Monday, May 19, 2014

Spare Engine - Painting the Head

Progress has been oh so slow recently, hampered by all the building work and all the general busyness a full time job and two kids bring. But now the building work is complete, it is set to get even slower as I embark on the mammoth task of redecorating the whole house! So blog entries may not be so think and fast for the next few months as I will only be able to steal a few hours on the Mini here and there.

But that hasn't stopped me from plodding on with restoring all the other parts of the head. Along with those restored parts and a few new bits, it's finally time to put it all back together again. But before any rebuilding can be done, the head itself needs new coat. As the head I'm working on is a 998cc, it should really be painted yellow, but I'm not purist when it comes to these things so I'm painting it red. Why, because I want to!

Before any painting though, the surface needs to be clean and grease free so the paint doesn't fall off in a few weeks time. Now when it comes to de-greasing, I find diesel to be as effective as anything in the shops as I discovered here. I created makeshift a small bath out of plastic and left the head to soak in the diesel overnight. Well that was the plan, but with one thing and another, it ended up being nearer a week. Hopefully the extra time just means extra clean. Once it was out, it was scrubbed, rinsed and left to dry.

Dipped in diesel
Scrub, scrub.
Ready to paint.

In the past, when I have painted cast iron engine parts, I thin the first coat down 50/50 so that it keys onto the surface. I used this method a year ago when I painted the engine here, and it hasn't flaked yet. When it comes to the thinner. I'm not too fussy about what I use as long as it thins the paint and evaporates away. This time I had a bit of Turps Substitute (whatever that is) lying about, so I used that.

Paint and thinner about 50/50
First coat never looks good!

I left the first coat to dry overnight and then painstakingly applied a further 2 coats eventually giving a pretty good finish.
Second coat.
Final coat. - Boom! Oh yes sir!

As mentioned above, if I were doing a 'proper' factory restore, I would be painting it the original yellow. But one thing that's great about owning a classic Mini is that you can individualise it as much or as little as you want. You can keep it factory fresh if you want, or make it as mad as a box of frogs and it really doesn't matter. It's all part of the joy of ownership.

<Next Post> - 'Spare Engine - Reassembling the Head'
<This Post> - 'Spare Engine - Painting the Head'
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