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To powder coat or not to powder coat


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I've got a 1913 Metz and I will at some point (hopefully) be painting the chassis parts and start putting it back together. I had heard that powder coating the wheel rims was a good idea. I found a guy pretty close to me that will do this work, including full prep. He also restores cars and based on some of his completed projects, he looks like he knows what he is doing. He suggested that I might get all the non-body parts powder coated. He has a massive media blasting booth that will easily hold my frame and ovens that big as well. His price (I forgot the details) seemed to run really close to what I had figured for my material costs not to mention my labor. I am currently thinking of having him powder coat the following:


Wheel rims

Leaf springs

Axles (and assorted running gear)

Sidelights, headlight barrel

Steering wheel shaft

Cylinder head and block

So... what are the negatives of powder coating and are they likely to affect me on these parts. What are the positives?

Thanks for your input!

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Obviously, the biggest negative is that powder coat is not a factory paint and thus not "correct" for a restoration. Only you can decide if that matters to you or not. Two other negatives are that powder coat is somewhat thicker than paint, so if total thickness of the part will affect fit, this might be a problem. Also, the parts must be baked at 400 deg F to fuse the powder. This limits the type of filler material you can use if you need it.

On the plus side, powder coat is about the most "bulletproof" paint-like finish you will find. You may not be able to find an exact match for some colors, but there are a selection of blacks in different gloss levels for chassis parts. Also, since powder coat does not use solvent, it is the most environmentally friendly paint-like finishing method available. Many OEM manufacturers are using powder coat on new production vehicles (even for the entire body!) for just this reason.

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Great answers, thanks!

I am concerned about the 'original' look of the car. The guy I found said he can make it look just like the old finish by going with less gloss. I am interested in duplicating the original look but I'm not as concerned that I use the original materials. I think I'll run a test piece and see if the finish looks appropriate. I'd love to have the durability the process offers.

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Allow me if you will to insert my experiences with powdercoating. I have had several pieces powdercoated for my 1940 Packard. It has been my experience to have different metal pieces result in different % of luster. A cast piece, for example a front spindle, would turn out different than a heavy metal piece, example transmission cross member, and again light sheet metal, example the backing plates behind the brake backing plates, or even the battery box supports. All were done at the same time and using the same powder.

This was also the work of a professional not the easy bake kind. All pieces were blasted, hi temp lab metal applied, baked to temp, sanded, and then powder applied.

It is of my opinion powdercoat would provide an excellent base coat and then apply a wet coat that will remain consistent for a finish application. This procedure will also allow parts that may get small chips in the paint to also be touched up and also match the restored finish.

I haven't given up yet getting the desired results, however it has become increasingly frustrating.

If any readers have had similar experiences please post updates and results.

Thank you

Fred d

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Guest billybird

I vote for powder coat. If done correctly; no drips, no runs, no errors. Also, trash in the finish is almost non existent. Be ready to run a tap into threaded holes as many times the powder will drift into these. There are silicone plugs to prevent this but I'd rather make sure of complete coverage and just run the taps if need be. Powder coat can also be wet sanded and buffed just like paint, but I've never seen the need for it.

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