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Best way to fresh'n up an engine compartment?

Started by #s Matching, August 19, 2005, 02:31:54 PM

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#s Matching

I am planning on having the engine compartment of my '69 repainted this fall/winter while I rebuild the engine.   The body was painted several years ago while in possession of the previous owner.   The engine compartment is more or less original and in need of some new paint.   The body is still in decent shape so I don't want to have the entire car painted at this time.   Presently, restoring the engine and interior are the priority.   The paint work will be done by a body shop (yet to be determined) and the engine has already been removed.

Overall the big question is....What is the best way to have the engine compartment repainted?  

What type of stripping will work the best (soda, sand by hand)?

Should the fenders, bumper and grill be removed? (this work I would do myself)   ;D

What type of paint should be used?   The car is Black (factory black) but I have no idea what brand or technique (base clear???)

#s Matching - 74 Charger SE, 74 Charger Rallye, 69 Charger R/T


Today I started cleaning down my '68 engine compartment. I used a fine wire wheel, but am thinking sandblasting may be a better choice. From I saw today the engine compartment was only sprayed with paint, no primer at all. Even though it wont be correct I will use primer so I can build up some layers and sand out the rough texture in spots caused by surface rust.


I just finished my 70 up with primer. I had a relatively clean orig. so I degreased it first. Then I spray bombed the eng. comp with aircraft coating stripper ( MAr-hyde?) That got me close fast, The I used 3m grinding disks, 2 for paint removal and 2 for heavy paint rust removal. I aslo had a few drill mounted wire bristle brushes, brass toothbrush tool, exacto knife and a dremel with disks.

While the job was faster than I expected, I had some flash rust because of a heavy bout of humidity, so plan on a dehumidifier in the garage if it is humid outside.

Not bad but I wonder how much it will really save me from the earlier $600 quote.


Clean, Sand, prime and paint. I did my '72 and it came out nice. I used PPG omni for the bay it it was only like $17 for a Qt. I'd pull the bumper and grill as well since you'll want to spray the front of the radiator frame semi-gloss black...that makes a BIG difference

Good luck

Steve P.

At least your engine bay SHOULD be black!!!!  I see too many cars with black engine houses in a bule, red, green, purple and so on, car.... That's a CHEVY THING!!!
Steve P.
Holiday, Florida

Drop Top

If your not into doing allot of work yourself I would suggest Plastic Media or Baking Soda Blasting. Depending on whats available in your area. If you don't mind a little work on your behalf. Then the way I used to do it was with a very fine wire wheel. It would take me about 1 1/2 hours to strip the engine compartment after I had everthing out of my way. Then if everything looked good and didn't need any other work. Metal Etch, seal and paint. I would suggest Base/Clear for an outstanding finish that will last longer then a standard single stage.

If you use a wire wheel make sure don't use a cheap one from Harbor Freight. Go to a welding suplie store and buy a good one from there. It will last much longer and the wires wont come off as bad. Make sure you wear a face shield and safety glasses behind them. Those wires will come off no mater how much you pay for the wheel. The more expensive ones just don't do it as bad. I would suggest using a pad from 3M called strip and clean. Its much safer then the wire wheels. I used the wire wheels entill the 3M wheels came out.


Agree with drop top. I just did my 70 eng comp. I would add that I used MAR-HYDE aircraft coating removal to help the process out. I   3 extra nice items to have: a 3m soft sanding block, a brass/steel wire toothbrush and a small pick to get into tight areas for detail.

Drop Top

If your going to use stripper in conjunction with a wire wheel or a fiber wheel. Use the wheels first. Then use the stripper in the areas that you can't get to with the wheels. If you use the stripper first. You stand a chance of slinging it all over you and the rest of the car. In place of stripper I would suggest using a small propane torch. Heat the paint intell it starts to bubble and take a small wire brush and brush the paint off with that. Works very well.

As too your other questions.
Yes take off the fenders, grill and bumpers. It will make everything much easier to get to. It will make less of a chance to hurt the fenders also by bending over them.
As far as brand. That depends allot on what is available in your area. I like PPG for many reasons. Its a bit more expensive then most other brands. But, in the case buying paint, you get what you pay for.

#s Matching

Thanx for the input!  I think I will follow AKCharger and Drop Top's advice and pull the fenders, grill and bumper.  My initial thought was that I would get a better, cleaner final project finish going this route.  I don't mind doing the work, that is actually my preference, but I want to have the engine compartment done before the weather turns bad.  If I can locate a shop facility to rent for the winter, I'll likely do it myself, but if not....Bam! off to the body shop.

One thing that I have already noticed is that my engine compartment does have some surface rust that has pitted quite badly under the battery tray.  What would you suggest for filling damage like this?  A metal to metal filler like Drop Top mentioned (in another active thread)?
#s Matching - 74 Charger SE, 74 Charger Rallye, 69 Charger R/T

Drop Top

If its not pitted so bad that is needs replacement. Then Metal to Metal would be my suggestion. Just be sure you kill the rust so it doesn't get any worse. More then likely the rust was caused from the battery acid leaking out of an old battery.

#s Matching

Quote from: Drop Top on August 23, 2005, 08:39:28 AM
More then likely the rust was caused from the battery acid leaking out of an old battery.

Yes, that was my thought based on the poor condition of the battery tray and relatively good overall condition of the rest of the engine compartment.
#s Matching - 74 Charger SE, 74 Charger Rallye, 69 Charger R/T

Silver R/T

use different methods available, you can use chemical stripper on most of it then come back and soda blast stubborn spots/rust/grooves

1968 silver/black/red striped R/T
My Charger is hybrid, it runs on gas and on tears of ricers
2001 Ram 2500 CTD
1993 Mazda MX-3 GS SE
1995 Ford Cobra SVT#2722


I did the motor compartment on my 68 Runner a few years back andthe process I used is on my website at  Go to the Road Runner section and check out the motor compartment link.
1969 Hemi R/T Charger
1969 440 GTX
1965 Hemi A/FX Plymouth
1964 Hemi Superstock Dodge
02 Ram
95 Ram


 My self, I use a DA. If not real bad use 120 git, then 180 then polish up with 320. Tight conner's I use a jitter bug. If pitt's are heavy metal to metal by every coat is great like drop top said.

The way I do after all the stuff has been removed takes about 4 hours and that INC paint time. Reason I like the 320 git is I can skip the primer and sanding before paint. I have found ICI base will fill the 320 grit marks.

                 Cuda Ken
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