I wanted to place this in the general discussion instead of the restoration forum because we all touch-up or simply paint a part or two with spray paint.
You would think spray painting with a can should be fairly straight forward, right? Been doing it since I began building models 40 years ago. But lately, trying to paint my engines pulleys and brackets has got me pulling my hair out
. I even had to research this because I was having so much problem with simply getting a good finish...and one that shines.
Apparently, due to the good old EPA people, spray paint has been reformulated. I used to like Rustoleum, but not so much right now.
I like the Rustoleum primer, but now, it seems to stink. I tried the regular stuff and the rusty metal primer just to see if there were any difference in them. Nope.
The problem is that the paint doesn't seem to dry. It stays "soft" -which seems to be a BIG common complaint on many car forums. I let my primered parts dry for a day and even more on some. Then put a color coat of black on. If you spray it thin, it does not cover and it is rough in texture. So you put on a heavier coat and then watch the paint craze, and in some instances, lift. WTF? 2 days later, I pick it up and the paint is still soft and I can actually impress my finger print into it. Don't set any painted part paint side down thinking it "feels dry" because when you go to pick it up, the paint has stuck to whatever surface and off it rips.
OK, so I let it dry for a week, wet sand the crazed and lifted surface to smooth it out for another application of black. Nice even coat, not too heavy, then as I watch, the paint once again crazes - but more all over. Dag nabbit! Repeat, because now I have a nice layer of black on it, and think I'll try and seal this thing with a coat of clear instead of color and I even used a different brand - Krylon. Son of a bi.......the paint begins to craze AND some of the gloss shine gets absorbed into the paint and I now have a mix of gloss, satin looking spots, and crazed black!
So now I try a different approach, self etching primer on a billet aluminum pulley. Primer goes on great, even coat, let it dry for over a day. On goes the Rustoleum black, and the paint looks like it has small specs of dust, and a couple crinkled/dry spots. I've tried 3 different cans of the black.
At work, our painter shot a coat of black on a truck fender, and it came out like I am describing. So he thought he would build it up a bit and wet sand it down to smooth it out. Wrong. It made it worse and looked like my pulleys. The paint didn't seem to harden for him either. He had to sand it down which took some doing because the "soft" paint really clogged his sand paper up real quick.
The solution? He added a hardener (which costs more to add and my company hates to spend for such things that cut into profit margins) to the paint to get it to cure and flow out. The paint job came out perfect and no issues. The hardener made all the difference.
So I have come to the conclusion, as well as others on the assorted forums, that the present paints that have been castrated of their needed drying agents and gloss enhancers by the EPA are no longer the friend of the "car guy." Some mentioned that the epoxy paints (I see these for appliances) seem to still work. The complaint was not limited to just Rustoleum, other name brands seemed to be as problematic as well.
Should I have to "bake" all my parts to dry them as some suggested they do? Do I need to wait weeks between coats of paint? Do I drop them off at a powder coater and pay that price tag? Maybe I should just buy new reproduction pulleys and brackets which should already be painted and ready to go. I don't think I should have to buy automotive paint with hardener just to get some pulleys and brackets done up, but maybe that the only way any more. I think I'm getting the picture as to why so many use billet aluminum pulleys after all the grief I have encountered trying to "just paint 'em spray bomb black." (silver parts came out crappy too) Those NY graffiti artists must be pretty frustrated trying to get a good finish on their wall art.
Am I the only one to experience this phenomenon??