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Engine Bay Bling & a review of a DIY Powder Coating System
by BobC 4th June 2010



When looking at Saxos and after doing a few bits and pieces around the engine bay, including changing the clutch, there seems to be a few area that are prone to corrosion. I'd guess water gets in through the radiator grille and starts the attack on four common items:

  1. 1) The rocker head cover (aka cam cover or cylinder head cover) is especially prone to rust

  2. 2) The battery tray

  3. 3) The ECU tray

  4. 4) The exhaust heatshield

A while ago I ordered a new rocker cover from Citroen which cost £15 and then arranged for it to be chrome plated by RCJ Metal Finishers http://www.chromeplaters.co.uk/ which cost £45. An off-the-shelf item, along with more chrome plated or highly polished items are available from http://www.getbadass.com/

The rocker cover was the first thing changed. It is possible to powder coat in "High Chrome" colour which the supplier stated that "it's quite reflective but not as much as real chrome".

The DIY Powder Coating System by www.electrostaticmagic.co.uk/


I have had a powder coating system on my wish list for some time but before taking the plunge I had a few questions:
  1. 1) Can you powder coat over paint? "Yes you can coat over the existing paint, but be aware that the powder adhesion is only as good as
    the car paint to the body, note also the atatic voltage from our system may? affect the ECU."
    [So do not coat the ECU tray with it in the car]
  2. 2) How real is the "High Chrome"? "...it's quite reflective but not as much as real chrome."
  3. 3) How easy is it to match car body colours? "Colour matching is not that easy with colours, take a look at a RAL colour chart (search on web) for typical range of colours."

Here are items powder coated by other customers







Impressive, so I took the plunge and ordered a powder coating set.

There are a few things that you need:
  1. 1) Compressor capable of 17 PSI
  2. 2) A curing oven capable of 200 degrees C

Given the low PSI needed then a hobby compressor or with a little creativity a spare wheel deflated to 20 PSI may suffice.

The oven can be replaced with a hot air paint stripping gun or a bar or infrared heater. A kitchen oven is fine but the instructions warn that the curing process gives off "mildly toxic fumes" so do not use the kitchen oven.

The kit arrived with a sample bag of gloss black powder. More powder colours are available at: http://www.electrostaticmagic.co.uk/

Remove the parts to be coated
ECU Tray



Battery Tray


Battery Clamp


Clean the parts to be coated
I used Autoglym Engine and Motor Cleaner to clean off any oil, grease or dirt.

Prepare the parts to be coated
As with any paint finish preparation is key. Whilst the powder can coat over existing pain, I decided to remove the rust and paint using a shot blaster and cabinet using 40/60 grade grit. You could use paint stripper, wire brush, sand paper or sanding block.









Degrease the parts to be coated
You can use metholated spirits or panel wipe or pre paint to thoroughly remove any traces of grease or oil which may impair the coating process.



Plan where in the oven the parts will go. I used coat hangers to hold the items. Once you are happy, remove the items and warm the oven to 200 degrees C.

Powder coat the parts
You assemble the gun, attach the air supply, fill the cup with the colour of your choice, adjust the powder cloud to create an 8 inch cloud, attach the earth lead to the item to be coated, press the foot pedal and full the trigger. Instruction are supplied but there is a video, FAQs and step by step instructions on the http://www.electrostaticmagic.co.uk/ website.

The resulting cloud of powder is positively charged electrostatically and the earth on the item being coated attracts the powder to coat the item. You do need to take precautions with the fine dust such as wearing a face mask, masking any areas that are not to be coated and being prepared for the powder to cover the floor. The powder is flammable and cannot be hoovered up using a vacuum cleaner as it's motor may catch fire - dang!

Here is the ECU tray powder coated. You need to mask off any areas not to be coated, like the ECU retaining bolt threads. The powder is grey in colour and rather dull:


Cure the parts in an oven


The items need to reach 200 degrees C and then to cure for a further ten minutes. Once the item reaches 200 degrees then the powder begins to gloss in front of your eyes. After ten minutes then off the heat and open the oven door a little to allow the items to cool slowly as sudden cooling can impair the finish.

Results
WOW I hope the pictures show the glossy finish. Its not a picture perfect mirror finish, there are a few spots that I may have powdered too thinly, a few spots that I knocked whilst putting them in the oven, there is some orange peel effect perhaps due to being over coated. However, the results are overall very impressive.









Refit the parts




Finally a highly polished exhaust heat shield from http://www.getbadass.com/ was fitted.

Back to Black

I used Autoglym Vinyl and Rubber Care to get the air intake duct, air filter box, intake manifold, fuse box and other black bits back to black. Spray it on and it will appear milky, leave it to dry and you'll get a glossy wet look which you can lightly polish. If you want a matt finish then don't let it dry. (See: Autoglym website)
Overall this powder coating kit is highly recommended to get the Saxo engine bay back to black.

Other items that would look great in other colours:

Brake calipers
Engine block
Wheels

I am in no way connected with www.electrostaticmagic.co.uk . I have not received any incentive or reward for using or reviewing this product. I am just a well satisfied customer, Bob
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Last edited by BobC; 15th June 2010 at 11:55.
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