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<P>If you have been looking for a way to fix up that El Camino bed I think I may have a solution. Since I do want to be able to use the bed from time to time I wanted something that looked good, was durable, but still stylish enough for an El Camino. </P>
<P>The plain Jane pick-up bed spray in liners just did not suit my needs. Especially when you consider they run better than $350.00 even for our smaller beds. Getting a custom color sprayed in runs a bunch more. I found the Eastwood Company (http://www.eastwoodco.com) has a tintable bed liner kit. Being able to more closely match the exterior color of my El Camino appealed to me. After placing the order the kit was received in less than a week complete with good instructions and everything I needed less the pint of paint to tint with in the color of my car. The process is pretty straightforward. First clean the bed with a good strong detergent. Sand the bed with 120-grit paper; I used my electric finish sander. Prime any bare metal surfaces with a self-etching primer. Once you complete the sanding again wash the bed thoroughly with a soap and water solution. I washed mine with a mix of Simple Green and a Scotch bright green pad. After it has dried well mask it off to protect areas you don’t want coated. Regular automotive masking tape works fine. You don’t need the type with the wire imbedded since you will be removing the tape before the coating dries, which will result in a good sharp edge. Just before you get ready to spray wipe down the bed with acetone or prep-sol.</P>
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<P>The kit is a two-part coating; part A is what you mix your color tint with base coat color seems to work very well. The A part is the consistency of pudding but don’t worry it can be thinned and will spray once you are ready. It takes about 8 ounces of color to tint most colors I needed a dark brown metallic. Tint all you expect to use at once but do not catalyze until you are ready to spray and then catalyze only one quart at a time. You will need a compressor that can sustain between 70 and 90 PSI, my 5 HP 20 gallon did just fine. The coating is sprayed on with and undercoating spray gun also called Shutz gun. This gun can be purchased with the kit for a total price, kit and gun $147.00, when I got mine shipping was included. If you notice the coating is a bit too thick when you start to spray you can thin it up to 5% with urethane thinner, had to thin mine a bit since the 97-degree temperature here in Texas thickened things some. I used Tulane to thin any good urethane thinner will work. The gun is very easy to use and only takes a few passes to get the hang of. You will notice lower air pressure gets you less texture and higher more texture. There is more than enough material in the kit for three or four coats and still have some left over. Once you finish remove the tape as soon as you can. The coating will dry to touch in about 6 to 8 hours depending on temperature. You will end up with a very glossy finish the color will be pretty close to your exterior paint but since it is a textured finish it will look a bit different. When you consider the price and the custom finish it is a fantastic way to take care of that funky looking bed with out going broke and still be able to use it to haul something. One last comment you are spraying polyurethane this stuff is pretty nasty on your lungs so you will need a good filtered respirator unless you are looking for a headache from hell. </P>
Contributed by Harald K.
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