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Air has gotten too expensive, help I can't afford it


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I need several cans (6-8) of Buick Green (1953-60) engine paint and was about to call the only source I know of who carries it in spray cans to order it. I was looking at an old catalog where the prices were $9.50 for a 12 oz spray can. Thought I better look on line for a more recent price and almost fell out of my chair when I saw it. The $9.50 cans now cost between $14-16.00. The quart cans meanwhile have only gone up from 22.50 to $23.25 ie $.75 each therefore telling me that someone is making a killing off of AIR.

My question is does anyone know where air might be a bit cheaper.

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You can find the Preval "make a spray can" stuff at a paint store or even NAPA. Pour your paint into the glass container, screw on the "charger" spray section, and spray away.

OR . . . you could pour the "slightly more expensive" quart of paint into a garden weed sprayer, pump it up with "free air", adjust the nozzle, and spray away.



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I'm pretty certain the propellant in the spray can is not plain air. But even if it is, you have governmental interference besides. Here in Schenectady there was something implemented to increase the price of spray paint to deter graffiti artists. The auto paint store was selling spray cans of paint for $16.00 per can but go over the line into my own town and you could still get the same cans for $7-9.00. Naturally it has not stopped the graffiti.

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You may be onto something there Willis. Just checked the prices of the units and the cheapest and easiest to obtain is Home Depot on line at $4.97 for the sprayer with 9 oz bottle then $3.97 for just the sprayer with free shipping to store or bulk to home. And while I'm at it I may take a part with the original Buick Engine Green paint on it to Sherwin Williams for matching and have a a pint made up for testing, then a gallon if it comes out right. I have never felt that the Bill Hirsh/CARS BEG paint is an exact match to the original paint. Too much blue and not enough green. I don't think Sherwin Williams gallon cost could be more than the $90 CARS cost for 4 qts? I may be wrong though. Anybody have an idea of that? And is there a better type of paint than the "engine enamel" from CARS.

My immediate needs for this paint isn't actually for engines but rather some tool cabinets and other cabinets for my garage. I will probably pull out the HVLP and shoot the larger lab base cabinets but for small drawers and small things like file cabinets I think this Preval system might work.

Here are the lab cabinets I will probably use a TP Tools HVLP on, or maybe not if this system works.


Here is an old Mac that I did several years ago.


Here are some reviews of the Preval systems. Would love to hear more from anyone here that has used it.

I have used these PreVal sprayers frequently over the years and they have some unique advantages when spraying paint on vehicles. First, buying automotive paint in small quantities and using the sprayer for touch up (great for plastic bumpers) is less expensive than having the supplier custom-mix spray cans for you. Second, when spraying paints that can ruin a paint sprayer (such as those used for rust coverage on underbodies) these sprayers are a great solution. I used 6 of them to completely spray the underside of a classic car and the results were excellent. Highly recommended!

Tried these sprayers because I do a lot of restoration work and often deal with custom color paint.

It is usually applied with a HVLP gun for most parts.

However in the course of assembly occasionally individual parts need to be painted and can't wait for the next large batch to be sprayed.

I can thin a a small quantity of the enamel and fill the jar at the beginning of the project. Seal the air vent with a piece of plastic tape and put the sprayer on the shelf.

When I need it I just use it like a regular spray can.

Down side - the nozzle has a very course spray pattern. Thinned with proper retarder, the paint flows to an even gloss. Paint that dries fast can have an "orange peel" finish.

Moderators note (that would be me ;-) : There is no intent of critical or disparaging remarks toward the aforementioned vendors of the subject products, merely using them as convenient examples.

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Many, many years back, when in high school I made hamburger money by doing pinstriping, and flame painting on cars. I had no air compressor and used the old fly sprayer to paint flames. On a big job the sprayer would last for that job and I had to purchase a new one for the next paint job. I don't know if you can buy a fly sprayer anymore.

post-30596-143143018743_thumb.jpg Picture is for those young people that have never seen one.

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Getting back to the original question......Mr. Earl I have done some research and

it appears that air is priced based on quality and lack of impurities. Aerosol spray can air

made in the USA comes from

Montana.....it is one of their biggest exports. As far as cheap air, the cheapest currently available

comes from Beijing, China, where everyone has to wear scuba gear to breathe. You might try to see

if anybody in Beijing sells aerosol spray paint. Since Buicks are very popular in China , Buick engine paint may be available. Keep in mind that the Chinese air may cause impurities to show up in your finished paint job.

Edited by Seafoam65 (see edit history)
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Y'all, don't forget about the "air squares" used for packing material, rather than the beloved Styrofoam "peanuts". I would never have suspected that "packaging air" would become so popular. Can't cost much to do.

Remember that the "engine enamel" is just basic enamel, not the later and more durable acrylic enamel. I recall a BCA judging issue over the correctness of the engine paint purchased from a "known vendor" not being accurate, when put up against an unrestored, original, low mileage Buick of the same general model year. It WAS different and the vendor took responsibility and was going to "fix it".

Perhaps the attachment (also available at Home Depot, usually) that clips onto the top of the normal spray can so you can use a trigger rather than flatten your index finger holding the sprayer head down, will also work with the Preval system?

Keep us posted on your progress, Mr. Earl.


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Yeah, air's expensive, but just try to live without it!

Japan had oxygen vending machines at one time, maybe they still do?

When's the last time you saw free air for your tires at a gas station? If any have air for filling your tires, it's mostly supplied by vending machines.

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If you're just wanting to paint your tool cabinets and you can live with 'close,' get some Detroit Diesel Alpine Green from your local jobber. It's about $7.00 / can. It's embedded with "ceramics." Whoopee!


Yea you're right Ed, as it will not actually be used on an engine which might someday be pulled up next to someone with a umph, umph "correct" Buick Green engine, I am not that really concerned with it being dead on, and can actually go with what I think is closest to original.

While I like the amount of green in the sample can top below, I've seen an engine block painted with Detroit Diesel Alpine Green and the rocker covers, intake and plug covers painted with the Hirsh/CARS and the DDAG was much lighter than the Hirsh/CARS. I hate to use the four letter word here but there is a F**d engine paint that to me looks pretty close.

Here is the DDAG V Doesn't look as light here as it did on the engine I saw


The DupliColor Ford Green V


and found this nailhead on line painted with this VHT Engine Enamel Called Torque Teal - VHT SP150 Looks pretty close to Hirsh/CARS to me


and then there is VHT Ford Green Which looks more like the earlier Straight eight Green color to me


The real pisser here is that none of the local parts stores carry any of the above. :mad:

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Here's the page from Classic Buick's website showing their part number PT15 for 53 - 66 Buick engine green.


Here's a picture of one of their PT15 cans of paint with their label removed from the cap, but still on the can.


As you can see, Classic Buicks is relabeling Dupli-color DE 1617 Ford Green and selling it as their part number PT15 - Buick Green.


$6.99 at O'Reilly's instead of $9.00 and you don't have to pay S&H.


Edited by RivNut (see edit history)
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Nice cabinets! Is this for the "Sales and Service" garage?

That's too big of a job for spray cans. I'd get me some cans of Rustoleum (not spray); blue, green, and white, and do a little experimental mixing to create color palette to find the right shade. Keep count of how many drops of each for each color sample so you can reproduce the ratio in volume. Mix up your custom Rustoleum color, thin it with acetone to spraying viscosity, and spray away with a low priced HF gun.

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