Lotus Elan

painting Sprint cam cover

PostPost by: milton » Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:59 am

I'll be painting the cam cover with VHT Wrinkle Plus. I've used it on the demister outlets on the crash pad with excellent results. If you have experience of painting the cam cover can you advise on the best way method for protecting the raised polished sections. I could use masking tape which would need to trimmed with a scalpel for a neat result but can't see it working with the letters such as 'A' and 'B'. It has been suggested on the frost.co.uk website that vaseline can be used. Alternatively the whole cam cover could be painted and then the raised surfaces could be sanded back down. I've already sanded these areas using increasingly fine wet and dry using a rubber sanding block from Screwfix, 68 x 125mm and ideal for the job.
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:08 pm

I have done a few big valve cam covers now and although it is possible to mask the raised sections i think you get a better finish if you paint the lot then carefully flat back with 800's on a flat block. (finish with 1200's for a decent satin look or go finer if you want a more polished look)

Two things i am quite careful with when doing one of these is first make sure the area's round the raised sections are well keyed (usually if you flat through paint it will highlight any badly keyed areas especially on items that see heat) second if you use etch primer it's wise to get it the same colour (so black or dark grey etch with Black topcoat etc) just common sense really.

Sounds like you have used the VHT paint before, i find it best to aim for small tight wrinkles (makes the edges sharper when you flat it back).
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PostPost by: The Veg » Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:24 pm

I wonder if you get the same VHT over there that we get here. It was a grand failure when I tried it on my demisters.
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:28 pm

The Veg wrote:I wonder if you get the same VHT over there that we get here. It was a grand failure when I tried it on my demisters.

It does say 'Made in USA' on the cans so i'd guess it is.........

If you don't mind me asking, what went wrong? the only time it's really looked bad for me was when i was experimenting with how heavy to apply it, if you put it on too thick it does kinda look like you have tried to paint strip it and it never fully cures. When it does go wrong there is no fixing it either (lot has to come off and start again)
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:51 pm

I found the best effect was obtained by spraying on a piece of cardboard you could lift. As soon as sprayed straight into the oven set at about 50 deg C (best done when the wife is out for H&S purposes!). Probably only needs 10 minutes.
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Sat Jul 27, 2019 1:31 pm

Was just thinking on, worth checking your cam cover isn't warped before you start!! mine was which took a bit effort stopping oil leaks and i wish i had it refaced pre paint (might have to revisit that at some point)
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PostPost by: mbell » Sat Jul 27, 2019 1:57 pm

As previously said I just sanded the painted of the raised areas. The suggestion to prep the area and remove and damage first is important, I didn't do that so couple of small area where the paint hasn't come off.

Living in Texas I just did it out side in the middle of summer. Mostly worked but couple of spots didn't crackle that well. Given recent weather in the UK might be able to do the same.
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PostPost by: Chris » Sat Jul 27, 2019 2:07 pm

A thin smear of grease or bees wax on the raised portion carefully applied does the trick, after painting and when thoroghly dry, the grease and suspended paint can be wiped clean leaving the previous bright finish.
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PostPost by: The Veg » Sat Jul 27, 2019 11:13 pm

Grizzly wrote:
The Veg wrote:I wonder if you get the same VHT over there that we get here. It was a grand failure when I tried it on my demisters.

It does say 'Made in USA' on the cans so i'd guess it is.........

If you don't mind me asking, what went wrong?


Some areas wrinkled nicely, others did not. I wound up taking them to a powder coat shop and they came back looking phenomenal, although it cost as much as 5 or 6 cans of VHT. For something so visible I'm glad to have that result.
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PostPost by: Panda » Sat Jul 27, 2019 11:49 pm

I have had good success using VHT on cam covers. I polish the lettering to a good finish and then paint the whole cover. Using a small fine rag dampened with some acetone, I carefully wipe the paint off the raised letters while still wet. I then use my better half's hair drier and gently warm the cover all over as evenly as possible. Voila!
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PostPost by: bitsobrits » Sun Jul 28, 2019 3:04 am

I've had good luck by prepping the raised areas with fine sandpaper, then painting the entire cam cover. Once the paint starts to set and wrinkle, but before it's full hard, I use a new straight razor blade to scrape off the paint on the raised areas. Once the paint is fully cured, then it's more very fine sandpaper to get a really crisp look.
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PostPost by: reb53 » Sun Jul 28, 2019 6:40 am

bitsobrits wrote:I've had good luck by prepping the raised areas with fine sandpaper, then painting the entire cam cover. Once the paint starts to set and wrinkle, but before it's full hard, I use a new straight razor blade to scrape off the paint on the raised areas. Once the paint is fully cured, then it's more very fine sandpaper to get a really crisp look.


Pretty much what I've done in the past with one small difference.
I get a piece of thick round wood and wrap some cloth around it, and then dampen the cloth with thinners.
When the entire cover has been painted I wipe the wood along the raised areas, rotating it slightly as I go.
Rotating it presents a new bit of cloth as I go along.
This cleans it off rather well, and makes for nice consistent lines along the ribs and name.

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PostPost by: joe7 » Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:08 pm

A trick I learned along the way was to make sure the rattle can is a bit warm as this allows the paint to spray better than a cold can.
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PostPost by: tvacc » Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:44 am

As someone else posted something similar, I will be brief.
I used Vaseline on the raised portions and then painted it. Vaseline rubbed right off. Worked great.
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PostPost by: david.g.chapman » Mon Jul 29, 2019 5:54 pm

I used the VHT grey primer first before finishing with VHT red. This was on bare aluminium but I would also do it over a painted surface.

A thorough de-grease is also important to start with.

A thought has just occurred to me - what about using caustic oven cleaner (Mr Muscle in the UK) if you have a bare ali surface? it would de-grease and etch the surface in one go - just rinse, dry and away you spray!

I have not tried this though.... :)

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