Painted the Transmission & Bellhousing

Painted the Transmission & Bellhousing

I painted my T56 transmission and bellhousing this weekend. To tie everything into my car’s planned color scheme I chose a mix of Ford Red, Black, and Silver. No, I couldn’t keep it simple and paint it one color like everyone else… I had to go with three colors for two parts.

Here is a list of supplies used:

    • Duplicolor Gray Engine Primer with Ceramic – DE1612
    • Duplicolor Aluminum Engine Enamel with Ceramic – DE1615
    • Duplicolor Clear Top Coat Engine Enamel with Ceramic – DE1636
    • POR-15 Cleaner Degreaser Quart #40104
    • POR-15 Metal Prep Quart #40204
    • POR-15 Engine Enamel – Pint Gloss Black #45008
    • POR-15 Engine Enamel – Pint Ford Red #42098
  • POR-15 Engine Enamel – Pint Black #42038
  • Chip brushed (used 4)
  • Foam brushes (used 7)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Cardboard, for blocking overspray and to protect the bench and saw horses

Like all painting projects, prep is the key to great results, and prepping your work area is just as important as your surfaces. When working with paints, solvents, and other chemicals, make sure you’re working in a well ventilated area. Our garage is outfitted with 2 Lasko Max Performance Fans mounted on the back wall, and once the garage door goes up all paint vapors are gone in an instant. If you’re in the market for a fan for your shop, I highly recommend these fans.

With the help of my wife we stood the transmission up on two Eastwood work horses, taped everything off I didn’t want painted with blue painters tape, and plugged all holes with foam ear plugs to keep the paint out of the threads.

On with the prep. I started using POR-15 cleaner/degreaser, spraying it on and going over the surface with a chip brush to loosen the dirt up.

I then rinsed everything off thoroughly with warm water before blow-drying with compressed air.

Next I applied POR-15 Metal Prep with a sponge brush, keeping everything wet for 20 minutes as instructed, before rinsing everything off with warm water and blew everything dry with compressed air again.

Starting with transmission I applied two thin coats of Duplicolor Engine Primer with Ceramic spaced out 10 minutes between coats, followed by a third medium coat 15 minutes later.

The bellhousing got a base of standard POR-15 Rust-Preventative Permanent Coating on both the inside and outsides. The 2nd coat was applied 2-hours later. At this point the day was over, so I headed to bed.

The next morning I woke up went out to the garage to finish the job. Per the instructions, both the Duplicolor and the POR-15 paints are supposed to be applied in succession to their initial bases. So I applied one more thin coat of Duplicolor engine primer to the transmission. While that was drying I turned my attention to the bellhousing.

The POR-15 instructions say it can be applied over a fully cured coat provided you give it some tooth by roughing up the surface. I used 80 grit sandpaper and hit the bell housing by hand.

10 minutes later I went back to the transmission and started laying down a thin coat of silver engine enamel. While that was setting, I went back to sanding the bellhousing.

10 minutes later I applied another thin coat of silver engine enamel to the transmission. While that was setting, more sanding the bellhousing.

I applied two more coats of silver and 3 coats of clear, spaced 15 minutes apart. I’m now done with the transmission.

I finished sanding the bellhousing and started on the POR-15 Engine Enamels.

I started on the inside using Black. Once done, I moved to the outside with the Ford Red. Applying the red over the black rust preventer had me thinking I had made a terrible mistake, but I kept at it with more coats hoping it would work out.

Since I live in Florida and it is August, everything dries VERY fast. By the time I had the outside done, the inside was ready for a second coat of black. That was all it needed before the inside was done.

The outside got a second coat of red. Looking better now, but time to tak a 30 minutes break. To my surprise, three coats was all it needed.

My fear of failure had me going a little too thick with the POR-15 Ford Red which caused some runs, but overall I am pretty happy with the results. People might think I’m nuts cause in the end no one is ever going to see these parts on the car 99.99% of the time – MAYBE someone will see it up on a lift, or if I put mirrors under the car at a show, but I didn’t do it for anyone else… I did it for my own enjoyment and satisfaction.

If the engine wasn’t all bolted together already I would have painted that too. I think I’ll try to paint the Differential with the POR-15 though since I can get away with brushing that on.


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