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Advice on Engine Compartment Paint

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  • Advice on Engine Compartment Paint

    My 60 Bird is a cream-white color and so "was" the engine compartment, of course. However, it is completely trashed/chipped/worn off/rusted.

    I am about to re-install the front suspension and place the engine back it only makes sense to re-paint the engine compartment while I am doing all this.

    The problem is that I don't want to get so involved as to match the paint with automotive paint...and use a gun/compressor, etc. I am not equipped to do that here. (Used to have my own shop, but I don't anymore).

    I have found some similar-colored paint (Krylon and Rustoleum) but of course it is not a very exact match.

    I am thinking about going with Black paint from where the fenders meet the compartment on-down.

    The interior is black and white, so it wouldn't be all bad.

    I'm just kind of torn about going against the originality of the car, and just doing what is most convenient and least costly for me. I will be installing a Sanden compresor/condensor/lines for my AC, so it will yell "unoriginal" when anyone opens the hood...but do I want to change the paint scheme under the hood.....I'm torn.

    Any thoughts or opinions?

  • #2
    Advice on Engine Compartment Paint

    Hi "Torn"!

    Let me try this again! I tried to reply to your comments, but for whatever reason, they did not post.

    You and I have the same color Bird, probably. Mine is a Casino Cream and a White top. It is possible to find the correct color cream paint you need. Here we have two NAPA stores who also sell Martin Senour paints. If you have NAPA stores in your area, call them. Or Martin Senour.

    You can go in and have them put the paint you order into cans. The Casino Cream color is now called Pampas Yellow. She said they changed the name some years back. The Martin Senour SKU numbers are 61T-2842 and 90T-3533. Why there are two numbers I do not know. She looked up the Ford color code for Casino Cream and matched it to those SKU numbers. It IS the color of our cars. In fact, I will probably have her put some in cans for me.

    They cost $12.99 per can and the minimum order is two cans. So check that out. Once you have the engine bay cleaned up, you should just be able to spray that area good with the spray cans and it should do the trick. It might not be the really nice finish you want on the outside of the car, but it certainly should look good enough for the engine bay.

    '59 Tbird "Yellow Rose" VTCI #11178

    Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
    '59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
    "It's Hip To Be Square"
    Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

    Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or (Cell) 210-875-1411 (Home) 210-674-5781


    • #3
      I personally like the color-keyed underhood of the Squarebird, very distinctive when opening the hood to see the color. Much like the Mopars that came in some wild colors, seeing their detailed engine compartments the reds, oranges and yellows, this level of detail is a show-stopper.

      I would vote cream/white krylon before black any day, especially a white car, the cross member, radiator support and frame rails really stand out when painted in white and show the effort put into the car when viewed. Wish Ford had used their blue on all the engines instead of Black on later years.

      When I see black painted underhoods on color cars, I think of Rube attempting a quick detail to turn a car for profit, while ignoring the uniquenest of this car to make a buck. I'd rather see the worn original paint than a quick black spray job.

      Just my opinion.
      1959 J Convertible
      1960 J Hardtop


      • #4

        I am going through about the same area as you. Just reinstalled the engine. I am going to vote with the paint it to match the car and not black. All the work you have done on the engine gets lost in a black engine compartment. As long as you have the engine out take the time to sand and prep the compartment. If you dont everytime you look at it you will second guess yourself. Use POR on any rust you cant get clean and take your time with the spray bomb. It will look close to if you did it with a gun. I included a few pictures so you can visualize your new engine against a clean color firewall and inner fender wells. We did paint the cross member black. You can just see the A frame in one picture. If you are putting the Sanden on I am curious as to what brackets and water pump you are using. You can see my brackets for a Sanden on the left side of the engine (drivers side). Good luck, email me if you have questions.
        NCbird on the Coast of NC
        "Dads Bird" for my father


        • #5
          Thanks for the replies. I am going with the original color.

          As for the AC question, my car was an AC car to begin with, so I bought the Sanden bracket that sits atop the original. VERY simple.

          I am using the same water pump. Long neck, like yours, it appears.

          The Sanden bracket I am using sits RIGHT on top of the Tecumseh bracket and the Sanden sits EXACTLY where the Tecumseh used to sit. There was only one piece.

          Bolt the Sanden bracket on top of the Tecumseh bracket. Bolt the Sanden on. Too easy.

          The major problem with repainting the compartment is the AC housing/accessories. I can remove everything but that, which makes it very difficult to get those corners and underneath the AC housing.

          It is a real mess. I will post before/after pics when I am done.

          My engine is on the stand and ready, my Control-Arms will be back from the machine shop on Monday. I will do what I can through the week, but hope to have the paint done by next weekend, and can begin placing everything back in order through the following week and weekend.

          I can't wait to get back on the road.


          • #6
            I used to use diesel or mineral spirits to clean greasy areas like some of these areas in my engine compartment. I figure with the advances in technology these past 5-10 years there is probably a less harsh solvent out there that will work as well.

            Any suggestions?


            • #7
              Auto Zone has a good one that I've used. It's meant to prep and clean before painting -- I think called Prep Clean or something like that (they only have one, so it will be easy to find).

              I've used it to prep vinyl, engine parts, engine compartment, etc. It leaves no residue. It removes grease very well.

              Other folks may have some other product suggestions.
              1960 Hard Top/430
              Thunderbird Registry Number 1231


              • #8
                I have a gallon of Simple Green...and I gave it a shot with a good deep-bristled brush and it is working out amazingly better than I'd imagined. I still have to use a wire-brush for some of the more stubborn cakes of grease, but its going well.

                When Simple Green came out, I'd use it as the first step in cleaning my M16, bathing it in it...and it worked miracles, especially in the trigger mechanism, etc...

                So I figured, why not give it a shot with this muck? And it works fine.

                I went ahead and removed the wiring harnesses, attachments, master cylinder (Which I am replacing, anyway) hood hinges, radiator and condenser mounts, all the small attachments on the frame(s) that were meant to hold brake-lines, fuel lines, etc.

                Ive stripped the compartment down as far as I can go.

                I ordered enough POR to cover/seal all the badly rusted areas before priming/painting.

                I'm enjoying it all, but I just can't wait to get back on the road.

                I hope to have it cleaned, sanded and painted by this weekend, so I can start getting her back together.


                • #9
                  It sounds like you have a good start send us a picture when you have the job under way
                  Bob M


                  • #10
                    Greetings. Great advice...I'm in the same boat. Does anyone by chance know the paint code for "Z" 939 Light Grey Metallic or refer me to whare I can find it? Thanks!
                    Mike C
                    1959 3-speed OD manual
                    "Dreamboat Annie"
                    Registry #17402; VTCI #10974


                    • #11
                      If it's the same "Z" code as a 60, NAPA has it. They mixed me up a batch so I could spray under the hood and redo most of the engine compartment. Matches really well. It's M30J#1287. Your local NAPA should be able to cross it over.


                      • #12
                        These are all before I removed the wiring harnesses, condensor, hinges....well, before I removed any firewall/compartment pieces. Right now I've got everything out of the way and have begun cleaning...bottom-to-top due to most of the effort being on the frame, etc.

                        Also, if you look close in this pic...take a look where the shaft for the lower control-arm is (Front-side) and you will see the torch marks. Man, that was on S.O.B. to cut loose.

                        Last edited by Meridious; March 23rd, 2008, 07:25 PM.


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