Painting an Aluminum Radiator

Discussion in 'Engine Topic' started by Green hornet, Oct 19, 2018.

  1. Green hornet

    Green hornet Veteran Member

    Messages:
    1,875
    Likes Received:
    391
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2015
    Location:
    North Bay, CA
    I purchased an aluminum radiator that has factory looking tanks. I want to paint the tanks, not the core so that it retains the stock look. Any issues with this idea. Any suggestions on type of paint / primer. I would prefer a rattle can product because of simplicity.

    image.png
     
  2. gammamaniac

    gammamaniac Member

    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    18
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2013
    Location:
    Kansas
  3. 70-camaro

    70-camaro Veteran Member

    Messages:
    2,872
    Likes Received:
    995
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Location:
    marietta ohio
  4. mark wagner

    mark wagner Veteran Member

    Messages:
    2,130
    Likes Received:
    19
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 1999
    Location:
    Saylorsburg Pa. USA
    for aluminum you should use an etching primer followed by the paint. do not use epoxy over the etch primer, it will peel off in short order. Bulldog is for plastic bumpers BTW.
     
  5. 70lt1z28

    70lt1z28 Veteran Member Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,865
    Likes Received:
    839
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 1999
    Location:
    Beavercreek, Ohio, USA
  6. Green hornet

    Green hornet Veteran Member

    Messages:
    1,875
    Likes Received:
    391
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2015
    Location:
    North Bay, CA
    I ended up using engine paint from Duplicolor. No primer needed. I scuffed it a little and cleaned it with lacquer thinner. Coated it with low gloss black. It turned out nice and is holding up well.
     
    dale68z and 70-camaro like this.
  7. CAMeeks

    CAMeeks Veteran Member

    Messages:
    699
    Likes Received:
    43
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2014
    Location:
    Deer Park, TX
    Bulldog® Adhesion Promoter is designed to promote paint adhesion to all automotive surfaces, even problem plastics. It works equally well on all flexible or rigid plastics, fiberglass, aluminum, glass, chrome, vinyl, galvanized metal, and painted surfaces. Bulldog acts as a tie coat by allowing several different surfaces to be painted at the same time to assure a smooth, flawless, durable finish every time.

    Seems to cover more then plastic.
     
    Smokey15 and 70-camaro like this.
  8. Jeep43

    Jeep43 Veteran Member

    Messages:
    1,345
    Likes Received:
    53
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 1999
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I would try to use as little paint as possible as to not insulate the fins from the air.
     
  9. 70-camaro

    70-camaro Veteran Member

    Messages:
    2,872
    Likes Received:
    995
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Location:
    marietta ohio
    I used tape and paper and didn’t paint my fins.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2020
  10. 70lt1z28

    70lt1z28 Veteran Member Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,865
    Likes Received:
    839
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 1999
    Location:
    Beavercreek, Ohio, USA
    This actually gets very technical while as you say the paint can act as an insulator (impedes heat transfer) , but black also enhances emissivity:
    Emissivity is a measure of the efficiency in which a surface emits thermal energy.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emissivity
    https://www.thermoworks.com/emissivity_table

    Generally, a thin coating of black on a radiator enhances its ability to move thermal energy from the inside to the ambient air. They didn't paint the radiators from the factory black without good reason.
     
    70-camaro likes this.

Share This Page