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Rustoleum High Heat - a different looking engine paint (not Kal Gard but pretty good)

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Jeeter, Mar 27, 2014.

  1. Rustoleum High Heat Ultra

    (Engine pics below - 1982 Yamaha XJ650J engine I painted with this stuff) I applied this using a small Harbor Freight airbrush kit that we had here for another project (the whole kit was like $70 bucks and that included a small air compressor, it's worked fine for many jobs). However this paint comes in rattlecan, as well as quarts and gallons.

    It's a nice flat paint, with a good rough surface area. I grew up around guys that taught us kids to paint our aircooled engines with flat black paint since flat black had a rough surface (and therefore MORE surface area) which provides more surface to disipate heat. I guess that old idea sticks in my mind. That concept was so massively accepted that many road racers during the late 1970s and early 1980s went to great lengths to coat their engines with stuff known as "Kal Gard". In 1979 I know it cost us just under $100 bucks to do one of our racebikes (RD350). Engine must be completely torn down to apply Kal Gard because it has to be baked after application.

    Kal Gard was a substance designed to protect weapons of underwater demolition teams from the effects of salt water. It was discovered that it also worked very well to dissipate heat from engines. It had a nice sortof black-grey shade to it. Aluminum Oxide medium was used to blast the surfaces of the engine to create an irregular surface area that was over five times it's original area (this increase is microscopic and cannot be seen with the naked eyebone). Kal Gard is only 0.0003 inches thick when sprayed on and baked. The Kal Gard is so thin that it easily follows the micro-contours that the aluminum-oxide blasting created, so not only do you have 5x more surface area, but that area is coated with a substance that helps suck heat from the engine. This process reduced engine temps by a whopping 15%. That is A LOT. Think of it, that's 15 degrees for every one hundred. So if you previously had oil temps of (let's say) 280f, that was reduced to 238f .... that's a whopping 42f degrees. That's 42f degrees of potentially more power that you can attempt to squeaze from the engine before it melts down. Or, it's just that much more power at the last 2 or 3 laps of a race while your competition's bikes were "glowing and slowing" (slowing down from the engines' getting hot).

    Anyhow, I don't think this Rustoleum is anything as trick as Kal Gard, but the principle is the same. What is pretty cool about the Rustoleum is the color. It's not the typical flat black tint, it has a sortof greyish-brownish hue to it, which (to me) gives it a sortof "secret" or "prototypical" look about it. In the picture of the engine on the wooden pallet (I made that to ship that engine) you can get a better idea of it's daylight color. It looks kinda like Kal Gard, uh, sorta. The pictures of the early 80s Superbikes (my other motorcycling weakness) show engines covered with Kal Gard, you can see what that stuff looked like in those pics.

    The Rustoleum "Specialty High Heat Ultra" covers fine, and is quite friendly with total non-painter types like myself. It's advertized to be good up to 1,200f.

    So, yea ... um ... there's that.

    Attached Files:

  2. 69mach351

    69mach351 Resident Newbie

    This is another one to do on my list. my biggest concern is that I will not get the engine clean enough. My engine runs like a champ, so the last thing I want to do is tear it apart completely to have it blasted.
  3. thelowlife

    thelowlife XS650 Addict

    I'm glad someone else has tried a different route then that Duplicolor or VHT engine enamel. Honestly have tried it and not very impressed with the flat black they offer. Rustoleum was my next option to try out and from your results I'm encouraged.
  4. 69mach351

    69mach351 Resident Newbie

    One thing I was thinking was to hit it with rustoleum black, then sand the fin edges on the motor for contrast, but I don't want to do anything that would promote it flaking off.
  5. I'm a gigantic fan of the late 1970s to early 1980s "AMA Production Superbike" class racing, the pre-fairing era when you had to build a racebike rather than walk into a dealership and leave with an R1. That group of people were some of the most innovative folks in two wheeled racing, ever. They were tasked to making full-blown racebikes out of (quite honestly) pieces of shit streetbikes. These were motorcycles that had FAR FAR too much power for the wet-noodle welded mild steel tube frames that cradled those powerplants. Much had to be done to make the bikes fast, safe, and stay within the production class rules. This form of racing was where I became familiar with Pops Yoshimura and his philosophies on racebike design and construction. Tony Foale also became a fixture in my motorcycle life around that same era.

    One of the innovations that moved motorcycle development forward was the methods that were used in that class to pull heat from the air cooled engines of the day. That Kal Gard discovery was one of those innovations. So I've tried to locate an engine paint that looked (even just a little) like Kal Gard. This Rustoleum is about as close as you're going to get without mixing your own heat paint.

    I could have done a far better job of detailing that XJ650 engine but the fasteners (head bolts, and so on) were pretty rusted and not available as a NOS item. So I elected to paint over some of the fasteners. On the other hand where I was able to locate replacement fasteners (case screws and so on) I used them! So that's why that engine is sortof half-done, some of the screws/bolts are new stainless steel, while others are the old stockers.

    Meh ... :)
  6. Mharrington

    Mharrington XS650 Addict

    There are several paints that will look good and stand up to heat on our bike engines. The problem occurs when gas or break fluid gets spilled onto this paint. I use PJ-1 engine case paint. It will soften when excessively exposed to gas (Carbs dripping overnight..Grr) but it is more durable than onher typical spray can paints. When i tried various high heat and ceramic spray bombs a drip of gas INSTANTLY ate the paint off. The PJ-1 will take more exposure before softening and lifting. Powder coating is best but I cant afford it.



  7. Personally I don't prefer powder coating on too many things. I work with powder coated stuff for a living, and when it begins looking bad it is a certified sumbitch to patch up. Scratches cannot simply be "repaired". The entire part must be scorched with a propane torch (not an oxy-acet torch, far too hot and far too difficult to control the heat). After scorching the powdered surface, it must then be beadblasted clean with all of the previous powdercoating totally removed. Only then can the part be repowdered and cured in the oven (typically around 400f for roughly 45 minutes).

    So I shy away from powdercoating things that will absolutely be subjected to chip/scratch damage such as wheels or frames. Wheels are far better treated with a high quality enamel such as one of the Duplicolor wheel coatings. When the rims get fuddup from ham fisted tire installers it's so much easier to touch up the rim if it's not powdercoated.

    In my experience with the stuff, powdercoating is over rated for many motorcycle applications. It's a bugger to deal with if welding is required somewhere that is powdercoated, and color-matching weld-repaired frames that have been powdercoated is usually an act of futility that results in a visible compromise. It has to be thought of like chrome plating from the point of view of repairs or modifications. Nothing works until it's totally removed, and it has to be totally "redone" to make it look proper after any work is done.

    T'each hims druthers! :)
  8. OH! And as far as sanding the edges of the fins to create contrasting looks, be VERY SURE that the paint/coating/everwhat is totally 100% completely cured and dried to a total hardness BEFORE sanding on the fins. Seriously, wait like a solid week.

    Why? The most fuddup thing happens if you don't wait. The little silver "shavings" from sanding the aluminum fins become stuck to the surface of the black painted fin, creating a not-good-looking "metal flake" appearance to the black cylinder. It is 100% impossible to fix it when that happens. Time to re-move, re-coat, and re-sand! Heh heh .... :)

    The shavings from sanding the fins embed themselves into the soft paint/coating and can never ever be removed by any method other than completely stripping the part and starting over.

    Just a word of warning on this .... and btw, this wisdom comes from my own personal experience ... ;)

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