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Old 10-20-2010, 03:14 PM   #1
Domino
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Default Shelf Life of Automotive Paint

Approximately what is the shelf life of open and unopened cans of automotive paint (quart or gallon)? For example can one have a quart of painted mixed to the desire color and use it 2-3 years later without problems. I am referring to single stage enamel or urethane. TIA
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Old 10-20-2010, 04:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: Shelf Life of Automotive Paint

As long as it has not skinned over in can, it is OK.
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: Shelf Life of Automotive Paint

I have been told that the actual urethane single stage paint will last a long time - years even if opened. The catalyst, however once opened, does have a much shorter shelf life. The paint companies say a few months at most, however they are in the business of selling paint. I have gone a year with a opened can of catalyst and it worked well. I keep the paint in a cool basement (60 degrees usually). Someone said if the catalyst is clear looking it is probably OK to use, but if it is cloudy, don't use it.
Hope this helps.
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:48 PM   #4
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Default Re: Shelf Life of Automotive Paint

Thanks it certainly does. As i plan on buying gas but apinting whenit cools off in Nov. or December.
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:52 PM   #5
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Default Re: Shelf Life of Automotive Paint

Yeh, the manufacturers say once the catalyst tin is opened to the air, it must be used very quickly.

I have stuff years old and still used it OK.

I would not use it that old on a fresh ground up resto, but for general use, it is fine.

Note that you can (well here in OZ we can), get fast or medium or slow catalyst.

Use fast when cooler temp or when doing small items like wheels.

Medium for mid temps .

Slow only for baking ovens and resprays, where you want high flow characteristics.
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: Shelf Life of Automotive Paint

About catalyst: I have done a bunch of small painting jobs, so there was no way I could toss out an expensive mostly-full can of catalyst a few weeks after opening it. So when I am done with it, just before re-sealing it I blow some argon/CO2 from my MIG welder into the can to displace the moisture and oxygen.

Over the summer I painted some stuff, and 24 hours later, masking tape still left some marks. I realized that the catalyst was almost three years old, so that's probably over the limit, even if you flush out the can like I do.

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Old 10-21-2010, 12:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: Shelf Life of Automotive Paint

ok now i'm confused.

I have 2 quarts of mixed paint in a 1 gallon can. I had it mixed the beginning of 2007. Its labeled "Dupont full-thane urethane paint"

It was bright white when mixed. I opened it last month and it looked black so I closed it and put it aside assuming its garbage.

I have the catalyst in a separate sealed container.

Is there a chance this paint is still good!?!?
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:50 PM   #8
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Default Re: Shelf Life of Automotive Paint

Mr tube,
Did you stir the paint well? I should still be OK. I am not familiar with the paint you have, but a urethane paint should last 3 years if the can was sealed well.
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:55 PM   #9
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Default Re: Shelf Life of Automotive Paint

I didn't stir it or shake it. Being I know little about it I just cracked it open, looked and closed it tight again.

If its still good, I have a great project for it.
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Old 10-21-2010, 01:08 PM   #10
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Default Re: Shelf Life of Automotive Paint

[QUOTE=pooch;99983]

Note that you can (well here in OZ we can), get fast or medium or slow catalyst.
QUOTE]

I think you are speaking of the reducer (thinner) not the catalyst. The reducer's rating is based on temperature in which it is applied.
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Old 10-21-2010, 05:50 PM   #11
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Default Re: Shelf Life of Automotive Paint

No Tom, we have fast/medium /slow catalyst.

MrTube, unless it was a pure white tinter, it would probably have had a touch of ochre/green/blue/black added in the mix.

It may have been the few drops of black at the surface tension of the paint.

Give it a stir to check.
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Old 10-21-2010, 06:25 PM   #12
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Default Re: Shelf Life of Automotive Paint

The white pigment might have settled, leaving a layer of darker-colored stuff on top. I have seen this with non-automotive white paint.

I noticed a funny thing abut my PPG concept maroon paint: I opened a can that had sat for at least a year, and the paint seemed perfectly uniform. A stirring stick did not find any layer of settled material at the bottom of the can, and the color was uniform throughout. It was as if every component of the paint was in solution, and could not ever settle out.

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Old 10-21-2010, 06:32 PM   #13
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Default Re: Shelf Life of Automotive Paint

I bought some house paint enamel in red and green (same manufacture and type) to make a brown.

Stirred, it went brown but within a few minutes settled into red and green again with a distinct line.

I could see it, cos it was in a plastic drink bottle.

I have had this happen years ago, when i was spraying a large roller door with the same red and green enamel mix .

Depending on how much was coming out of gun, each coat would be a different hue of between red and green and purple and brown.
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Old 10-21-2010, 07:08 PM   #14
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Default Re: Shelf Life of Automotive Paint

Yea, I don't know what was mixed in it. I had the guy mix the white porcelain on my 1930s fridge as close as possible so I could paint the painted metal parts the same color as the porcelain.

The porcelain is a bright white color.

If this paint is still good, I'd want to use it to paint a fridge I just got from Special Coupe Frank. 2 quarts should be plenty.

I just don't know what to do with the catalyst and all of that. Or what primer to use with "ful-thane urethane" ? I guess i'm gonna have to take some time and learn.
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Old 10-22-2010, 01:00 AM   #15
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Default Re: Shelf Life of Automotive Paint

This one brand of hardener I use.

I have never used the slow one , but this pic shows the standard and fast.

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