Powder coating is one of the most durable and preferred surface preps for use on vehicles of all types. Although it’s generally not used as an all-over covering like auto paint, this coating offers a great way for off-roaders to protect critical parts of their treasured off-road trucks like the chassis, rims, steel truck bumpers, and any other parts that are at higher risk of damage or eventual corrosion.
Powder coating can be expensive and involves a lengthy process; however, those who invest in it find it to be a great protectant for off-road trucks out on the trails and in the mud all the time. The whole process includes the following steps:
Step 1 - Parts Preparation
Preparation is the most important part in the powder coating process. Unless parts like front truck bumpers are thoroughly cleaned of all dirt, oils, rust, and other debris, the coating process can result in a coating that does not adhere properly, which would reduce the benefit of powder coating.
All parts are first cleaned with a solvent that removes dirt, oils and other contaminants. Next, any chrome pieces on the parts should be masked off for protection. Parts like bumpers are sandblasted and then hand sanded to further prepare the finish for coating. Finally, any masking is removed from the rear bumpers and all other parts, after which the entire part is baked in a special oven at 400 degrees. If there is any remaining oil or dirt when the part comes out of the oven, the entire process is repeated until the parts are completely clean.
Step 2 - Applying the Powder Coating
After the cleaning process, the next step is applying the powder coating. This is done while the bumper parts are still warm, using a spray gun that electrically charges the particles as they pass through it. In this way, the particles are attracted to the warmed metal and cling to it, beginning to melt into a solid layer that bonds to the metal. Using this process, powder coat does not orange peel like liquid paints nor is it placed in uneven layers. Everything gets a uniform, smooth coating of pigment.
Step 3 - First Curing
After the powder is applied, parts such as truck bumpers are then baked at 400 degree for 20 minutes. This ensures the powder can fully melt and fuse onto the metal, forming a durable, smooth coating.
Step 4 - Applying the Clear Coating
Once the first bake is finished and the parts are allowed to cool, they are clear coated. This step is technically done partway through the baking process, as it allows the clear coat to adhere better to the powder coat finish.
Step 5 - Final Curing
Once the clear coat has dried, the parts are put back into the 400 degree oven, this time for 35 more minutes. This is the final step to complete the curing process of both the powder coat and the clear coat. From the oven, the parts such as pickup truck bumpers are finished and allowed to completely cool down.
After the above steps, the results should be an impressive, shiny yet tough coating that is ten times stronger than regular car paint, offering greater protection of your off-road truck. Though it can be a little costly, powder coating is one of the best ways to protect against rust as well as trail damage to wheels, undercarriage, custom bumpers, and other parts that collect scratches, dings and scrapes.