Sunday, August 19, 2012

Project Miata Gets Hurculiner'd

My project Miata is a true roadster so the interior will be permanently exposed to the elements.  This is not an environment for carpet.  So to prevent rust and keep the interior looking slightly presentable I gave it the pick-up truck bed liner treatment.  Details after the jump.

Painting a car's interior with bed liner is about as much work as painting your bathroom.  You have to remove everything that isn't getting painted or cover what can't be removed.  Then you prepare the surface before applying the paint.  My tools consisted of two foam rollers, a foam brush, a couple paint trays, a few plastic forks and one can of Herculiner. 

Removing the Miata's interior took less than an hour.  I pulled out all the carpet, the seats, and ripped off the cloth top as well since all are being discarded.  With nothing left in the interior but a dash board and steering wheel I had full access to paint just about everywhere inside the car. 

Prepping the interior for paint took a bit longer.  The previous owner attempted to bed line the driver and passenger foot wells but it was flaking off in chunks.  I used a wire brush attached to an angle grinder to rough up the factory white paint and remove most of the old bed liner.  Then, I vacuumed out the dust and rubbed the surface with rag dipped in paint thinner.  Once dry, I moved on to painting.

Interior after first coat
Here's how it looked after the first coat.  First lesson learned, don't use foam rollers.  The paint has an aggregate mixed in which gives the coating a bumpy texture.  The foam rollers and brush act like a filter, sucking up the paint but not the aggregate.  I was able to get reasonable results using the roller in the tray and then slopping the aggregate onto the roller with a fork.  Its a pain, but I was able to get the aggregate uniformly spread out.  I used the roller on large open spaces and the foam brush to get in the corners.  Instead of foam, I should have reached for the furry brush and rollers. 

Interior after second coat.  Roll bar also installed.
The second coat made for a dark, glossy finish.  The gloss was a surprise.  No where on the can does it mention how shiny the finish is and all bed liners I've seen have a mat finish.  It took a few hours for the paint to loose its tackiness and after a day it felt fully dry.  Now that the cars been in the sun a few weeks, the finish has faded to mat black.  Hopefully, it won't continue to fade to grey.

Verdict
Herculiner has given the Miata a weather proof interior that looks a lot better than white rusty floor boards.  It doesn't have the thick solid appearance of professional spray on bed liners and probably lacks the durability they provide.  However, one can costs about $20 so for less than $30 with supplies and an afternoon I'm pleased.  If it doesn't fade to medium gray by the end of the summer, Herculiner is BeaterBlog approved.

Hat tip to Luke for getting me the can of Herculiner for my Birthday.  Its exactly what I wanted. 

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