Introduction: How to Strip the Paint From a Valve Cover

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Video tutorial on how to strip the paint from a valve cover. If you are deciding on painting your valve cover or polishing an aluminum cover, then you will need to strip any existing painted finish. Removing the existing paint from a valve cover is extremely important before adding new paint as you may currently have pealing issues or there can be oil residue trapped underneath which will cause pealing issues for the new paint finish. Stripping paint from a valve cover is certainly not limited to the method shown in this video, but this is an at home method that can be done with minimal tools and cost. Here I am working with a cast aluminum valve cover, but this procedure also applies to steel valve covers as well.

Tools/Supplies Needed:

  • safety glasses
  • gloves
  • paint brush
  • paint stripper
  • brass wire brush
  • water
  • degreaser
  • nylon brush
  • ratchet and socket set
  • valve cover gasket

Step 1:

First start by removing the valve cover. Removal process will vary, but for the most part they are fairly straight forward. Some engines may require a speciality tool to hold the camshafts in place if the bearings are intergraded into the valve cover like Volvo. When removing the valve cover, I would highly recommend replacing the gasket too.

Step 2:

Once you’ve removed the valve cover, we must degrease it. This will ensure the paint doesn’t have a barrier against the paint stripper. Spray the cleaner onto the cover and allow it to soak into the build up for a minute, then agitate the surface with a brush. Wash both the top side and underside of the cover. Any oil residue is also important to remove for painting because it reduces the chance of any contamination. This may take a little time depending on the severity of the build up.

Step 3:

Once done the valve cover will need to dry now as any water residue can neutralize the paint stripper. Work in a well ventilated area. Next I am using a brush on style paint strippers, there are various products available on the market along with application types. This product does come in a jug, so I dump a desired amount into an old disposable cup. Then apply to the cover using a brush, it’s best to use a smaller brush as you’re able to get into those hard to reach or tight areas. I would highly recommend wear rubber gloves and safety glasses as protection. It’s best not to work in direct sunlight and on an extremely hot day as this can affect how the product removes the paint. It can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes for it to sufficiently peal up the existing. This will also depend on the paint that is used, some paints are more resistance to paint strippers.

Step 4:

If you have a smooth valve cover you can use a plastic scrapper which will reduce the chance of damaging the metal surface. Considering this is an uneven surface, I’ll be using a brass wire brush. Only use a brass wire brush on aluminum valve covers as it won’t excessively scratch the surface. Apply more stripper if needed for the paint that is still in place.

Step 5:

After all the paint has been remove, rinse off the brush or scrapper and valve cover with water to neutralize the paint stripper. You may need to agitate the surface with the brass wire brush if needed. Once all the paint has been removed and now it’s ready for paint.

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