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Powder coating a frame


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If you are trying to do a "stock restoration," which to me implies authentic, the be sure your powder can provide the correct level of gloss (or lack of) in the finish.  To me, looking under a nicely restored car and seeing a frame with a finish so glossy you see your face in it is disappointing.

Terry

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Powdercoat is the best choice for a frame and the varying levels of gloss can get you a very authentic look. I used 60% gloss black on my '41 Buick Century frame and it looked exactly right. Not too shiny. It flexes better than paint and as long as the surface is prepped properly (sandblast it) it will probably outlast us all.

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Our experience in our facility with powder coating was not good.  We found that if the coating was damaged (scratched or chipped) water would get underneath and corrosion would start. From there the corrosion snowballed very rapidly. The other thing is powder coating tends to be thicker than paint which reduces the size of holes and slots. So you want to make sure the holes are large enough to accomodate this.  We had much better luck with high quality primers and paint. 

We were a food processing facility. Admittedly this was a harsh environment where problems show up faster than normal. I've noticed the same results on accessory car parts like trailer hitches. 

If this is going to be just a show car it would probably work just fine.

Edited by Fossil (see edit history)
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I have had a lot of architectural metals powder coated by a reputable guy. For the most part things came out great, but after a few years in the weather some of the stuff is starting to rust through. SO, the idea that powder coat is the last coat of paint you will ever need doesnt seem right to me.  I would not have a problem doing a car frame as long as the gloss is correct. I do like the idea of regular paint that way if one needs to touch up it should be easier.

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Powder coating is applied electrostatically so it is normally is better coverage.  Make sure you put bolts in threaded holes or you get to tap the paint out of the threaded holes.  Go talk to your local powder coater make sure they have a big enough oven to handle your frame.  Lots of race car frames are powder coated because they are so hard to get good spray paint coverage.  They will also have examples of their work to look at, black happens almost every day at most shops.

 

Good Luck

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We've had multiple frames powdercoated. Mostly hotrods, but a few restorations snuck in. Never had a problem. There are dozens of color and gloss choices to choose from. Powder coat is typically more durable than a paint job too. Last frame we had done was for a tri 5 chevy and was around 1400.00, blasted clean and completely coated. Most shops charge per foot on frames.

 

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7 hours ago, TAKerry said:

SO, the idea that powder coat is the last coat of paint you will ever need doesnt seem right to me.

 

Powder Coat is just paint without solvent. Pigments and binders, no solvent, since it is electrostatically applied instead of needing a fluid liquid for brush or spray. Sort of a version of reflow enamel that vehicle manufacturers use, just no liquid solvent, requires heat to flow.

 

I tell people all the time powder coat is just paint.😉

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10 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

Powdercoat is the best choice for a frame and the varying levels of gloss can get you a very authentic look. I used 60% gloss black on my '41 Buick Century frame and it looked exactly right. Not too shiny. It flexes better than paint and as long as the surface is prepped properly (sandblast it) it will probably outlast us all.

 

Could you post some photos of a heavily rust pitted and sand blasted Brass Era frame with a powder coat finish, in any level of gloss? 

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Living in the frozen north with lots of road salt I wish the manufacturers would do something better than the thin watery paint they use on current truck and car frames and chassis. My 2 yr. old Dodge Charger had lots of rust and I didn't winter drive it. My current 08 F 150's frame is really bad due to being bare metal in a lot of areas due to sand and salt spray.

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13 hours ago, Studemax said:

Except powder coating is NOT paint.

 

Explain the difference.

 

They are both coatings for surfaces. Powder coating and "paint" both involve pigments and binders. Plating involves attaching another metal to the substrate. That is different than powder coat and paint.

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I did that job in 2011 and came in under the wire before globalization. The Imron spawned from my nephew on his preference. I didn't question it since he did the rearend work in his shop. DuPont is globalized now and changed (2013). I have a preference toward Valspar and PPG, which now have the same parent company in their globalization. House of Color appears to belong to the PPG family now and I may try that on an upcoming base coat/clear coat job. I will still use PPG single stage for other touch ups.

One thing to remember is that sound deadener is the other name for undercoat. Take it literally. In the early 1990's I laboriously stripped the old undercoat from my '64 Riviera and painted the bottom. It is noticeably noisier. When I did the '60 Electra I cleaned and resurfaced the undercoat on the frame and body parts to keep it quiet. That worked. Only suspension parts are painted and it is a very quiet car.

On this next refresh of the Riviera, after 25+ years, I will strategically undercoat the body this time. It is important to use a combination of the coating to get appearance and quietness.

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One problem I've had is the coating is thick enough to affect the fitting especially the body parts, it can easily be 1/16th and more thicker, the body sets down on top of the frame and fender or hood latch bracket bolts to the side and now everything is off by an 1/8th, you've already mocked everything up and had it fitted perfect, nice and tight and they're you'll be.

 

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17 hours ago, Buffalowed Bill said:

So what happens if it has to be removed later? I've always wondered how you touch it up or redo it if it gets damaged?

A local railing company owner, who did mostly powdercoated handrails for homes and commercial buildings, told told  me you can touch-up powder coat by mixing the granules with alcohol, brushing the mixture on the area to be repaired, and hitting it with a heat gun to flow it out and cure it. 

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14 hours ago, ojh said:

One problem I've had is the coating is thick enough to affect the fitting especially the body parts, it can easily be 1/16th and more thicker, the body sets down on top of the frame and fender or hood latch bracket bolts to the side and now everything is off by an 1/8th, you've already mocked everything up and had it fitted perfect, nice and tight and they're you'll be.

 

I think inexpensive cars of the early '30's  have enough lee way to not notice,lol

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The repair method sounds plausible, but not all powder coatings are the same chemistry and not all "cure" (crosslink).  So it's important to get the same type of coating chemistry as original for a good repair.  In conventional painting, the solvent/carrier has to be removed to leave a dense film behind.  In powder coating, the air in between the particles has to be removed, leaving a dense film behind.  In this repair method, both the solvent/carrier and the air have to be removed.  The alcohol gets it to stick without the substrate being charged.

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The owner of the powder coating business told me this:

 

Frames are a vehicles foundation. I do many 4 wheeler, race frames,and also  rims of all types.

After blast and phosphate wash, zinc rich primer goes on at lower temp and gel coats, apply final topcoat and all bakes together on frame.

8 years, no returns.

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On 11/23/2020 at 3:30 PM, sftamx1 said:

I'm especially interested in the ability of powder coating to reach in all the nooks and crannies.  This car will be kept dry in AZ.

 

Not totally true.  Where you have deep cracks like where the center of a steel wheel meets the outer rim, powder coating will not get all the way into the joint area.  To fix that bare metal area, you can use some clear RTV to seal that area or some other suitable sealer.

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