm thinking black engine paint from duplicolor for everything but the frame, and eastwood or por15 for the frame itself. i was going to buy a fuel tank kit from por15 anyways.

how will the engine enamel wear on my suspension parts? no primer for engine paint, correct? any brand better than another?

oh, and i'd love to get it powdercoated, but i'm living off beans and rice till my next internship as it is. my rimmer order and machine shop bills are about to come in. april can only come so fast though...

oh, and an odd question, how do you clean and paint an engine without getting gunk inside? and how do you cure it, or do you just wait for the first startup?

02-06-2007, 12:14 AM
I used Hammerite about 3 years ago on my now stalled TR4 project. I sand blasted the frame, bead blasted the suspension pieces. Several coats of Hammerite, reassembled it and rolled it outside. So far its holding up with no visible rust.


02-06-2007, 11:48 AM
I've used POR-15 on many projects over the last 10 years or so.

It comes in gloss black, chassis black, silver, white and clear. It brushes on nicely, goes a long way and works great.

RustBullet is a fairly new product on the scene (at least for autos)...another good product is made by Bill Hirsch.

02-06-2007, 12:49 PM
one last question, how much do i need for a frame? does it keep well for future use? should i primer and topcoat it to protect from uv fade?

(i guess that was three questions, but it never hurts to ask)

02-06-2007, 02:54 PM
one last question, how much do i need for a frame? does it keep well for future use? should i primer and topcoat it to protect from uv fade?

(i guess that was three questions, but it never hurts to ask)

When I buy POR15 I buy the little six pack cans. In my experience, it does not keep well once opened. I only use a little bit at a time and pour it into a paper cup. Don't dip your brush into the can.

If you open a can and reseal it with a bit of paint in the rim/lip of the can you'll never get it open again. Stick a piece of plastic wrap on top first.

I dont think POR15 is UV stable, I think you need a topcoat. Probably not an issue for a chassis though.

02-06-2007, 04:48 PM
wire brush will not prep the surface well enough for a long term solution (10 yrs). industrial paints are usually best. i plan to use dupont imron white as top coat. prep will be blast,caustic bath,phosphated,primed,painted for a permanent job. epoxy can crack in cold weather (yup-i'm from canada), powder coat is thick,non repairable,can act like a rubber glove if cut (read -bad rust under coating), and as alan says, poor crack detection. others swear by other products. prep is the most important. i was told by a coating company that wire wheel cleaning can lead to hydrogen embrittlement (not good for a frame). media blast is the best method.

02-06-2007, 05:42 PM
If you use POR-15 as indicated, the coating thickness is not of issue. No primer is used and when out of the UV's, no top-coat either. The stuff applies extremely thin and covers exceptionally well and even has a sort of self-leveling action. I did my frame and all suspension components and couldn't be happier.

I also buy this stuff in the six pack of little cans. I use this stuff for all kinds of projects but I'm pretty sure it only took 3-4 of the little cans to do the entire frame and all associated suspension components (two thin coats).

I will also agree, this stuff is hard to remove. I have tried beed blasting pieces painted with it over the years and it's really hard to remove.