Firewall Forward

January 27, 2013

Powdercoated Rocker Covers! - 2.0 Hours

Not a whole lot has been going on around here lately. Well, at least it doesn't look like it. I have, however, been doing a lot of studying as I continue to climb a steep learning curve about my engine, my panel, electrical and wiring stuff, and so on. I have some big things in the works, behind-the-scenes, that I will be able to share on here before too long. Plus, it's been a very busy month in my work as the new year begins. But I do have something pretty exciting to report on. In my last post, I mentioned my rocker covers on my engine. So I have an update and some pictures to show.

Did I mention that I have some really good friends? I think I mentioned that a while back. But in case you missed it, I have some REALLY good friends! RV people are just the best in the world! My new friend Brian Wallis lives down in Georgia, and he's starting up a powdercoating business. He needed some "test pieces" to work on and I volunteered with my rocker covers. It was a deal I couldn't pass on. This is something that I consider a touch of class, but not normally something I would spend a lot of money on. But Brian made me a deal I couldn't pass up, so I pulled my rocker covers and shipped them off to him. Here are some "before" and "after" pictures of the whole affair.

First, some background. When I brought my engine home, my rocker covers were dull. Scratched up. Paint was chipped off. They didn't look good at all. I was embarrassed. I didn't even take a good picture of them. But I knew they could be dressed up without a lot of expense. So I bought a can of Lycoming Gray spray paint, masked them off and cleaned them up, and sprayed them. This improved their appearance a lot, but some of the paint has aleady chipped off and I was looking at doing that all over again. Here's a picture showing what the covers looked like before I painted them. The future didn't look too bright for my paint job.

Here's what I found after pulling the first one off. These covers have been on this engine ever since it was overhauled and re-built about 12 years ago. So I was anxious to see what it looked like inside, even if I wasn't shipping these covers off to Brian. They were a bear to get off. I almost had to chisel them off. The old cork gaskets were put on with some kind of gasket sealant, and the stuff had turned hard and very sticky-gooey. Like 100-year old putty or something. But when I finally lifted the cover off, I was very pleased to see what was inside. Everything looks shiny and new, spotless and squeaky clean. This turned out to be the case with all four of them. This made my day!

A while later, after scraping off as much as I could, then cleaning up with a rag and some MEK, they look brand-spanking new inside and they were ready for a temporary covering.

I put a small dessicant bag inside each one, and covered them with duct tape, sealing them up from all air leaks. It doesn't look very pretty, but it's all very temporary and I feel good about protecting the insides from exposure during this time frame.

Okay... fast-forward a couple weeks. I was very excited when the postman showed up at my door with a box from Brian Wallis. Here's what was inside. My rocker covers have come home!

Here's a closer look. Can you believe this? No, in case your eyes are fooling you, like mine did, this is NOT chrome plating. This is powdercoat! Although, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference. I was stunned! I can't believe how nice these turned out. I didn't know something like this could be done with powdercoat! It looks just like expensive chrome plating.

So I went right to work, pulling off the duct tape and cleaning the surfaces once more with MEK to remove any duct tape residue.

I knew these were coming, thanks to Brian staying in close touch with me, so I drove down to Vans Friday afternoon and picked up some new gaskets. These new gaskets, unlike the old cork ones, are made of silicone rubber. They don't need any gasket goop, they're reusable, and the guys at Vans tell me they'll last forever. And, best of all, they don't cost an arm-and-a-leg. They're only about $4 each!

Finally, here's the finished installation. These look so much better, and I'm sure the durability is much better than spray paint.

I think this is a real touch of class. I think it will look even better when I get the baffling installed around these covers. Thank you, Brian!!

If you're interested in doing something like this, either with your rocker covers, your brake pedals, or anything else that can be powdercoated like this, I can HIGHLY recommend Brian Wallis to you. He's a good guy. He's honest, prompt, communicates well with you, and his prices are very reasonable. Plus, he has powdercoat in many colors of the rainbow! I had no idea that this technology was available. You can email Brian at: Or call him at: (404) 405-1315

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Contact me: swayze "at" (replace "at" with the @ sign... no spaces... you know the deal)