I just dropped off my frame along with a few other parts at a local powder coating shop. It's a very reputable shop in the area, but there is a language barrier between myself and the owner so he couldn't really clarify something for me:
My plan is to get the exhaust header and mufflers ceramic coated matte black. They are currently chrome, except the mufflers which at some point were painted red OVER the chrome. The exhaust header is in pretty rough shape. No dents or bends, but a lot of rust spots that leave a bunch of tiny craters when cleaned. My question is, how noticeable will these little craters be once everything is cleaned up and ceramic coated? Also, will the ceramic coating adhere the same to chrome? And would these conditions have the same outcome whether powder coated or ceramic coated? The reason I ask is because rims are also pretty bad and I was planning on going matte black on them too.
I've been doing my own powder coating since the late 1990's and can offer a qualified opinion. As far as resulting surface finish, it all depends on the preparation and what you want to achieve. I do not do ceramics, but can tell you that even though powder is up to 40 times thicker than paint, you will see a "softened" or smoothed surface imperfection and pits after coating. If it's important to get a really nice result, you should get the part stripped/blasted to bare metal and do the metal work yourself first. No commercial powder coater has time to do a good preparation- they just want to blast, spray, bake, and get them out the door. Just hand him those parts (with a language barrier to boot) and pick a color, I guarantee that you'll be disappointed with the results. He'll just shrug and expect to be paid. It all comes down to time and careful prep, and I suspect you'll be happiest doing a careful prep yourself. Below is an example of my work in satin black. If you can, please show us a picture of what you have- good luck either way!
Last edited by sandman; 02-27-2014 at 10:20 AM.
For exhaust ceramic coatings I have used a company called Zircotec in Abingdon in Oxfordshire, their website is Zircotec - high performance heat management for automotive and motorsport They do loads of motorsport and custom aplications and are definitely experts in this type of finish. They did a pair of manifolds for me and they were nothing short of amazing. Sadly I didn`t think to photograph them
Tried getting a couple of pics yesterday when I was at my shop but they looked much better on my phone than on my computer. Next time I'm there I'll try to get something better.
I did a little bit of the prep work already, but it's not exactly something I'm very good at. I managed to strip all the rust, but I don't want to go any further just yet in case I screw something up.
If I was anywhere near any of you guys I have a feeling this would be a lot easier. I think at this point I'll wait for the crazy old japanese dude to finish the frame and see how that comes out.
Thanks for the input guys!
Looking forward to seeing existing condition- close up pics of worst sections would answer a lot of questions. Bottom line remains the same, however- the better the condition that they are in before coating, the better the results will be. If damage/corrosion shows now, it'll show through the coating to a good extent in other words. How you get to that point is up to you, but I see some type of abrasives in your future!
I took these pics today. This is after I used a stripping wheel on a die grinder to get rid of all the rust.
I picked up the frame from the powder coater today and I gotta say I'm impressed. The frame came out better than expected, although a couple of the smaller pieces do shoe some imperfections.
I'll post some pics as soon as I have a chance to take some.
As for the exhaust manifold, what do you all think?
Very good! If I was refinishing that work peice, I'd first bead blast the surface corrosion away. Next, I'd progressively sand down the pitted areas so that no pitting remains. The stripping wheel/die grinder you're using seems good enough for rough initial pitting removal, but you're going to need an abrasive wheel after that to get a smooth/round surface finish. I use greasless abrasive set up wheels on a bench polisher for that job. You want to end up with a smooth surface finish for best coating results.
I went through almost the same process with my Benelli steel centerstand. It was even rougher and more corroded than your pipe from 40 years of contact on the ground. I got a great smooth surface finish and after powder coating, but spent quite a bit of time getting to that point. It was worth it, though.