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akrussell

Frame Paint

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I'm trying to decide on what paint to use for the frame on my '33 Franklin Olympic. I previously sandblasted, epoxy primed, and painted with PPG acrylic urethane black but I've noticed two things about this paint that I'm not sure I like. The first is that it tends to have a "plastic" look to it and not like the original paint. The other is that it seems to chip easily when installing nuts and bolts for example. I'm getting ready to paint other chassis pieces and before I proceed, I'd like to get some advice or experience from others.

Thanks in advance,

Dan

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Dear Dan,Chassis black does not have that urethane shine.IMHO any paint will wrinkle when you tighten fasteners before it dries.I know i can't wait to get those freshly painted parts bolted on that fresh chassis.SOMEONE will chime in with POR,i have no experience with that material.diz

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Powder coat it. Have it done in semi-gloss to eliminate the plastic shine look. It's inexpensive and bullet proof. Most powder coaters do the whole operation, sandblast it and then coat it.

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We've used POR 15 and still had decent results. The only thing wrong with it is that it will fade very quickly if exposed to the sun and ultraviolet rays. When my dad ran the Highway Dept. he used that stuff and painted the entire inside of a salt box on the salt trucks. The paint held up a couple of years and he was pouring salt into those boxes. Our Plymouth truck was done with POR-15 in 2000 and has still held up very well. The truck isn't driven a lot, but aside from some minor touch-up, so far, so good.

But we're still contemplating going with Powder Coat on our future projects for reasons of durability.

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Timing is everything! I am painting a frame right now for a 1916 Hupp. I used epoxy primer and on the advice of my friend who is a body man by trade I am using enamel with a hardener for the black chassis parts. he says it will hold up very well for a pampered car and good on a driver. He painted my Model A over ten years ago and the chassis has held up real well with thousands of miles of tours and open trailer rides.

The basecoat/clearcoat color coat (body) has faired pretty well except for the side panels of the hood. We have stripped and painted it twice more but it still seems to crack and peel around the lovers. Guess it is just too much flexing there but the epoxy primer stays put for some reason.

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I think you'll find that most frames in the '20s and '30s were more of a gloss finish than a semigloss. We're about to paint a '26 Kissel frame and the original finish was gloss. What many people mistake for "semi gloss" or "chassis black" (great marketing tool by the way) is in reality just gloss paint that was poorly applied at the factory. Think about it...would a manufacturer in the early days have specified a different finish for the frame than that used on the wheels and fenders? Very unlikely. For instance, Packard (and many others) had an option of chassis parts being painted colors other than black. The option is worded "standard black chassis parts painted other than black" with standard black chassis parts defined as including the fenders, splash aprons, etc. Fenders gloss, splash aprons gloss, frame gloss. Nowadays restorers like to use semigloss because it hides more flaws than gloss. Things change in the '50s of course.

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I never understood why folks would look at the faded paint on a frame and conclude that it was originally semigloss yet look at the faded paint on the body and conclude that it was obviously gloss. Take that old frame and polish the paint a bit before you conclude that it was "chassis black". Obviously there are exceptions, but I'll wager there have been more frames painted "chassis black" that were originally gloss than vice versa.

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Find out the right shade of black and then have it powder coated. Powder coating comes in just about any shade of black now. Never have to worry about stone chips similar to Por-15's durability.

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Thanks everyone for your advice. For the moment I think I'll probably stick with the acrylic urethane since I have so much time and money invested in the frame. For the next car, which is in the works, I'll most likely powder coat the frame and suspension parts.

Another question - were suspensions (front and rear) assembled and then painted as a unit or was each piece individually painted? I've paint the rear end, backing plates, etc and now looking to assemble. The fasteners either need to be painted or installed in their natural finish which of course leads to rust. I'm wondering if I should have assembled everything and painted as a unit but I don't see how the paint would reach every nook and cranny. Thoughts?

Thanks again,

Dan

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We've done it both ways and the results weren't much different either way. We painted our bolts. It isn't correct, but on the flip side, they are the original bolts and they are correct. If we sandblasted/beadblasted the bolts, of you don't put something back on them, they'd be as bad or worse that what they originally were.

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Typically while the vehicle was going down the assembly line and parts were being bolted on the bolts were in their natural finish, as they came out of huge bins. On some vehicles there may have been parts bolted together then painted like radiator shroud pieces, etc. Research is the key especially from a club specific to your car.

As far as the old bolts rusting and you are not using new I send out the original hardware for a new cad finish by re-plating as it is not that expensive. Then if you need to use a wrench on a bolt you don't have to worry with chewing paint or clear coat off the hardware.

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