Forklift Paint / Restoration?
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  1. #1
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    Default Forklift Paint / Restoration?

    I am restoring a 1965 Towmotor Forklift and I want to give it a new paint job. I was hoping someone could recommend a good strong industrial paint.

    As a matter of background....

    Some of you may remember about 4 months ago I had a few posts regarding an old Towmotor LT 35 that I used to drive when I was a teenager. Well, shortly after that post I found a 1965 Towmotor 510P that a local dairy distributor was looking to get rid of for scrap. It was a one ton machine with air tires. My initial inspection found that the only fluid in it was engine oil and a little bit of hydraulic fluid, everything else was bone dry - axle, transmission, air cleaner, even the radiator. The good news at least was that it lived it's life indoors, so there was no rust anywhere. The shop foreman said it used to run, but one day stopped and managment didn't want to pump any money into it. Reluctantly, (and at the dismay of my wife), I brought it home.

    It has a Continential flathead 162 cubic inch engine. I charged up the battery and did a compression check. To my surprise, it had 140 psi in each of the cylinders. I soon discovered that the lobe that rides the cam on the points broke off and because the points were always in the closed position, it had no spark. A trip to NAPA and a new set of points solved the problem and after a little TLC this thing runs great! I think this is a testament to how durable and strong they used to build these little machines. Even after years of abuse and neglect, everything still works! In fact, since I got it running, it's become the most used tool in my shop. I use it for everything.

    Anyway, I am just thrilled by how useful this little machine is and that's the reason I want to give it a paint job and make it look pretty. I visited my local Caterpillar dealer, (which bought Towmotor in the 1960's), provided them with my model and serial numbers and asked them for a paint code, and they looked at me like I had six heads. They said they had NO CLUE what the paint color could be for a machine this old and basically laughed me away from the parts counter. I find this odd since to the best of my knowledge, all Towmotor forklifts were only painted one color.

    Anyway, you guys have always been great to me and any help that you can offer in terms of paint color and / or a strong industrial paint would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks again for all your help. I promise to post pictures.

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    Congrats on getting it running! Forklifts are way handier and more fun than they look. I like Ace Hardware Ruststop enamel for jobs like that, especially with a little hardener added. A plus is that if you can find something on your lift with a bit of the original color on it, your local store can custom mix the color to match it.

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    I can't help with the original color, but would suggest you look at the Rustoleum line of industrial paints. They're considerably tougher than the regular Rustoleum line up. If you get into good quality auto paints, be prepared for sticker shock!

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    Quote Originally Posted by George Andreasen View Post
    I can't help with the original color, but would suggest you look at the Rustoleum line of industrial paints. They're considerably tougher than the regular Rustoleum line up. If you get into good quality auto paints, be prepared for sticker shock!
    You know what George, even if it costs me a little extra for higher quality, I don't care. I've spent thousands for machines that I rarely use, and by comparison, I've only invested a few hundred dollars in this forklift. I would easily spend a few hundred for some good paint.

    If you think Rustoleum Industrial is a good way to go, where do you think I can buy it? Can I spray it with a spray gun?

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    Or you can take a clean chip off the machine and go to a Duron industrial paint store and they can color match with something like Dura-Clad urethane.

    Steve.

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    be aware that the original paint is most likely a lead based paint, so when you sand it take proper precautions

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    Default Paint

    Tractor Supply has some decent paint for a job such as yours, 25 colors I believe.

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    A good 2-part catalyzed automotive paint will stick like crazy, be very tough, and set you back like $100/quart. Plan 2-3 quarts to paint the lift, 3 coats is the minimum. You'll also need clearcoat as the 2-part paints don't have any shine at all, plan $50/quart. It will spray beautifully with an HVLP gun. Use breathing protection since it uses an isocyanate activator. I use the DuPont Chroma system.
    If you really want tough, use DuPont Imron. It's 2 part polyurethane.

    I'd probably use an industrial enamel, even though these don't spray well with HVLP.

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    Here are a few photos of my '65 Clark CY-80 before and after:







    Wire-brushed mine and painted it with Rust-Oleum several years ago. I'm using a NAPA 3-part urethane one my Do-All bandsaw rebuild. I should be painting it in the next weekend or so. I'll post the results and my impressions in my saw rebuild thread.

    Mine has a new Continental overhaul in it. When I bought it, the steering and brakes were out and it didn't have enough power to pull a greased string out of a cat's butt. One new power steering cylinder and pump, paint, brake job, instruments, a few mast rollers, and some misc. stuff later and it was up and running. The engine lacked power because the valves had never been adjusted and the engine was 180 degrees out of time!

    The Continental engine manuals can be found here:

    http://www.wisconsinmotors.com/partc...nginescon.html

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    A_P Mech,

    Wow! Great job! Too bad you don't live closer, otherwise I might have to hire you to paint my forklift. How did you paint it - with a brush or a sprayer?

    Also, Forklifts are notorious for being covered in grease - especially on the mast. One of my concerns is that I could never get the surface of the machine clean enough for the paint to stick. How did you remove the grease before painting? Or did you paint over the grease? Ha Ha.

    I would love to paint my forklift with car paint, but I am afraid of applying the clearcoat. Many years ago I had a friend who owns a body shop help me paint an old Mercedes. He let me apply the paint, (I applied 5 coats of paint), and then he applied 3 layers of the clear finish. He told me that painting a car is easy, but applying the clear coat is very difficult. Ultimatey, the paint is just a pigment. What takes the abuse is the clear.

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    It's easy to over doo and over restore a piece of equipment that will start going back down hill the same day you finish the project.

    SO.....Another vote for Tractor Supply paint.

    If you REALLY must please the forklift Gods, spring for the hardener additive and call it good.....

    A_Pmech
    " The engine lacked power because the valves had never been adjusted and the engine was 180 degrees out of time!"


    180 degrees out of time????
    I'd like to know just what that means and how it affects power.....

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    Once you own a forklift your wonder how you went that long without one. I too have a forklift at home and it was about the last straw as far as my wife was concerned, at least that's what I initially thought. The real last straw came the next day when I accidentally backed one wheel off the driveway and into the grass. Almost nothing worked to free it until I used my 4 x 4 truck in low-lock and yanked it out. The bad part was the forks swung around and took off three sprinkler control valves (water everywhere!) and left a 15 patch of dirt in our golf course-like front yard

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fasto View Post
    A good 2-part catalyzed automotive paint will stick like crazy, be very tough, and set you back like $100/quart. Plan 2-3 quarts to paint the lift, 3 coats is the minimum. You'll also need clearcoat as the 2-part paints don't have any shine at all, plan $50/quart. It will spray beautifully with an HVLP gun. Use breathing protection since it uses an isocyanate activator. I use the DuPont Chroma system.
    If you really want tough, use DuPont Imron. It's 2 part polyurethane.

    I'd probably use an industrial enamel, even though these don't spray well with HVLP.
    This is the BEST but most $$$ way to go. We use Sherwin Williams High Solids Polane Enamel. It is a catalyzed paint.

    We use it on our machine rebuilds.

    Companies like caterpillar and john deere use this product.

    With this paint you do not need a clearcoat.

    $100 or so for a gallon is what it costs but it will last forever. If you are going to take the time to blast the turck and do it right do not go cheap and get something form the hardware store that you would use for a weekend project around the house.

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    Just use a acrylic enamel, about 30 -45 per quart, no clear coat, durable, lot less isocynates than urethanes.

    Forklifts get beat up anyway

    Automotive suppliers to buy it

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gauge View Post
    A_P Mech,

    Wow! Great job! Too bad you don't live closer, otherwise I might have to hire you to paint my forklift. How did you paint it - with a brush or a sprayer?

    Also, Forklifts are notorious for being covered in grease - especially on the mast. One of my concerns is that I could never get the surface of the machine clean enough for the paint to stick. How did you remove the grease before painting? Or did you paint over the grease? Ha Ha.

    I would love to paint my forklift with car paint, but I am afraid of applying the clearcoat. Many years ago I had a friend who owns a body shop help me paint an old Mercedes. He let me apply the paint, (I applied 5 coats of paint), and then he applied 3 layers of the clear finish. He told me that painting a car is easy, but applying the clear coat is very difficult. Ultimatey, the paint is just a pigment. What takes the abuse is the clear.
    Gauge,

    I painted that Clark with a brush. I couldn't be bothered to disassemble it and mask off things properly for a spray job.

    A power washer and knotted cup brushes for the angle grinder work great for cleaning off all the dirt, crap, goo, and loose paint. I won't paint over dirt and grease.

    There are 1-step automotive paints available that do not require a clear. I've painted motorcycles with it before. I've also used clears on numerous occasions. The problem with clearcoating is you cannot sand the base before applying the clear with many systems. Thus, you need a surgically clean paint booth or you have no choice but to bury the dirt in clear and de-nib it afterwards.

    180 degrees out of time????
    I'd like to know just what that means and how it affects power.....
    I don't know exactly what the timing was, I never measured it. But, by my estimation, the points were breaking about 90-120 degrees ATDC. Add the advance value to that, and it's easily in the 110 to 140 degree range. It barely had enough power to crawl along on a flat, level surface with the pedal to the floor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A_Pmech View Post
    Gauge,

    I don't know exactly what the timing was, I never measured it. But, by my estimation, the points were breaking about 90-120 degrees ATDC. Add the advance value to that, and it's easily in the 110 to 140 degree range. It barely had enough power to crawl along on a flat, level surface with the pedal to the floor.

    So in other words the 180 number was "figuratively speaking"........
    Not sure how far late you could go and still have it even start. Prolly not 180 late...
    I think ....If you "add the advance value", (assume you mean centrifugal advance) that would make it -less late- and closer to TDC

    Not that it matters in this thread tho....

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkmc View Post
    So in other words the 180 number was "figuratively speaking"........
    Not sure how far late you could go and still have it even start. Prolly not 180 late...
    I think ....If you "add the advance value", (assume you mean centrifugal advance) that would make it -less late- and closer to TDC

    Not that it matters in this thread tho....
    Well Your Honor, I didn't measure the EXACT position the points broke by timing light and degree wheel, as I was attempting to FIX the machine, not document it's condition.

    However, most 40-year old Continental centrifugal advance mechanisms tend to have quite a bit of wear between the springs and the eyelets on the flyweights, reducing the spring preload. Thus, normally un-advanced idle time tends to be 8-12 degrees advanced of static time, increasing the overall timing spread by the same amount.

    Is the witness excused?

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    Quote Originally Posted by A_Pmech View Post
    However, most 40-year old Continental centrifugal advance mechanisms tend to have quite a bit of wear between the springs and the eyelets on the flyweights, reducing the spring preload. Thus, normally un-advanced idle time tends to be 8-12 degrees advanced of static time, increasing the overall timing spread by the same amount.

    Is the witness excused?
    Ahh.....wha.........?
    Which I think makes it even less likely it was that late.
    But I get the 'exaggerations' now.....it's just "writers embellishment" not necessarily fact. No harm no fowl.

    The court also wants to know........do you REALLY work on airplanes???

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkmc View Post
    Ahh.....wha.........?
    Which I think makes it even less likely it was that late.
    But I get the 'exaggerations' now.....it's just "writers embellishment" not necessarily fact. No harm no fowl.

    The court also wants to know........do you REALLY work on airplanes???
    You're free to think whatever you want. In the end, I'm the licensed mechanic and you're... Not. I've timed a few thousand engines, so I'm pretty sure I have the process down by now.

    With that, I'm done. I have more productive things to do with my time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mad Dad View Post
    Once you own a forklift your wonder how you went that long without one. I too have a forklift at home and it was about the last straw as far as my wife was concerned, at least that's what I initially thought. The real last straw came the next day when I accidentally backed one wheel off the driveway and into the grass. Almost nothing worked to free it until I used my 4 x 4 truck in low-lock and yanked it out. The bad part was the forks swung around and took off three sprinkler control valves (water everywhere!) and left a 15 patch of dirt in our golf course-like front yard
    know this thread is a decade old, but just stumbled upon it... this post was too funny to me as the day I got mine (freebie the boss gave me- from the machine scrap area at work)finished up, I too backed a rear tire off the driveway when turning around- it immediately sunk pulling the other rear off which immediately sunk... ground level was just above the rear axle centerline, the 6000 pound counterweight (truck weight is 9900- most in the tail end) was near a foot deep... tried pulling with our 4x4 diesel tractor, which just tore up more yard...had to get the wife on the towmotor to gas it while I pulled with the tractor... she took it in stride, but wasnt real happy.

    on anyone thinking about painting- I did mine with a gallon of summit 'sublime green' mopar color two part urethane- spraying urethanes/isocyanates will kill you unless you have a good respirator(I do)but the overspray will also cover anything in the area if you dont have a booth rather than make a temporary booth, thought i'd try rolling some paint on- just primer... and it looked awesome- has a hammertone/industrial look to it- tried mixing small batches of urethane and same result. in the end, zero overspray, and only used 1/8 of the gallon(and about a dozen of the little 1.5" mini rollers-short nap).

    any other machinery i do at home will be rolled urethane single stage. on cars, urethane base/urethane clear is only way to go- but for machines the single stage two part urethane rolled on looks great, and no need to clearcoat! hard to see, but in the picture, the black by the lift levers, you can see the paint texture- I really like it


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