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Bulletproof Flat Black Paint Job

Looking at the boards, it sounds like a lot of people are interested in a flat black paint job.

I've been thinking about doing a flat black paint job, especially since I had to replace a lot of the front end post-Bambi. This is a happy California truck, no rusty spots on the body or anything. We're pretty happy with how it turned out and hope that we can help those who were interested in trying this out for themselves!

Cost: $100-$125
The hardener and thinner we used cost about $50 of that, but the cost includes prep materials, paint and other misc non-tool things.

What we used:
Prep:

Screwdriver
Metric Socket Set
Torx Set (for the roof rack)
Heatgun or Propane Torch
2 Rolls of Tape
1 Roll of Paper
Body Filler
220 and 360 Grit Sandpaper (about 8 and 4 sheets, resp.)
Choice of Sanding Equipment (Orbital Not Recommended)
Denatured Alcohol
Clean Rags
Dust Masks
Duplicolor Sandable Primer (Flat Black)

Paint:
3 quarts Rustoleum Flat Black
10 oz Acrylic Enamel Hardener (We used Matrix MH-80 from a local auto paint supplier)
1.5-2 pints of Thinner (We used ProSpray Medium Thinner)

Misc:
Respirator
Siphon Feed $20 Sprayer from Harbor Freight
Air Compressor
Metal Gallon Paint Can w/ Lid
Paint Mixer of your Choice
Tack Cloths

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You've heard it before, prep makes the paint job. After a good wash we spent day one breaking down, sanding with 220 and filling little knicks on the truck. Pull the front bumper, grille, headlight, wipers (front and rear) and taillight assembly. It's pretty easy, a phillips screwdriver will get you a long way. Pull the rack (and rails if you want, I just opted to tape them up). I was already missing the rear Ford emblem, so I pulled the XLT emblem to see how it looked.

One of the most hair-pulling tasks I dove into was pulling the pinstripe off the truck. Get a propane torch or heat gun and save yourself the anxiety! By the time I was on the last fender the tape was coming off in one strip. I have to add that there wasn't clear coat, from what I can tell, on the pinstripe.
IMG_2851.jpg

Heat guns make a huge difference!


I started on the hood with 220 grit and worked down the truck from there. 320 gummed up pretty quick, especially since I was fighting a fair amount of gunk and sap on the roof, Goo Gone works wonders! It is an oily substance though, so be sure to used denatured alcohol to clean it up. I did a couple passes with the 320 grit because the 220 left some real harsh scratch marks that I didn't want to chance showing through the final paint job. You could leave the 320 out I guess. Quick tip on the pillars and other tight spots, taping first really helps prevent scratching up windows, rubber, etc.
We also primed over the sanded body filler.
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Post Body Filler and Sanding

Taping is pretty straight forward, just remember that long pieces come off easier than little ones. Carefully cutting tape with an exacto knife can be a handy trick, just have extra sandpaper handy. Be sure not to cut into the rubber!
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Front end is ready to go!

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I'll just note here that I saw now advantage to taping off the mini-rails, but did protect the tracks on the main roof rails.


Once the truck is ready to go get blow off the truck with compressed air. Grab the rags and a few buds and wipe down all of the truck with denatured alcohol. You're pulling up everything the compressor missed now. Don't touch spots with your bare hands that you've wiped down to minimize oiling up the surface.
IMG_2883.jpg

Deglossed, degreased and ready for paint.

Did we forget to prime?!
Nah, rustoleum doesn't require it. The only placed we primed were the bondo'd spots and some bare metal spots we didn't want to risk missing. The whole front end had been sanded and primed before (and again for) this paint job. We didn't start priming and then say "eff it" a third of the way though.

Ready to paint?
Mix up the paint products above to get a consistency close to milk. Mix in the gallon bucket so you can preserve what you don't use. Set the compressor to 50-60 PSI, actually, check your spray gun manual and follow that. I should note at this point that a 4 ga compressor will do the job, but you'll spend more time waiting for the pressure to pick up than you will painting. A 33ga compressor works wonders.

Get that respirator on and have some fun! Let the first coat dry for a full hour. Now, since we've been lacking that beloved paint booth and with it being Spring and all, those tack cloths are going to come in handy between coats. Wipe down any and all particles and dust that collects between coats.

We did three coats and ended up with a flat and slightly rough finish. The hardener takes the spot of a clear coat and, well, hardens up the finish to avoid the dusty residue that is the ultimate demise of an untreated flat paint job. Compared to just having the duplicolor flat rattlecans, this stuff isn't going to fade or discolor in the weather. Well, eventually.. but it'll be a long eventually. It'll bead water like a good wax! That hardener's good stuff. Anyways, check it out!

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Tada! Nap time.

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The emblem's adhesive is currently drying, don't mind the tape.

Looking back we finished up with a little under a quart of paint. If you wanted to only use 2quarts you could, but I like having the extra around. We did end up with a couple spots around the windows and what have you that got overtaped. The plan is to go over them with a fine paintbrush and fill in the extra spots. We neglected to (read: were not motivated to) paint the inner door jambs and other crannies in the same sitting. If and when we do, I'll certainly post up for you guys.

So grab a broken lawn chair and a cool brew, sit and admire your not-so-shiny-but-so-so-shiny new baby!

Note:
The last photo shows the shoddy shape the pillars are in. The plan is to hit them up, along with other misc parts, with some Krylon later in the week.
And don't mind the tire blowout damage too, anyone know where to find one of those little baddies?

Did I miss anything? Want more photos? Feedback is appreeshed!
 
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College Student

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I wish i knew how to paint, knowing me it would just end inn orge peel runs and bubbles, nice work
 
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Shooey_

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Thanks, if this orange peels I think I'd faint. Painting gets easier with practice. Find a junker or something on the property that's paintable and just go for it. :)
 
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mehedgec

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Thanks, if this orange peels I think I'd faint. Painting gets easier with practice. Find a junker or something on the property that's paintable and just go for it. :)
I just finished up my prep work on my 1st gen. I'll be doing the exact same thing to it in sometime in the next few weeks.
 
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mehedgec

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I just finished up my prep work on my 1st gen. I'll be doing the exact same thing to it in sometime in the next few weeks.
 
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College Student

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I had heard that practice is key, so maybe someday ill be able to paint well, do you do pin-striping or airbrush
 
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Shooey_

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I just finished up my prep work on my 1st gen. I'll be doing the exact same thing to it in sometime in the next few weeks.
Yeah man I ran into your thread a while ago, good stuff. How long did you take prepping? Indoor/outdoor? Gonna clear coat?

I had heard that practice is key, so maybe someday ill be able to paint well, do you do pin-striping or airbrush
Rattle cans! ;) We're talking about previous paint experience right? A lot of rattle cans. It would make sense than an airbrush would be a much more similar experience with the whole air and paint... thing. Just getting that fluid motion down without ending up with heavy wet spots on both sides is key. We are going to pin stripe the truck with a lime green 1/4" double stripe vinyl. It's gonna look sharp.
 
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College Student

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We are going to pin stripe the truck with a lime green 1/4" double stripe vinyl. It's gonna look sharp.

Can't wait to see it
 
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Joe Dirt

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That looks good!!
 
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lynchy wa

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X2 great work!!!
 
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mehedgec

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Yeah man I ran into your thread a while ago, good stuff. How long did you take prepping? Indoor/outdoor? Gonna clear coat?
Took me a long time prepping. Did everything by hand, no power tools. All the sanding, body work (I had a good bit to do) and I did a coat of sandable primer (rattle cans) all over just so I could see how my body work turned out. Now its just waiting for me and a buddy to get a chance to paint it. We'll be doin that in a paint booth.

It has taken me awhile, just a few hours here and there over the past month or so.
 
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Shooey_

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looks good man, im going to black hammertone my ECORS XJ next week. what mixture did you use with your thinner?

pretty shepherd btw!

I used 1/2 qt. of the thinner to 3 qts. of Rustoleum Flat Black enamel, and 10 oz. of the hardener. The viscosity was more like heavy cream instead of milk. Which gave the finish it's light texture. Three coats seemed to do the trick, although I may give the hood another coat in the near future.

Thanks, that's Casey. She's a sweetheart, squirrel killing, horse harassing, pig chasing, goofy shepherd. :)

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Took me a long time prepping. Did everything by hand, no power tools. All the sanding, body work (I had a good bit to do) and I did a coat of sandable primer (rattle cans) all over just so I could see how my body work turned out. Now its just waiting for me and a buddy to get a chance to paint it. We'll be doin that in a paint booth.

It has taken me awhile, just a few hours here and there over the past month or so.

I have serious respect for anyone who puts in the time to do it by hand. If half the time put into the exterior was focused on the interior, I might actually have myself a photoworthy rig.:D

Lynchy, Joe:
Thanks for the kind words!
 
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StryctNy9e

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Turned out nice man. I like how you did the full right up to help everyone. Alot of useful information and I will use it in the future when I decide to paint it myself. Good job bro!
 
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Shooey_

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That looks great, excellent work!

Turned out nice man. I like how you did the full right up to help everyone. Alot of useful information and I will use it in the future when I decide to paint it myself. Good job bro!

Thanks and thanks.
Stryct if you do go though with it, be sure to post up some pics!
 
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Edgefevah

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Why did you chose to use a siphon fee paint gun vs a HVLP gun?
 
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