Herculiner Bed Liner-Lower segment of the TinCan finished! 

By April 24, 2016 Airstream, DIY, polishing/exterior

I have been debating on how to go about painting the lower section of the TinCan. The section I am referring to is the portion below the lower striped band. I decided this section wasn’t in good enough shape to polish, and would not be worth the effort required to do so.

Lower section before:

I knew I wanted to paint the section charcoal gray. However, determining which paint and method proved more of a challenge. Most of the automotive type paints must be sprayed and/or need a clear coat over them. This was all more complicated than I was hoping to get into. I even considered paying a professional to spray it, however, the guy I had in mind is pretty booked up for the time frame needed.

Isn’t there something I can do myself? The answer is yes there is. I decided to go with the product you see below found here on Amazon*. It is called Herculiner Bed Liner. It comes in a do it yourself kit, and the reviews online are encouraging. Today was the day!

Prior to coating with the Herculiner, some prep work was needed. First the area to be coated must be very clean. Next I used the enclosed scouring sponge to sand and further clean around the bottom of the TinCan. A couple of gaps I found in the lower skin were filled with a flexible expanding foam. It may not be the correct product for the problem, but the few critter doors I noticed are now closed. Finally, all of the planned areas were wiped down with Xylene to insure a clean surface for painting. The packaging also recommends taping/masking any area you don’t want painted. I skipped this step as I usually do. I’m a little obsessive with the cutting-in detail work, so painting the edges is not usually a problem for me.

Finally for the actual coating. First step was cutting in along the stripe trim. Coating is dabbed on instead of using typical brushstrokes. I recommend following their suggestions and ordering the mixing attachment for your drill. It works great to keep the coating mixed as this stuff is thick and the solids tend to settle to the bottom. I used a small paint tray made for the size roller included with the kit. I mixed the paint in the can each time I refilled the tray, and I mixed the newly added paint with the paint already in the tray. Don’t skimp on mixing with this product!

After cutting in: (oops I let some drip!)

After the first coat:I was afraid the color was going to be lighter than I wanted. However, the coating dried to a darker color than it appeared when wet. After the second coat:

A surprise benefit: I have a step with prior rust damage that eventually I will replace. I painted it so it would match with the lower section of the TinCan. Much to my surprise this coating actually strengthen the step. I think I will add an additional coat as well. 

Overall I am very happy with the success of this project so far. Finished in one day! (except for the cleaning part-I did that the night before) I hope it holds up well over time. I will of course post an update down the road on how it fares. If only the polishing went so quickly and easily. May 31st is sneaking up quickly!

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