I hadn't really planned on painting the frame on Maych
. If you remember from the remarks I make on the Progress
home page, I'm not doing a frame-off, frame-up, off-frame (or whatever
you call it) restoration of Maych.
Al (the guy doing the paint and body work) decided it would be easier
to do the body work on Maych if we removed the
bed. When I saw how sad the frame looked after we had the bed
off, I decided it would be a good time to spruce it up a
Unfortunately, I put off making
this decision until after Al had the cab primered and preped for
painting, which meant the frame couldn't be sand blasted or even steam
washed without messing up his prep work. And, I didn't want to
use spray paint for fear of getting overspray on the cab. I
needed to find a method to paint the frame that required very little
prep work and didn't involve spraying paint.
I had noticed that a lot of the
people on the The 1967-1972 Chevrolet & GMC Pickups Message Board bragged
about a product called POR-15.
Several people had used it and were happy with the results. I
read up on the product at the POR-15 web site and it sounded like just what I was looking for.
According to their web site -- "POR-15
is designed to be coated right onto rusty surfaces, leaving a
beautiful, rock-hard finish that won't crack, chip or peel".
Also, it can be applied with a brush. In fact, they
recommend brushing it on, because it can be a health hazard if sprayed
without the proper protective equipment, which I don't
This stuff is not cheap (a quart
cost over $30.00), but a quart was enough to do the frame, so I guess
that's not too bad. I ordered a quart of semi-gloss black from
their web site and it was delivered in a few days. According to
the information on their web site, you need to wear rubber gloves when
applying the stuff, because, if allowed to dry on the skin, it has to
wear off. They also recommend placing a piece of cellophane over
the top of the can before replacing the lid after it's open.
Evidently, the stuff has some "super glue" properties, and
if there is paint in the lip of the can when you put the lid back on,
you'll never get it back off. For brushes, they recommend cheap
throw-aways, because they'll never really be the same again.
Lastly, they recommend wearing old clothes.
Having now used the stuff, I can
say I agree with all of their recommendations except the "old
clothes" one. Don't just wear old clothes, wear clothes you
never want to wear again! And buy several pairs of rubber
gloves You'll have to take them off when you go to tinkle and
you can't really put them back on without getting the paint all over
you. I guess you could leave them on when you go to the
bathroom, but I don't even want to think about the results. Note
- the more beer consumed, the more gloves you'll need to buy. If
your under 30 years old, about 1 pair for every 2 beers would be about
the right ratio. For those over 50 (like me), better go with at
least 1 pair for each beer.
The prep work for painting
consisted of degreasing and using a power washer (not steam) to knock
off the grease and dirt.
Degreasing was mainly confined to the differential and the backs of
the brake housings. I followed up by scraping off any loose rust
with a putty knife. POR-15
recommends using their Metal-Ready™ rust remover, but a
lot of the guys on the message board said they skipped this step and
it didn't seem to affect the quality of the application, so I decided
it wasn't necessary. The photo above shows what the frame looked
like right after the prep work was done.
Once the prep work is done, about
all there is to the rest of the job is to put on the rubber gloves,
crawl into some throw-away clothes and have at it with one of the
cheap paint brushes. The job would definitely go faster and
easier if the truck was up on a lift. Laying on your back under
the frame and painting upside down with this stuff is no picnic.
Did I mention, you should also wear a throw-away hat? If you
don't, you're going to need a haircut real bad. Probably a buzz
I had planned on putting on two
coats of POR-15,
but the directions say you have to wait 3-5 hours for the first coat
to dry before applying the next. And if you wait over 24
hours, you'll have to wet sand the cured paint to get the second coat
to properly adhere. After I got the first coat on, I was too
worn out to even think about coming back in 3 to 5 hours to apply a
second coat. Besides, one coat looked good. Brushing it on
provides good coverage and I don't think a second coat is really
needed. Maybe if it was sprayed. Getting one coat on the
about 5 hours. You could probably do it in less, but I wasn't on
the clock, so I took lots of breaks (each one involving a change of
gloves). I didn't get completely finished the first day
(Saturday), but what little was left, I could easily finish on
Sunday. Painting the tops and outsides of the frame took about
20% of the time. The bottoms and the insides took the other 80%.
On Sunday I finished painting the
areas I didn't get to on Saturday. I also, went back over the
frame and found several areas that I had missed the day before.
There's lots of surface area on a frame, so it's easy to miss an
area. The coil springs where especially tricky to paint.
You need a brush with about a 12" handle to get the insides of
the springs. I taped a paint stirrer to the handle of my paint
brush and managed to do a fairly decent job. At first I tried to
keep the paint off of the brake lines, but after a while (and a beer
or two) I decided it wasn't worth the trouble, so I just painted over
I'm sure the next time I have Maych
up on a lift I'll see a bunch of areas I missed, but it
looks considerably better than it did before and I'm pleased with the
way it turned out. I was kind of worried that the brush marks
would look bad, but there weren't any brush marks. Why, I don't
know. I guess the paint flows well enough that brush marks disappear.
Al wasn't around when I but the paint on the first day and when he saw
it the next day, the first thing he asked me was how I got all the
brush marks out. I wanted to tell him it was my skill as a
painter (after all, both my dad and granddad painted for a living),
but I finally admitted it must be the paint. We both agreed it
looked pretty darn good.
I only painted the part of the
frame that was exposed when we took the bed off. I didn't try to
paint any of the frame under the cab or under the hood. Someday
when I have more time and energy I may try to paint the frame under
the cab but I'm not sure I'll try it until I can get it up on a lift.
A couple of other things I decided
to do while Maych was in the body shop was replace the
exhaust system and install a new radiator. Having the bed off
would make installing a new exhaust a lot easier and with the grill
and bumper removed, installing a new radiator would be easier
also. I'll chronicle these two activities in the next couple of