There is no denying the disaster of a body that was sitting on Project Speed Bump’s wavy frame. Full of holes, rust, fiberglass, filler, and haphazard fixes, we spent a king’s ransom on repairs (and even a new cab), but thanks to Alfredo Altamira at Altamira Autobody, LGE-CTS Motorsports, and LMC Truck, what we ended up with was a straight body that was just about ready for the paint booth. However, there was one more step before heading back to LGE-CTS’s booth and that was shielding the bare-metal bed and underbody with a protective coating of Line-X.
Line-X, known for its strength and durability, has proven useful far beyond protecting pickup beds. Line-X is a spray-on elastomer that is formed when two compounds are sprayed at high-temperature and high pressure. This mixture dries in seconds and can be sprayed vertically, without dripping, making it ideal for all sorts of applications. From commercial uses to bomb-blast mitigation at US Embassies, Line-X has proven itself over and over.
Because Line-X has a higher tensile strength than steel, it provides a protective armor that needs to be breached before the body underneath is damaged. In addition to being able to protect against impacts, scratches, and other damage, Line-X provides a barrier against sound, moisture, and corrosion. Line-X also comes with a lifetime warranty against cracking, bubbling, and peeling and can be sprayed with a UV-inhibiter to protect against chalking and fading. Custom colors are yet another option of the Line-X product line.
For Speed Bump, we chose the Line-X Premium, which takes the standard Line-X product and adds an aliphatic coating to deter damage caused by UV, such as chalking and fading. In addition to having the bed sprayed, we decided to coat the underside of the bed, as well as the bottom of the cab to protect them from rocks and other road debris, and to insulate the cabin from noise.
Our install, performed by the team at Line-X of Torrance in Torrance, California, was completed over the course of a day while we documented the process. With Line-X successfully applied and protecting Speed Bump’s formerly bare bed and underside, we loaded up the trailer and headed back to the shop for paint prep.
Back at LGE-CTS with the freshly Line-X’d cab and bed in hand, we got back to work on prepping the body for paint. After applying a coat of Axalta Coating System’s Low VOC Etch Primer to the sheetmetal, followed by the application of high-build primer, the process of blocking started.
This labor-intensive step between the first coat of primer and the first coat of paint is what ultimately gives your vehicle that that smooth, flawless appearance. Because blocking finds the high and low spots that can’t really be felt, but can be seen in the reflections of a good paint job, this is one of the most important steps to painting a vehicle.
While Speed Bump was in the capable hands of the team at LGE-CTS, we started planning for our next step, and one that we’d been anticipating for more than a year… finally laying some color on the body. We couldn’t wait.
1. Our Line-X install started with the process of taping and masking. To achieve clean edges, a special wire tape is laid down as a border of the area to be sprayed, followed by paper and masking tape.
2. Before spraying could begin, the surface of the bed that was going to be Line-X’d had to be thoroughly sanded, giving the Line-X a proper surface to adhere to.
3. Once the surface has been sanded, the dust is blown off and a special cleaning fluid is used to wipe down the area to be sprayed, removing any dust or chemicals that could prevent the Line-X from bonding.
4. Next, the bed floor seams were sealed with black caulk.
5. With the bed masked, sanded, cleaned, and sealed, we were ready to start spraying the Line-X material.
6. Line-X uses a proprietary delivery system that is comprised of two compounds that are mixed under heat and pressure. The coating dries almost instantly. Here you can see the initial coat being applied.
7. To provide the textured topcoat, a different technique is used in which the gun is held higher and at a different angle.
8. This is a closer look at what the final Line-X texture looks like. In addition to protecting the sheetmetal from scratches and dings, this tough coating is also able to grip cargo and prevent it from sliding around in the bed.
9. We repeated the process on the underside of the bed as well, to help prevent damage from rocks and corrosion.
10. Because Line-X also insulates for noise, we decided to spray the underside of the cab as well. This should give us a quieter ride and peace of mind in the areas that Bumpside trucks are known to rot in, such as the cab corners and body mounts.
11. After completing the final step of applying the aliphatic UV-inhibiting coating over the top of the newly Line-X’d areas, our bed and cab were looking great and ready to head back to the body shop.
12. As a reminder, here is what our bed looked like before the bodywork was complete. The same bed floor seen here is the same bed floor Altamira Autobody hand-pounded back into shape, is the same bed floor we coated in Line-X. The transformation couldn’t be more impressive.
13. Back at LGE/CTS Motorsports, the team went to work applying the coat of Axalta Low VOC Etch Primer, followed by high-build primer, and had started to mask the body in anticipation of the laborious and messy process of block sanding, or blocking, the body.
14. Blocking is the process of sanding down the body between the first coat of primer and the first coat of paint to create a level surface. It is typically done in conjunction with a contrasting guide coat, seen here on our LMC replacement tailgate as black spray paint. If after sanding, the black is still visible, then you know you either have a low spot or you missed an area while blocking.
15. Here you can see our bedside during the process of blocking, where some variations in the surface have already appeared by the darker Etch primer showing through the high-build primer layer.
16. Blocking requires constant cleaning of the sandpaper and the body surfaces, as well as a good eye for the best results.
17. With a ton of work ahead of them, we left the paint & body department at LGE-CTS alone to continue prepping the body for paint, while we focused on the next steps of the build.