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How to paint your heater core

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I've seen some people posting asking if it is alright to paint your heater core, and always everyone is concerned about the paint impeeding the heat transfer and thus raising your temps. There have been several people who suggest painting at an angle so the paint can't get deep into the heater core itself. But, I thought hey, why can't I have the best of both worlds? A cool looking paited heater core, without loosing any performance. So I decided to tape off my heater core and slap some paint on it! Pics coming shortly!
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post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 
Step One: preparing your heater core for paint

I first made sure the heater core was cleaned off. Since I am starting with a new heater core this is not an issue, but if you have a used heater core you should clean it up and get any dust or gunk off it first.

I then took a regular sheet of comptuer paper and folded it in half and placed it on the heater core like so



I then took masking tape and taped all around the edges covering the whole side. I did this for both sides.

Next, I covered the barbs by cutting squares out of a regular plastic bag you get from the store and wrapped the cut pieces around the barbs so no paint could get inside the heater core, or on the barbs for that matter. Another option would be to take the barbs off and tape the openings if your heater core has removable barbs.
I then wraped masking tape around the barbs being sure that the entire surface of the barbs was covered.



here you can see the heater core all taped off and ready to be painted.


Step Two: painting the heater core

For paint I chose some America's Finest by Rust-Oleum gloss black. You can get this paint at your local Home Depot for less than $2. yes, other paints will work, but I trust Rust-Oleum to be quality paint and to cover well. I also picked up a Spray Grip for an additional $2.50 to give a more even coating and so I didn't get any paint on my fingers.
I brought the heater core outside and set it on a box and painted the sides.

After I gave it a good coat, I placed it in the box to dry so that it was less likely to get anything on it.





The paint is still drying so when it is dry (about another 10 min or so I'll see if it needs a second coat or not. And when it is fully dry I will post some completed pics.
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post #3 of 14
Omg, im gonna sit here and wait for pic's now.

hurry!
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post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Alright, for some more pics! It looks like it will need a second coat as it is a little thin in some places, but already it's looking much better!

btw, this is also how I painted the heater core, with it set up on the box like this. That way I could reach 3 sides and get it from different angles. I only had to flip it twice.







I'll have to do the second coat tomorrow when I have time. because I didn't put a second coat on right away you're supposed to wait an hour and it's only been about half hour and it's starting to get dark. Weather permitting I'll give a light second coat and post final results tomorrow!
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post #5 of 14
Looks good!

Makes it look smarter and more 'professional' if you know what i mean. (Rather than looking like a car part that you bodged to work with your PS, lol)
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post #6 of 14
That's how I'm going to do it when I do mine bro!
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post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
it's quite easy. I figured yeah it might look a little better if the whole thing were painted, but why bother... I mean if in fact the paint does hinder performance the slightly better look won't make up for it. Painting the sides shouldn't have any effect on performance and it greatly enhances the looks.

I almost got metalic blue paint... but it was like $3. more... lol and I figured I'd go w/ the classic black look
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post #8 of 14
Just add a few clear coats after you're done with the black. Great job! keep it up.
Not bad at all...
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Not bad at all...
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post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by not2bad
Just add a few clear coats after you're done with the black. Great job! keep it up.

I don't have any clear coat... I almost bought some too... I think it'll look good w/ just black.
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post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
well it's time for an update. I managed to get another coat of paint on the heater core this morining right before lunch (in between my classes)

here it is all ready for the second coat.



sadly, it tipped over and got some grass stuck to it I got the grass off and finished the coat.

here are a couple of the imperfections





but this is nothing some fine grit sand paper won't cure! so I grapped a piece of sandpaper and just lightly brushed up the spots that needed it.

here you can see the smoothed out surface



And here's a sneak peak of what the heater core will look like when I'm done. Even though there isn't any paint ont he sides they still look darker for a nice finished appearance.





this looks much better than the original! recall this pic (disregard the wrist band...)



I'm going to see if one of my friends is coming down to visit this week and if so see if he can bring me a can of clear coat.
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