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paint problems: steering wheel


Dans240z

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I am currently in the process of panting my steering wheel, and I am angered by the paint. I have read the threads on this site and I am also following the article in SZM (fall 2001). I have primered and painted the wheel using the same paints in the article. Everything looks good, but the paint can be easily scratched off by a finger nail. It is not tacky in any way, but it just comes off too easily. I painted my fuel rail using the same paint maybe two months ago, and it is as solid as a rock.

What gives?

It says on the paint can that for the hardest surface, it can be heated to 300 Degrees Fahrenheit. Is it ok to put the steering wheel in the oven? The rim being plastic and wood composite? (I did my homework) LOL

Thanks

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depends on the surface you are painting on.

I think power coating would give the best results since it's an electron charge which causes it to stick. So I've read correct me as I've probably got it a bit muddled.

Anyway I'd say power coating would be a much better and long lasting process.

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Yeah, but powder coating also involves baking the item to high temperature. I WOULD NOT even consider this for a OEM steering wheel. Of course any Powder Coater worth his salt would warn a customer about the damage that will occur.

Dan:

I would not put a steering wheel in a home oven at 300 degrees either. But hey, that's just me, I'm not in a hurry to ruin my steering wheel. Other than warning you away from any heat processes, I'm sorry to say that I don't have any suggestions to resolve the issue.

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I have a similar problem as well, if I am gentle with my steering wheel it is not an issue. The spokes on mine were fairly solid, so I only painted the rim with a clear glossy paint after cleaning it up. I put several coats on it, and it holds up well unless I accidentally ding the rim with the seatbelt. This results in a pretty big chip in the gloss usually. I imagine i'll have to redo it with a tougher substance that other people have mentioned on these forums eventually.

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A couple of years ago I had pretty good results sanding spokes of a steering wheel to bare metal, masking the faux wood rim and applying a coat of black POR-15. This stuff dries pretty hard and will give powder coat a run for its money, IMO. Then, I wet sanded the wheel to even out some high spots and applied a coat of satin black.

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http://www.finishing.com/Library/pennisi/powder.html

"To obtain the final solid, tough, abrasion resistant coating the powder coated items are placed in an oven and heated to temperatures that range from 160 to 210 degrees C (depending on the powder)."

(that's 320 degrees F. to 410 degrees F) Do you really think your steering wheel can handle that temp?) LOL

Rottsa Ruk!!

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You don't state what TYPE of paints you used, but there are several different types. Not only in Aerosol Cans but also in mix to spray varieties.

Without going into a long discourse on types, benefits and problems; you need to check the type of paint you used and the type of primer you used on the metal.

From your post and replies it seems that the area that's giving you problems is the metal, that is the spokes. You don't mention whether you've addressed the rim, or the "wood".

The POR route is one way of getting a very HARD coating. You can also top coat it with one of the other products they sell that will give you a very satisfactory satin finish.

If you use the spray can method, then you must pay attention to the requirements of the paint you put on. Some paints will require a primer, some won't. (Think of Rust-O-Leum and an automotive touch up paint.) For those that require a primer, it is because the paint will NOT adhere to bare metal and you MUST let the primer set long enough to release the solvent in it. Then you must scuff or sand the surface for the paint to adhere.

With Rust-O-Leum, and other "Do It Yourself" type of paints, you don't need to prime for the paint to stick to the metal. You CAN prime it though, but you must be sure to use a compatible primer to the paint. Priming with those paints is usually to smooth out imperfections and not for paint adhesion.

If you prime, you must scuff that top skin for the next layer of paint to adhere. this also allows the last of the solvent to evaporate which in turn opens up small microscopic orifices in the primer for the paint to soak into. If you don't allow the solvent to evaporate, your primer will BE soft. Encapsulate it with paint and the surface will stay soft for a LONG period of time.

Additionally, if you shoot a THICK coat of primer, you must let it sit longer in order to dry out. Here's where putting the item in a "oven" would work, but NOT at the temperatures you've mentioned. To fast cure primer, you wouldn't do more than put it under an infra-red lamp and the temp would stay well below 130-160 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything more than that and you are asking to "boil" out the solvent. Additionally, too much heat and you'll have other problems. In the case of the steering wheel, the rim could not only melt, but at the temperatures that powder coating is baked, might even burn. Tell that to your powder coater and see what he says.....Get out!

So, as a quick how to fix post, strip off the paint on the spokes that's too soft, whether by chemical or mechanical means (if chemical avoid the rim at all costs as the stripper will seriously damage it). Using lacquer thinner, wash off any residue left. Then find a can of Rust-O-Leum Satin Black, which is shinier than Flat, but not as shiny as Gloss. Spray a very light coat on both sides and let dry (about 10 minutes). Spray a second coat and ensure you have complete coverage, while still maintaining a light coat, again let dry (this one about 30 mins.). Then spray a third coat, which can be a little thicker but now you're going for a SMOOTH finish. Allow to dry at least 24 hours at temperatures ABOVE 65°F. If you can't be sure that the garage will stay above 65 all night, then bring it inside. Yes it's going to stink, so be prepared for the yelling SWMBO will give you, or wait till she's away (and then air out the house before she gets back).

This should fix that problem.

As far as the rim, there are different clear coats available. Clean the rim, sanding if necessary to achieve a smooth finish. Stain if desired, can't remember the stain other members have mentioned as the proper color, then after it's dried apply a high gloss poly-urethane.

Hope this helps.

Enrique

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Hey, thanks for the repilies. Today I looked at my wheel again, and scratched the surface. Guess what, the paint will no longer scratch off! Why? I have no clue, but I am very glad. Maybe it is because in desperation last night I tried to harden the stuff with a hair drier. Last night after heating it still scratched off, but today it is fine. Well thats life!

Thanks again

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Hey, thanks for the repilies. Today I looked at my wheel again, and scratched the surface. Guess what, the paint will no longer scratch off! Why? I have no clue, but I am very glad. Maybe it is because in desperation last night I tried to harden the stuff with a hair drier. Last night after heating it still scratched off, but today it is fine. Well thats life!

Thanks again

That's cause you baked the top layer, but trapped all the solvents underneath the top layer. Since they couldn't evaporate (remember you hardened the top, think of chocolate pudding, the kind that skins over), the primer underneath stayed soft. When you further painted it, you further sealed the solvents requiriing MORE time before you could handle it without marring.

2¢

Enrique

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.... Stain if desired, can't remember the stain other members have mentioned as the proper color, then after it's dried apply a high gloss poly-urethane....

FWIW, I didn't stain my rim and I think it came out in a very dark cherry color to begin with after I cleaned it up and glossed it.

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FWIW, I didn't stain my rim and I think it came out in a very dark cherry color to begin with after I cleaned it up and glossed it.

That's the color it originally was. Ideally it should still be there and gloss up after the clear poly gets applied, but in some cases, due to friction wear and sunlight it fades.

After sanding the old varnish off, those people applied a stain to revive the color. Don't know how well it works but their comments have been favorable, so I presume the "wood" takes a stain properly.

2¢

Enrique

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