Removing Automotive Paint on the Cheap!
(or We don't need NO Stinkin' Media Blaster!!)
I acquired this 1971 Nova from my grandmother when I was 16. For some unknown reason she let her live-in boyfriend
paint over it's beautiful Mariner Blue with flat black . Less than a year later she decided to go with the above yellow. I've
had this car for over 12 years now, I can't live this way any longer... It's time to take "Nova-leena" back to her Mariner Blue roots. I've
tried this before, first using aircraft paint remover and also by good ole-fashioned sanding. The aircraft remover is a volatile chemical
solvent that isn't much fun to work with, and since I'm fat and lazy , sanding is not an option. I checked into media blasting (like you
see on every hot-rod makeover show), but it cost a butt load...
And then I found the coolest paint remover ever.
(and you probably already have a can of it in your house)
That's right... oven cleaner. The main ingredient of Easy-Off oven cleaner is sodium hydroxide...AKA LYE.
Lye has been used for a while in various soaps and cleaners, but I've only recently discovered its paint removal
super-powers. I actually got the idea from reading this forum. I couldn't find the exact product they were referring too,
so I went on a quest for other solutions.
Indeed I found one.
The following movie shows Easy Off VS Yellow Paint (Round 1)
Thats it. Spray it on from the can, wash it off with a pressure washer. If you don't have a pressure
washer, get yourself some rubber gloves and scrub. The Easy off should sit 10 - 20 minutes depending
on weather conditions.. maybe longer depending on the type of paint your vehicle has... at $4.00 a bottle
you can afford to experiment. You don't want to let the Easy Off evaporate, it must remain wet until hosed off.
I've found it possible to remove single layers of paint by timing my applications just right. The video
above shows just the yellow layer coming off, but as can be seen below, I've managed to remove the
black layer as well and leave the blue beneath.. Its all about timing.
Wow... after 12 some years that ugly yellow is gone.
I tried accelerating the process but putting plastic over the Easy Off and letting it bake in the sun.
The theory here is the plastic insulates the surface and allows heat to build up, which as it turns out
is an effective tactic. The heat acts as a catalyst to the lye...after all it IS oven cleaner! One application
stripped the entire fender to the first layer and bare metal in just 15 minutes!!
I was able to strip my entire car in a few hours , and for less than $40 in chemicals, and thats even when
you include the price of latex gloves and a respirator! The Nova took about 7 cans in 70 - 80 degree
weather. I also found you don't need the "Heavy Duty" stuff, the regular Easy off works just as well,
but stay away from the "fume free" Easy Off as it didn't work as well for me.
I would also recommend trying this outside or somewhere with good ventilation.
This sure beats sanding for hours on end... Just make sure to wear your protective gear !
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