Big Rig Basics

Color It Right

spray-paint-mainGetting a truck painted is more complicated than you think

 

Pick the right finish

Paints today are nearly all urethane and polyurethane chemistries, but you’ll need to decide whether to get a single stage, or “mono-coat,” paint job or a two-stage, or “basecoat/clearcoat,” finishing system. First evaluate the age of the truck and the condition of its drivetrain:

• Trucks destined for resale within two years are fine with a single stage, and the same goes for frames and trailers.

• For the cab of a truck with a sound drivetrain and several years’ service left in it, get a clearcoat/basecoat system. Here color, gloss, UV (ultra-violet light) protection and dirt repulsion matter, especially when it will be used in the snow-belt or where there is year-round intense sun, when it will be painted in one of a few colors that fade especially easily and whenever the truck has a metallic finish.

 

Pick the right shop

certificateWhen looking for a paint shop, make sure technicians are certified by a major paint manufacturer.

• Certification of technicians by a major paint manufacturer.

• A substantial spray booth, which flows clean air around the truck, preventing dirt contamination; pulls away over-spray; and quickly evaporates solvents so the finish will look good.

• Use of the best HVLP (high-volume, low-pressure) spray guns to minimize paint waste, dual-action sanders and, when a large area is to be painted, pressure-fed spray guns.

• Quality surface preparation, especially after bodywork has been done.

• The use of sealer/primer coatings prior to painting.

• A good warranty.

Also, ask to see a truck they have painted and discuss in detail what you want in appearance and durability.

 

Color It Right

Getting a truck painted is more complicated than you think.


 Bob Wiszneski, a certified truck painter at Bergey’s Collision Center, began this frame painting job by using compressed air to clean the frame of moisture and dirt.

first-paint













secondWiszneski next masked taillights so overspray would not block their lenses.




fourthNext came a coat of sealer/primer so the paint would have an ideal surface to cling to. While the sealer/primer dried, the final coat was prepared with computerized mixing instructions.

fifth
sixthThe paint was baked at 140 degrees F to ensure it was hardened up for the road.
An HVLP gun was used to apply the final coat to the frame.
We thank the following sources for their help: Alan Weller, body shop director, and Bob Wiszneski, truck painter, Bergey’s Truck Collision Center, Franconia, Pa.; Rick Klopp, collision repair instructor, Berks Career and Technology Center, Leesport, Pa.; Dave Chapman, marketing director, commercial segments, and Jamie Redd, tech sales instruction supervisor, PPG Industries; Joseph Wood, global market manager, heavy-duty truck business, Dupont Co.; and Frank Cutajar, instructor, Universal Technical Institute, Sacramento.
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