Before & After

Picture 1
AFTER – nice two-tone finish
Picture 1
BEFORE – five colours

Through a series of articles here, I will be documenting how I am painting my 2003 Ford Ranger XLT FX4 with aerosal spray paint and the reasons why, plus all my experiences along the way - good or bad. By the way, anywhere you see a picture, you can click it for a larger view. I will also be documenting materials used and actual costs.

First, my background. I have been doing body prep work, body work, and painting cars for over 35 years. I haven’t been that active in the past 20 years or so, however. The only body work task I have not personally done is buffing paint finishes, but I plan on tackling that with my Ranger.

At this point, I am about 70% complete (May 11, 2013). Check back for up-to-date results.

Now, let me discuss why I decided to use aerosol paint from Rustoleum.

I took my truck to several body shops for estimates to paint my truck. At each, I gave the same information: I would be doing all the body work, sanding, and removing all trim. All I wanted was them to mask and paint. While I preferred a base/clear coat paint job, I really didn’t care if it was one part paint. Estimates that I got ranged from $2100 to over $3500. This is well beyond my budget, and certainly beyond what the value of truck calls for. I need to point out that this is a colour change from Deep Wedgewood Blue to basic Gloss Black.

I was unable to find any shop that would let me mask and shoot the paint myself. Most hid behind their insurance policy clauses where insurance coverage was extended only to company management and staff. I was also unable to find an enclosed garage with sufficient air flow to shoot in.

So, the limit was to paint in my garage or my driveway. My garage is impossible to clear out at this point -- leaving the driveway as the only choice – and open to the elements (wind, rain, dust, bugs).

Although I still had my old Binks spray gun, I decided my 20 gal, 2 hp compressor wasn’t about to keep up with the air flow requirements. I bought an HVLP spray gun, however, the cfm required for that on a sustained basis is also beyond my compressor.

I decided to paint my 2003 Ford Ranger XLT FX4 myself, in my own driveway. In the next article in this series, I will describe how I came to that decision, and why I choose to go with aerosol paint made by Rustoleum.

Picture 1
AFTER – nice two-tone finish
Picture 1
BEFORE – five colours

Here is a picture of what I started with (on the left) and what I have so far (on the right). Note that the truck is a 2003 Ford Ranger XLT FX4. I replaced the box, driver side rear door and both fenders with donors from a 2000 Ford Ranger XLT rear wheel drive (no fender flares). I originally liked the look without the flares, however, I will be putting on a set of flares from a 2007 Ford Ranger FX4. Before starting the paint prep work and body work, the truck was five different colours: Deep Wedgewood Blue body, white topper, mid blue passenger door, blue fuel filler door, grey box and front fenders. My main goal is getting it all one colour: Gloss Black and reasonable quality.

Look through all the links on the site (at the top or at the bottom of the page) for progress through the paint job showing all errors and flaws.

PS. The final paint will be two-tone. The upper portion to the crease at the bottom will all be Gloss Black. From the crease down, it will be a Satin Nickel (a medium grey metallic paint) that is part of the Rustoleum lineup (Universal).

And PPS ... what I describe here in this series of articles, anyone can do. It does not require special skills other than patience. I have come up with a technique for painting aerosol paints that I call "Frame and Cross-Hatch" -- and extensively described it on this site. The technique is to compensate for the fan pattern typical of aerosol spray paints. The fan is 4 to 6 inches and usually has a fan pattern that is light at the extremeties and a heavier amount of paint that is best described as "conical" ... that is a narrower spot in the center of the paint fan that delivers more paint than the outside edges (or extremeties). That is completely different than a typical compressor/spray gun where the fan has even distribution of paint across a 6 to 10 inch fan. With a compressor/spray gun, you are trying to achieve a 50/50 overlap where each subsequent paint "line" overlaps the previous "line" by 50%. Also note that I am not using any power equipment (air or electrical) other than a cheap 4.5 inch grinder with a 60 grit grinding wheel to get to bare metal -- no power sanders, everything is done by hand. No special building either, everything is done outdoors. What I am using, everyone has access to and can easily duplicate. The only change in this will be with the clear coat: by then I will have cleared out a bit of my garage to be able to get about 1/2 of the truck into the garage. I plan on spraying in the garage with the door open for good air circulation -- but this is NOT a requirement, wet sanding and buffing the clear coat will take out any particles that might land on the vehicle outdoors. Ah, and that reminds me, I will be using an electrically operated buffer/polisher after hand sanding (1500 grit, wet sand) to get the ultimate shine out of the clear coat. They do exactly the same thing in bodyshops with more expensive jobs (the $2100-$3500 estimates from bodyshops that I mention above did not include buffing/polishing).

Click on any picture to see a larger view. All pictures are optimized for browsers and should not take too long to load

This is a series of articles based on my experiences painting my 2003 Ford Ranger FX4 with aerosol paint cans. Rather than spend a minimum of $2100 on a bodyshop paint job, I decided to be utilitarian and do it myself for approximately 10% of the bodyshop prices. The prep, bodywork, rust repair, and painting was all done in my driveway, with no shelter from the elements. I chose Rustoleum aerosol paint. In Canada, Rustoleum is brande both as Rustoleum and Tremclad. The first cans I purchased were Tremclad Professional that worked out to 2.4 cents per gram. The results were disappointing (no shine, lots of fish-eye) so I switched to Rustoleum Painter’s Choice Ultra Cover 2X that worked out to 2.1 cents per gram. In the final analysis, the paint to use is the Rustoleum Automotive – the nozzle on the can produces a much finer stream and applies the paint much like an compressor/air-gun. I am simply documenting my experiences using aerosol cans to repaint my vehicle.
How This Started
First coat
Bondo Fix & Final Coat (black)
Two-Tone (satin nickle)
Finished, nearly
Two-Tone RE-DO (dark metal)
Body Armor
Materials Used
Costs (base,to date)
Next Steps & Thoughts
Fender Flares
Spraying Tips
Different Paints Available
Sandpaper Tests
Body Armor

Rustoleum Interview
Home Hardware Interview

Ranger Tips, Specs, Compatibility
Copyright 2013, Andy Prevost. All Rights Reserved.