This weekend’s project was purely cosmetic: bedliner bumpers and black out the OEM steelies. I had lofty goals of getting everything done Saturday afternoon and camping Saturday night, but Mother Nature decided to change my plans and rained all day Saturday causing some serious delays in dry time between coats. So instead I had to wait for everything to finish curing Saturday night, woke up super early on Sunday to put everything back on and then we drove out to Lake Pleasant/Castle Hot Springs/Morristown in Arizona before Sunrise. Woke up around 11, started a fire, cooked some breakfast, drank some Irish coffee, played some music and then took our time do the 26 mile trail from Lake Pleasant to Morristown, AZ.
I started doing all the prep work Friday night after work by removing the bumpers, grill and headlight bezels. Then I brought the wife and laptop out to the garage to help me sand and clean everything. I’ve rattle-canned a lot of vehicles in my lifetime, and I would like to say I’ve gotten it down to a pretty good science at this point. I’ve also learned that the high heat engine enamel from Rustoleum is very chip resistant, looks good and lasts awhile if you’re patient and do the prep work. Especially if you use it as a top coat over the rubber undercoat or spray on bedliner. I painted some of the things on my Harley over 4 years ago and the engine enamel has held up well. Particularly, the front forks that see a lot of rocks, bugs and other grime on a daily basis. I also found that the spray on bedliner works really well if you take the time to let it coat and dry properly. It also helps if you use a tumbler overnight to let the contents of the bedliner mix properly. I used our lapidary tumbler
that we use for rock hounding treasures.
Here’s my general step by step process:
1. Remove everything you want to cover
2. Open case of beer, choose a new Netflix to binge (We chose season 2 of Jessica Jones)
3. Start with Medium grit sand paper then clean with soap and water
4. Move to fine grade sanding block then clean with Acetone
5. Open more beer and start the next episode of Jessica Jones
6. Move to extra fine steel wool then clean with Acetone
7. Primer everything with Rustoleum Self Etching Primer
8. Open another beer and watch more Jessica Jones while the paint dries
9. Steel wool the primer and clean with Acetone
10. Do another coat of primer
11. Repeat step 8
12. Repeat Step 9
13. Spray 2 coats of Rustoleum Spray on Bedliner
14. Repeat step 8
15. Cover the bedliner with Rustoleum High Heat engine enamel
16. Finish the beer and Jessica Jones while the paint dries
17. Put everything back on
18. Enjoy your hard work
I was able to get through steps 1-6 on Friday night, steps 7-16 on Saturday and 17 and 18 on Sunday morning. Usually to paint the wheels I would remove them 2 at a time (put on jack stands remove both front wheels, then do the same in the rear), but because the lugs on these wheels are completely outside of the wheel it was easier to just tape off the lugs and keep everything on the van. Just know that if you do it this way, make sure you use cardboard to prevent overspray from getting on the van and also move the van after each coat so you can get a different angle to spray the wheels. Otherwise, you’ll probably end up missing some hard-to-reach spots on the wheels or the paint will all run and pool into one spot (if you apply too much). I follow all of the same steps as above for the wheels except for the bedliner. Instead it’s just primer and then 4-5 coats per wheel of the engine enamel.
I also tried to install some “universal” Husky Liner 2.75” fender flares to complete the SMB look, but unfortunately they did not work with E-series fenders. I picked them up from Amazon because they had 2 used sets for a grand total of $60 with shipping. I figured I would try them out and see if they worked. If they did than cool I saved a lot compared to the Bushwackers. If not, I could return them and use the money towards something else. Oh well, Bushwackers will be going on down the line instead.
Because of Saturday’s rain the usually really easy Canyon Hot Springs trail was made a little more interesting. I don’t know if it’s the bumpers and wheels or the mud, but I’m liking the way it looks right now. This thing is so much fun.
At some point I need to figure out how to front mount my Harley onto this thing. I'd much rather have it up front then in the back. But that's another project.
Enjoy the photos!