14
Dec
11

Beyond the Sea…horse!: Outboard motor restoration step by step…Day Three!

When we parted company in our last post, 7 hours have been spent restoring our old Sea-Horse so far.  There is still much to do!  Paint, decals, rebuild the lower unit and power-head.  We had cleaned and degreased all parts, blasted the paint off all the parts, and cleaned everything to perfection before priming each part with DP epoxy primer.  Now the time has come to do the work that everyone seemingly is afraid to try.  Apply the color coat…the one that will be seen by everyone in the world.

Fear not!  You will make mistakes, but the advantages of using a hardened acrylic enamel is you can wet sand and file drips, runs, and sags to make touch up and a near perfect finish on your motor.  This however is something of an art, and requires patience, and time to do properly.  Of course, since I “always” get the paint to apply perfectly…I will make a few “mistakes” on purpose for the educational value of those reading.

Okay…that’s a lot of bull.  I always make mistakes!  It is inevitable!  However the real fun is in learning to fix those mistakes!  So in this blog post we will no doubt have some opportunity to explore various options on fixing these blemishes.

Let’s go to work!

Just like the primer, the paint gets mixed in a mixing cup.  Each brand has it’s own mixing ratios.  Unlike the DP primer, our Limco 1 acrylic enamel requires three elements to be mixed together.  First there is the paint, which is of fairly thick consistency.  Added to paint is a hardener that will chemically harden the paint within about three hours.  This is the element that is missing from spray paint, therefore the paint from a spray can never really hardens.  Last is a reducer that is added to the mix to thin the paint enough to allow it to flow out of the gun, onto your project, and lay down flat before drying.

This is the Limco 1 Sea-Mist Green from North York Marine. Also seen is the reducer and hardener, which is manufacturer specific.

Mixing cups have many graduations for various manufacturer's paints Limco 1 uses and 8 (Paint) to 1 (Hardener) to 4 (Reducer). This mixture is not represented on this cup, but a ratio that is close to the same is in a 4-1-2 ratio as shown. You can also just measure in ounces.

Next hardener and reducer (thinner) is added.

The paint will now be fairly thin in consistency. Stir well and slowly. Don't worry if the metallic type paints have "swirls" in it after stirring. It will spray out of the gun correctly.

Proper technique is simple really.  First set the pattern and amount you want to shoot by spraying paint from the gun on a piece of paper.  Adjust all those knobs we discussed in Part 2 to get the right amount, vertical or horizontal, and width of pattern.  Once you’re satisfied with the paint pattern…you’re ready to do the real thing on your parts.

Remember you need to stand back about three feet to allow paint to properly atomize with the air before hitting the part being painted.  You’ll need to have paint flowing BEFORE you get to the part.  In other words have paint coming from the gun before approaching the part, and after leaving the trailing edge of the part.  Keep your gun at a 90 degree angle to the part being sprayed.  Take your time!  Learning to allow the right amount of paint to flow onto the part is only achieved by doing this and getting a feel by making mistakes.  Practice on some junk parts if possible.  You can always add another coat, so when starting out you may wish to err on the side of too little…after all…too much becomes a mess quickly.

I shoot paint at about 30psi, standing three feet away and moving side to side at a moderate pace, allowing the paint to give good coverage to all parts.  Always be on the lookout for areas that are too thinly covered.  Undersides of parts are tough to get at…so you may need to hang parts high, then low to shoot all areas.  Turning the part as needed to get paint on every plane of the part is a must.  Be aware that if you have just painted a nearby area, you are adding more paint to that portion of the parts at the same time you’re painting the un-painted area.

You can shoot each part lightly and then wait a few minutes to allow the paint to set, then go back to a part and shoot it again.  Several light coats are better than ONE HEAVY COAT!  But remember, once the hardener is added to the paint, the chemical process of hardening is under way, so you must use the paint.  You cannot save it for a half hour…or use down the road in a few days.

The first coat is applied on all surfaces. Be careful not to spray too heavy or too close to the parts to avoid sags.

Small parts are hanging to dry.

All parts are sprayed Sea-Mist Green.

In this photo, if you look closely at the water pump housing near the middle of these parts, you can see runs forming from too much paint. We'll have to re-visit this and correct those drips later.

These parts were hung at the end of the rack as they will all be sprayed either dull aluminum or Johnson Cream.

Drips and runs…or sags used to make my temper flare, my heart race, and my day go to heck!  Not so much anymore.  After experimenting and consulting some experts, and mostly just doing fixes on my mistakes, I’ve learned this is part of the process.  Besides, after I have not worked on the motor for a couple of weeks, I generally forget the whole drip ever existed.  We have to make mistakes to improve our skills, and this is part of the learning process when doing a full restoration.

So without further adieu, lets fix some drips!!

Drips are a way of life on most old motors owing to the many, many surfaces that must be covered. These can be fixed with some effort.

Again, drip and sags that will be evident and must be removed and wet sanded to flatten the surface out so a touch up coat can be applied.

The bottom shell of the lower unit will often get a run or two owing to the odd shape and screw recesses that can collect paint, then release it to run wild.

Here are parts that pass the drip test.

The propeller was shot with Johnson Cream from Peter McDowell at NY Marine. Since it is tough to mix a very small portion needed for one propeller, I usually keep several spare props in a bucket to shoot with other parts of similar color. In this case I shot four props and a 1956 5.5hp hood.

I shot this hood along with the propeller, but we'll address it later in the blog regarding masking for two color paint work.

This housing will be the first part we will try to get ready for touch up.

This handy tool is a miniature file attached to a wood block that will gently file down the drip until it is flush with the surface. These tools can be purchased at your local paint supply house.

Holding the tool between two fingers, you gently, with nearly no pressure, run it over the drip in ONLY ONE DIRECTION. This will take a few minutes and some patience. Should the tool become clogged with paint dust, simply clean with a wire brush.

After filing the drip down, now we're left with the discolored area where the paint pigments have collected. To prepare for a touch up I usually wet sand the area using water with a drop of dish detergent, and 600 to 1500 wet dry paper.

The water is straight from the tap, but distilled water is better. Also I add a drop of soap just to keep things slippery! However the soap must be completely rinsed and the part totally dry before applying the next coat of paint for touch up.

The wet-dry paper is wrapped around a small hardwood block. Very little pressure is used in sanding the remains of the drip out. Allow the grit on the sandpaper to do the work for you. This will again take some time and patience!!

All of these parts have now had their drips, runs or sags removed. They have been thoroughly washed and will be allowed to dry before painting with another coat of Sea-Mist Green.

Unless there is a good reason to touch up separately, I usually will assemble sub-assemblies to shoot in their entirety...from all angles...with a second coat of color. This part has some thin spots on the back of the steering tube and the port transom clamp. This will get covered by a second and final coat of Sea-Mist Green.

It has been my personal preference to shoot the hoods separately from the rest of the motor.  Reason: I can mix one more batch of paint and give the rest of the motor a good finish coat to fix those drips and thin spots while shooting the hood.

This hood will not be difficult to shoot with paint owning to it’s mostly flat surfaces.  Hoods such as the mid-50’s Johnson hoods can be a challenge because they have so many angles and planes that must be painted.  We’ll discuss that in some detail later.  However this hood is very simple in styling and will be shot quickly and allowed to dry for a day or so before masking for the dull aluminum paint on the trim.

The hood is now prepped and ready for DP epoxy primer. The it will get a coat of Sea-Mist Green with the other sub-assemblies. After the Green has dried, we will have to mask off and paint the dull aluminum trim on each half.

Total time for this work was about 2 hours.  This leaves us with about 9 hours in this motor so far.

The next several steps are what I call the “Hurry-up-n-wait-stage”!  This is where you’ll walk in the shop, shoot some paint, and you can’t do anything else with the motor until the paint has REALLY dried.  In other words, the next day.  That is why I usually keep two projects going at one time…and sometimes a third to do minor work on such as a tune up.

Next time, we’ll have the hood painted and ready for masking and shooting a second color.  We’ll address in some detail the different tapes used for masking and procedures used in Day Four of our full restoration of this 1951 Johnson QD-12.

You can check out part four here: Beyond the Sea…horse!: Outboard motor restoration step by step…Day Four!

Greg

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2 Responses to “Beyond the Sea…horse!: Outboard motor restoration step by step…Day Three!”


  1. December 15, 2011 at 6:05 am

    G-man, great job and you do a wonderful of explaining and I enjoy the encouragement and reassurance.

    cajuncook1


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