The minor fab work on the 4X Innovations bumper was done, and it was time for the easy part. Paint! Or so I thought.
I picked up some POR 15 and all the associated metal cleaners from Summit Racing a while back. That was the original plan.
I started by deburing some of the rough edges on the bumper. I just rounded off some of the pieces to eliminate the sharp edge that paint would easily flake from.
The next step was to clean and then clean again literally. The POR 15 instructions have you use a cleaner and a metal prep. These both seem to work extremely well and I would use these products again even if I wasn’t going to use their coating.
We were planning to spray the POR 15 using a Harbor Freight brand spray gun. I picked up a pop up tent to convert to a temporary spray booth to keep the over spray mess to a minimum. The booth worked great. The HF HVLP gun on the other hand wasn’t the best choice. I’m not saying the gun is bad, but it wasn’t the right choice here. The spray pattern was spotty at best, and I assume the nozzle size just wasn’t large enough for the POR15. I’m about as far from a painter as anyone so you will want to experiement on your own. I would just start with a primer style siphon gun, or maybe even the house paint style sprayer like they use for Plasti-Dip.
I sprayed a couple of coats of the POR down while Jamie brush coated the tire carrier with POR. The bumper didn’t look spectacular, so we gave it over night to dry. The next day we scuffed the bumper down with 320 grit, and then coated it with the POR 15 top coat. Meanwhile we sprayed a second later down on tire carrier.
I wasn’t happy with the lumpy appearance of either. So we went with plan b and used the Duplicolor Truck Bed Liner. This has often been a go to for me to hide rough surfaces and fill in small imperfections. It worked well enough on some of the small parts, but the bumper was looking blotchy. We put things off for a while to give plenty of dry time and because we had a trip to take.
I debated about just taking it in for paint, but ultimately decided to give it one more shot before I put paint on something that in my eyes was still untested. We spent the time to sand the bed liner down with 320 grit paper and then put a coat of filler primer on. Then wet sanded with 600 grit. This time to top it off we used SEM Trim Black. This isn’t a cheap paint, but I’ve had good luck on other projects, so I had high hopes. The results were much better. There are still some flaws, but the SEM paint laid down much better than any of the previous stuff. The next test was to flex things out and see if the bumper really did hit the body under stress. It does. We will have to do the body mounts before we hit a trail. I was expecting this and already have a big expensive pile of Toyota bags here ready to go.
I got everything finalized and installed over the last week. A few pieces stayed in bed liner to add contrast and not just because sanding them to re-paint seemed like a pain. The full weight test drive to work let me know that the OME 890 springs will need to go. Sure they hold the weight up but the handling is sloppy at best. OME 891’s are on the way and hopefully they will be enough to take the added weight. I haven’t ordered shocks yet, but those may be coming as well. If I have to do body mounts, that may very well be the perfect time to access the top of the rear shocks. I’ll grab some better pics of the truck and bumper soon and add them.