Painting engine head?

As I transition to my next project (removing the cam covers for repainting) I would really like to clean up the area around the spark plugs too. I’m thinking of removing the spark plug wires and then taping off the plugs, the chrome dome nuts, etc. then spraying with a high temp paint.

Possible? Impossible? Has anyone done this (and can share the experience and information)? Use a brush on paint instead of a spray to avoid overspray?


Oh, yes, and I always keep my socks on when I wash them. And if you own a precious grandfather clock, just spray it down with WD-40 when it stops running.

Someone here has done it as I recall reading about it, so I suspect someone will chime in. I’ve never done it but it’s certainly possible!


thanks Rob. Good thing I came back to my computer in time to see your post as I was on my way to wash my socks and WD-40 my grandfather clock. :crazy_face:

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Are you planning on painting the head on your 69?

If you want to really have some fun, try WD-40-ing your socks! Extra caution on any tile floors…

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Good idea Rob, I think that’s how Tom Cruise did that dance to “Old Time Rock and Roll” in Risky Business. :slight_smile:

Geoff, yes just the cylinder head not the whole engine…I probably should have been more specific when I titled this post! I’ll edit it now.


Ok. You probably already know that those heads were not painted from the factory. I think they look better with gold paint fwiw. I see no reason why you could not mask and spray paint. You need to scrub it extremely clean first so the masking and the paint will stick. For irregular shapes I will often use black electrical tape instead of masking tape. A sheet of plastic with a hole cut in it for the engine will protect the rest of the car. When I painted my 3.8 I used an old cracked set of valve cover gaskets instead of masking the good ones.

Give this thread a read - Cylinder head paint

Thanks Rob…I guess I need to polish up my search criteria since I didn’t find that thread! But that’s exactly the information that I needed.
Geoff, I’d much rather restore the existing unpainted finish than paint it…I guess a wire brush wheel would do it? Assuming of course that I could be surgical enough with it…

Searching is definitely an art! I searched for “paint engine spark” so you may want to try that and see what else may be out there. This thread actually came up first!

Paint engine “spark”?? Never would have thought of that!

Sure you did - that’s where I got it from!! :slight_smile:

Wire wheel might be a bit aggressive. I would first try scrubbing with a paint brush cut down so the bristles are short and stiff. Use an engine cleaner such as gunk first and if you find that does not work move up to acetone.Carb cleaner is also a possibility but I think they are mostly acetone anyways. Proper organic mask and serious eye protection. Stuff lots of paper towel around to catch the spray if you use acetone. If you read to the end of the mentioned thread you will see where Bill mentions painting a head aluminum color which is an option if you cannot get all the stains out.

Thanks Geoff! I like the idea of deep cleaning much better than spray painting. Failing that I will circle back to the spray painting aluminum color…

Rob, thanks for the search tip! :grin:

My head was also not painted by the factory, yet I wanted to freshen it up. So I used silver paint. For protection I used quarters dropped into the spark plug recesses, blue masking tape on the chrome head nuts, and aluminum foil for protection around the valve covers, and misc bits. Turned out great in my opinion


Wow…that does look great! Tin foil is a great idea!

It’s very easy if you have the patience to clean thoroughly and mask up well. Being British…I used 5p pieces to cover the spark plug holes🙂


Thanks Phillip!

hmmm…British 5P coin vs. US $.25 coin…decisions…decisions! :thinking: :grin:
I’ve actually got both (regular trips to the UK before the pandemic hit).


if you use a washer with a bit of tape over the center hole you can fish them out with a magnet.

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