Introduction: Painting a Vehicle Using Tractor Paint

Picture of Painting a Vehicle Using Tractor Paint

So some of you guys may have seen my previous tutorial on how to spraypaint a jeep using krylon paint and make a zombie assault vehicle, well I'm back and pleased to present you guys with a new tutorial on how to use tractor and implement paint for a good budget paintjob that will hold up much better. Hope you guys enjoy!

Couple notes: the spraypaint method worked quite well and I have no regrets asfar as it holding up. I just beat on it wayyy too much and the paint was fading pretty bad on the roof and hood. A respray would have fixed it but I opted for a color change. In case anyone is wondering this was the original instructable on how to spray paint the truck.

https://www.instructables.com/id/Ho-to-Spray-Paint-your-jeep-and-make-an-assault-ve/

So here is the Jeep in question that was repainted using this method when it was still rocking the krylon italian olive paint. As you can see in the forth and final picture, the jeep barely drove back home in one piece.

Step 1: Gathering Your Suplies

Picture of Gathering Your Suplies

So here is a quick supply list that I came up with of what you will need to complete this paintjob. The cost of the supplies was quite a bit more than the original budget spraypaint job but the paint is much better quality and held up a lot better after a year. I did buy these productos a little over a year ago so the prices may have changed a bit. This process also requires a paintgun and an aircompressor with a water trap.

Supplies:
-1 gallon of Valspar Tractor/Implement paint $65  (I used MF grey)
-2 bottles of Valspar Enamel Hardener $10 each
-mixing cup with paint strainers $15
-1 gallon of naphtha paint thinner $20
-Masking tape $3 a roll
-Various Sanding paper grits $25  (I used mostly 220 for the initial sanding with a palm sander)
-Sharp X-acto knife
-measuring cup

Tools:
-Palm Sander
-Air Compressor set to 110PSI  with a Water trap (I suggest at least a 10 gallon tank, and used a 30gallon CH compressor)
-Paintgun (I used a cheapo harbor freight paintgun that costed me a nifty 10 bucks.

Step 2: Prepping the Truck for Paint Bodywork/etc.

Picture of Prepping the Truck for Paint Bodywork/etc.

So because I beat the utter living hell out of this truck and it actually has been flopped on one side not to mention the multiple dents and dings in it I felt like it needed a bit of bodywork to get most of the panels semi straight. First thing is first though, you gotta remove everything you don't want painted and even certain things you want painted. As you can see from the pics I removed the trim pieces, bumpers, visor, and fender flares. I actually also removed the taillights and turnsignals also but those came later because I still drove the truck and wanted to leave the lights to keep it legal.

NOTE: Remove your weatherstripping ont he doors if you intend to do the jambs or you can leave them like me and get paint on it LOL.

Step 3: Washing the Truck and Starting Prep/bodywork

Picture of Washing the Truck and Starting Prep/bodywork

So heres the fun and most grueling part of the whole ordeal. I spent a cool 2 weeks on prep work alone. I replaced the front header panel hence why it is off of the truck, tried to straighten out the drivers side front fender, patch a hole on the rear quarter panel and sand down the entire thing. Don't forget to sand downt he door jambs also if you plan on doing a full color change correctly. I sanded the majority of the truck down using 220 grit and a palm sander. Gives it a relatively good surface for the paint to stick.

NOTE: Primer isnt really necessary if you plan on just doing a color change, I used it mainly to show where I needed to work on the body more and fill in with filler. Ignore the primer and body filler if you are not doing bodywork.

Step 4: Masking Off the Truck and Painting the Door Jambs.

So once you are happy with the bodywork its time to mask off all the windows and get it ready for paint. Unfortunately I didnt take very many pictures of this process and this aspect of the tutorial will be lacking a bit. I will try to explain it as best as I can. So for the sake of clarity I will dissect this portion into more steps yay right?

STEP 1 Washing the truck: First thing after body work is to mask off everything you don't want painted. Sounds easy right? but wait! before you pick up any tape and newspaper make sure you wash off the truck and allow it to dry, afterall you don't want any of the dust you created from the bodywork phase to get in the tape and into the base coat. After washing the truck and giving it a nice rinse to take off any residue allow it to dry COMPLETELY.

STEP 2 masking off the windows and anything else: As you can see in the picture I masked off all the windows using 3M Painters tape and some newspaper. It works wonders. If you are painting the door jambs I suggest taping the inside aswell to not get paint on the interior. This is where the x-acto knife comes in handy. It'll allow you to make nice clean cuts in the tape. Also I suggest you cover up your radiator/AC condenser. I didn't do it and I think it lessened the cooling ability of the radiator. I did eventually replace it though so no biggy.

STEP 3 wiping the truck down AGAIN: I cannot stress to you how much prep work will make paint look soo much better. I opted for wiping the entire truck down using a little bit of the naphtha so that the paint will have a clean surface to adhere to. And again make sure the surface is clean and dry before applying paint. Also make sure you use a nice clean towel or cloth that will not leave lint.

STEP 4 Wetting the ground: So in this step you will need to wet the ground around what you are painting. I used a spray bottle to wet the ground around the truck where I was painting aswell as the garage. This is to ensure no dust and trash get in the paint.

STEP 5 prepping the paint: Once everything is clean and masked off its time to lay down the paint. Now I made sure that day I chose to paint the truck on was perfect. Not beginning of spring where theres tons of pollen. Low humidity and no chance of rain and no breeze. I stuck the transmission in neutral to allow me to roll the truck in and out of the garage and used tire chocks to chock the tires. Anyways enough ranting, for the paint I set my aircompressor to 110PSI and made sure the water trap was working. I poured a bit of the naphtha in the gun and sprayed it out to clean out any residue. I allowed the tank to fill up, in the meantime I prepped the paint to spray.  So here is the mix that I used that I think yielded me the best results:

2 parts paint color, 1.25 parts naphtha, .75 parts hardener

So for example I used 10ounces of paint, 6.25 ounces naphtha, 3.75 ounces hardener.

It may seem like a ton of hardener and thinner, but I had to thin it down a lot to spray it correctly, and the hardener was to make the paint dry quicker. I found with this paint that it would take forever to dry without the hardener.

STEP 6 Spraying the truck: So once the paint is prepped and ready to lay down, hook up your paintgun and pour some paint in, make sure you use a paint strainer so that any big particles get caught. I highly suggest you spray a test panel first to make sure the gun is spraying the way you want it to. Now open all your doors and paint the door jambs first allowing it to tack up a bit and dry. Lay as many coats as you want until it is covered.

Step 5: Laying the Base Coat and Additional Paint Coats.

Picture of Laying the Base Coat and Additional Paint Coats.

So after doing the door jambs its time to lay a base coat down and paint the entire truck! Close all of your doors and make sure your paintgun is filled. Lightly spray an initial base coat not completely covering it allowing it to tack up a little bit (about 10minutes or so). Now lay a heavier base coat down ensuring you cover everything you want painted. Put as many coats as you think is necessary, I layed down 3 on most of the body and 4 on the roof. Allow it to sit and dry, I actually pushed mines back into the garage and let it dry a whole 2 days.

Step 6: Removing the Masking Tape and Reinstalling Parts

Picture of Removing the Masking Tape and Reinstalling Parts

So congrats if you made it that far, the truck is almost done! The paint will not fully cure for atleast a week but you should be able to handle it after a day or 2. I waited 2 days like previously stated. I used a razor and went around the edges of the masking tape to remove it. You can now reinstall all of your trim, bumpers lights etc. Here are some pics of the initial reassembly of the truck. As you can see the paint looks pretty damn good and has a nice shine to it. Its not show car quality but its a good 10 footer haha.

Step 7: Final Notes

Picture of Final Notes

So overall I am VERY with the way the paint turned out. It looks pretty amazing for the money spent and has held up great even after a year of me abusing it. Its kind of nice also because the paint also comes in spray can so touchups from brushing up on a tree is easy. If I could do it again I wouldnt change a thing besides maybe go with a different color. The paint shines up very nicely and after buffing it out a bit it shined really nice.

Any comments thoughts are welcome int he comments below. I will entertain any questions aswell.

Comments

liquidtool (author)2016-05-05

What is that bolted on panel on the right rear?

watahyahknow (author)2015-06-26

theres another way to tape off stuff , we used thin plastic masking tape (its like electrical tape only 4mm wide or so ) that makes it eazier to draw rounded corners gives a nice tight edge and prevent paint from blowing under the tape

then you go over that with the paper soft peel painttape covering everything off with packingpaper (dont use newspaper because the ink rubs off if you mask over fresh paint )

after youre done laying paint pull the masking off while the paint is still wet including the thin plastic tape

pull the plastic tape off slanted slightly towart the paint while pulling

it might draw some tiny strings but since the paint is still wet it will flow out again

just go slow make sure you pull close to the bodywork (no longer then 5 inches or so then re grab the tape close to the body again ) to make extra sure the stuff dont drop intoo the paint while tearing it off

doing it this way prevent a ridge in the paint on the taped line and prevent cutting through the paint exposing metal when trying to pull the tape after the paint has dried , ...... and having to peel the tape of in little inch long pieces as it keeps tearing

harleyguy (author)2015-06-13

Great Job. Look really good.

to'bryant (author)2015-04-08

Looks good. I am about to paint my truck but I have found some boat paints that has really good reviews. Going to go olive drab using Jon boat paint. I will put together an Instructable on it as well, again thanks for sharing!

RobW8 (author)2015-03-12

Can this be used on rims? My local store has this paint in spray cans.

astral_mage (author)2014-01-02

u can sand blast the auto in question with 400 - 600 grit. plus if u vary the distant from the auto and the pressure. u can get the same results as sand paper.

astral_mage (author)2014-01-02

just put painters tape on the rubber. an or use form release spray. like pam. do 2 - 3 even coats on it. give it a try?

Bosun Rick (author)2013-12-30

All you lack is a set of numbers on each front fender, and a name across the tailgate and it will look like a US Navy Ship LOL. Great Ible, and a great paint job!

sam24th (author)Bosun Rick2013-12-30

Ha I thought about it, but I actually sold the jeep about 2 months ago to fund the purchase of a 4runner.

poofrabbit (author)2013-08-31

Hey congratulations on being a finalist in the weekend projects contest!

pbates123 (author)2013-08-04

Great Job. I thought about doing the same thing to a van I have however the paint is restricted as to where it can be shipped. according to the site I tried to get the paint from the following states are "RESTRICTED: This product cannot be shipped to the following states: AK CA CT DC DE HI IL IN MA MD ME NH NJ NY OH PA RI VA"

sam24th (author)pbates1232013-08-04

Try amazon, there doesnt seem to be a restriction on the paint shipment other than it has to be within the US.

http://www.amazon.com/Valspar-4431-20-Tractor-Implement-Paint/dp/B002LZV9YI/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1375647505&sr=8-7&keywords=tractor+implement+paint#productDetails

pbates123 (author)sam24th2013-08-04

Thanx, I'll check it out! Wow you must have been sittin on the computer!! LOL Thanx again!

dflynn5 (author)2013-08-03

Jeep looks awesome. Well done. Damn, there better be a ZA :)

deluxe54 (author)2013-08-02

Im most worried about the hood. All that heat! Especially in out Cherokees! I'm very exited to give this a try.

KROKKENOSTER (author)2013-08-02

This looks good but where can a body find a colour that if the vehicle is washed looks dirty? Years ago when I was still able to work the manager were all the time on my case to have a clean vehicle and he was not really impressed when I made the request for a truck with such a paint job!!How about using one of those electric sprayguns that does not use compressed air to spray. The secret using them is you spray the object and then let it get "touch dry" Then with the thinners used to clean the sprayer, you use that not to "Paint the air" but give your object a layer of clear thinners this gives it a high gloss finish. I did that to the Crown Lift trucks that I had to do the P D S and painting. I was told that for such finish I can work at Mercedes Benz

sam24th (author)KROKKENOSTER2013-08-02

Ive have tried using an electric spraygun before. Infact I painted my first firebird using a wagner power painter and using a single stage urethane auto paint. It turned out looking pretty nice, but the gun wasnt cheap about 100 bucks or so if I recall and it was ruined after using it because of the paint that stuck in the pickup tube. I suppose you could just get a new pickup tube and valve but I prefer to use an air compressor and cheapo paintgun. It was only $15 bucks and I could buy another one if I needed to do another job, though the one i have still works fine.

dbierlein (author)2013-08-01

Fabulous article and really nice job! Jeep looks very nice, and really like the extra fender trip you added...was that new after the paint? Looked like it. Well done!

dbierlein (author)dbierlein2013-08-01

Fender trim/flares, that is.

sam24th (author)dbierlein2013-08-02

Nope still the same, just repainted the flares black and put them back on. Thanks!

jcougler (author)2013-08-01

Love your jeep, are you also a member of jeepforum? Good write up, I'm trying to buy another jeep soon, I miss mine.

sam24th (author)jcougler2013-08-02

I used to go on jeepforum when I had my wrangler but have since only gone on cherokeeforum and NAXJA. I also go on yotatech, Ih8mud, and ttora for yota stuff since I have a pickup daily driver.

morglew (author)2013-08-01

What did you buff with at the end? Just a regular, wheel style paint buffer?

sam24th (author)morglew2013-08-02

Actually none of the pictures show the paint after I buffed it out. All the pics were before buffing any paint out. As for what I use, I got a harbor freight cheapy orbital buffer. Wroks pretty good and has several speed settings. I did buff out the paint recently because it started to get nasty waterspots and whatnot from sitting under a tree. Still shines like the day I painted it.

sktrba (author)2013-08-02

Where did you buy the Valspar paint and hardner? I cant find a supplier in my area, 20 miles S.E. of St Louis MO. Thanks!

sam24th (author)sktrba2013-08-02

I bought my paint from tractor supply here. You can order it online from amazon as well. Just look up valspar tractor paint. You can get it in gallons or quarts and the hardener as well.

oilitright (author)2013-08-01

Well written.

Tractor paint also called fleet maintenance or equipment is tough stuff. And comes in a wide choice of colors. The application process is less troublesome then regular automotive paint. The importance of through preparation cannot be stressed enough. With respect to the author I did primer as I never wanted to see school bus yellow ever again.

My bus has had it on for over 10 years. It has sat outside through Oregon winters and in the middle of the Mojave desert for many blistering summers. The paint looks as good a the day after it was put on.

JDs DefenderCam (author)2013-08-01

Fantastic Paint Job and Jeep Mate! I might use that exact technique when I get around to rebuilding my Land Rover Defender. Brilliant tute. JD

Mr Rancher (author)2013-08-01

I can't wait for my FJ Cruiser to fade to the point of warranting a paint job...lol
This looks fantastic.

deluxe54 (author)2013-07-31

So, how well does the tractor paint hold up? If I'm looking to redo my paint job and don't want to do it again for a while, is the tractor paint sturdy?

sam24th (author)deluxe542013-07-31

It holds up amazingly well. Paint hasn't faded any and the jeep sits outside year round under a tree. I wash it occasionally and the paint is as good as the day I painted it really. Ive rubbed it against rocks and trees and the paint doesn't chip like normal. It actually kinda just scratches it up which I come back and touch up with a small brush after trail rides.

bubba2913 (author)2013-07-31

are you on Cherokee forum building a stuby bumper?

sam24th (author)bubba29132013-07-31

I am on cherokeeforum. Not building a stubby bumper will as of yet. I am currently working on putting an exocage on it.

neo71665 (author)2013-07-28

Are those euro spec tails? Been years since I've been into heeps but don't remember seeing any US xjs with those.

sam24th (author)neo716652013-07-31

The last ones in the last step were Jeep 3500 lights that were retrofitted with LEDs. I had a set of wagoneer lights on it aswell, but have since returned it to the stock lights for wheeling purposes.

Monomann (author)2013-07-31

Looks great! Nice rig!

gcanders (author)2013-07-30

Looks great. The finished product looks professional. Good job.

l8nite (author)2013-07-28

I liked the previous version but this one looks great as well (just plain jane)

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