Painting aluminum Radiator - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Painting aluminum Radiator

I have some eastwood Radiator gloss black that I want to paint my aluminum northern radiator with.

1. how would you prep the radiator for paint - i just used some zep degreaser. Any other steps?
2. Can I paint the fins or just the tanks/sides?

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 02:56 PM
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I'll be following this thread because I just received my ACP aluminum radiator today. I was planning to wipe the aluminum down with alcohol and then use Dupli-Color engine enamel primer with ceramic that withstands heat up to 500*F. Planning to finish coat it with Eastwood Radiator Gloss Black. I plan to shoot a test piece of aluminum tomorrow to make sure the paints are compatible.
I'm leaning towards painting the top, sides and bottom, but not the fins. I have an A/C condenser in front of the radiator and the back has a shroud and thermostatic clutch with a 6 blade fan. I don't think you can see much of the fins, but I will set it in place to look before making a final decision. My setup attempts to keep everything under the hood looking OEM so I don't want the aluminum to be noticeable.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 02:59 PM
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I used that paint on an aluminum radiator and painted the whole thing. Just did light coats. No negative impact on cooling.

I sprayed it down with brake cleaner first and then wiped it down...then sprayed it.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Babb View Post
I used that paint on an aluminum radiator and painted the whole thing. Just did light coats. No negative impact on cooling.

I sprayed it down with brake cleaner first and then wiped it down...then sprayed it.
So no primer? How long has the paint been on the aluminum?

1966 2+2, 289 A code, AOD AT, 3.55 Currie Traction Lock, PS, PDB, AC, Pony deluxe interior & Rally Pac
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 03:33 PM
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It's been about 6 years now and no chips. Although in my car, mostly just the core is visible...not the side tanks.
I would wipe down the tanks with a green scotch-brite pad to give the paint something to bite.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 07:49 PM
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I'm not sure on the look of gloss black, but I guess it a matter of preference. Id think satin black would be more appropriate.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 09:19 PM
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I had always heard you were supposed to use "special" radiator paint that was necessary for heat transfer. It was the same price as all the other rattle cans on the shelf so I'm not exactly sure what was going on? Maybe it was a thinner coating or something?

Eastwood, as always sells something to fill the niche. https://www.eastwood.com/ew-radiator...SABEgLoePD_BwE
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 10:38 PM
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To each their own ,but I don't understand painting aluminum
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 10:53 PM
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You can scuff up the aluminum with a scotchbrite pad, then paint with the Eastwood's Radiator Black. Just do a light dusting on the fins....just enough for coverage.

2nd 66..., The reason they paint the aluminum is to make it more stock looking....especially with the ACP MAXCORE Radiators...which highly resemble a stock radiator. Kudos to ACP that they saw a niche in the market that they could fill. I wish more companies were like that. People (including myself) got fed up of buying the real garbage stock radiators (New Modine, Four Seasons, GDI, and others that are made by the same damn maker (All have Small White Sticker on the tank with Blue Waves on it) and just sold under a different name) on the market that keep blowing their top tanks...and don't even go 2 years under normal use. I went thru 5 of them...and these are on 6cyl cars.. within a 10 year period...Total junk.

)

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 11:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEFaurora View Post
You can scuff up the aluminum with a scotchbrite pad, then paint with the Eastwood's Radiator Black. Just do a light dusting on the fins....just enough for coverage.

2nd 66..., The reason they paint the aluminum is to make it more stock looking....especially with the ACP MAXCORE Radiators...which highly resemble a stock radiator. Kudos to ACP that they saw a niche in the market that they could fill. I wish more companies were like that. People (including myself) got fed up of buying the real garbage stock radiators (New Modine, Four Seasons, GDI, and others that are made by the same damn maker (All have Small White Sticker on the tank with Blue Waves on it) and just sold under a different name) on the market that keep blowing their top tanks...and don't even go 2 years under normal use. I went thru 5 of them...and these are on 6cyl cars.. within a 10 year period...Total junk.

)

Tony K.
Yeah, stock not my gig man
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 11:40 PM
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I haven't used it but the Eastwood radiator paint is supposedly made for radiators and it is a lacquer based paint. You just want the radiator clean and free of dirt, grease, silicone, aluminium polishes or any thing like that. Use prep sol or equivalent like you would wipe down any other thing before paint. On the fins you can shoot the prep in there and blow it out with an air hose until it has dried.


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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 02:35 AM
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I lightly scuffed the top tank with green scotchbrite wetted with brake cleaner, then wiped it down with laquer thinner. Two light coats of Simoniz Tough Black rattle can - it's a semigloss - and my radiator blends in nicely. I only did the top tank as my shroud hides the core.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 07:02 AM
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I went with the ACP MAXCORE Radiator to look stock, so that's why I'm painting it. I'm surprised no one has mentioned using any kind of primer at all over aluminum. Eastwood makes a self etching primer recommended on their gloss black rattle can. I did shoot a test piece of aluminum with Dupli-Color engine enamel primer with ceramic and let it stand 15 minutes. Then coated with the Eastwood gloss black. If it's lacquer, it didn't wrinkle up the enamel primer. It flowed out nicely. I'm going to try a scratch test today to see if it performs better primed or un-primed. If anyone has used primer or self etching primer, please chime in.

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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 09:55 AM
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I did spray the Eastwood on wet enamel primer and it crinkled, so the Eastwood is lacquer. Since I have Dupli-Color primer and paint, I'm going to prime and paint the top, bottom and sides with the ceramic enamel, then paint the fins with the Eastwood lacquer. More masking work than I intended, but I had the Dupli-Color in the shop. The Eastwood on the fins shouldn't hurt heat transfer.

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 10:16 AM
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Pretty much sums it up

Normal engine paints are too thick for radiator use which will interfere with heat transfer and block air flow over the cooling fins. Also, standard paint tends to flake off metal radiator tanks. Radiator Black is specially formulated to solve these problems and is heat resistant to 300F.

Factory Look Finish

Heat Dissipating Formula

Quick Drying

Heat Resistant To 300 F

Durable Enamel formulation resists temperatures up to 300F, under hood chemicals and chips. One can covers 6 square feet (most radiators require 2 cans). Net wt. 12 oz.
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