Saturday, November 5, 2011

Project Finished! (Painted My Truck)

Boy do I love it when I’m done with a project that takes me weeks of spare time to do and it actually doesn’t come out horrible. Thus is the case with painting my old Dodge Dakota truck. I inherited this beast when my dad died last year. If you ever see one of these early 90s trucks on the road, you’ll probably notice that half the paint is gone from it. Dodge had some kind of problem with either the paint or the primer for a year or two on Dakotas back then, and it was flaking off in no time.

This truck has 200,000 miles on it. It leaks oil pretty bad too. Obviously I wasn’t going to spend a lot of money on a fancy paintjob for an old truck that I just use as a backup to my newer Ram. I looked around on the idiotnet while contemplating ways to paint it myself as inexpensively as possible and found the answer on YouTube. I found a number of videos that showed guys painting vehicles themselves with a foam roller and Rustoleum oil based enamel paint. This is the same paint they put in spray cans, and you’ll use the spray cans too for hard to get places. The thing with foam rollers is that it puts paint on very smooth. If you take your time and do it right it looks like it’s been sprayed. You could spray the vehicle just as well, but you really need a garage to do that where the wind will be kept out. It also takes longer because you can’t thin the paint when it’s in a spray can, thus it takes longer to dry between coats. I only have a carport, so a foam roller seemed like the way to go. Since at least half the paint was gone from the truck, I put on a quart of white primer first. Then nearly three quarts of white gloss paint (4-coats). I also had some rust holes in one side that I had to fiberglass and putty over, so this took me a while longer than it would have if it had just been a straight-up paintjob.

I just took the tape and newspaper off today. It still needs to be polished, but I think it looks pretty darn good. I took it over to my sister’s house today, and she didn’t even recognize it. I’m not going to clear coat it because it sits out in the sun every day, so the clear coat would flake off or get chalky in just a few years.

You can see my Ram (with the ladders on it) shuddering in the background, wondering if it’s next!

Here’s the video I watched to learn how to do this:


  1. Beautiful!! Another Earl Scheib in the making.

  2. I'm no body-man. There's plenty of lumps and bumps underneath. And I'm not even gonna bother sanding off the orange peal to get a mirror finish because I've never been very good at it. But if someone had the know-how and wanted to put in the effort, this Rustoleum oil based paint goes on good and hard and will look just as good as you care to make it. Some guys claim to have had it on for five or more years now with no sign of flaking. Not bad for a $50 to $100 paintjob.

  3. By the way, I had Earl Scheib paint a Dodge Aspen and an old Chevy pickup back in the early 80s, and they did a heck of a job for being so cheap. They're not nearly so inexpensive anymore though, but are still cheaper than most.

  4. It looks professionally done. Amazing! See, you can do something yourself if you just take the time to study the technique. How much money did you save on the project? For that amount, you can buy some other accessories for the Ram.

  5. I'm sure I must have saved several hundred dollars. No Ram accessories though. We're partial to eating around here!

  6. Congrats! The stuff we find in the net is pretty awesome - enough to teach us neat tricks like this overnight! But no, what you did doesn't sound easy because it's your car you were fixing up, which makes the job extra intricate.