Painting Your Tractor


Keeping your tractor looking nice is not just important so the neighbors don't laugh at you. Tiny scratches will eventually turn to big rust patches. Rust patches only get worse over time and can eventuall cause structural problems. This project is rated at a 4 star level because we are hoping that you are going to take the time to do it right. Anybody can take a can of spray paint and paint a tractor in 5 minutes. While Krylon is good for touch up "until I can get it fixed" rust protection after a scratch- remember, it is only a patch, not a cure. This process is not complicated but it will take some time. Take your time, be thorough, and you will be very pleased with the results.

So what does it take to give a tractor a good paint job?

1 - Time. You will need a lot of time. The worse shape your tractor is in, the more time it will take.

2 - Respirator. You can find these at any home or automotive store. Get one of the good charcoal masks for about $20, not the cotton disposable type. Paint fumes and even paint dust can kill you. Dont take chances with your life!

3 - Sand Paper. You will need 80 grit and 350 grit wet/dry paper as well as a sanding block. A random orbital sander is a good choice also. Dewalt makes a nice electric unit for around $60.

4 - Paint. Check with our sponsors for a high quality Yanmar tractor paint in the correct shade of Yanmar Red and Yanmar Green for the frame. Nothing is worse than going through all of the work to paint your tractor and getting the wrong color or use a poor paint that will deteriorate quickly and force you to do it all over again. You will also need NAPTHA and Laquor thinners (or the type of thinner that is recommended on the paint can.

5 - Paint Gun. You can find a good gravity feed HVLP gun for under $50.00 at most home improvement stores or even Sears.

6 - Air Compressor. If you own a tractor you either already have one or need to buy one anyway. Get a nice 5hp model for under $200.

7 - Spray can primer. Use a laquer based primer that is sandable. DupliColor makes a good one. Get the kind that is dry in less than 30 minutes.

8 - Masking Tape. Get the good stuff. All tape is NOT created equal.

Getting started.
As we stated earlier, paint not only makes your tractor look nice but it also protects the metal surfaces from rust. In order for the paint to do its job, we need to get all of the metal surfaces that have been scratched or rusted down to bare metal. It is not necessary to get the areas with solid paint to bare metal but it is better if you do. Use the 80 grit pad on a random orbital sander and work the metal being careful not to overheat and warp it. On areas that you are not going to sand down to bare metal, rough up the surface with the 350 grit paper or coarse steel wool. Sand everything you are going to paint. The new paint will not stick to smoothe original paint. I like to use the 80 grit pater to remove all of the decals. Our sponsors offer a decal replacement kit that looks great. A heat gun and a putty knife work good also. Be sure you remove ALL of the adhesive from the tractor or it will look really bad when it is painted. Keep in mind that bare metal will "flash rust" in less than 3 days if not covered with paint or primer. Any moisture from morning dew or rain will cause it to rust in a matter of minutes. Once you start sanding you need to be ready to at least prime it.

I like to remove the fenders and all of the emblems, lights, handles, etc. This makes it easier to paint conststantly. No obsticles in the way.

Use the masking tape (I like the 2" wide tape to completely cover anything you dont want painted. This includes the dash, fender lights, anything you have not removed and dont want painted. Use plastic trash bags to cover the engine and tires. Any gap in the tape will end up painted so be sure it is sealed.

Marhyde makes a coating that will chemically react to rust and dissolve it. Use this product on reas that you can not get to such as on the frame, engine area, or in body panel creases. It is expensive so use wisely. Let it dry for the recommended time.

DupliColor makes a good laquer based primer that is ready to sand in 20 minutes. You will want to give all of the areas that you sanded to bare metal at least 3-5 light coats and the complete body 1 good coat. Let dry and sand the entire body with 350 grit paper and the sanding block. If you keep the area wet with a squirt bottle and the paint will not ball up in the paper. sand the body until you can barely see the original color come through.You are looking for a completely smooth look and should be able to run your hand over the body without feeling any bumps or scratches. If you can feel anything it will look really bad when it is painted. You may need to give the body several more coats of primer until you can sand it completely smooth. Keep in mind that- if you prime it, you will have to sand it before you can paint it. Do prime anything that you cant get to.

The paint that we recommend can be found here. It can be used with a hardner to "activate" the paint. This produces an extremely glossy and very durable paint. It also goes on very flat to help hide any scratches that you might not have sanded out properly. Mix the paint as stated on the can. Let stand to "sweat". The paint will only be good for about 10 hours now so you will need to keep going. Paint the body first in 3 coats. The first coat being a very light coat, and the last two medium/heavy coats. Allow 1-2 hours between coats. Let cure for 2 days and then mask off the red body and paint the green frame. Be sure the red is completely cured or the tape will pull it off. The engine and frame are painted the same way but you will not want to use primer as the areas are too hard to sand. Use the MarHyde on any bare metal areas or any rust spots.