Exocet Part 8 – Painting the Chassis

Posted: February 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

Chassis Paint: As we are getting above freezing this weekend I’m going full out to get the chassis painted. I ordered it without the powder coating for a particular reason. For pretty much all owners the powder coating is perfectly fine. It is a very tough coating, it looks great and makes your life a whole lot easier (doing a quality paint job is not easy – especially at home without the right tools and a cold garage). It’s one drawback that won’t work in my case is that it is very flexible and difficult to remove. As I have specific plans for wheel 2 wheel racing I am going the route of using normal spray paint that is not flexible and will crack if stressed (but can be removed, area fixed if needed and repainted easily at the track). With a racecar you want to be able to see damage and remove paint easily.

Inspect the Chassis: Go over the chassis and look in detail at all welds and components. You’ll want to do this now as if you need to do any work you can do it easily. I spent over a hour inspecting the chassis and am very happy with the quality of the welds with good 360 degree penetration. To say this chassis is safe is an understatement as it is overbuilt for safety and stiffness. Also noticed the mounts for the anti sub belt for a 5 or 6 point harnesses built right in (mounts are there for all other connections).

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Lap belt mounts

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Anti Sub Belt

Materials and Paint Area: I had plans on painting it in my trailer however the temperatures just are simply too erratic with possible highs of 50’s but lows in the 20’s (even lower some days). I wound up setting up my garage (as it is easier to control the environment) to paint and pulled all the cars out while I do this – the paint dust will get on everything. I put the chassis up on 2 saw horses and it holds just fine. It only took myself and another neighbor to be able to lift it safely but we had a third to help move the pallet out of from under neath it and get it settled on the saw horses. Test to make sure it’s stable by shaking it a little – do it now before you are alone and find you need to reposition it. Next up is the materials I need. My goal here was to do a good job but at minimal cost so I’m hoping the total cost of the paint I need will be around $150 total. This doesn’t include the cost of the respirator but I had one already.

  • Drop clothes (used some old shower curtains and a painters canvas I kept)
  • Acetone for wiping down the metal and clean rags and keep on folding over so the side you wipe with is clean.
  • Latex gloves to keep my grubby and oily hands from coming into contact with the metal (your skin has oil that will affect the ability for the paint to stick).
  • Respirator as I don’t want to breathe in all the fumes and dust.
  • Heater to keep temperature up in the garage.
  • Primer – Rustoleum Bare Metal Paint is a good primer for new metal as it has an etching compound to make it stick better to brand new metal, is sandable, has rust prevention compound in it and needs only one coat to make a good base for paint. The one drawback of any primer is it is very absorptive so you can’t use it as a final coat as it will absorb any oils or other contaminants.
  • Enamel Paint – I wanted the frame black as the body panels I’m getting are red. So I went with a Gloss Black enamel paint. It is a tough enamel but will crack when damaged – but will be easy to fix on the spot. Initial goal was to paint with POR15 but after doing a lot of research it has trouble bonding to new metal and is more flexible than I would like (which can make removal harder).
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After wipe down with Acetone.

Wing Supports: I started with the wing supports and steering column and creatively made a hanging rack.

Prepping the Chassis: I started prepping the wing and steering column supports ahead of time making a paint hanger rack out of a pickup bed cargo bar and a bunch of wire hangers. Wipe down everything with acetone (make sure you have a good respirator as it is really bad stuff to breathe – you can get these at local box store for $40 – it’s worth it). Acetone immediately dries so when done you can start the primer step. Scrub hard as you’ll be amazed at what comes off. The chassis was very dirty from shipment and a surprising amount gets in the plastic wrapping.

Painting the Chassis: This will take the longest time. There is quite a bit to paint and a spray can really doesn’t do all that great of a job directing the paint to where it needs to go and it can drip as well. That can be fixed after the primer is set with a razor blade to slice them down. Also with the temperature I’m running into issues with this no matter how much and the paint wants to run and takes a lot longer to dry (which is a critical step). It may take 24-48 hours before it’s completely dry so I’m working as much as I can to get the primer stage done. In the end I won’t ever do this again in my garage – I’ll gladly bring it to a paint shop to prep / paint / dry it in 24 hours versus the 1 week it is taking me.

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Start of primer stage. Watch out for dust so you have to rewipe the area you paint.

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Primed the rollcage.

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Side shot of main cage. Lot’s of dust on the ground already.

Finishing up Fuel System: Got the last of the parts I needed for the fuel system and found out that the instructions that came with the Big Fuel kit were old. The inline filter actually will plug into the FPR – the old instructions noted a 12″ ss hose was also used. No worries as I am set now.

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Comments
  1. Jeff says:

    Having done a few home paint jobs, a few rolls of plastic drop clothes hung from the ceiling with the seams closed with duct tape make for a great make-shift paint booth and keep the rest of your garage/stuff relatively paint free. You can also put your space heater inside that area to heat a smaller area and keep temps up, but the space heater will end up painted in the process, so use one that will permanently be on garage duty. An no open flame heaters obviously, the radiator style work best in my experience.

    • Thanks for the input Jeff. I thought about hanging plastic but my ceilings are 12′ tall in the garage. Instead I’ll wind up powering up the leaf blower to dust out the garage. I also have a small electric heater with the radiator style which I’ve had running to keep the temps up. Normally I use the door to the house to help out as well but can’t with the fumes.

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