Painting is harder than it looks

Before my raging sinus infection took hold of me on Saturday, I decided to paint the tailgate. I woke up to a rainy day and temperatures in the 50s. I know humidity has a huge effect on painting but I could not wait. I’d been held up too many times on this project to blow an entire day once again.

On Thursday I went by my local auto paint supply store, B&H Supply. The good folks there were very patient with me when I had stopped by a month ago to get the “low down” on painting. After describing the project and what I wanted to accomplish, they suggested using a one step process to paint the tailgate. They suggested using Preval system to paint the tailgate. It is simple and easy and has pretty good results considering the situation.

I found the Land Rover paint codes from a website by Stephen Hull (updated link, July 2013). He has a great site that had a helpful chart of codes for all Land Rovers. I found my paint code in the “non metallic” page. I printed the page and took it with me to the paint store. Bud (a truly great Okie name) was a lot of help and was able to find the code listed in his computer. He went to the back and got the paint mixed. He said I’d only need a pint.

He brought out the paint, hardener, reducer. With a measured mixing container he marked the ratios for me and told me I’d have about half my paint left over when I poured the first mix. That wasn’t quite right. I mentioned that when he marked it but he was insistent. As it turned out it was exactly twice too much. Live and learn.

Bud had suggested that I should at least sand the surface with at least 500 grit sandpaper. I’m pretty sure I didn’t give enough attention to the sanding that I could have. I sanded off most of the edges.

I got everything set up and mixed the paint. I went back to the Range Rover and made sure I had everything taped off. In hind sight I should have lit that side of the garage up as well. I set up in my wife’s third of the garage. I got my bright halogen lamps and set them up. I got the paint materials out and tried to imagine how it would all go. I decided to paint the tailgate flat on the work table.

That would turn out to be a mistake. I should have had it propped up from the beginning. I was able to correct that later.

I mixed the paint and filled the paint jar. I used the short spray, short stroke method I’ve seen Edd China do a hundred times. Basically you spray and move, spray and move. If you do it the same way as Edd does you never have the paint coming out more than a couple of seconds before you release. After a couple of passes you have the area coated but not so much paint on it that it will cause a drop or a wave.

Now I say that and it seems my technique could use some more work. I did have runs and I did have one wave. The paint coats well and I think the problems I had were from the humidity. If I had a booth I think the results would have been better.

I painted both sides of the tailgate and both of the spots on the fenders. I sprayed the tailgate hitch, I sprayed stuff I didn’t think I even needed to spray. I had a lot of paint still mixed. I almost painted the floor board on the driver’s side but it was really dirty and would have taken me an hour to get clean enough to paint, so I passed.

Once I was done I used some of the reducer to clean up the parts. I let it dry all the rest of Saturday. I went in and watched football and tried to beat back the sinus attack with orange juice and Respa ™.

On Sunday I assembled everything. I had left the spots where the bolts went through the tailgate unpainted. Turned out I didn’t need to do that after all. The hinges were so loose that I had to align them from scratch. That was easy. I put the tailgate on and tightened it down. Open and closed the gate a few times and called it good. I tightened the bolts and began to work on the upper tail gate. It was a lot harder to get aligned.

I had to adjust the catches to get them to function correctly. This takes a vise-grip and a 7mm wrench to tighten the keeper nut. I got the latches working well, lubed them and put the pieces back on the gate.

I then began to put the badging back on the tail gate. I purchased some double sided tape for emblems from O’Reily’s. I cut it and got all the emblems reattached.

You may notice my EXTRA addition of the Oklahoma Edition badge. I have a friend that works for a dealership and I asked him to get me one when I saw them on a Ford Truck commercial. I put one on my 2003 Discovery and no one ever mentioned it. So when that truck was on the way to the scrap heap I took the badge off. I have a spare but was unable to find it.

I bought the RANGE ROVER and the COUNTY LWB badges quite a while ago and quite frankly was surprised I found them in that mess I call a garage. I put them on and the original dealer badge which was Andrew’s out of Nashville. That dealer is now called Land Rover Nashville. I also mounted the original green oval as well after I cleaned it up and re-glued it all back together.

The purchase of stainless steel screws came in handy when reassembling the tail lights. I was a few short so I just cleaned up the old rusty ones and gave them a coat of paint. I put the lamp assemblies back in their places and with a couple of new bulbs they were ready to go.

And if you go back to the first picture you can see the end result. I am happy with it. It is after all a work truck. It is not a beauty queen. God only knows how many scratches this paint job will have in the future. That is if the floor boards don’t rust out from under my feet before I can get those well earned scratches on her.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

2 thoughts on “Painting is harder than it looks

  • is it made of steel or aluminum? what about quarter panels? did you have to remove rust? I’m a bit afraid of taking the tailgate off the rover, but I can see rusty bubbles on the paint, and it’s sort of a bad sign…

    • It is steel. If you have surface rust grind to bare and prime and paint. If it is inside rust replace the whole gate. I sprayed mine on the inside when I took it off the Rover during my rust abatement process.

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