Rattle Can Paint Job: Part 2 – Frame, Engine, Transmission & Wheels

This is the second article in a series where we discuss how to restore the paint on your favorite orange tractor. If you have not already done so, have a look at Part 1 which covers off tractor prep work and the proper technique when using a spray can.

Painting the Chassis
You will not need to sand or prime the blue chassis of your Kubota. If it’s clean and free of grease then lay down the spray. Starting at the left front corner of the tractor start spraying the chassis. Adjust your vantage point so you can see the wet edge of the paint as it’s applied to the tractor. Overlap each new course of paint approximately 50% over the previous course. Work your way around the entire tractor painting all the blue. Areas that should be painted in Kubota Blue are:

  • front bumper
  • engine block
  • firewall
  • front steering and/or front 4×4 differential
  • transmission and the transmission tunnel (B series)
  • rear axle
  • gear cases
  • 3 point hitch
  • clutch and brake pedals (if you decide to paint them blue)

Your Kubota may have brake pedals that are yellow. It is okay to paint them blue! They are blue on the newer models!

Once you’ve made one complete lap around the chassis and have laid down the first coat of blue, start right back and lay down a second coat in the same manner. This is when you will really see the color fill in and your Kubota tractor chassis will really come back to life. The 3 point hitch arms and lift links may need a third coat. The lift arms seem to show wear a lot more than say the side of the engine block, so spray them well. Once the second coat is done get a trouble light and inspect any of the tight spots for paint coverage. Areas to double-check would be: behind the hydraulic pump, above and to the left of the injector lift pump, the area just above the starter etc. Re-spray as needed to ensure proper consistent coverage.

Devil’s in the Details
Once the chassis is done you can turn your attention to a couple of quick detail items that will really make your repaint job look professional. If you have some semi-gloss black paint in the shop, give the radiator and its shroud a quick once over. If you are careful, you can also shoot the top rad hose. The cloth covered Kubota rad hoses always look dull and old so a little touch-up here looks great.

Next, if you have some clear coat, spray the air box. By spraying it clear you’ll save any of the service instructions printed on the box and it’ll brighten that part right up. Spray the big air intake tube and any small hoses or wiring you see in the engine compartment. Do not worry about masking anything off when using the clear. That’s the beauty of it – it makes whatever it goes on look clean and new.

We apply clear coat to the air box, small hoses or compartments in the engine bay - brightens them up like new.

We apply clear coat to the air box, small hoses or compartments in the engine bay - brightens them up like new.

With the chassis freshly painted and the balance of the engine compartment detailed out, we can now take a look at restoring the appearance of the wheels on your Kubota.

Orange or White Wheels?
Kubota has two shades of Orange spray paint which you can learn about by taking a look at our Kubota Paint Numbers and Coverage Table.

Which shade of orange you use (Orange Enamel vs. Bright Orange II) on your rims will be determined by your tractors vintage. Orange Enamel is a lighter orange with no hint of red. The newer Bright Ornage II is a bit reddish and appears darker when laid beside the older orange.

Early Kubota B and L series tractors, North American and JDM (Japanese Domestic Market/Gray Market) models were all Orange Enamel. The BX tractors, B5200, B6200, B7200, B8200, B9200, the L-1 Series Kubota’s, the M Series and the re-released B7100s were all Bright Orange II. If you’re a stickler for authenticity that may matter on your wheels. But wait! There’s more…

Japanese Domestic Market (gray market) B Series tractors had orange wheels, L Series models like L1500, L1501, L1511, L1801, L2000, L2201, etc, all had orange wheels, Kubota 02 series tractors, the models made in conjunction with Kioti/Daedong had white wheels. You can paint your previously orange wheels white, or your previously white wheel orange. You’ve got a lot of options here. If you are in doubt – post a comment and we can help you with your application.

Wheel Prep
Prior to doing any painting on your Kubota’s wheels, you need to clean them with a surface prep. In earlier times, surface prep was wax and grease remover. Whichever terminology your familiar with you need to thoroughly clean the wheels to remove any surface contaminants like wax, silicone, tire dressings, grease, even finger prints. Wipe down using a paper shop towel, not a rag that’s been moistened as the old rag may transfer back exactly what you’re trying to remove.

After a wipe down on both sides of the wheel rims, use some Windex or other neutralizer to wipe away any trace elements of the surface prep. This will ensure that residue from the prep cleaner does not affect your paint job.

Scotch Brite
The wheels are going to need a little scuff to make sure the paint gets good adhesion. 3M makes a scrubbing product known as Scotch Brite. Using a red Scotch Brite, scuff the wheel rim on both sides. It won’t take much effort but it goes a long way in giving a professional finish.

Next, take some masking tape and mask off the valve stem, and mask completely around the lip of the wheel rim on both sides. A 2 or 2.5” wide masking tape works well here. The masking tape on the rim lip will keep 99% of any overspray from landing on the tire.

Wipe the wheels down one final time with a shop towel to remove any fine sanding dust, it’s now painting time!

The wheel of our Kubota before prep and masking.

The wheel of our Kubota before prep and masking.

We've used 2'' wide tape to mask the wheels on our Kubota.

Wheels after prep, masking and painting.

Wheels after prep, masking and painting.

Painting the Wheels
The wheels are going to need two coats of paint to adequately cover any nicks and bare spots on them. The first coat should be lighter than the second. Do not worry too much about uniformity of gloss on the first coat – you can take care of that on the second and final coat. When laying down the second coat make sure you can see the paint laying down on the rim. You’re going to want to see a wet edge as you cover all areas of the rim. Overlap as you did with the frame/chassis, and the wheels will look awesome when you are done.

A Helpful Tip for White Wheels
If you are painting the white wheels on a JDM Kubota 02 Series tractor, (L1802, L2002 etc), we found that Kilz brand aerosol primer and stain blocker does an incredible job covering the wheels. It’s inexpensive and readily available at your nearest Home Depot. The finish is a little flatter in gloss than the original paint shade, but the overall coverage and no run application makes the job a snap. Kubota does make white wheel paint; Kilz is a great over-the- counter alternative.

Kilz in a spray can is an over the counter alternative to Kubota's white paint

Kilz in a spray can is an over the counter alternative to Kubota's white paint

Kilz applied to our Kubota's wheels.

Kilz applied to our Kubota's wheels.

After you’ve laid down the second coat and are satisfied with the overall level and consistency of the gloss, remove the masking tape from the wheel lips and the valve stems. You’ll probably have some light overspray of paint onto the rubber sidewalls of the tires. To remove the overspray on the tires, simply moisten a shop towel with a good quality enamel reducer or thinner. You’ll find the light overspray wipes off real easy.

Next Steps
Now that the chassis and frame is nice and blue, the engine bay and radiator is detailed and the wheels are fresh – we are ready to move onto preparing the fenders, hood and dash for paint in Part 3 of this series. Set the wheels aside for now, they’ll get reinstalled after the fenders get painted.

Related Articles
Related Articles
Kubota Paint – Part Numbers, Where to Apply and How Much
Rattle Can Paint Job: Part 1 – Tractor Prep & Proper Technique
Rattle Can Paint Job: Part 3 – Fenders, Hood and Dash

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