Powder Power
I own a '97 Toyota Tacoma standard cab pickup that I'm completely redoing from top to bottom. It was my driver/occasional show truck, but I've decided to swap the usage percentages. Toward that goal, I'm cleaning and repainting every part of the truck. The body and bed were removed from the chassis for painting.

While everything is apart, I plan to powdercoat the frame and all the suspension pieces. I also want to powdercoat the engine block. I'm having the engine rebuilt, so it will hold up to a turbocharger.

My question is whether I should have the engine machine work done before or after the powerdcoating. I know that powdercoating requires baking in a hot oven to "melt" the powder and make it flow and stick. Will this high temperature affect any of the machine work, if the block is powdercoated after the machine work?
Stan Hronas
San Diego, California

It sounds like you're as interested in looking good as in going fast. Therefore, you want to keep the block as chip-free as possible. That means the machine work should be done first.

The powdercoating oven isn't likely to affect the thermal set of a well-seasoned block like the one in your Tacoma. Check out a couple powdercoating companies before you relinquish your block. Look for a company that has experience with engines. The machined surfaces need to be thoroughly and fastidiously protected during the powdercoating process.

Pearl Jam
I painted my '87 Chevy C10 Stepside pickup House of Kolor Tangelo Pearl. The color is great, but I wanted highlights along the styling ridges, so I shot a small amount of gold pearl in those areas. I topped the paint with clear.

Now that the truck is finished, I'm not as happy as I had hoped to be. By trying to not overdo the pearl, I ended up being too conservative. There are several places especially on the rear fenders, where I think more pearl would be better. How can I boost the pearl in these areas without completely repainting the truck? I hope you can help me. Thanks.
Greg Cooper
via e-mail

Going back over custom paint can be tricky business. You should be absolutely sure that you think additional pearl highlights will make a substantial improvement. Otherwise, you can save a lot of work by leaving the paint the way it is. Even though it's extra work, it would be wise to spray a test panel or an old fender. An old fender with the same or similar styling lines can give you an idea of how much pearl to add. Try to duplicate the current paint on the truck and then gradually lay on the extra pearl. You should treat this project the same as you might treat a mistake or repair. It's like you made a taping mistake when painting graphics and some paint ended up in the wrong place.You want to deal with the smallest possible area in the least intrusive manner.

You need to sand the areas that you want to repaint. Use either 600- or 800-grit sandpaper. The 600-grit provides better adhesion, but don't press too hard. The sandpaper should be soaked in water for 15-20 minutes before using. The wet paper is less likely to leave sanding scratches. You don't want to sand through the existing paint; you just want to provide adhesion for the added pearl.

Since you used House of Kolor products, continue to use them for the repainting. The additional pearl should be mixed with HOK Intercoat clear (SG-100). Be sure the pearl is thoroughly mixed for even suspension in the SG-100. A small touch-up gun will work well for applying the pearl.

The HOK SG-100 is a non-catalyzed clear that is air-dried. That makes it good for spot repairs and adding pearl in small increments. Be sure to follow the HOK technical information as to mixing and reducing directions.

When you're satisfied with the added pearl highlights, you can finish the job with the same catalyzed clear that you used in the first place.