View Full Version : sanding, polishing, painting and other crazy things!!!

07-16-2008, 08:32 AM
Ok so last week I started by polishing up a few of my engine parts and they begun to turn out very nicely. Now however I want to try and take it to the next level. I was thinking of removing both the valve cover and the heat shield and properly sanding them down and polishing them up. I may even paint the valve cover. With that said I have a few questions.......

1. I may just leave them on and sand and polish whatever I can get to. In this eventuality I thought I would cover whatever parts I could in the engine in plastic to prevent the tiny shavings from getting anywhere. Special attention to the distributor and alternator. Is this an ok approach?

2. If I remove the valve cover and the heat shield are there any special tricks? I think I know how to do both but if I get the valve cover off does that mean i have to replace the gasket before I put it back on? I had a rebuild done on the engine less than 300 miles ago btw.

3. I also wanted to put some wire and hose covers on where ever I could. Partly to provide a heat shield effect but mostly just coz I think it will look nice and I really want to engine bay to look tip top. So tips here are very much appreciated too. I am learning as much as i can about engines (5sfe in particular) as possible but am still a total novice. So I don't want to be unplugging any hoses that can't be just plugged right back in again once I have slipped the cover on. Which ones can I safely touch and which ones should I leave to an expert? Only one I know for sure I can go ahead and unplug are the plug wires.

4. I was also planning to do a rudimentary sand and polish on the muffler, which is rather unsightly. Presumably I can do this while it is still on the car correct? because I don't really want to be taking it off. I heard it is a two man job.

5. Finally.....over the years my paint work has dulled severly and oxidized. I have restored it as best I can (buffer and polish etc) the hood it still dull which is a shame but I think if I remove anymore paint it'll be down to metal. Is there anything else I can do it to spruce it up? anything short of getting a respray which I cannot afford! I am on a majorly restricted budget, this is strictly DIY! I was planning to remove the mudflaps which have had half the paint scratched off and repainting them. What is the correct procedure for this. If I get a can of spray paint that matches, sand them down and spray them up, do I need to nother clear coating seeing as they are only mudflaps? Again help would be appreciated.......my project has nearly finished....

Thansk for your help guys. All I can promise in return is appreciation and some pictures when i am done.

07-16-2008, 08:59 AM
1. I've done it. I wouldn't reccomend it. Those shavings make their way into all sorts of places that are really difficult to get them back out of. If you do go ahead anyway, remove the plug wires and stuff a rag in each of the spark plug tubes. You don't want crap getting in there.

2. Never reuse a valve cover gasket. Also, don't bother painting the heat shield, it will crack and peel. Ceramic coating is the only option for that one. The valve cover will take a high temp (at least 500 degrees F) paint just fine.

3. Vaccum hoses only. Basically any small hose (about 5/32" ID) is fine, except for the ones running to the washer nozzles. If you don't know what a hose does, don't touch it until you do. You don't want to be standing in a puddle of coolant or get fuel/freon blasted in your face. Any electrical connector can be plugged and unplugged without issue, but disconnecting the battery beforehand is always a good safety measure.

4. Sounds a little excessive to me, but it shouldn't be a problem. Make sure the car hasn't run for a few hours so you don't burn yourself.

5. I'll leave that one to the others.

07-16-2008, 09:04 AM
Thanks Crisco, that's very helpful. How much do new gasket run at approx? Presumably this is a very simple job right? How hard is it to get the heat shield off? I heard the bolts can be old and stubborn.

07-16-2008, 10:13 AM
i did mine up with the new colored vacuum hoses and the heat shield painted and of course i cleaned up the vavle cover but no paint i think its more pretty seeing shiny metal and i dont think sanding is needed just get some gunk engine degreaser and a brass wire brush should be fine and i think i payed like 12 for the gasket it was pretty cheap hell the aircraft remover i bought was the shocker lol almost ten bucks but the shit will take off any old paint even caked on paint since my brother is stupid and clear coated my heat paint so i go and put it on and like 20 minutes later i smelled something like cat piss from under my hood lol but yeah autozone has some neat stuff like steel braided hose covers and colored vacuum lines and of course they carry the good ole' heat paint i always buy the 1500+ shit i just like how the paint goes on thick and shiny off the bat

07-16-2008, 10:32 AM
At my store the valve cover gasket runs $19.99. It'll vary by store and reigon, but even through Toyota it shouldn't be more than $45. Just don't cheap out and buy the $9.99 special. It isn't something you want to leak.

The main things to keep in mind while replacing the valve cover are first to note the position of the grommets to aid in re-installation. There is a little tab on each of them, it needs to be pointing the same way when you put them back in. Second, keep the nuts and grommets in the same order you remove them. Don't switch them from one spark plug tube to the other. Third, they need to be tightened as uniformly as possible to seal the gasket properly. It isn't like a wheel where you tighten the nuts opposite each other. Loosely thread them on by hand, then torque them something like a quarter of a turn each in order from left to right. Use a torque wrench, and tighten them to 17ft. lbs. each, making sure the tab on the grommets points the same direction as it did before.

It sounds complicated, but as long as you're careful and pay attention it's actually very easy.

As for the heat shield bolts... Yeah, they can be a bitch. You'll need plenty of PB Blaster (or whatever penetrating oil you like) and some good 6 point sockets. Breaker bars help, too. Sometimes the bolts like to snap, so it wouldn't hurt to be ready with a drill and some easy outs. However, that's when they've been on there for 20 years. If it was rebuilt 300 miles ago they would have had to take that cover off, so yours shouldn't be too bad.

07-16-2008, 11:50 AM
I was thinking of removing both the valve cover and the heat shield and properly sanding them down and polishing them up.

You cannot polish the heatshield (read: rust). You can only polish aluminum and stainless steel engine parts, which most engine parts are. Just not heatshields. If you have that all nice and shiny, you want to have it cerrmachromed or have it chromed. If you like black, buy some TurboX coating from techlinecoating.com

07-16-2008, 01:14 PM
For the heat shield...how about some of the 1000 degree powder coatings, how will they hold up?

07-16-2008, 03:45 PM
For the heat shield...how about some of the 1000 degree powder coatings, how will they hold up?

Or high heat paint works (I painted mine 4-5 years ago and it still looks great)...I'm pretty sure even BBQ paint will work. :hehe:

I highly do not recommend doing any sanding and polishing of engine components in the engine bay. Aluminum dust on electrical components and stuck to any oil residue is just asking for problems or an annoying clean up. Also it would require a lot more contorting to be able to polish items in the car as opposed to removing them from the car. Just my opinion. :D

07-17-2008, 05:51 AM
So I did a little mild sanding (whilst covering everything) and then painted the heat shield red as well as the engine block. I left the valve cover stock (but polished it). I made sure I cured the paint properly and it looks pretty good. Because I used VHT flat red paint it is not glossy, which is a bit of a shame. I am thinking of a top coat of something glossier. This is very durable paint and came highly recommended because it is so heat resistant. Definitely spruced things up in there a bit but I must confess I wish it looked a little shinier. Pics coming tomorrow.

I really want to customize the engine bay.....just to be different (and because I am off work for two months and have time on my hands).....and I am tired of how muddled and crappy it looks in there with the 5sfe. I have cleaned it thoroughly but am thinking of making some covers here and there to tidy things up. Any suggestions, experience, thoughts on possibilities and materials? Was thinking of carbon fiber but the budget is a bit tight for that. Further down the road maybe.

I was thinking of perhaps making a few aluminum covers here or there which wouldn't add any real weight and might freshen things up......but i haven't figured it out yet.

EDIT: I went back to look at it again and I am starting to feel I may have inadvertently created the cleanest yet gayest engine ever. Is it possible to make an engine queer? You see, problem is that flat red actually looks a little pink.......I can't have a pink engine block! Anyway i will assess it again in the morning when the light is better and get some pics up.

07-17-2008, 10:20 AM
If you think it's pink now, wait until the heat fade sets in....

07-17-2008, 10:43 AM
It'll Be -FABULOUS!-

07-17-2008, 11:33 AM
If you think it's pink now, wait until the heat fade sets in....

Oh bloody hell, please don't say that!
Is there any other type of paint, a gloss preferably that I can put over it that will be heat resistant enough?

I was going to get the dupli-color high heat engine enamel but it is only rated to 500 and i was concerned it might come off. The VHT i bought was designed for headers and is flameproof, so durable at least. even if it is pink.

I was also looking at ways of adding more pop to my white car. White is great but it also lacks depth. Easy to maintain but still. I did look at that dupli-color effex stuff......seen it? It is a clear spray paint that has glitter in it, only really visible in bright light....

ok wait that said....pink engine....glitter paint. Ok I am coming out of the closet.

07-17-2008, 05:28 PM
Cool. We need someone who can provide Carson-like advice.

07-17-2008, 06:29 PM
you are showing your true color(pink) for sure now.

Don't say glitter...say metal flake. I can't stand the thought of glitter on my Celicas

07-17-2008, 07:21 PM
Just go get some gloss red and redo it. That way it shouldn't turn pink. As for the heat shield, good luck.

I've found that if you use a "engine enamel" primer and "engine enamel" clear coat then you can get away with using regular touch up spray for the color coats on the valve cover. that way you can get metallic in the paint where it belongs. Just be aware, lighter colors will fade or become slightly tarnished looking after a few months, so this method is better with darker colors.

Here is mine, that is about the darkest shade color I would go with.


07-18-2008, 06:52 AM
VHT is great paint, but the colors are limited. If you want a deeper red for the valve cover caliper paint works great. It's 500 degrees just like regular engine paint, but the red is usually darker. For the heat shield I'd just give up on red at this point and hit it with some VHT black. At least it won't be pink. Either that or just sand it down. I'll also include a picture to show both what caliper red looks like on the valve cover and what happens when you use the same thing on the heat shield. 500 degrees just doesn't cut it when you're doing that thing. :)

07-18-2008, 07:17 AM
There's quite a variety of paint you can use on the VC. The VC doesn't get THAT hot. Just don't expect to have it done in a day to get the best results.

I used DupliColor chrome to told me over while I mirror polish a spare VC I have, and Duplicolor metallic blue before that. Both turned out fine.

07-18-2008, 08:48 AM
So a few things.

1. The engine actually doesn't look pink. I twas just a trick of the light. Looks much better than i thought. It's still a flat red but i have found a solution for that too.

2. Cleaned bay up a lot and covered hoses and wires with black split loom to have things a little nicer.

3. I painted the heatshield and the block. I left the valve cover stock(ish) just to be different. Reverse effect. Pics tomorrow I swear.

4. I have found that VHT make a clear coat (with a satin finish) that goes over the top which adds more sheen to it. So I think once I put a couple of clear coats over what I have painted it will not only look durbale but it will look awesome......excited...