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Quick/cheap DIY paint job on utility truck?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by gmiguy, Jul 12, 2020.

  1. gmiguy

    gmiguy You rode a what to where?

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    I've been looking for a utility pickup for a while, and recently found a deal on a low-mile 2WD 4 cylinder 2004 fleet model Ford Ranger.

    Mechanically it was in decent shape; just needed ball joints, endlinks, and a muffler.

    The interior was trashed, when I bought the truck I just about couldn't see the floor through all the cigarette butts and fast food wrappers. There were 12 pine tree air fresheners on the mirror! A through teardown and power wash took care of that, and now it looks (and more importantly smells) clean inside. I'm glad it had the rubber floor instead of carpet.

    Now that the running gear and the interior are under control, I'd like to do something about the exterior. It's currently 4-tone white; with areas starting to yellow, some clearcoat falling off, some mismatched spraypaint on the bumper, and heavy sun damage and chipping on the hood. No significant rust, and the body panels are basically straight.

    What's the best way to apply a decent-ish paint job for cheap? It doesn't have to look new, or even good, but I'd like the whole truck to be one color and look fresher from 50 feet away. I'd love to make it bright red instead of utility white.

    I know how to do a good amateur paint job, and am familiar with how to prep, mask, and remove trim.

    I also know how to do a horrible paint job, as we used to paint my dad's roofing trucks with house primer and a roller.

    I want something between those two extremes. Is it as simple as scuffing the existing paint, cleaning with thinner, and then hitting the whole truck with Rust-Oleum red out of a power painter?
    #1
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  2. lkraus

    lkraus Long timer

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    #2
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  3. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Sloppy 300 rider Supporter

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    I painted a couple of my vans with Rustolium paint and a roller. Just as I finished one of them, a pop up thunder storm came through and it started hailing, it left an interesting texture in the paint.

    The post office paints their vehicles with a roller and latex house paint.

    I would suggest leaving it white, you are going to have to pull the bad off to get inside the gap, the white paint will stand out. Also painting around the insides of the doors is going to be a pain.
    #3
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  4. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

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    Every time you open the doors or the hood, it’s going to be obvious your red truck was once white. If that doesn’t bother you, paint it red.

    A roller can indeed leave a perfectly good paint job. Use the right roller. Those are not the ones a typical house painter carries.
    #4
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  5. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    Ask yourself where you can paint it and not get lots of wind blown dust or a pop-up rain storm. If you have such a spot, then ask yourself if your willing to clean and then prep the old surface so the new paint adheres. If you willing then buy a HF spray gun, compressor suitable to run it and some bulk white auto paint in a gallon can & proper reducer. Decide how you'll sand & scuff the old surface and critical to know if repairs need made first?
    Places like TSC sell tractor enamels that will do or ask an AB paint mixer in your area for ideas on cheaper lines of paints. I've painted farm tractors outdoors but it's risky weather wise. Inside is best and wet the floor before spraying. Like any paint/finishing job, prep is the hard part and once ready the spraying is fast and easy. Protect your lungs!
    For me, I'd never!!! roll or brush a vehicle as spraying is much easier.
    #5
  6. 9mm

    9mm Been here awhile

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    #6
  7. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

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    what ever happened to Earl Scheib. I heard its best if you do the prep because he paints over bird shit
    #7
  8. Sugar Pig

    Sugar Pig almost certain...

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    [​IMG]REGAL RED - GREAT STUFF - KEEP A WET EDGE
    #8
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  9. gmiguy

    gmiguy You rode a what to where?

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    Earl Scheib wants too much money for this project.

    I found a closeout gallon can of red Ace Rust-Stop Oil Enamel for $15. That should be enough to do the whole truck, and then have some left over for when the first attempt inevitably falls off.
    #9
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  10. Johann

    Johann Commuterous Tankslapperous

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    Red is the last very last colour I would choose for a paint job if you want to make your life easy, especially on a white base. You will need enough base coats to avoid a pink looking finish. Rustoleum for the win, they do great all purpose anti rust primers. Paint conditioner makes a roller or brush job a lot easier and increases the working time for the paint, I always used Owatrol in the UK. As long as every coat is sanded back before the next one goes on you can get a surprisingly good finish with brush/rollers, it is just time/labour consuming.
    #10
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  11. jb882

    jb882 13HP of fury.

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    There is always the Maaco "special".....
    #11
  12. MattLikeyBikey

    MattLikeyBikey Been here awhile

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    Cheap and quick - it's expensive if you have to do it twice. It's also extremely time consuming.

    Prep is the number one thing for any paint job. And follow through with the clear coat to protect. The actual painting may take a small fraction of the overall time for the job. Clean, mask, sand, fill. A good rule of thum is to go over the surface of the vehicle with a rag and your finger tips - lightly. Any imperfections you can feel will be very visible when the job is done.

    I'd get a lot of painter's tape, the good name brand stuff at Home Depot rocks. Paint will chip and deteriorate more if not clear coated.
    #12
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  13. Beemeup

    Beemeup 1978 R100/7

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    Another option is a vinyl wrap. Less prep work, you can do it a panel at a time. Last a long time if done right. I figured it would take about $200 in materials to do my Hyundai SUV.
    #13
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  14. mike in idaho

    mike in idaho Been here awhile

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    Even a turd looks good if you put enough clear coat over it.
    #14
  15. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Sloppy 300 rider Supporter

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    You can’t polish a turd but you sure can shellac one.
    #15
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  16. gmiguy

    gmiguy You rode a what to where?

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    Status update: I painted the truck with a roller and brushes using Ace house-brand "Rust Stop" oil based enamel paint, color Regal Red. It turned out very good; much better than I expected.

    Details/notes:
    • Time spent masking and removing trim was worthwhile, and paid off in terms of both better results and faster paint application. I already had the weatherstripping and lights off for other cleaning/repairs but left the door handles and antenna mount etc in place.
    • I prepped for painting by scuffing the existing paint with an abrasive nylon brush and then wiping down with rubbing alcohol on a microfiber rag. I figured anything that was still there afterwards was probably stuck well enough to be painted over.
    • I wound up doing 3 coats. It was blotchy after the first one, with some white showing through. After the second it was all red, but not a consistent red. After the third it was all an even glossy shade. I may do a fourth because I have the time and paint, but I think I've hit diminishing returns already.
    • I used about half of a 1-gallon paint can and no thinner. That was for the whole exterior of the truck and door/hood jambs but not the bed interior that will be covered by a drop-in liner - debating whether I should put a few quick coats in there too.
    • A matching spray can of the same paint was great for door jambs/handles/brackets/etc. The resulting shade matches perfectly, but the texture/gloss isn't exactly right. It's a good middle ground between leaving the jambs white and actually taking the doors off to fully paint them.
    • I left the firewall and underhood sheet metal white, it wasn't worth cleaning it up and trying to paint around the engine.
    • The resulting finish has some texture to it and is not remotely factory-looking but it's much better than the mis-matched and heavily damaged original white paint. On the plus side, it almost completely covered the extensive deep paint damage on the hood.
    • Foam rollers and cheap disposable foam brushes worked perfectly, fiber rollers put paint down very quickly but tended to shed threads that were very visible once the paint dried.
    I got a few runs, a few foreign objects in the paint, and the occasional drop of red on a piece of trim or glass. It's still a huge improvement over what was there, and I won't hesitate to do a similar paint job on other beaters in the future. Total cost including tape brushes/rollers was less than $50.
    #16
  17. Texas Aggie

    Texas Aggie Been here awhile

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    Looking forward to seeing pictures!
    #17
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  18. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    :nod

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Rolled on. Works great, and if you don't care if it looks this good, put on 3/4 coats, sand with 400/600, add two more coats and sand with 400/800 and hit with a polisher.
    #18
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  19. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    We need photos, before and after.
    #19
  20. Beemeup

    Beemeup 1978 R100/7

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    Whatever you do don't pressure wash that puppy. It will be interesting to see how long it lasts. But then again I've seen a lot of factory jobs with peeled paint or clearcoats. My Hyundai Santa Fe had the disease. I got good at rattle can repairs.

    In the sign biz I used Tiz foam rollers. Very short nap yellow foam. They put down the smoothest coat possible.
    #20