How To Paint A Truck Frame

Here are the steps on how you should paint your truck frame:

Tool Preparation

Before attempting to paint your truck frame or chassis, you must have the tools and protective gear you need. You are going to be exposed to paint, which has a strong smell and can easily stick to your skin. So, make sure you are wearing a mask to protect you from the fumes, and proper attire so it won’t land on your skin.

It is said that in painting your truck, it is 90% on the preparation side and only 10% for the actual painting. This is how it can greatly affect the results of your activity. A couple of tools you need are:

  • Air compressor
  • Sanding tools and discs
  • Clean rag
  • Tape
  • Brushes
  • Paint scraper
  • Wax and grease remover

And for the protective gear, you must have the following:

  • Cartridge respirator mask
  • Latex gloves
  • Goggles
  • Disposable paint suit (optional)

Step 1: Surface Cleaning and Degreasing

For the first step, you must clean and degrease the surface of your truck frame. Have your truck on a lift and remove all the wheels. Doing this will give you a good look and better access to the undercarriage. Look at all the parts and see which ones are rusted and in need of replacement.

What must be left on the truck is the area that you want to paint on. After removing all the worn-out parts, pressure-wash the frame to eliminate filth.  And after this, you can now degrease your vehicle so that the paint can bond better and provide that overall protective coverage.

Step 2: Remove Scaling

It takes a couple of days for the truck to dry out completely. Do not attempt to do the next steps if the vehicle is still wet. Now, grab a ball-peen hammer and start scaling. Look for the soft areas in which you can see scales developing and break them away. 

Make sure you are using the proper pressure in breaking away the scales, or else it will leave damage to the frame. Put enough pressure to remove the loose material, but not too much that it will cause a bigger problem for you other than what you already have.

Step 3: Grind the Rust Away

Take out your air compressor and an air tool for the easy sanding down of the vehicle surface. When grinding, it is best to start with a coarse abrasive pad (80 grit).

For your protective gear, wear a cartridge respirator mask and goggles. Dust particles can easily cause respiratory irritation, so always wear it when you are grinding the surface.

After you have removed the rust on the surface level, you need to even it out using a 220 grit sanding pad. Then, in order to further smoothen the surface out, use the 320 pad.

The purpose of a smooth surface is so that the paint won’t have difficulty in covering. When you’ve reached the pitted spots of the frame, switch to a wire brush to remove the rust forming in that area.

Step 4: Apply the Rust Converter

The purpose of applying a rust converter is so that it can change the oxidation to a protective coating. Once you’ve removed all the surface rust, brush the converter on properly, so it penetrates deeply.

This protection prevents rust formation from ever returning. Wear your latex gloves and use a simple paintbrush for the application. Be reminded that the rust converter has a curing time of 48 hours. Do not rush this process, or else all the work you’ve already put into this will disappear instantly.

A great feature of the rust converter is its ability to change the properties of rust at a microscopic level that makes it difficult for them to form on the metal once again.

Step 5: Degrease and Clean Again

You need to degrease and clean your vehicle once again because the converter applied earlier requires this step to be done after. Redoing this step is what it means when preparation takes 90% of the overall task.

In this step, you must prepare the surface area for the primer application. Grab your clean damp cloth and wipe the undercarriage. After so, use a wax and grease remover to clean up all the remaining dust and residue. If an automotive degreaser is not available, denatured alcohol and mineral spirits work well too.

Step 6: Overspray Prevention

This is the last step for the preparation stage. In here, you must secure that the pieces you don’t want paint on must be all-around covered. Materials such as paper and tape can help you cover these parts. Make use of garbage bags to contain items or cover large surfaces that you don't want the paint to adhere to.

Step 7: Paint Application

Now we can move on to the main goal, which is the paint application. You will be exposed to harmful chemicals, so better wear a pantsuit or any protective gear that can prevent the paint from touching your skin. Also, do not use rubberized and asphalt coatings; these materials trap moisture, which causes rust to form.

Chassis and truck frame paints work well in this step, since they do not trap moisture, but rather repels it. We recommend you use a soft brush to paint on the smooth surface.

Make sure you are working in a room temperature area, and if you need to apply more than one coat, allow the first coat to completely dry before painting over it.

Step 8: Rust Preventive Application

Chassis paints dry for a few days. Before you start to reassemble the pieces of your vehicle, let the truck frame dry thoroughly first. The rust preventive is applied a few weeks later. This preventive serves as an additional protective layer that ensures rust formation won't come back.

Looking at all the steps, painting your truck frame is a tedious job. You must not rush the process or skip the steps since all of them are essential to the protection of your vehicle. Also, choosing the best truck frame paint is crucial in ensuring that your frame will not further develop rust in the future.

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