Ashyukun Reader
Nov. 14, 2012 9:24 p.m.

The block that will be going into my Challenge car was rebuilt less than 400 miles ago, and I'm rather loathe to pull out the pistons and crank just so I can paint it up nice and pretty. But it definitely needs a good bit of cleaning before I could think of painting it like I want to. Anyone have some good suggestions/tricks/procedures to be able to clean it thoroughly enough that it will paint nicely without having to pull the pistons & crank? Thanks!

motomoron Dork
Nov. 14, 2012 11:57 p.m.

Sure. I did the lump in the Sprite that way - here's what I did.

(Note: it's much easier if the pan/valve and timing covers/etc are all on)

Cover the holes with a couple plies of duct tape. Trim neatly to the edges of the faced areas on the castings. Attack the filthy lump with degreaser and a stiff nylon brush. Something like Zep or Purple Power is good. If it makes you think you should have worn gloves, it's the right stuff.

Rinse w/ hot water - don't spray really hard and get water in your engine - just a gentle shower - let the detergent do it's thing and emulsify all the crud with the water so it carries it off.

Dry everything down w/ paper towels.

Now - if you have a spray gun, fill the cup with lacquer thinner, adjust the fan knob on the gun to the narrowest pattern, and use this solvent pressure washer to blast every bit of oil off starting at the top and working down.

If you spray over the edge of the taped places from tape toward casting it won't lift the tape.

Follow with more thinner, paper towel and a brush.

Let it dry.

Spray w/ Dupli-color 500 degree paint or Eastwood engine enamel.

No spray gun? Find (first choice) Berkbile 2+2 which is essentially lacquer thinner in a spray can, or (#2) Gumout carb cleaner or (#3) CRC ~green can~ Brakleen.

Not red can brakleen. The new stuff leaves all manner of residue.

Before...

After!

Ashyukun Reader
Nov. 15, 2012 8:00 a.m.
motomoron wrote: Sure. I did the lump in the Sprite that way - here's what I did. (Note: it's much easier if the pan/valve and timing covers/etc are all on)

I've got it down to the just the block now (everything external that can come off is off), but can easily bolt everything back on for cleaning, and have junk parts of all those extras that I'm not worried about damaging. Actually, for the valve covers it would probably be good, since I plan on repainting those too.

Is it safe to assume that the duct tape would suffice as a temporary gasket for those parts (like between the heads & block)?

Now - if you have a spray gun, fill the cup with lacquer thinner, adjust the fan knob on the gun to the narrowest pattern, and use this solvent pressure washer to blast every bit of oil off starting at the top and working down. If you spray over the edge of the taped places from tape toward casting it won't lift the tape. Follow with more thinner, paper towel and a brush. Let it dry.

I've got both a HVLP paint gun and a cheap HF electric paint sprayer (OK, so the HVLP is from HF too, but...), which would likely be better to use for this?

Right now I have several quarts of the 'Green' low-odor laquer thinner (from Home Depot) in my small parts washer- is that what I should be using for this, or would it be better to use the 'non-green' variety?

Spray w/ Dupli-color 500 degree paint or Eastwood engine enamel.

In some of my Googling around I saw several mentions of a final going-over with Dawn dishsoap and a rinse. Do you think that would be necessary, or does the laquer thinner handle that same job?

I've got several cans of Summit engine paint in both colors I plan to use, though it says 'withstands temperatures up to 300 degrees', it is also supposed to be for engine blocks & such, so I'm hoping it holds up since it cost about half what the Duplicolor does. Since mine wasn't painted before, should I put a coat of primer on it first, or doe the engine paints not need primer?

Before... After!

It looks like yours started off in a bit better shape than mine is (yours was already painted)- though it does remind me that I should be taking more pictures of the work I'm doing on mine. I'm really bad about that...

Thanks!

turboswede PowerDork
Nov. 15, 2012 10:11 a.m.

Sit the engine in the back of your El Camino on an old tire, engine stand, etc. take to coin-operated car wash. Spray with engine cleaner, scrub, spray with more engine cleaner, etc until the big chunks of gunk are off, then rinse thoroughly with car wash wand.

As long as the valve covers are in place and the intake/exhaust ports are covered, you'll be fine spraying the engine externally.

From there you can finish cleaning the fiddly bits and then mask it off and paint it. I've had luck with the spray bombs from the parts store, just use light coats and let it dry completely between coats. A nice warm day really helps, though a couple of heat lamps can work in a pinch, just get the steel warm.

Ashyukun Reader
Nov. 15, 2012 10:42 a.m.
turboswede wrote: Sit the engine in the back of your El Camino on an old tire, engine stand, etc. take to coin-operated car wash. Spray with engine cleaner, scrub, spray with more engine cleaner, etc until the big chunks of gunk are off, then rinse thoroughly with car wash wand. As long as the valve covers are in place and the intake/exhaust ports are covered, you'll be fine spraying the engine externally.

Unfortunately, since the engine is out of the car, the El Camino isn't going anywhere under its own power. I do have a pressure washer myself though that I could use, though my driveway wouldn't like me for all the engine cleaner. Of course, I could just rent a truck from Home Despot and use that to take it to the cleaners.

From there you can finish cleaning the fiddly bits and then mask it off and paint it. I've had luck with the spray bombs from the parts store, just use light coats and let it dry completely between coats. A nice warm day really helps, though a couple of heat lamps can work in a pinch, just get the steel warm.

Yeah... I'm unlikely to have a nice warm day anytime soon unless I were to haul the engine down to Texas when I visit my family for Thanksgiving (which isn't happening since I'm a) flying and b) don't own a vehicle capable of doing so at the moment...). It will most likely be done in my garage... so heat lamps it will have to be...

stan_d Dork
Nov. 15, 2012 8:45 p.m.

Don't waste money on a chrome oil pan. I put one On my Malibu. The only time it Is appreciated is during oil changes.

I deflashed the block and painted it green. In my challange v8 240 I bet no one noticed.

Ashyukun Reader
Nov. 15, 2012 9:34 p.m.
stan_d wrote: Don't waste money on a chrome oil pan. I put one On my Malibu. The only time it Is appreciated is during oil changes. I deflashed the block and painted it green. In my challange v8 240 I bet no one noticed.

I've actually got a chrome oil pan, but it came with the Elky's original engine- it had TONS of chrome on it. Haven't decided if I'm putting it back on the car or am just going to repaint the normal one that came with the engine that's going into it.

motomoron Dork
Nov. 15, 2012 9:40 p.m.

That's green "paint thinner" - not lacquer thinner. It's essentially mineral spirits - not what you want.

Lacquer thinner is a deadly, volatile cocktail of of high-speed aromatic solvents. It flashes off very quickly and leaves a surface totally free of petroleum and ready to paint.

HVLP gun! not the electric sprayer. The electric would be an awesome path to self-immolation. Don't go there. Electric sprayers are worthless for anything - even latex on walls. But if you insist on wasting good paint in one, it's latex ONLY.

fasted58 UberDork
Nov. 15, 2012 9:44 p.m.

Duplicolor ceramic engine enamel

Ashyukun Reader
Nov. 15, 2012 10:11 p.m.

I got the engine put back together enough to lower the amount of holes I had to cover, and got it taped off (but not totally trimmed yet). I'll probably start attacking it with degreaser tomorrow afternoon if it's not entirely too cold out. Still a bit uncertain how I'm going to rinse it down with hot water though.

stan_d Dork
Nov. 15, 2012 11:59 p.m.

My point is the engine will look it's best on the stand. Once in the car alot of it will be covered.

Ashyukun Reader
Nov. 16, 2012 7:27 a.m.
stan_d wrote: My point is the engine will look it's best on the stand. Once in the car alot of it will be covered.

Quite true, though in an older car with more room under the hood (especially without A/C or P/S) like the El Camino it will be more noticeable than, say, painting my Saturn's engine would be. However, if I didn't do anything with it, there's little doubt that it would not score as well in the Challenge concours- and that's about the only place I think I stand much of a chance of scoring well.

81cpcamaro HalfDork
Nov. 16, 2012 7:38 a.m.
Ashyukun wrote:
stan_d wrote: Don't waste money on a chrome oil pan. I put one On my Malibu. The only time it Is appreciated is during oil changes. I deflashed the block and painted it green. In my challange v8 240 I bet no one noticed.

I've actually got a chrome oil pan, but it came with the Elky's original engine- it had TONS of chrome on it. Haven't decided if I'm putting it back on the car or am just going to repaint the normal one that came with the engine that's going into it.

Save yourself some trouble and use the normal pan. Chrome ones tend to leak more and usually are made overseas so the quality isn't all that great anyways. In some GM cars, the inner tie rods can hit the pan as they don't have the clearance dents in them like the GM pans do. Just some stuff to watch out for.

Ashyukun Reader
Nov. 16, 2012 7:46 a.m.
81cpcamaro wrote: Save yourself some trouble and use the normal pan. Chrome ones tend to leak more and usually are made overseas so the quality isn't all that great anyways. In some GM cars, the inner tie rods can hit the pan as they don't have the clearance dents in them like the GM pans do. Just some stuff to watch out for.

Duly noted, I'll have to keep an eye out for that. I'm still on the fance as to whether I'm going to run any of the chrome stuff (I've already sold the valve covers, since they were outside-bolt and the Vortec heads are center-bolt but still have the timing cover, alt brackets, and oil pan...) or sell it off and just paint/powder coat the stock hardware I've collected.

The chrome oil pan was a considerable head-scratcher when I first discovered it, because I had the exact same though as stan_d pointed out: "Who will ever see that thing?"

Ranger50 UltraDork
Nov. 16, 2012 8:05 a.m.
Ashyukun wrote: The chrome oil pan was a considerable head-scratcher when I first discovered it, because I had the exact same though as stan_d pointed out: "Who will ever see that thing?"

The person who wants to look after you place a mirror underneath and make the point about it.

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