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Thread: Is there any way to remove this spray bomb black paint on my firewall safely?

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    wh23g3g's Avatar
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    Default Is there any way to remove this spray bomb black paint on my firewall safely?

    While the show season is done for the most part. I'm doing some maintenance and minor cosmetics to be ready for the next show season. When I got this 99 R/T someone previous had spray bombed the back of the firewall but I've never been able to figure out why. I'm suspecting some kind of wiring harness meltdown because although I'm not 100% sure it appears that perhaps the main wiring harness has been removed before evidenced by the missing firewall grommet. I've got the grommet in now by splitting it and slipping it over but now I want to get rid of this horrible rattle can black paint everywhere. The exterior of the truck and door jambs have been repainted original Solar Yellow but I didn't have anything done under the hood because it's for the most part still clean. I have tried to wipe down some of the black paint with some lacquer thinner soaked on a rag but didn't get much of it off. I'm hesitant to try the aircraft stripper because I didn't know if it would soak through the top rattle can black into the original paint. I'm trying to remove the rattle can black paint and just leave the original yellow there. It appears to me that it would be better if I was able to brush on instead of spraying everywhere with some kind of remover. I also don't want to accidentally get any kind of remover on the exterior body paint and end up ruining it. I was thinking of some kind of stripper that could be applied to the black and be hosed off to get most of it off. I will replace the brake booster and master cylinder because it all got sprayed black too. Longshot too, but is there anyway to remove the top coat of black paint they painted over the brake booster vendor decal without removing the printing? I would like to have it replicated if possible. While I'm there I'm wanting to know if the cross bar between the fenders and radiator is a bolt on piece that I remove and have painted or is it welded? So what kind of stripper if any would be the safest way to go?

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    Well, I hate to tell you but the best way is also the most work involved way. In my opinion the best thing to do is pull the engine, remove all the stuff on the firewall, clamps, grommets, grounds, heater hoses, a/c lines or expansion valve. Strip it and repaint it, there is now way to my knowledge to remove paint on top of paint without harming the paint under the top paint.
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    wh23g3g's Avatar
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    If that's the only option it will stay that way. The engine runs too good to have it pulled for that. It's not a 60's or 70's Mopar Muscle that looks good under the hood to begin with, just wanted a clean look. I know I've used some of the aircraft stripper to strip paint off blue paint of my 73 Charger to reveal the original bronze paint paint under it. It didn't seem to harm it. I can even see where they scuffed the original paint to paint over it. However, that was probably a different kind of paint so I don't know if that makes a difference. It seems like if I use a small paintbrush I can carefully apply some liquid paint stripper to just the black paint enough to get it to start peeling and I can hose most of it off real quick. I may try just one spot to see what happens. Otherwise I'll just work around it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wh23g3g View Post
    If that's the only option it will stay that way. The engine runs too good to have it pulled for that. It's not a 60's or 70's Mopar Muscle that looks good under the hood to begin with, just wanted a clean look. I know I've used some of the aircraft stripper to strip paint off blue paint of my 73 Charger to reveal the original bronze paint paint under it. It didn't seem to harm it. I can even see where they scuffed the original paint to paint over it. However, that was probably a different kind of paint so I don't know if that makes a difference. It seems like if I use a small paintbrush I can carefully apply some liquid paint stripper to just the black paint enough to get it to start peeling and I can hose most of it off real quick. I may try just one spot to see what happens. Otherwise I'll just work around it.
    Maybe try a small hidden area, if it works then go for it.
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    I think you would be pushing your luck using paint stripper. I believe you will damage the paint below. I would try acetone or nail polish remover first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wh23g3g View Post
    If that's the only option it will stay that way. The engine runs too good to have it pulled for that. It's not a 60's or 70's Mopar Muscle that looks good under the hood to begin with, just wanted a clean look. I know I've used some of the aircraft stripper to strip paint off blue paint of my 73 Charger to reveal the original bronze paint paint under it. It didn't seem to harm it. I can even see where they scuffed the original paint to paint over it. However, that was probably a different kind of paint so I don't know if that makes a difference. It seems like if I use a small paintbrush I can carefully apply some liquid paint stripper to just the black paint enough to get it to start peeling and I can hose most of it off real quick. I may try just one spot to see what happens. Otherwise I'll just work around it.
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    niebs's Avatar
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    Pull as much away from the firewall as possibly and 'sand' blast it. Ice blasting may be best.

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    It looks pretty flaky. Have you hit it with a pressure washer? That might do a real good job blasting that off. In areas where it doesn't pop off, use some stripper, but blast it off quickly so it doesn't start loosening the factory paint. It could be a real time saver.
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    Pulling the engine and cleaning the firewall won't hurt the engine. It'll run the same as before when you put it back in. It's 8 hours of work to pull and reinstall the engine. You could start on a Friday night, paint Saturday, reinstall Sunday.
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    I don't know what it was sprayed with but I used to letter cars and trucks. To get any old lettering off w/o harming the auto paint, I used to use oven cleaner. Lettering paints are mostly enamel and the oven cleaner would eat through the lettering without a whisk of harm to the vehicle paint underneath. As advised, you can try a small area.

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    Could you not just try wet sanding it with 1500-5000 grit? I would try that in a small area.
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    It did start to come off in those spots you see that are the original yellow when I was degreasing the engine bay when I first got the truck 2 years ago. Some of it came off with the purple power. I'm sure it's probably out of a spray can so I assume it would be an enamel. I don't know what the original paint is lacquer or enamel. I might try the oven cleaner. Lacquer thinner on a rag didn't really work too good. I would really like to know why it was even done. I've been trying to see anything that might tell me why but the original paint under it looks good.

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    You can use an angle grinder or palm sander. It can be a tedious task but not messy compared to paint stripper.

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    wh23g3g's Avatar
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    I tried some of the brush on paint stripper so I could get it only where I wanted it. It didn't even start to bubble up. Only a few little areas where the black paint was already peeling came off with the paint stripper. It's pretty thick in spots. After there wasn't much success with the paint stripper I just kinda gave up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by karlmagnum View Post
    You can use an angle grinder or palm sander. It can be a tedious task but not messy compared to paint stripper.
    With engine in the truck?
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    wh23g3g's Avatar
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    Yes I still have the engine in. I won't take it out just to touch up the firewall. For now the firewall is going to stay how it is. Maybe if I ever have to pull the engine out I'll redo it proper.

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