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Old 05-09-2014, 08:36 AM   #1
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How to paint your old plastic Valve cover and give it a new look

Hey all, daspazzZX3 here,

Whether your cover is stock black or painted by some else, if you just want to give your engine bay a new look here is what I did;

I got my '02 used and it had a red valve cover in it. I liked the color but it was getting a bit rough around the edges. While my car was apart in the shop for an engine rebuild I decides to repaint the plastic Zetec Cover. I am going with red as the secondary color in my overall scheme for DP. Most of my engine compartment items will be red and the engine should come back red. My suspension hardware is already half red and more red is coming.

Red is my favorite color, I didn't want a red car, because cops love red!

I was going with red again so I picked up the following products to make it sing! Here are some of the things you might need;
  • Paint Stripper
  • Steel wool
  • Adhesion promoter (BulllDog) Helps paint stick better to plastic
  • Possibly a adhesion promoting primer
  • You paint color (High heat paint may work better, but adhesion primer my reduce paint flaking)
  • An after coat, I used an anodizing cover paint, you may want to clear coat
  • Plastic brush for stripping paint
  • Masking tape to mask areas you dont want painted.












The old cover looked like this! Ewwww!





So first things first I needed to strip the paint. I was worried about damaging the cover since it is plastic. I was going to use aircraft paint stripper, but I was worried as to how caustic that might be. I asked around and the O'riely's guy suggested brake parts cleaner. I gave that a try. Turned out that it wasn't really enough to totally strip the old paint, although it did make for a good start. I ended up using a milder paint stripper and let it sit for about 15 minutes per the can instructions. Then I used a water hose and brush to clean away the excess goo.

When I was done the old cover looked to be in good shape. I then masked off the stem on the side, all the bolt holes (by stuffing rolled up paper towels into them, the center holes from the bottom so they would get good coverage into the holes and the filler hole.





After I let it dry I prepped it with the Adhesion promoter, waiting as per instructions about 5 to 10 minutes between coats.

First Coat


Second Coat


Third and final Coat



So now I tried to just spray it with the Anodizing paint and I found out that wouldn't work. It started turning the letters on the cover pink but wasn't covering the black at all. I then used a primer that also promoted plastic adhesion. I know it's double duty, but I'm trying to learn as I go, so maybe you can skip the first step when you try, OK? These coats were about 30 minutes apart. And this did a great job of covering the black!

First Coat




Second Coat




I let the primer dry for about an hour and a half. Now its on to Cherry Red the actual paint! I went with 3 or 4 coats and let them dry per can instructions between coats.



First Coat


Second Coat


Third and final Coat



I let it cure for about 36 hours and then peeled off the masking. I can't install it yet because the car is still in pieces at the shop, but I have topped it off with a billet anodized cap like this from sick speed.



And here it is with a few coats of the Anodizer sprayed on.



I'm really happy with the way it turned out! I look pretty bad ass! I do want to get some DOHC and maybe some Zetec stickers and put them on the cover just for grins! Once the car is done I will add more pictures of the finished product.

And now a special BONUS!!!

Just in case you were wondering how to get rid of stickers that were on a car you bought, you might want to try this! I will be using it when I get DP Back!

Aircraft Decal and Adhesive remover!






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Last edited by daspazzZX3; 05-09-2014 at 08:43 AM. Reason: added oil cap pic
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:23 PM   #2
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Looks nice
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:52 PM   #3
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idk how well that red paint is going to hold up on a valve cover i always used motor paints or high temp
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Old 06-05-2014, 04:13 PM   #4
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Cheap paint is fine, if anything the valve cover heat will help it cure if you install it asap when you can touch it.

The down side is plastic is near impossible to clean and it will probably need to be redone much sooner than a metal one with the same paint. Maybe you get lucky but I'd rather use a cheap paint and re do it once a year to keep looking fresh.

I've done only metal valve covers, but clear coat is a must if you want to keep it for a while. I did one white one time and constantly needs to be wiped down .

There is nothing wrong with a high temp paint, it will probably last longer if your looking for a permanent solution. I sprayed my svt in VHT wrinkle black so I shouldn't ever have to really worry about again, but its not exactly for that show look I'm going for either.
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Old 06-05-2014, 07:51 PM   #5
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Thanks guys, I don't mind redoing it to keep it fresh. It was kinda fun to "get my hands dirty" for the first time in a while.
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Old 06-10-2014, 07:16 PM   #6
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looks good. any chance an engine bay shot?
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Old 06-11-2014, 01:29 PM   #7
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As soon as I get DP back I will be adding those!
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:27 PM   #8
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Looks good!
i dont know what you have invested, $100+?
Have you looked at this?
http://www.massivespeedsystem.com/_m.../i-407460.aspx
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:37 PM   #9
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30 bux and a few hours. Thanks. This was a learning expereince and an update. I've seen those, but I kinda think they are more ricey......

I just found out about hydographic painting and I'm going to get several parts including (inside pull handle inserts, coolant tank cover, metal valve cover, and a few other pieces covered in Red with Black Skullz once I get my car back.
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Old 06-12-2014, 06:33 AM   #10
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hydographic painting, I'm going to get my AR done in camo.

Wow... your one of those... jk
ricey - tuner, it's all the same to me. I'm just look at the aluminum cover and the ease of keeping it clean.
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