Painting an Aluminum Radiator

Green hornet

Veteran Member
Oct 11, 2015
2,056
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.

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mark wagner

Veteran Member
Jul 31, 1999
2,131
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.
 

CAMeeks

Veteran Member
Jan 5, 2014
704
Deer Park, TX
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.

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.
 

70lt1z28

Veteran Member
Gold Member
Oct 3, 1999
4,721
Beavercreek, Ohio, USA
I would try to use as little paint as possible as to not insulate the fins from the air.
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.
 




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