Al's Liner Spray-in Bedliner - Elemental Armor
Diy Spray-In Bedliner
From the September, 2010 issue of Chevy High Performance
By Sean Haggai
Photography by Sean Haggai
When we first finished the bodywork and paint on project Brutus at Rubio's Auto Body, we left the bed untouched. At the time, we did this to save money due to the additional supplies and materials it would have required. In the months to come, Brutus will eventually haul various parts; call it a shop truck of sorts. What we realized is that a coat of paint isn't enough protection for the bed against dents and dings sure to be caused from our heavy-duty hauling plans.
To combat the wear and tear, we learned that the same material professionals use to spray late-model truck beds with can be purchased as a complete do-it-yourself kit, and be easily applied in the comfort of your driveway. We headed over to Classic Industries, best known for replacement and restoration parts, for the bedliner kit. The Al's Liner kit is a one-stop system that features three separate jugs of easy-to-use chemicals, a primer, coloring agent, and an air gun with hopper. In a nutshell, here's the procedure: mix the chemicals thoroughly and start spraying-that's it.
One thing you will need access to is an air compressor, along with plastic or paper tarping to protect against overspray. While we knew this would protect our bed, even offering UV protection, the benefits don't stop there. The good news is that the liner can be applied to areas of the chassis as well, such as the undercarriage and frame.
Before we got to work applying the liner, we had a little bit of prep work ahead of us. After a few hours of sanding the bed, our El Camino was ready to be sprayed. In the end, we are proud of the finish, ease of installation, and the fact that we have a professional looking bedliner without having incurred a professional cost. Check out the following pages to see what's involved and how simple it is to protect your investment with a quality spray-in bedliner.
What We Did
Applied Al's Liner spray-in bedliner onto our '66 El Camino
It protects panels and provides a durable surface
$100 (PN 20099, black)
$56 (PN 20018, spray gun)
It's important that the liner...
It's important that the liner has a surface to "bite" into once it's applied. Using wet/dry 36-grit sandpaper, we went to work sanding the entire bed of the El Camino. Note: employing some friends for the day can surely expedite the process. We teamed up with Michael Consolo and attacked every possible edge and crevice. This included the back of the cab, the sides, the floor, and every corner.
Following the instructions,...
Following the instructions, it's important to remove any leftover sanding debris and dust. Contaminants could hinder the lining process and may cause the liner to peel off prematurely. With the aid of an air compressor we blew off the dust and then washed down the bed with a hose. Once dry, we used a rag soaked in lacquer to scrub off any remaining contaminants to ensure a clean surface for the liner.
We picked up rolls of blue...
We picked up rolls of blue masking tape and plastic liner from a local hardware store to protect the rest of the vehicle from overspray, including the tailgate, side body panels, and the cab of the El Camino. We were almost ready to begin spraying.
According to the instructions,...
According to the instructions, in order to spray and obtain full coverage, Al's Liner suggests checking the air compressor first. At a minimum, the air compressor must be able to spray 25 psi at 7 cfm. Our air compressor had a knob to regulate airflow, allowing us to adjust the air pressure as needed.
Al's Liner includes a plastic...
Al's Liner includes a plastic spray gun nozzle which we attached to the primer bottle. We applied a moderate misting of the primer and waited 10-15 minutes for the primer to set up and dry before moving on to the next step.
Next it was on to mixing the...
Next it was on to mixing the chemicals. The instructions called for shaking the jug labeled "B" for 2-3 minutes. From there we poured it into the jug labeled "A." Note: it's important to work swiftly once you start mixing. Once the first two chemicals are mixed, pot life is approximately 20 minutes.
To add the black coloring,...
To add the black coloring, we simply poured this into jug "A" . For our weekend project, we ordered the Black liner kit to match our El Camino's exterior. Should you prefer another color; you can also choose between tan or grey.
The Al's Liner kit includes...
The Al's Liner kit includes a nifty paddle mixer that attaches to any electric drill. While we were mixing these components together, we also added the catalyst labeled "C." It's imperative that once "C" is added to the jug, it's mixed until all the white is gone.
The next step involved hooking...
The next step involved hooking the gun up to the air line. Since the gun has a feed adjustment on the back, this allows the user to choose between a fine or course texture. We opted to tighten up the adjustment for a finer texture. Next, we attached the supplied hopper and poured the liner mixture in through the top.
Beginning at the front of...
Beginning at the front of the bed, we made our way to the back by spraying the entire lower portion of the cab; shooting the inner sides and fenders as we went along. Be sure to apply coating to all of the corners and edges for complete coverage.
Applying some of the knowledge...
Applying some of the knowledge we gained while painting Brutus, we used a 50-75 percent overlap on the liner as we sprayed. This ensures that no portion of the bed goes unprotected. With the lower portion of the rear cab and sides sprayed, we then focused on the floor. Knowing the floor would see the most abuse, we focused a lot of our attention there. If you plan accordingly like we did, you may have enough leftover liner to spray an additional coat to the bed floor.
We invested a full day and...
We invested a full day and the majority of it involved prep work. The actual spray time took us around 25 minutes. It's also important to note that immediately after spraying, remove the tape and plastic by pulling the tape at a 45-degree angle, giving the edge a nice, finished look. Parts beware, we've got armor now!