Sanding, Grinding, Scraping… Painting!
As I said in my ‘project plan’ post, I have decided that Kevan’s internal metalwork is scratched up enough that he might eventually rust from the inside out if I leave it as it is (what with all the hot wet breathing that happens inside a campervan). So although I have only begun to scratch the surface (did you see what I did there? 😀 ) of learning the art of auto paint prep & painting, I have decided just have a crack at it as a practice for one day doing the outside. It will mostly be covered up with panels anyway, so if I do a dodgy job, at least it will be protected from rust.
For the surface preparation, this is my armament:
If the wire brushes, strip-it disc, flap wheels, and numerous grades of wet n dry sandpaper etc. are not enough to tackle the task, I may go out and buy a random orbital sander, but I will start with this and see how I go.
As for priming and painting, I have decided to go with the ‘White Knight Rustguard‘ paint system from Bunnings:
“WHAT?!? That’s not auto paint!” Yes, I know. “WHAT!?! You can’t paint your van with a roller!!!” Well, yes I can, if I want to, because a) it is my van, b) Kevan is already not much to look at, c) I’m only going to be doing the inside at this stage, remember? and d) because I’ve actually seen (online) some pretty good examples of vans painted with an anti-rust paint system just like this, and with rollers, and it actually looks PRETTY DARNED BRILLIANT!
The key seems to be meticulous surface preparation (same goes for any automotive paint job), thinning the paint to the right consistency that will allow it to self-level but not run, keeping each coat quite thin, use high density foam rollers, allowing appropriate drying time between each coat, SANDING LIKE BUGGERY between every coat with the appropriate grade wet n dry, and polishing and waxing at the end. It is a lot of hard labour, much MUCH more sanding than the professionals would ever need to do between coats laid down with their sprayguns, but I know for certain that I am never going to be able to afford a professional spray job on Kevan, so I thought I would give this a go.
If you don’t believe me, below are some links with photos of mirror finishes achieved with just this method and this self-levelling anti-rust type epoxy enamel paint. In the UK it is Rust-oleum Combi-Colour, in the US Rust-oleum Stops Rust or Tremclad, and here in Australia we have Wattyl Killrust available at Home Hardware, or the Rust Guard one I’m using from Bunnings. Another anti-rust paint that Aussie VW lovers seem to be fans of is POR-15, which is a fair bit pricier, possibly better, but only seems to come in black, grey, silver & clear.
http://www.club80-90.co.uk/pages/downloads/tech/paintfor%A350.pdf – A UK based web forum thread detailing how to paint your van with Rust-oleum Combi-Colour paint and high density foam rollers. A closeup of the finish on one of the vans pictured in this thread:
and one van from a before-and-after photo gallery from the above thread:
http://www.vwt4forum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=43205 – A step by step roller paint job on a VW T4. One pic from that thread:
http://www.volkszone.com/VZi/showthread.php?t=413364&highlight=rustoleum&page=3 – A rollered rustoleum paint job on a Beetle (a long thread, painting starts on page 3, finished pictures of the paint on page 11). One pic from that thread:
http://forums.kombiclub.com/showthread.php?36882-50-roller-paint-job – An Aussie bay gets the roller treatment with Toplac yacht paint … One pic from that thread:
http://www.ford-econoline.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=654 – A roller-painted retro Ford Econoline. One pic therefrom:
But back to the sanding, grinding and scraping for me now. The previous owners have kindly spilt a tin of house paint on the wheel arch, and I am scraping it all off just in case it was one of those *accidents* that actually cover up a big rusty hole… Wish me luck!