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If you're looking to repaint or recoat your motor, engine enamel paint is what you need. It's specifically formulated to handle high temperatures, and it doesn't take long to restore and repaint an old block into something that looks like it came fresh from the factory.

Dampney's top pick comes from well-known brand Thurmalox, which not only produces a great finish but is also known for its resistance to gas, oil, and other automotive chemicals that might otherwise come in contact with the paint film.

There is often confusion between metal paints and various other finishes that are heat resistant. Product recomendations can come directly from the paint manufacturer's technical department.

It's important to choose engine enamel paint for two reasons. First is the high temperature a motor generates -- often above 200°F, sometimes for hour after hour. Second are the chemicals on and around your engine: various oil, gas, grease, etc. Most paints, even high-temperature metal paints -- can't handle that environment for any length of time.

Choosing your engine enamel paint

When it comes to deciding on your engine enamel paint, look at three key areas: color, composition and coverage.

If you just want your block a nice shiny black, red, or blue, you'll have no problem finding a suitable product. The challenge comes if you want Chevy orange, for example, and you want an exact match. Although finding a product that claims to do it won't be hard, how close it is to the original is difficult to say -- especially as the color of your engine will have changed over time. If you need precision, vehicle owner's clubs are a good source of information.

Although environmentally-friendly acrylic (water soluble) formulations are becoming more common, these may still be flammable, and fumes can be unpleasant. Always work in a well ventilated area. Hazardous volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) are now banned, but it's difficult to tell at a glance whether the product contains solvents. If this is important to you, you may need to check with the manufacturer. Engine enamel paints are typically quick drying -- 30 minutes to an hour -- but full curing can take a few hours or if the parts are removed from the car, proper surface preparation and heat curing the paint in the oven is ideal.

Engine enamel paints come as sprays or in cans. Sprays are much easier to use. You'll probably need two or more, depending on the number of coats 1 or 2 is usually suggested. Some of these sprays can be used at any angle -- which is very helpful when you've got an engine on a stand, or you're working underneath one. Remember it's always better to apply several thin coats than a single thick one. It's really important to read preparation and application instructions carefully. Many complaints about poor finish or adhesion stem from people who think they know what they're doing, but tried to shortcut the process. If you're using the stuff in cans, apply with a small roller or pad, not a brush, which will leave marks.


Contact the manufacture direct to obtain product information, product applicaiton advice, pricing and available colors and how to order.

Dampney Company Inc.

Everett MA USA




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