Operation Rattle Can

Let’s be real. If your Jeep is going to be used Off Road, it’s going to rub against tree branches, rocks, shrubs and anything else out on the trail. This mean that lovely paint job on our XJ’s are going to get thrashed. On my past XJ’s, I wasn’t very nice to the body’s or the Jeep in general. I would plow through plants and small trees and make my own trails at times to explore different areas. I’d rub on rock walls occasionally while drive through very narrow routes. So my body’s have seen plenty of love taps and scratches. Normally, I would spray the the Jeep with a High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP) paint gun. My cheap Harbor Freight sprayer was in pretty bad shape so I decided to try the raffle can method. I’ve see a few people on YouTube do this method with pretty good results.

When I purchase this Jeep, the paint was in pretty rough shape. It was a mixture of white and possibly factory grey.

Matching all the body panels was a must to give it a little more street credit on the way to the trails. I decided to go with Rust Oleum – Khaki for the majority of the body and a small black strip on the bottom with Rust Oleum – Hammered Black to match the bumpers.

Amazon was having an awesome sale on bulk spray can orders. I got 12 cans of the Khaki color and 5 cans of the Hammered for $46.00 shipped free to the house. I’ll take a $50.00 dollar paint job with extra paint for touch ups after a trail ride. I also picked up a Rust Oleum Comfort Grip sprayer. I highly recommend one of these if you’re going to rattle can anything large. It saves your finger from straining after holding the nozzle down for extended periods.

With the paint in hand, the first thing I did was remove the wiper blade arms on the front, remove the side mirrors, and remove the antenna from the fender. Next, I masked off anything and everything I didn’t want painted. This included the mirror brackets, door handles, window trim and windows, front and rear bumpers, grill and light bezels. I’m sure there are a few other things I taped off but this was the majority of it.

Once everything was taped off, I gave the body a quick sanding with some 120 grit sandpaper. It’s really aggressive grit but the paint will fill in the sanding lines. After the quick sanding I hosed off of any dust that was left from sanding and gave the Jeep a quick wash. Once the Jeep air dried, I gave the body another wipe down with some acetone to remove and fine dust the washing didn’t remove. At this point, I started spraying front top to bottom in one continuous motion. There are some good guides online on how to spray paint something.

I let the first coat dry over night and repainted the entire thing a second time to ensure every spot was covered. After a thorough visual inspection, I removed all the masking from the Jeep. I let it dry for another 48 hours before I painted the lower strip. I taped off the lower body line and used some cardboard to shade the upper part of the body while I shot the Hammered Black paint. Before it fully dried, I peeled the tape line off the Jeep. In my opinion, the job turned out awesome.